72 Hours in Pensacola: Your Guide to the Perfect Long Weekend
With over 300 days on average of sunshine and mild temperatures year-round, Pensacola is the perfect place for a long weekend getaway.
Whether you're here on Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend ear-marking the bookends of the season or using an extra personal day, we've got the perfect itinerary for you to enjoy the entire destination.
Day 1: Pensacola Beach
Your weekend begins on Pensacola Beach. Of course, the sugar-white beaches and emerald-green waters are always the center point of a day well spent. Hit the beach for fun in the sun. Whether is trying your hand at a new water sport on the gulf side or jetting around or above on the sound side, there are several rental options on the island.
When you get hungry, head over to the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk for a look at local flavors. From fair-priced options like pizza and wings to more upscale options like waterfront seafood, this is the perfect spot to enjoy dining with a view. Afterward, spend the afternoon picking up souvenirs along the boardwalk.
End your day strolling on the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier looking at local wildlife and seeing what the days fresh catch is. Several restaurants nearby have amazing happy hours that you can sit and enjoy the sunset at.
Day 2: Downtown Pensacola
On Day 2, Downtown Pensacola is your destination. Plan to Uber or park in one place and walk — as the many museums, galleries, restaurants and parks are all on a very walkable grid. The Pensacola Museum of History and a host of other museums tell Pensacola’s stories. You’ll find the Pensacola Museum of Art as well as numerous local galleries, jewelers and boutiques within just a few blocks.
For a more modern view of historic downtown, take a guided Segway tour from Emerald Coast Tours. Emerald Coast also rents bikes and hosts a historic pub crawl through Downtown Pensacola.
That evening, plan for a night on the town. Palafox Street, named one of America's Best Streets, is the epicenter of downtown and your roadmap to experiencing the city's finest. From steak dinners to unique cocktails, live music, and more, you can find it here.
Day 3: Perdido Key
On the final day of your long weekend, continue your adventure in Perdido Key. Big Lagoon State Park offers amazing walking, biking and kayaking options. There's also a great concessionaire in the park that offers rentals, snacks, and hotdogs. Just down the street, Tarkiln Bayou State Park is great for another hike and has an amazing boardwalk that is accessible for all with a great view at the end.
For the second half of your day, head down to the world-famous Flora-Bama for lunch, a Bushwacker, and to soak in the last of your island views.
That’s your extended weekend in Pensacola. It’s a personal day well-spent.
Louis Cooper has lived in Northwest Florida since 1997 when work brought him here directly out of college. But he has since come to think of the Pensacola area as his home. He had a career at the Pensacola News Journal and the Northwest Florida Daily News covering local government, business and community. He currently works in freelance marketing and professional writing. He lives with his husband, Craig Webster, and their dogs, Angus and Riley, in Pensacola.