Pensacola: Western Gate to the Sunshine State
February 2, 2011
Filed under Destinations
Program the GPS for Pensacola, Fla., and replace winter’s icy grip with white sand beaches. Here you’ll also find history, culture, golf, nightlife and all the fresh seafood you can handle.
Grab a paddle and head to Blackwater River State Park for some of the best canoeing and kayaking around. White sand banks and lush green forests border this natural blackwater river. Nature trails, fishing, swimming, and an RV campground provide ample family fun within the park’s splendor.
Golfers can stay occupied at the Pensacola Bay Area’s numerous PGA-rated courses featuring 180 holes in natural scenes from woodlands to wetlands.
The Blue Angels U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron calls NAS Pensacola its home. Although they won’t be practicing in town again until March, you can still catch some great static displays and interactive exhibits at the National Naval Aviation Museum. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (free admission!) the museum houses aircraft, flight gear, weaponry and other artifacts from the 100-year history of naval aviation. Imax Theatre shows, motion simulators and combat trainers allow you to experience the look and feel of flying an F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet.
After you visit the museum cross the street to see the landmark 1859 Pensacola Lighthouse and the Civil War-era Fort Barrancas. The nearby Navy Point Walking Trail features a 2.5-mile paved walking trail along Bayou Grande for dogs to enjoy the scenery too.
Head downtown for art galleries, live music and shopping. After you work up an appetite, restaurants serving anything from Southern barbeque to Cajun fare, seafood, steaks and burgers will fill your stomach to the brim. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite between activities or an elegant waterfront dinner, Pensacola has you covered.
The downtown entertainment complex Seville Quarter is your destination for dueling pianos, cocktails, dancing and other nightlife. Come back in the morning for coffee and beignets at the Palace Cafe.
With so much to see and do here, you may just have to extend your stay in Pensacola to find time for it all. For more information, go to www.visitpensacola.com.
This article originally published in the February 2011 edition of the MotorHome email newsletter.