It’s fall. The temperatures are finally mellowing to a “comfortable-to-do-stuff-outside” point and you’ve got that one extra personal day you need to use before the end of the year. Pensacola is the ideal place to get away for an extended autumn weekend.
Your weekend begins on Pensacola Beach. Of course, our sugar-white beaches and emerald-green waters are always a great option. But if you’re looking for more fun in the sun, the whole family will enjoy an adventure at Premier Adventure Park. You can make your agenda as mild as go-carts and kayaks or as wild as parasailing and jet skiing. You can even rent a pontoon boat to enjoy the bay for the day.
You should also plan a visit to the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier. The pier is home to a great community of local fishermen who are always more than happy to let visiting anglers know what’s biting. However, the 1,471-foot pier is also a great place just to take a walk. It’s one of the best places on the beach to see a sunset or sunrise.
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 place where Florida became part of the U.S. in 1821 is in downtown Pensacola at Plaza Ferdinand. The T.T. Wentworth, Jr., Florida State Museum 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, head over to Perdido Key for a sample of the nightlife at the famous Flora-Bama Lounge. This is an entertainment destination that sits in both Florida and Alabama. There are concerts and special events all the time at the Flora-Bama. It’s primarily known for its three decades as host to the Interstate Mullet Toss every April as well as its New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dip.
The final day of your long weekend will take you to Naval Air Station Pensacola, which welcomes visitors to several public amenities. All civilian visitors to the naval base must use the West Gate entrance, located about a half mile south of the intersection of Blue Angel Parkway and Sorrento Rd.
Located on the base, the National Naval Aviation Museum boasts more than 150 restored aircraft as well as innumerable artifacts. Members of the Blue Angels are known to sign autographs at the museum from time to time. The facility includes 350,000 square feet of exhibit space as well as 37 acres outdoors. It also offers a restaurant, a gift shop, flight simulators and a Giant Screen movie theater.
Almost directly across the street from the aviation museum is the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, an actual functional lighthouse that dates to 1859. You may climb the 177 spiral steps to the lantern room for a spectacular view of Pensacola Bay and the islands. The lighthouse is a great place to watch Blue Angel practices. The lighthouse also hosts periodic tours, ghost hunts and other special events.
That’s your extended fall weekend in Pensacola. It’s a personal day well-spent.