How do you entertain the youngest visitors to Pensacola Beach? Give them a shovel and sand pail? While most kids love building sandcastles, families with young children will now have the option of visiting any of three brand new playgrounds on the island.

When the kids need to get some energy out, several other parks around the Pensacola Bay area are worth your time, too.

Here are a few suggestions for having fun with young kids in Pensacola parks:

At Pensacola Beach, slides, monkey bars, spinning seats and other playground equipment are newly constructed at Harry Gowens Park, Crowley Park, and Park West. These nautical and marine-themed play spaces fit right in on the Gulf Coast. The playground at Park West sits directly on the sand and is designed to look like a pirate ship. Specially designed coverings provide shade to the play areas on hot summer days.


In Downtown Pensacola, Minor League Baseball’s Pensacola Blue Wahoos play at Blue Wahoos Stadium, the centerpiece of Vince J. Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park. Adjacent to the ballpark sits a modern playground overlooking Pensacola Bay. Stop by before a Blue Wahoos game or after a visit to the nearby Pensacola Children’s Museum and Historic Pensacola Village. The large play space features a variety of climbing structures. My daughters have enjoyed spinning one another on the merry-go-round here. Kids will find an abundance of green space where they can run around or throw a football.


Adults can get in on the fun at Community Maritime Park, too. A brand new National Fitness Council (NFC) Fitness Court was installed recently, providing a free outdoor bodyweight circuit training fitness center. You can run or stroll along the bayfront, too, making visiting Community Maritime Park an active experience for the whole family.

West of Pensacola, the Beulah Regional Park is located on Mobile Highway near the Escambia County Equestrian Center. With picnic tables and a covered area, plus a huge dog run, volleyball and tennis courts, there is no shortage of options for family fun. A walking track circles the playground area, which is perfect for parents who want to exercise while still keeping an eye on the children.


Perdido Key Kids Park, located on three acres off of Gulf Beach Hwy., has a playground fit for a king and queen. The large play structure looks like a castle. Its swings, slides and climbing walls are fun for a variety of ages. The younger kids will enjoy a designated Tot Lot for ages 2-6. They can also play in a bright red fire truck structure and steer small blue wooden airplanes, designed to look like the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Colorful paintings and mosaics cover some of the park’s structures. Picnic tables and benches are conveniently located near the play area, as well.


As temperatures rise through the spring and summer, fun water activities help to keep kids cool during playtime. Showalter Park in the town of Century has a splash pad where children can run, jump and, well, splash to their heart’s content. A playground with swings and slides is adjacent to the splash pad. You’ll find picnic tables to rest at, too.


In Southeast Pensacola, on the banks of Bayou Texar, residents and visitors enjoy many different activities at Bayview Park. Boaters come here for the boat ramp. Tennis players come for the courts. Joggers and walkers stroll through on the trails. Bayview also features a dog park and a large, padded playground area with swings for kids young and old. Covered picnic tables and grills are plentiful here, making the park a popular gathering place for cookouts and birthday parties. A National Fitness Campaign fitness court, like the one installed at Community Maritime Park, was recently added here, and a new community center is planned.


For more information about area parks or to reserve facilities, contact the Parks and Recreation Departments for Escambia County or the City of Pensacola.