While Pensacola is known for its white sandy beaches, not many people know of the city’s many other attractions.
One of Pensacola’s most visited attractions is the magnificent National Naval Aviation Museum at the U.S. Naval Air Station celebrating the storied past of navy and marine-corps pilots who trained at Pensacola. The Blue Angels flight demonstration team is based here putting on thrilling exhibitions of precision flying in the navy’s fastest fighters. Inside the museum you will find the Cubi Bar Cafe, featuring local cuisine and fresh baked bread with a number of exhibits. What makes the restaurant unique is the layout, a replica of the famous Cubi Point Officers’ Club that was a major source of enjoyment for Navy and Marine Corps squadrons, ships and units as they passed into the Western Pacific.
Stretching eastward for about 50 miles, from the entrance to Pensacola Bay to Fort Walton Beach, skinny Santa Rosa Island is home to Pensacola Beach featuring resorts, tiny cottages, restaurants and shops known mostly to the locals.
One reason Pensacola Beach is so confined is that most of Santa Rosa Island is included in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Jumping from island to island from Mississippi to Florida, this magnificent preserve includes mile after mile of undeveloped white-sandy beaches and rolling dunes covered with sea grass and sea oats. Established in 1971, the national seashore is a protected environment for more than 280 species of birds. Santa Rosa Island offers a number of outdoor activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, scuba diving, camping, and ranger-guided tours of Ft. Pickens and Ft. Barrancas as well as nature trails.
Not far from here is Palafox Place offering shopping and dining with outdoor cafes lining the street. One of the most treasured landmarks is the historic Saenger Theatre presenting stage and broadway, featuring world-class performers. Opened in 1925, the theatre has recently been restored to its Spanish Baroque architecture. South of Palafox Place is Palafox Pier, Pensacola’s newest public park and marina with boat slips, pedestrian friendly sidewalks, a plaza and a statue of Tristan de la Luna commemorating the man who discovered Pensacola.
For your stay in this historic city, there is nothing quite like the New World Landing, a quaint hotel on Palafox Street. Consisting of only 14 rooms, each room is named for a famous person from Pensacola’s past. Numerous presidents and movie stars have stayed at this boutique hotel.
For a glimpse of Pensacola’s history, take a tour through downtown Pensacola’s Historic District and Pensacola Village, made up of a 37 block area of museums, art galleries, shops, and over 20 historic buildings.
For some of the best seafood in the area, the Fish House is not to be missed. Not only will you savor the flavor of Pensacola, but also enjoy a magnificent view of the bay while you’re dining.
Pensacola is a city of contrasts, offering old town charm with a cosmopolitan atmosphere, sleek-stylish hotels, with pine and oak forests, rivers for canoeing and Gulf waters for boating. It is truly one of Florida’s last frontiers.