Families come to Pensacola to have fun in the sun, but the good times do not have to end when the sun sets.
Families visiting the Pensacola Bay Area expect to have fun in the sun. With some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and an abundance of outdoor activities, it is an easy place to enjoy during daylight hours. But what happens when the sun sets?
In Pensacola, the good times do not have to end after a day at the beach. Families can enjoy many different activities and attractions after dark. Here are 12 examples:
At Glow Paddle, which has two locations on Pensacola Beach, families will find an unconventional way to explore the Santa Rosa Sound. Book a 45-minute paddling session using Glow Paddle’s clear kayaks and paddleboards outfitted with brightly colored LED lights. Beginning at 7:30 p.m. nightly, when you are likely to see the sunset over the water, until 11:30 p.m. when the night sky is at its darkest, paddle out and enjoy the glow. You may be lucky enough to see fish and other sea life up close through the bottom of your kayak. No experience is necessary. Children weighing less than 30 pounds must have an adult in the same kayak, and you must be age 18 or over to rent a paddleboard.
Escape rooms continue to be a popular attraction for families and groups. It’s no surprise as being locked in a room together (in a good way) to solve clues and puzzles will have everyone working together to escape. Put your family dynamics to the test at two locations in North Pensacola: Escape LOL in Cantonment and Exitthis Pensacola on Creighton Road. At Exitthis, choose from three themed rooms, including Oval Office, where the premise is your team is working against the clock to disarm a bomb inside the office of the President of the United States. Book online for 60-minute escapes Thursday through Sunday.
Ready to climb, play, splash and go fast? Pensacola has adventure parks galore. At Pensacola Beach, spend an evening zip lining or climbing high above the Santa Rosa Sound at Laguna’s Adventure Park. You’ll find delicious options for dinner and drinks, here, too. Splash City Adventures (formerly known as Sam’s Fun City), just south of Interstate 10 on U.S. Hwy. 29, is the place for water slides and amusement park rides, including a Ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl and scrambler, as well as go-karts, mini golf, an arcade and laser tag. After a day relaxing on the beach, get ready to accelerate your pace at Fast Eddie’s Fun Center, located west of I-110. Four go-kart tracks include the SuperKart Speedway, for ages 16 and up and featuring computerized scoring and timing, and a track just for kids ages 4-7. Visit the arcade and batting cages, too.
Burn some energy and bounce the night away at SkyZone. This indoor trampoline park offers 90-minute sessions or all-day passes for freestyle jumping, as well as a designated toddler zone, foam zone, sky ladder, sky joust and ultimate dodgeball. Special socks, required to participate, are sold on site.
Playing April through September each year, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos minor league baseball team is the Double A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. The Blue Wahoos play in a modern, waterfront stadium in Downtown Pensacola that makes for a fantastic setting for fans to take in the action while enjoying bay breezes. Concessions and games are stationed around the concourse, and kids have an opportunity to run on the field, chasing a costumed cockroach during one popular promotion. Saturday night games conclude with a fireworks show.
Everyone knows vacation can be a great stress reliever. If you really want to release some tension – in a fun way – head to Grizzly Axes in Uptown area. Parents can bring children ages 12 and up for axe throwing or a demolition session in the Rage Room. A newer attraction, Messy Murals is a paint room open to all ages.
On Tuesday nights, you can’t beat the live music experience of Bands on the Beach. This free summer concert series takes place weekly April through October at Pensacola Beach. Regional artists perform a wide variety of music, with shows beginning at 7 p.m. at Gulfside Pavilion overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Bring your own chairs or blankets to sit on and pack a cooler or picnic. There is plenty of room for kids to run and play, but glass and pets are prohibited. Sing and dance the night away!
Evening is the perfect time to play miniature golf in Pensacola. Enjoy gulf breezes on the 18-hole course at UFOs on Pensacola Beach. Afterwards, cool off indoors at the ice cream bar and arcade. West of Downtown, try Goofy Golf of Pensacola, where you can putt your way through 18 or 36 holes surrounded by larger-than-life sculptures such as a giant cowboy boot, dinosaur and octopus.
Ice cream cones are always a hit in summertime. At Sweet Cone Alabama on N. Palafox St., satisfy your cravings with ice cream and candies galore. This location is popular with Instagrammers for its creative photo-op backdrops. Where else can you float in a tub full of sprinkles? Bubba’s Sweet Spot, founded by professional golfer Bubba Watson, serves homemade fudge, bulk candies, ice cream and milkshakes in the heart of Downtown Pensacola. There is not much that is better on a hot Pensacola day than New Orleans-style shaved ice. At Bam Snoballs in West Pensacola, add toppings and ice cream to your favorite flavored ice or order a superhero-themed specialty treat. At Pensacola Beach, Kilwins is a short walk from Casino Beach and nearby hotels when you are craving ice cream and handmade confectioneries. For something different, try one of two recent additions to Pensacola’s dessert scene. Crumbl Cookies in North Pensacola features six weekly flavors, customizable boxes and late-night hours. Cinnaholic serves build-your-own cinnamon rolls and other tasty treats in Downtown Pensacola.
Don’t miss a spectacular sunset view on Florida’s westernmost beaches at Perdido Key. Of course, if a family photo shoot is part of your vacation plans, you will want to arrive a little before sunset for optimal lighting. Many families schedule a session with a local photographer during their visit. After your beach time is over, spend the evening shopping for souvenirs. Surf Style Perdido Key, Paradise Island Souvenirs and Perdido Key Trading Co. are some of the stores you will find offering clothing and gifts for every member of the family.
Just because you’re vacationing at the beach doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the latest blockbuster movie! Pensacola has many movie theaters to choose from. Or, for live theater, check show times at Pensacola Little Theatre. This community theater offers a variety of productions throughout the year.
Weatherford’s, located on Cervantes and open until 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, welcomes visitors to its indoor rock-climbing facility. With numerous climbing routes, the walls are designed to prepare climbers for real rock climbing experiences, but they are open to anyone who wants to try the sport or just wants an alternative workout activity. No experience is necessary, but safety waivers and an introductory course are required. Groups of more five or more must make a group reservation.