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A Few Pointers to Make Your Visit Shine

The sugar-white sand and emerald waters of our area beaches provide a beautiful backdrop for relaxing or embarking on your next outdoor adventure. But first, consider these helpful tips before setting out for a day at the beach. 

Beach Rules

  • Leave only your footprints - if you carry it to the beach, you're responsible to carry it off of the beach. Trash cans are provided near beach entrances. 
  • Beachgoers are asked to limit groups to 10 people or fewer and to adhere to CDC social distancing measures by keeping a 6-foot distance between others who are not in their immediate household. 
  • Motorized vehicles, generators, grills and open flames are prohibited on the beach.
  • Dogs are welcome at designated dog beaches only. You’ll find two dog beaches at Pensacola Beach for dogs on leashes and their owners. Perdido Key has a designated space for dogs to play off leash. As always, please be courteous and remove pet waste.
  • Fill in any holes you may dig in the sand as they can trap sea turtles that nest and hatch on the shore from May through October. Protecting the sea turtles is also why you are asked to turn off beach-facing porch lights after dusk, and refrain from using flashlights on the beach at night.
  • Look for a nearby lifeguard station and heed the surf warning flags


To have the best possible beach vacation, make sure to follow our beach trip best practices:

  • Stay hydrated – pack enough water to last throughout the day
  • Set up umbrellas, wear hats and use other heat-shielding items to keep cool
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a recommended SPF 15 or higher to protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays
  • Allow the sunscreen to soak in before getting in the water or sun and always reapply sunscreen the longer you remain outdoors
  • Keep your belongings close - a small bag or container to keep cash, an ID and cell phone protected from the sand and water is always helpful. 
  • Swim safely – lookout for motorized vessels, surfers, and kayakers
  • Other items we recommend grabbing are a cooler for drinks and snacks, beach chairs, toys for the kids, a good book or magazine for the adults, and floats for wading.

Beach Safety + Florida Flag System

Visitors and locals alike should always heed the warnings of our flag system as surf conditions are notorious for being deceiving. There are four distinctively colored flags accompanied by interpretive signs to explain the meaning of each color. The appropriate flag is flown in accordance with that day’s current surf conditions and is clearly visible on the beaches.

Call 850-932-SURF for the latest surf advisory at Pensacola Beach and in the protected areas of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.


Green: Low Hazard

Low Hazard: Calm conditions, swim with usual caution.

Yellow: Medium Hazard

Medium Hazard: Moderate surf, and/or currents, swim with extra caution.

Single Red: High Hazard

Single Red
High Hazard: High surf and/or strong currents, 

Double Red: Water Closed to Public

Double Red
Water Closed to Public. Double red flags are only used during natural disasters.

Purple: Dangerous Marine Life

Dangerous Marine Life in the water. Exercise caution.

No Flag

No lifeguard on duty. Surf condition advisory not available.

In the event of an emergency and no lifeguard is present, call 911 immediately. It is always safest to swim when there is a lifeguard on duty; be sure to look for the lifeguard stations before setting up towels and umbrellas.

Rip Currents

Rip currents are narrow channels of water flowing out past the surf zone that can pull even strong swimmers into deep water beyond the offshore sand bar.

If caught in a rip current, do not panic. Try to escape a rip current by moving sideways across it, parallel to the shore. If the current is too strong, let it carry you further away from shore, and it will weaken. Then, swim back to shore at an angle away from the rip current.

If this seems like a lot of rules, the easiest thing to remember is: Leave Only Your Footprints Behind. If you follow that advice, you will help to preserve the natural beauty of the beaches and ensure that all residents and guests can have an enjoyable experience.

Tolls to Pensacola Beach

The Bob Sikes Bridge to Pensacola Beach is all-electronic. The new tolling system on the bridge went live on March 20, which was earlier than anticipated to adhere to social distancing for toll booth workers. 

The toll remains $1, and cash and change are no longer accepted at this location. Motorists can use either SunPass®, another interoperable transponder or be billed utilizing the TOLL-BY-PLATE system. TOLL-BY-PLATE customers will be charged a $1 toll, plus a monthly $2.50 administrative fee and will receive a bill by mail. Cash can be used at SunPass kiosks to replenish and pay TOLL-BY-PLATE invoices.

If this seems like a lot of rules, the easiest thing to remember is: Leave Only Your Footprints Behind. If you follow that advice, you will help to preserve the natural beauty of the beaches and ensure that all residents and guests can have an enjoyable experience.

Here’s wishing you safe travels and many green flag days!