Introducing Pensacola & Pensacola Beach
The Deep South meets Florida in Pensacola. The Alabama border is just a few miles down the road and the city has the small-town friendliness and sleepy pace of its Southern neighbor. Pensacola keeps things colorful with lively beaches, a sultry, Spanish-style downtown and a thrumming military culture: southwest of the city, the Pensacola Naval Air Station has been an intrinsic part of Pensacola's identity since WWII.
Visitors to Pensacola come for the all-American blue-collar vacation experience: white-sand beaches, bountiful seafood and happening bars where beer flows like water. During March and April, things reach fever pitch when droves of students descend for the week-long bacchanalia of spring break. Beware.
Others will appreciate the city's cultured, historical side. Since Pensacola's permanent settlement in 1698, flags belonging to Spain, France, Britain, the Confederacy and the US have flown over the city, earning it the moniker, 'City of Five Flags'. Traces of the past are evident in Pensacola's architecture, historical sites and museums.
Downtown, centered on Palafox St, lies north of the waterfront. Across the Pensacola Bay Bridge from here is the mostly residential peninsula of Gulf Breeze. Cross one more bridge, the Bob Sikes (toll $1), to reach magnificent Pensacola Beach, the ultimate destination for most visitors. Kick off your shoes, dig your toes into the sand, and, ahhh…relax!