Fun, Free Things to Do

Having Fun on a Budget in the Pensacola Bay Area

by Hannah Shouppe
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Evenings in Olde Seville
Evenings in Olde Seville
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Whether money is tight, or you're just looking to save a few bucks, the Pensacola Bay Area has plenty to offer to travelers on a budget. From outdoor activities to a wide variety of museums to visit, you can't go wrong with the Pensacola Bay Area.

Pensacola is known as the "Cradle of Naval Aviation," and we have the museum to prove it. The National Naval Aviation Museum is located at NAS Pensacola and admission is always free. Almost every exhibit is hands-on, and you can even climb into the cockpits of all kinds of planes! With 55,000 square feet of new exhibits and two floors to explore, there is plenty with which to entertain the whole family.

While visiting the museum, don't miss out on an opportunity to watch the Blue Angels practice and even get an autograph from them! Practices and autographs are always free. The tentative schedule is posted online, but be sure to check the museum's website for any potential changes to the schedule.

When you're done exploring the museum, visit Fort Barrancas, located less than a mile away. Pack a lunch and have a picnic amongst the stone walls that held strong for Andrew Jackson in the 1814 Battle of Pensacola during the War of 1812. Daily tours are given at 2 p.m. Park entrance and tours are free.

To learn more about the history of Pensacola and of Florida during your vacation, visit downtown Pensacola, where you'll immerse yourself in historic architecture and be surrounded by Spanish street names. It's almost like walking among history!

Located on Jefferson Street in downtown Pensacola is the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum. The museum was originally the 1908 City Hall building and has three floors of permanent and traveling exhibits. Housing historic artifacts, the Wentworth Museum holds treasures that showcase American and West Florida history.

Located nearby is the Pensacola Historic Village, where visitors can tour historic homes and Old Christ Church, the oldest Protestant church in Florida to still be on its original site. The church was used as a hospital, barracks and jail by the Union during the Civil War. The cost of the tour is $6 for adults and $3 for children and lasts about an hour and a half. See the Spanish influences in the 1805 Lavelle House and the post-Civil War 1871 Dorr House, as well as the Victorian style of the 1890s Lear-Rocheblave House. Three tours are given daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Additionally, the Pensacola Children's Museum just opened up downtown, near the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum. The museum showcases Pensacola's maritime history, as well as the multicultural heritage of the “City of Five Flags.” Activities for children include a trading post, Indian village and magnetic toys that teach children about animals and their habitats. Both the Wentworth and Children's Museums are open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

While exploring downtown, be sure to walk south down Jefferson Street to the Pensacola Museum of Art and Quayside Art Gallery. The Pensacola Museum of Art is the only accredited art museum between Mobile and Tallahassee and is currently featuring “Surfing Florida: A Photographic History.” Admission is $5 everyday; however, on Tuesdays, admission is free. Quayside Art Gallery has no admission fee and features three floors of local art work that shouldn't be passed up by any visitor.

After all that exploring, you'll definitely want some time to kick back and relax.

Every Tuesday and Thursday this summer, you can enjoy free live music outdoors across the Pensacola Bay Area. On Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. from May through October, grab your beach chair and head to Pensacola Beach for Bands on the Beach. On Thursday evenings, take a stroll through downtown Pensacola and enjoy Evenings at Olde Seville Square. The event's 25th and final season ends Aug. 2.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of things to see, do and explore in the Pensacola Bay Area without having to break the bank. From our sugar-white beaches and emerald water to our historic downtown and educational opportunities, you'll find a variety of ways to enjoy an affordable and adventurous vacation!

For more ideas on things to do on a budget in the Pensacola Bay Area, click here.

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