Is a visit to one of the Pensacola Bay area beaches in your future? Putting a little thought into what you bring to the beach can make your stay more enjoyable. With a well-packed beach bag and knowledge of beach rules and safety, you’ll be ready to explore the beaches in Pensacola.

Remember these essentials:

  • Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Beach towels
  • Water to drink (Your choice of cold beverage is fine so long as it is not in a glass container!)
  • Umbrella (trust me, you’ll want some shade)
  • A small bag or container to keep cash, an ID and cell phone protected from the sand and water

Other items I recommend grabbing are a cooler for drinks and snacks, beach chairs, toys for the kids, a good book or magazine for the adults, and floats for wading.


Beach Safety

At Pensacola Beach, you may notice colored flags flying at lifeguard stations and other beach entrances. These are part of the flag warning system designed to alert the public about surf conditions. You may see green, yellow, red or purple flags, and here’s what they mean:

flag warning sign

Green flag – Conditions are calm. Swim with the usual caution.

Yellow flag – This represents moderate surf and currents. Swim with extra caution.

Red flag – This means high surf and dangerous currents. No swimming or wading is allowed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Double red flag – Only used during hurricanes or natural disasters, this indicates the water is closed to the public. No swimming, wading or surfing is allowed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Purple flag – Dangerous marine life is present. Exercise caution when in the water or on the shoreline.

Current flag colors and surf conditions are also accessible online at

Most importantly, know how to swim if you are going into the Gulf. Lifeguards are located at various points along Pensacola Beach daily from May through September. In case of emergency, notify a lifeguard or call 911.


Beach Rules

Our family’s rule: If you carry it to the beach, you have to carry it back from the beach.

Trash cans are provided near beach entrances, and you are asked to fill in any holes you may dig in the sand as they can trap sea turtles that nest and hatch on the shore from May through October. Protecting the sea turtles is also why you are asked to turn off beach-facing porch lights after dusk, and refrain from using flashlights on the beach at night.

Dogs are welcome at designated dog beaches only. You’ll find two dog beaches at Pensacola Beach for dogs on leashes and their owners. Perdido Key has a designated space for dogs to play off leash. As always, please be courteous and remove pet waste.


Motorized vehicles, generators, grills and open flames are prohibited on the beach(including beach bonfires), as well. Please be respectful of your neighbors and remember to keep your neighbors in check. 

If this seems like a lot of rules, the easiest thing to remember is: Leave Only Your Footprints Behind. If you follow that advice, you will help to preserve the natural beauty of the beaches and ensure that all residents and guests can have an enjoyable experience.

Here’s wishing you safe travels and many green flag days!