I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. Occasionally I have made and kept them for a respectable amount of time, but most years my good intentions have been forgotten within a few weeks.

I suspect this is true for most people. At least (in my mind) I’m in good company, right?

Regardless of your success rate through the years, it is still a good practice to assess your personal goals and aspirations for the future periodically, and a fresh new year is as good a time as any to do that. If you are making resolutions for 2018, there are ways to keep them (and have a good time while doing it) in Pensacola. Here are a few ideas.

Personal Goals

With the indulgences of the holiday season behind us, so many of us resolve to improve our health and wellness come January. 

In the Pensacola Bay Area, it can be as simple as lacing up your shoes and getting outside. You’ll find sidewalks and bike trails along many Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key roadways. Community Maritime Park, Bayfront Parkway and Veterans Memorial Park are popular spots for a jog in Downtown Pensacola.

kid running on beach

The Pensacola Beach Half Marathon, 10K and 5K takes place Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. Participants have the option to run or walk, and you can even choose the distance you want to go mid-race if you want. A friend and I walked the 5K a few years ago for a fun trek through the beach neighborhoods. You can’t beat the views of the Gulf of the Mexico and the Santa Rosa Sound. 

The Pensacola Runners Association website is a good source of information on training runs in the area. Some groups meet up weekday evenings at places like O’Riley’s Irish Pub Downtown, where you can enjoy a beverage and a little social time after your run.

The Bear Levin Studer Family YMCA opened just over a year ago in Downtown Pensacola. It boasts a wide range of fitness classes, weights and equipment, as well as an indoor pool, and childcare is offered. If you have a YMCA membership elsewhere that includes nationwide membership privileges, you have access to this location, as well as the two other Pensacola-area YMCA branches at Langley and Navarre.  

Couple Goals

If you’re resolving to rekindle the romance with your significant other, plan a night out in Pensacola. Jackson’s Steakhouse and V. Paul’s Italian Ristorante are popular choices for couples seeking an intimate dining experience. The wine selection is not so bad either... Reservations are recommended.


Photo by @mr.anton.lee

A resolution to learn something new in 2018 can lead to creative dates, too. Take golf lessons together by scheduling time with a local pro at any of the area courses that are open to the public. Marcus Pointe Golf Club, Scenic Hills Country Club, Lost Key Golf Club, and Tiger Point Golf Club are a few of the local favorites.

So Gourmet & Kitchenry offers weekly cooking classes. Recent hands-on sessions taught participants how to make fudge, homemade ravioli, grilled seafood and paella. Located at the corner of Palafox and Main, So Gourmet is upstairs from the Bodacious Olive, another must-shop for foodie couples. Lunch and evening classes are available.

Family Goals

A quest to try something new in the new year can mean fun for the whole family.

Have you ever been ice-skating? I had not until last winter. Let’s just say I won’t be attempting any double axels, but I did make it around the rink a few times with my daughters. The Pensacola Bay Center hosts public skating sessions from now through March. Sessions typically last an hour. Tickets are $12 (includes skate rental) or $9 (if you provide your own skates).

Some of the Pensacola Bay area’s most colorful events are coming up in February. If you’ve never experienced Pensacon, short for Pensacola Comic Convention, or Pensacola Mardi Gras, mark your calendar now.


Pensacon is Friday through Sunday, Feb. 23-25, and features a variety of events in venues around Downtown Pensacola for those who love comics, sci-fi, superheroes and other fictional characters. Costumed patrons turn out in droves to meet actors such as Lou Ferrigno, who played the title character in TV’s “The Incredible Hulk.” There is a short film festival, and guests can browse art, collectibles and other wares.

Mardi Gras kicks off with a public celebration in Downtown Pensacola on Friday, Jan. 5. Events are scheduled over the following weeks, leading up to the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade, Saturday, Feb. 10 from 2 to 6 p.m. Annually the largest and most extravagant parade in Pensacola, it is the largest gathering of people in Downtown Pensacola during the entire year. Watch the parade at points along Garden and Palafox Streets. An alcohol-free, tobacco-free, child-friendly viewing area is designated each year. Be sure to bring a bag for catching beads and other throws from the parading krewe members and organizations.

Whatever you resolve to do, make Pensacola a part of your plans for 2018. Who knew New Year’s resolutions could be so much fun?