Okay, let’s face it! Your aim in heading down to Pensacola is to have a heaping helping of toes-in-the-sand, fun-in-the-sun action. And nobody’s blaming ya! With its awarding-winning white sand beaches, this Gulf Coast destination is an excellent choice for an amazing beach break. But while you’re in this Northwest Florida town, you would be wise to dust the sand off your flip-flops now and again to venture inland for some of the area’s best attractions, food and drink, entertainment, and shopping.
Have a look at this list of Pensacola’s best non-beachy reasons to visit! You might be surprised how much there actually is to see and do.
Situated near the Florida-Alabama border, this beach side honky tonk and oyster bar – and America’s “Last Great Roadhouse” – is a premiere venue for live music (mostly country and rootsy rock ‘n roll) and an excellent port of call if you’re looking for a laid back place to kick back a few cold ones.
Fort San Carlos e Barrancas
This hilltop fort overlooking Pensacola Bay is a National Historic Landmark. Originally constructed by the Spanish in 1698, it bounced between Spanish and British rule until the United States became a nation and was a strategic point during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
Historic Pensacola Village and the Colonial Archaeological Trail
This historic village comprised of more than 20 period buildings (mostly from the 19th century) and museums is located in downtown Pensacola. A great way to experience the village is to walk the Colonial Archaeological Trail which features museum artifacts and archaeological sites along the way.
JW Renfroe Pecan Company
Love pecans? Be sure to stop by this third generation family-owned shop for some of the area’s tastiest souvenirs. Most famous for its pecans and pecan treats, JW Renfroe also sells a delectable variety of nuts (candied, roasted and salted, or raw) as well as fudge and New Orleans style pralines. Yum!
The Market Shops at Sandestin
A quick daytrip just outside of town in Miramar Beach, this upscale shopping destination is popular with locals and visitors alike and features a great range of independently owned boutiques, a calendar of free events, and live entertainment throughout the year.
McGuire’s Irish Pub & Brewery
Pensacola’s must-see watering hole offers its own beer brewed onsite, Irish pub grub, live music most nights, and a festive atmosphere anytime you drop in.
National Museum of Naval Aviation
Pensacola’s top attraction, the National Museum of Naval Aviation, is the largest Naval Aviation museum in the world and one of Florida’s most visited museums.
Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. offers a chance to check out the best “fresh produce, live plants, baked goods, fine art, and antiques” from northwest Florida where locals sell their goods “straight from the field or kitchen” in the shade of Martin Luther King Jr Plaza.
Pensacola Bayfront Stadium
Take me out to the ballgame! The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the local minor league baseball team. Part of the Southern League, the Wahoos are the Class Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds Major League Baseball team. The team’s bayside stadium is only a few years old, and an evening out catching a game is guaranteed fun for sports fans.
Built in 1849 and still in operation today, this beautiful lighthouse is open to the public for a small admission fee and offers a glimpse back in time along with the “best view in town.”
St. Michael’s Cemetery
These eight acres of green space are in the heart of town with evocative tombstones and memorials dating from the early 1800s. It’s one of the only cemeteries in the US where both nobility and slaves were buried next to one another.
Not to be confused with the Seville Square (although it’s only a few minutes walk away – and well worth a visit), Seville Quarter is home to a variety of bars and clubs. Dubbed “the Gulf Coast’s Entertainment Destination since 1967,” it’s the hottest spot in town for nightlife.
Pretty Seville Square near Historic Pensacola Village marks the spot where the original Spanish settlement of Pensacola was founded.
TT Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum
Set within the Historic Pensacola Village and named after local historian and collector, the TT Wentworth Museum depicts West Florida’s rich history through a series of captivating exhibits across three floors.
Pensacola’s got a lot going on, am I right? What are you favorite things to do in this Florida town, aside from the beach? Let us know in the comments!