If you find yourself singing along to “School’s out for summer,” from the classic Alice Cooper rock hit this time of year, it may be a sign you are ready for a vacation. The song is older than I am, but I can’t seem to get it out of my head each year when June rolls around.
When the final school bell rings, it’s time to ditch the busy schedules and hit the beach. Spending a week vacationing in Pensacola may be just what your family needs to celebrate the end of the school year and make new memories together.
Hit the Beach
Whether you visit Pensacola Beach or Perdido Key, there are infinite ways to relax and beat the summer heat.
Early morning and late afternoon are my family’s favorite times of day to go to the beach. You can snorkel near the water’s edge to look for seashells in the morning, or be as lazy as you want to soak in the late afternoon rays until the sun has set.
Perhaps the best thing about the beach is no two days have to be the same. If you are up for a challenge, try the ropes course or test your go-kart driving skills at Premier Adventure Park at Pensacola Beach. The activity center offers a variety of activities, including a two-hour jet ski dolphin tour to help you cool off in the Santa Rosa Sound.
On Tuesdays, end the day at Pensacola Beach with the weekly Bands on the Beach concert series. Live music acts entertain listeners of all ages from 7-9 p.m. at Gulfside Pavilion. Bring your beach chairs and blankets, snacks and beverages. Just be sure to leave room to get up and dance if the mood strikes.
Beat the Heat
We like to spend the hottest part of each day indoors, and there are plenty of ways to have mid-day fun in Pensacola. But just because you go inside, it doesn’t mean you have to sit around.
At Waterboyz, your feet may never even touch the ground. Located in Downtown Pensacola, the surf and skate apparel and gear shop include a 5,000-sq.-ft. indoor skate park. Use of the air-conditioned park is $10 before 5 p.m. and $5 after 5 p.m. You can even schedule a private lesson, with use of a skateboard, helmet and pads provided. If you work up an appetite while skating or shopping, Café Single Fin inside Waterboyz is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Popular in its own right, the on-site eatery offers sandwiches, salads, tacos, quesadillas, smoothies and acai bowls.
Only 10 miles from Perdido Key in West Pensacola, the National Naval Aviation Museum offers hours of entertainment and admission is free. Besides the hundreds of military aircraft on display, exhibits highlight defense innovation and advancements through the years. During your visit, enjoy soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts for lunch in the museum’s Cubi Bar Café. You can also purchase tickets to one of the movies showing on the museum’s Giant Screen Theater. One of this summer’s features is “Apollo 11: First Steps Edition,” which takes viewers on the historic journey to the moon, timed in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission.
In East Pensacola, little ones can exert some energy while bouncing and playing indoor games at Bounce House. Featuring multiple bounce houses, slides and games in a clean, indoor facility, Bounce House is open seven days a week and admission prices vary by age. Cordova Lanes Bowling Center is another option for family fun and friendly competition. Bowling ranges from $4-4.75 per person, per game and discounts are available. Shoe rental is $2.75. After you’ve bowled a few strikes, try the rolled ice cream at Sweet Rolls.
Have fun and stay cool during your family vacation in Pensacola!