It seems like nowadays everyone is wearing a fitness tracker — like a Fitbit or Apple Watch — to remind them to stay active. All of us have heard about getting in your 10,000 daily steps, but that can sure seem daunting… especially if a gym is involved.
If you’re like me, the gym life isn’t quite your style. Fortunately, we live in a community with the beautiful Florida sunshine and so many great places to get outside and get your fitness on. I’ve rounded up my top 10 places to go to get those steps in AND have a good time doing it.
When it warms up, you can find me at Bayview Park with my pups every weekend… I’m serious! The park has the best dog beach where my fur babies love to run and go for a little swim. It’s gated and everything. It also has a dry gated dog park area, for those owners not wanting to get soaked. Believe me, when you’re continuously running after a tennis ball with your pooch, you’re sure to get your steps in.
For a quiet stroll, I find myself drawn to Veterans Memorial Park. It’s a sacred place to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This is definitely at the top of my list for many reasons. Veterans Memorial Park is peaceful as it overlooks Pensacola Bay and has quaint walking paths. This park holds a special place in my heart because of the many service members in my life, especially my husband. Not only is Veterans Memorial Park a constant reminder to be thankful, it’s absolutely beautiful.
Speaking of beautiful, Pensacola is fortunate to have so many trails for biking and hiking with one-of-a-kind naturescapes. When I’m feeling outdoorsy, Bay Bluffs Park is a must see in Pensacola. Nestled along Pensacola’s Scenic Highway, Bay Bluffs Park is lined with wooden boardwalks and plenty of stairs to climb so you can work on those glutes too. BAM! I also really like going to Big Lagoon State Park and Bayou Marcus Wetlands Boardwalk. Both have great trails and boardwalks for hiking or biking through nature if you’re feeling like switching up your routine.
Right next to the Blue Wahoos stadium, Community Maritime Park is fun for everyone. I’ve enjoyed many walks around the stadium, a picnic in the grass and taken time to enjoy the kids play area with relatives. They even have little restaurants and shops in the same area. It’s especially perfect in the offseason when it’s not as busy. Or you can walk around and catch a baseball game. Whatever suits your fancy!
Though we live in the Sunshine State, the weather can tend to be unpredictable. When Mother Nature isn’t on my side, I take my walk around Cordova Mall. Shopping counts as cardio right?! I definitely see it this way…my wallet, not so much. But you can feel a little less guilty about that new outfit when you’re putting in the miles. Go ahead and treat yourself!
For history buffs that like to stay fit, Pensacola is rich in culture. If you’re feeling adventurous and want a challenge, the Pensacola Lighthouse is the place to see. Built in 1859, it’s 177 steps up to the top where you will find beautiful views of Pensacola Pass, three historic forts, the Pensacola skyline and the historic Navy yard. When your glutes have had enough, head over to the National Naval Aviation Museum for a leisurely stroll and a guided tour. There is so much to see in the museum you can spend an entire day touring. You’re sure to have a blast with the whole family.
Lastly, when people think of Pensacola, they tend to picture the sugar-white beaches and emerald green waters of the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Pensacola Beach. Just a short 15-minute drive from downtown (depending on the time of year of course) and you’re in the middle of paradise. A sunset stroll with salty toes is always a favorite, or an early morning sea shelling walk followed by a beach day. You can’t go wrong at the beach.
See… fitness can be fun! By taking the time to enjoy all that Pensacola has to offer, my 10,000 steps have seemed like a breeze. I hope they will for you too.
Left your favorite off this list? Tell us where you go to explore and get those steps in around Pensacola in the comments section below!