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Located in the Panhandle of Florida and on the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola is a great place to take in a beautiful sunset on the pier, enjoy a day on one of the many Panhandle beaches, or just relax and shop. You can also take in a little history when you visit the Naval Air Station there and tour the lighthouse, Fort Barrancas, or relive the glory days of Naval Aviation at their spectacular museum. After the sunsets, enjoy some of the freshest seafood you'll ever eat at one of the many waterfront restaurants. While visiting Pensacola, be sure to set your watches one hour back, as it is on Central Standard Time, while the rest of Florida is set to Eastern Standard Time.

White Sand Beaches of Pensacola

Things to do in Pensacola

Everywhere you look in Pensacola you'll find water and more ways to have fun with things to see and do in Pensacola.

  • Pensacola Beach - Pensacola Beach is on Santa Rosa Island, which is 52 miles of white sand beaches, and is suitable for fishing, boating, swimming, collecting seashells and just exploring in general.
  • National Naval Aviation Museum - With over 150 aircraft, this unique museum includes the history of not only the Navy, but the Marines and Coast Guard as well.
  • Pensacola Lighthouse - At 190 feet above sea level, stands the black and white tower overlooking Pensacola Bay.
  • Pensacola Annual Events

    Past yearly events Pensacola have celebrated include Mardi Gras, Fiesta of Five Flags, the Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival, and the Seafood Festival, as well as the host of various fishing tournaments.

    Places to Stay in Pensacola

    Year round good weather make Pensacola a great place to stay any time of the year. If you'd like stay beachfront, try the Days Inn Pensacola Beachfront. If you prefer the bay, the Emerald Isle is a great place. If you want something a little different the Portofina Island Resort & Spa or the Russell Roost Bed & Breakfast make for memories of a great stay. There's the Crowne Plaza Grand Hotel, which has sister hotels in Cocoa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, and Key West to mention a few locations. Days Inn, Ramada Inn Bayview, Quality Inn and Super8 Pensacola Nas Corry are of few of the more familiar names with hotels in the area.
    View Pensacola Hotels »

    Pensacola Overview and History

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  • Pensacola has a rich history. It is known as 'The City of Five Flags' because, at one time or another, it has been under the control of five different governments, including the Confederacy. When the Spanish controlled it, they called it Panzacola, which was the Indian name; when the French had control, it was Pensacolle. The permanent name of Pensacola was assigned when the English took over it in 1763.

    Sportfishing Boat

    The waterways here have always been an important part of life in Pensacola. In the early years, the Spanish built Fort San Carlos de Barrancas to watch over the bay and fishing fleets that brought fresh fish and gulf shrimp from the local waters.

    Pensacola Light at the Naval Air StationFishing in Pensacola, as in most of Florida, is good most of the year. It's not unusual for the local restaurants to offer selections caught the night before such as snapper, grouper, tuna and wahoo. In the early summer months, the shrimp boats come in offering their 'fruit of the sea' - shrimp, much to the delight of locals and tourist alike. If you prefer to catch your own dinner, you can book one of the many charter boats to take you fishing inshore for redfish, cobia or pompano; offshore charters can take you fishing for the wahoo, mahi mahi and blue marlin.

    The Pensacola Naval Air Station, also called the cradle of Aviation, is home of the world renowned Blue Angels and the Aviation Museum there which is not to be missed. Pensacola is the western most city in the Florida Panhandle, and just past the divide into Central Standard Time Zone, it is also the county seat of Escambia County. Pensacola is also a sea port that connects Pensacola Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. It was the first settlement in the Continental United States, settled in 1559 by people from Vera Cruz, Mexico. But shortly after they arrived, a hurricane killed many of them and ruined their supplies, so they scattered. Some went to what would become South Carolina, some went to Cuba, and some back to Mexico. In 1696, it was resettled near Fort Barrancas and then became the largest city in Florida in 1763 when it was the capital of the British colony of West Florida.

    Advanced Redoubt at Fort Barrancas

    The hilltop fort on the Naval Base was rebuilt of brick in 1839 and became known as Fort Barrancas, while the battery it's connected to downhill then became Fort San Carlos, splitting up the old name to referrer to two separate places. The fort and battery were both meant to protect not only Pensacola Bay from attacks, but also to defend against a land attacks as well.

    Interstate 10 is the main highway there and connects Pensacola to the state capital of Tallahassee, which is located almost 200 miles to the east and Jacksonville, which is just over 350 miles away. When you head west on I-10, it opens up to the great Southwestern Unites States. If you feel more like flying than driving, the Pensacola Regional Airport has two runways and over 80 aircraft based there ready to take you from Chicago to Charlotte and many cities in between.

    The city of Pensacola has a land area of approximately about 40 sq miles and 17 sq miles of that is water. The climate is hot and humid in the summer and the winters are generally mild. Pensacola has a population estimated to be just over 53,000 people. There are three universities and colleges in the area and approximately eight high schools, both public and private, as well as over half a dozen hospitals.

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