Looking for white sand beaches, golf, fishing, birding, and family-friendly activities within an hour of Alabama on Florida’s Gulf Coast? Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key are among the USA’s top white sand beaches, and home to the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. Your Pensacola money-saving vacation rental home, condo, or apartment can even include a boat dock or be beachfront. With 52 miles of ocean, river and bay coastlines, family-friendly Pensacola is ideal for boating, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, snorkeling, seashell collecting, and scuba diving.
Pensacola Beach is on Santa Rosa Island, a 40-mile long barrier island buffering Florida’s mainland from tropical storms. Bridges from Historic Pensacola Village cross Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound to reach Quietwater Beach Road and Pensacola Beach. Rub elbows with locals hanging out at island staples such as Hemingway’s Island Grill and Peg Leg Pete’s. Stroll Portofino Boardwalk and Pensacola Beach Pier. Explore Gulf Islands National Seashore, the cannon batteries of Fort Pickens, sand dunes, and watch birds along quiet stretches of white sand beach.
Cross the Theo Baars Bridge from the mainland to Perdido Key, the barrier island just west of Santa Rosa Island. Escape the condo-lined beaches for Perdido Key State Park or Johnson Beach in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Play a round of golf at Lost Key Golf Club, which almost doubles as a bird sanctuary. Have a family picnic in Big Lagoon State Park’s open pine woodlands, or go crabbing along the beaches and shallow bays. Almost 300 bird species and migrating monarch butterflies frequent Gulf Islands National Seashore. Be watchful for great blue herons, osprey, woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers, tanagers and myriad shorebirds and songbirds.
The Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier doubles as a bird watching venue for migratory ducks, loons and gannets. Deep-sea fishing charters are numerous. Go bottom fishing for grouper and snapper, or troll for amberjack and king mackerel. Redfish, speckled trout, jack crevalle, false albacore, pompano, and tarpon are also common. Several area restaurants will prepare your fresh catch, or cook it yourself in the comfort of your money-saving Pensacola vacation rental. Take the kids out dolphin watching, or snorkel for starfish and sand dollars.
Bands on the Beach is a popular feature at the Gulfside Pavilion. Pensacola Bay’s National Naval Aviation Museum has 150 vintage aircraft that may whet your appetite for the aerial acrobatics of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and the Pensacola Beach Air Show. Let the kids climb to the top of the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, conveniently located next to the Naval Aviation Museum. Take a free tour of the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum and Pensacola Historical Museum in Historic Pensacola Village.