Let’s face it; vacations are expensive. I’m not talking “let’s fly to Europe and stay in a 5-star hotel” kind of expensive, but now-a-days’ vacation costs seem to add up more and more. You’re feeding four mouths instead of one, someone NEEDS wind surfing lessons and you just had to have that dress in that fancy cute boutique because you don’t have one back home. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to find low-key events that offer maximum entertainment at a low cost. Below you’ll find fun and free family activities to enjoy while vacationing in the Pensacola Bay Area.

U.s. Navy Blue Angels Practices and Autographs

Take the kids out to Naval Air Station Pensacola to watch the world-renowned Blue Angels, the oldest naval air flight team in the United States. Guests are allowed to stand on the tarmac located behind the National Naval Aviation Museum. Watch in awe as the planes execute high-speed passes, fast and slow rolls, and very tight turns, reaching speeds of up to 700 mph, just under the speed of sound!  Practices take place most Tuesdays and Wednesdays around 11:30 a.m. and last about an hour. Perhaps the best part is that the pilots sign autographs inside the Naval Aviation Museum following the practice. Admission to the show and autographs are free and open to the public. Concessions and merchandise are also available for purchase on site.

Hill-Kelly Movies in the Park

Take your family out for a movie night at Community Maritime Park right on the waterfront of Downtown Pensacola!  Complete with a giant blow up screen, once a month you can bring your blankets and chairs, and spread out to watch a movie under the stars, free of charge. Picnic baskets and coolers are welcome but if you’re feeling spontaneous try one of the on-site food trucks.

2017 Schedule (Start times are approximate):
May 26  Finding Dory starts at 7:50 p.m. 
June 23  The Boss Baby starts at 8:00 p.m. 
July 21  The Jungle Book 2016 starts at 7:50 p.m. 
August 4 The Lego Batman movie starts at 7:40 p.m. 

Hill Kelly Movies

Footprints in the Sand – Eco Trail

Spend time exploring the Footprints in the Sand Eco Trail on Pensacola Beach and earn a souvenir to take home. Using the free FourSquare app, check in at each location on the Eco Trail map. Once you’re done exploring, visit the Pensacola Beach Visitor Information Center to collect your prize. You must visit at least five Exo Trail stops to earn a souvenir. While adventuring, expect to see and learn about marine life including dolphins and sea turtles, vegetation and history.

Band of the Beach

One of my favorite events in the Pensacola Bay area is Bands on the Beach. Beginning in April and continuing through October, free live music is offered on Pensacola Beach located in the beautiful Gulfside Pavilion that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. Whether you’ve spent a long day soaking in the sun or need an evening getaway after work to watch the sunset, this is the place. Grab a bite and stake out at the Casino Beach Bar & Grill or pack your lawn chairs and a picnic to enjoy some of the best entertainment on the Gulf Coast!

Bands

Plaza De Luna Splash Pad

Cool off in the heat of the summer at the Plaza de Luna Splash Pad. Located at the end of Palafox Pier, parents can enjoy relaxing on park benches while the kids run in and out of the fountains for hours. The pier is always bustling with fun sights to see from boats going in and out, to festivals and weekly running groups. If you get hungry, Jaco’s Bayfront Bar and Grille is just steps away.

Have a favorite fun and free activity that we missed? Tell us in the comments below!