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Pensacola Transportation Tips and Tricks

While walking is a key form of transportation around the beach and downtown, you can get from one to the other in a variety of ways. Travel like a local and get the most out of your stay with the handy tips below.

A Better Way to Get to Pensacola Beach

Get in the fast lane with Sun Pass® or Toll-by-Plate when using the Bob Sikes Bridge Toll Plaza to Pensacola Beach. You can use your SunPass or Toll-by-Plate in ALL FOUR LANES of the toll plaza, even the cash lanes. Simply drive through without stopping.

With SunPass, the $1 toll will automatically be deducted from your prepaid account. No need to stop and pay $1 in cash.

Don’t want to use SunPass? You can drive through the toll plaza without stopping and receive a bill in the mail through the Toll-by-Plate system. The toll will still be $1 each time you pass through the toll plaza, plus a once a month $2.50 administrative fee. No matter the number of trips you take to the beach, you will only be charged the administration fee once per month of use.

Sun Pass Toll Booth Information

Need assistance or have questions? Contact our customer service office at 850-916-5421 or visit myescambia.com/sunpass.

How much does it cost to purchase a SunPass transponder? The SunPass Portable Transponder costs $19.99 plus tax and the SunPass Mini Transponder costs $4.99 plus tax. All units allow motorists to have tolls electronically deducted from a Prepaid Account.

Pensacola Beach Annual Pass

The new Pensacola Beach Annual Pass integrated with SunPass® provides frequent beach goers and Pensacola Beach residents a true 365-day pass for the Bob Sikes Bridge, providing unlimited passage for one full year from the date of purchase. 

Need assistance or have questions? Contact Escambia County's customer service office located in the Santa Rosa Island Authority office at 850-916-5421. 

How to get your Pensacola Beach Annual Pass:

Step one: Purchase a SunPass® transponder

Step two: Enroll in the Pensacola Beach Annual Pass program

  • Online
  • In person: Visit the Santa Rosa Island Authority office.

Note:  A SunPass® transponder must be purchased and activated before participating in the Pensacola Beach Annual Pass program. Once the SunPass® transponder has been purchased, it may take up to three days before you are then able to purchase a Pensacola Beach Annual Pass. The Pensacola Beach Annual Pass is only valid for the Bob Sikes Bridge toll plaza.

How much is a Pensacola Beach Annual Pass?

  • Effective May 1, 2017 - Pensacola Beach Annual Passes are $20 per year for public annual passes and $70 per year for commercial annual passes (all vehicles displaying any commercial markings or advertising, including magnetic or rooftop signs, or vehicles owned by a commercial business). 
  • Homestead residents are allowed up to two $5 Pensacola Beach Annual Passes. To be a homestead resident, you must obtain the designation of your primary residence on Pensacola Beach from the Escambia County Property Appraiser's Office. Beach residents must bring a proof of homestead exemption from the property tax office when going to purchase an annual pass.

 

Transportation, Traffic and Parking Tips

In a coastal city, it’s important to remember a few things when making your way around. During peak season, it’s important to leave early and allow adequate time to get to your destination. Be cautious of pedestrians and marine life that may be crossing roads such as sea turtles and birds.

Before parking in Downtown Pensacola click here for a complete parking guide. When parking on Pensacola Beach, there are several public access lots. Casino Beach is the main beach and will be the first parking lot in view. It has one entry and one exit so be alert and watch for signs. Click here for a full map of the island that includes public access parking lots and trolley stop information.

Perdido Key has three Public Beach Access Points of which all are numbered. Perdido Key State Park is open 8 a.m. – sunset and is $3 per car per day. The Gulf Islands National Seashore is located both on Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. It is $20 per carload and the pass is good for seven days. The National Seashore is home to diverse wildlife, hiking trails, forts, paddle launches and so much more. When parking along any of the beaches be cautious of sand. Many cars sink when directly in contact off the pavement.

Dogs are welcome at designated dog beaches only. You’ll find two dog beaches on Pensacola Beach for dogs on leashes and their owners. As always, please be courteous and remove pet waste.

 Remember the motto, "Leave Only Your Footprints Behind." If you follow that advice, you will help to preserve the natural beauty of the beaches and help to ensure all residents and guests can have an enjoyable experience.

Real-Time Ride Sharing

As a progressive city, the Pensacola Bay Area has many ride-sharing programs including Uber, Lyft, and traditional taxi services that will take you wherever you want to go. Ride-sharing takes away the trouble of parking and lets you relax in the passenger seat.

Pensacola Beach Island Trolley

island trolley

Travel island style and discover all the fun things to see and do on Pensacola Beach. During peak season, the Santa Rosa Island Authority operates a free trolley service to nearly three dozen stops along the beach from the east to the west end of the island. The service is ADA compliant and has bike racks. The trolley runs seven days a week from 4 p.m. to midnight, May 25 – September 3.

Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT)

From humble beginnings using mule-drawn cars in 1884 to a thriving county-side system, ECAT continues to meet the needs of residents and visitors alike. ECAT spans routes throughout the entire county making it simple for any traveler to get where they’re going. All transportation is ADA accessible and includes bike racks.  

Pensacola Bay Cruises

Pensacola Bay Cruises

Pensacola Bay Cruises features two double-decker boats that connect Downtown Pensacola to Pensacola Beach and the Gulf Islands National Seashore – Fort Pickens.  The two boats, named Turtle Runner and Pelican Perch by local school children, has the capacity to hold 150 passengers, with each leg of the trip taking approximately 35-45 minutes. This is a unique way to enjoy the waterways of Pensacola and get to where you’re going.