Popular Things To Do in Pensacola, Florida

No matter what time of year you’re traveling, a beach vacation is a fun choice. It would be best if you had a place that offers more than sand and surf, though. Located in the Florida panhandle, Pensacola is a haven for families that like to be active on their vacations. These are some of the most popular things to do in Pensacola, Florida.

Catch Sight of The Famous Blue Angels

U.S Navy Blue Angels, Florida
Image Credit: Department of Defense.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are a sight to behold. This flight exhibition team comprises active-duty Navy and Marine Corps personnel. They put on shows of aviation grace and power nationwide and from their base in Pensacola. Catch their weekly practice March-November or plan for one of their two airshows in Pensacola held on the week of Independence Day and Veterans Day weekend. 

Tour The National Aviation Museum

National Aviation Museum
Image Credit: National Naval Aviation Museum.

If you think the Blue Angels are fantastic, head to the National Aviation Museum for a close-up look at some unique planes. Bringing the family is fine because this museum is free! You’ll see over 4,000 artifacts and over aircraft from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

Visit Historic Pensacola Village

Historic Pensacola Village
Image Credit: University of West Florida Historic Trust.

Pensacola has 450 years of history to encounter. Fortunately, you get seven days to tour the nine acres of Historic Pensacola Village with one ticket purchase. Visit multiple museums and historic houses, including the Pensacola Museum of History, the Pensacola Children’s Museum, and the Pensacola Museum of Art. 

Take in The View From The Pensacola Lighthouse

The Pensacola Lighthouse
Image Credit: Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.

After you visit the National Aviation Museum, stretch your legs by climbing to the top of the Pensacola Lighthouse. Built in 1859, the lighthouse remains active and hosts a museum in the restored keeper’s cottage. Be sure to check the requirements for visiting, as the lighthouse is part of the Naval Air Station Pensacola. 

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore
Image Credit: Zach – Own Work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

A visit to a National Park site is always a good idea. The Gulf Islands National Seashore combines military history with outdoor activity along 160 miles of Florida and Mississippi coasts of the Gulf of Mexico. Use a self-guided or ranger-led tour to hear about the Civil War activity of Forts Barrancas and Pickens. In addition, Fort Pickens has a Discovery Center for interactive learning and a public beach with a shaded pavilion. 

Of course, outdoor enthusiasts can find many things to do at Gulf Islands National Seashore. Swimming, birding, watersports, hiking, and more are available. A campground is on-site, or if you are a backcountry type, you can camp on the beach! Don’t forget the Junior Ranger program. Kids can complete activities in a free booklet to receive their Junior Ranger badge. 

Splash City Adventures

Splash City Adventures Florida
Image Credit: Splash City Adventures.

Part amusement park, part water park, Splash City Adventures is all fun! The amusement park is geared more toward the younger set so that families can ride the attractions together. There are over 20 rides in addition to go-karts, an arcade, mini-golf, and laser tag. The indoor amenities are an excellent option for kids with too much sun or who need an outlet on a rainy day.

The water park is open seasonally, so check their hours before visiting. There are 12 water slides, a lazy river, and seven pools. Two pools, with splash areas and pint-sized slides, are perfect for the littles and non-swimmers. Rental lockers are on hand for all your gear. Outside food and drink are not allowed, but there are concessions inside the park. 

Gulf Breeze Zoo

Gulf Breeze Zoo
Image Credit: Gulf Breeze Zoo.

Animal lovers will want to swing by the Gulf Breeze Zoo during their vacation. While you’re there, you might want to sign up for one of their animal encounters at an additional fee. You can feed giraffes, camels, and Scottish Highland Cows. Get up close and personal with an Indian Rhino, a hippo, or a sloth! Each encounter has an age restriction and some wardrobe requirements, so check their website. The youngest visitors are welcome at the farm, a petting zoo which is free with admission.

Perdido Key State Park

Perdido Key State Park
Image Credit: Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Rated one of the prettiest state parks around, Perdido Key State Park is the perfect spot to hit the beach. Located on the barrier island of Perdido Key, visitors will enjoy the 2 miles of white sand beaches. If you need some shade, the park has covered picnic pavilions. The park is an excellent place for birding year-round and the chance to see nesting sea turtles from late March into August. Beach wheelchairs are available for no cost — be sure to call and reserve one.  

Laguna’s Beach Bar and Grill

Laguna's Beach Bar and Grill
Image Credit: University of West Florida Archives.

If you are bored at Laguna’s, you might want to check your pulse. The activities include the new scenic zip rail, a ropes zip trail, a ropes course, GoKarts, a splash pad, and a climbing wall. Activity fees are a la carte, or you can buy passes good for 2, 3, and 4-hour increments or an all-day pass. If you’d rather be out on the water, sign up to parasail, Jetski, or take a dolphin cruise. Rentals include Jetskis, pontoon boats, kayaks, and paddleboard rentals.

Enjoy Pensacola Beach!

Pensacola Beach
Image Credit: Visit Pensacola Florida.

With fine sand beaches and crystal clear water, find contentment soaking up the sun at Pensacola Beach. Hot tip: The best place to stay on Pensacola Beach is the brand-new Fairfield Inn and Suites. The fresh decor is fun, and the fitness room is impressive. But the star of the show is the incredible lazy river! Another great perk is the on-site beachfront restaurant Fish Heads.

So Many Things To Do in Pensacola for Families

Pensacola Beach 1
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The gorgeous waters of the Gulf of Mexico make for a picture-perfect vacation. The sun and sand offer a lot of fun, but families that want more should find plenty of things to do in Pensacola, Florida. The city and the beach have what you need, with attractions from history to outdoor sports. Conveniently located in the Florida panhandle, Pensacola makes a fun choice for families.