Pensacola is one of the most popular destinations both in the Florida Panhandle and the whole state of Florida, thanks to its numerous attractions that the whole family can enjoy. The white, sandy beaches are just the beginning of the Emerald Coast's offerings.

    You can diversify your trip with some of the best things to do in the city, whether you're travelling alone, with friends, or with kids. Here are the top things to do in Pensacola that will make your holiday unforgettable.

    What are the best things to do in Pensacola?

    1

    National Naval Aviation Museum

    See some iconic historical aircraft and maybe some new ones, too

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    The National Naval Aviation Museum houses more than 150 aircraft and spacecraft, complete with relevant information, that you're free to explore. You'll find a Curtiss NC-4, which was the first kind of plane to cross the Atlantic, as well as the historical K-47 airship control gondola.

    Seeing the planes is just the beginning, however, as you can also try your hand at the flight simulators to see how you'd fare in the cockpit. The museum is housed on a corner of the local naval air station, so you might even see some modern aircraft coming and going.

    Location: 1750 Radford Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32508, USA

    Phone: +1 850-452-3604

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    2

    Fort Pickens

    Enjoy scenic views from the ramparts

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    The historical Fort Pickens dates back to 1834 and remained in use until 1947. When you visit the fort today, you can walk the ramparts and explore what was considered a sturdy and reliable port military fortification for the time.

    The area is a designated preserved space, so the fort has remained in great shape in the years since it was decommissioned. Not only can you learn about the fascinating history of this fort during your visit, but you can also enjoy picturesque views of the Gulf from the fort itself.

    Location: 1400 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561, USA

    Phone: +1 850-934-2600

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    3

    Pensacola Beach Pier

    Cast your line from the end for some big catches

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    You'll find the Pensacola Beach Pier along Casino Beach, stretching 1,471 ft out into the sea. It brings you far out offshore where you can find marine life that tends to keep to deeper waters. Because of this, the pier is a popular fishing spot in Pensacola and even offers all the equipment you need for a satisfying fishing experience nearby.

    When you're fishing during the summer, you can catch a wide variety of species. While flounder, tarpon, and sheepshead are quite rare, you should have no problem getting bites from fish like bluefish, pompano, Spanish mackerel, and spotted seatrout.

    Location: 41 Fort Pickens Rd #2005, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 850-934-7200

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    4

    Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum

    Shine a light on local history

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum is a great place to learn more about local history. Built in 1859, this lighthouse stands tall above Pensacola Bay and offers panoramic views of the surrounding areas, including the city's skyline.

    You just have to climb 177 steps to reach the top. Aside from the views, the local museum shines a light on the coast's fascinating maritime history, including the role this lighthouse played in past conflicts. The museum is set in a fully restored keepers' quarters, so you can also get an idea of what a lighthouse operator's life was like.

    Location: 2081 Radford Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32508, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 850-393-1561

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    5

    Historic Pensacola Village

    Discover Pensacola's long and interesting history

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Historic Pensacola Village is the star amongst the old city's many historical sites. If you truly want to embrace the town's history, there's no place quite like it. The 9 acres here feature 30 historic sites and properties that showcase a combination of Spanish and English designs, thanks to the village's multiple occupants throughout history.

    With numerous museums and historical homes to visit, Pensacola has designed specialised tours that will guide you through all the best spots. Of course, you can always opt for a self-guided journey as well.

    Location: West, 24 Zaragoza St, Pensacola, FL 32502, USA

    Phone: +1 850-595-5993

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    6

    Pensacola Beach

    Check out the weird beachfront houses

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    At Pensacola Beach, you'll find shining white sands as well as emerald green waters that the whole family can enjoy. With nearby shops and restaurants, you'll never have to go far to find any necessities for your beach day.

    One interesting feature of this beach is the prominence of novelty houses along the shore. These homes may look strange, but they're fascinating, with 1 shaped like a dome and another that has what looks like a UFO attached as a second floor.

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    7

    Pensacola Museum of Art

    See the unique art of the local people and cultures

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Pensacola Museum of Art was established by the University of West Florida to collect and showcase the artistic majesty of the local people and culture. It's housed in what was once the city jail on Main Street.

    This inclusive space is designed to inspire with its diverse selection of art in the museum's permanent collection. Of course, you'll also find programmes running regularly, making the entire experience far more dynamic.

    Location: 407 S Jefferson St, Pensacola, FL 32502, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm, Friday–Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm, Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 850-432-6247

    Map
    8

    Gulf Islands National Seashore

    Escape the beach crowds and enjoy some adventures

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    At the Gulf Islands National Seashore, you'll find the longest area of protected coastline in the entire country. With no construction to get in the way, the natural features are particularly appealing.

    Outdoor adventurers will never be short on things to do, as you can enjoy bike trails or even kayaking opportunities. Of course, swimming is an option as well, and you won't have to deal with the crowds you'll find at the city beaches.

    Location: 1801 Gulf Breeze Pkwy, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563, USA

    Open: Daily from 5.30 am to 7.45 pm

    Phone: +1 850-934-2600

    Map
    9

    Fort Barrancas

    Explore one of the oldest fortifications in town

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Dating back to 1787, Fort Barrancas is one of the oldest destinations in Pensacola. It was originally built by the Spanish and offers valuable insight into the history of the region.

    Since it was converted into a museum, numerous informational signs and plaques have been placed around the fort that will take you through its fascinating timeline. Don't forget to check out the artillery battery if you want to get a feel for the sheer magnitude of the offensive power the fort once wielded.

    Location: 3182 Taylor Rd, Pensacola, FL 32508, USA

    Open: Thursday–Monday from 9 am to 4.15 pm

    Phone: +1 850-455-5167

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    10

    Five Flags Speedway

    Don't miss the Snowball Derby

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Five Flags Speedway is a thrilling raceway that hosts numerous races during the regular season that you can enjoy. The speedway takes its name from Pensacola's rich history and many previous occupants, earning it the nickname "City of 5 Flags".

    With vehicles approaching speeds well over 100 mph, witnessing this spectacle is an unforgettable experience. Of course, the Snowball Derby is the most famous race, and you won't want to miss out on that if you visit in December.

    Location: 7451 Pine Forest Rd, Pensacola, FL 32526, USA

    Phone: +1 850-944-8400

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    11

    Edward Ball Nature Trail

    An easy walk into lively wilderness near Pensacola

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    The Edward Ball Nature Trail is a mile-long boardwalk that travels through Thompson’s Bayou, a hardwood swamp that’s home to a variety of songbirds and waterfowl. The route starts behind the University of West Florida and takes you along fern-lined ponds and creeks.

    The trail is not only one of the most popular spots for birding, but it’s also known for its spectacular mountain laurel blooms in spring. The going is easy and doesn’t require hiking experience, so it’s perfect for all types of individuals.

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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