Best Places To Visit In Pensacola, FL

Pensacola, located in the panhandle of Florida, offers a rich history that dates back 450 years. Its 18 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordered by the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico have lured visitors from all parts of the globe annually to its pristine shores.

Pensacola
The white sandy beach in Pensacola, Florida. Photo by Tobin on Flickr

Where to stay in Pensacola

For RVers visiting the area, the family owned and operated Pensacola RV Park is a great choice. This pet-friendly facility offers 67 sites with 23 large pull-through spaces and full hookups.

Amenities include 30/50 amp electrical, sewer, water, showers, a laundromat, kitchen facilities, Wi-Fi throughout the park, cable TV at each site, and a peaceful park setting with no road noise. In addition to nearby beaches, a quality golf course is just down the road.

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Pensacola RV Park. Photo via TripAdvisor

Golfing in Pensacola

Dubbed by many as the best golf course in the Florida Panhandle, A.C. Read Golf Club is also a member of the Florida Historic Golf Trail. Located at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Escambia County, this venerable course offers terrific views along Bayou Grande.

Naval Air Station Pensacola is known as the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” and occupies more than 5,000 acres. In 1942, NAS Pensacola constructed an 18-hole golf course to provide recreational activity for the soldiers stationed there.

The golf course is named in honor of Albert Cushing Read, an avid golfer and graduate of the first aviator class at Naval Air Station Pensacola in 1915.

Today, the A.C. Read Golf Club is still a challenging golf course in a beautiful setting. The public 27-hole golf complex features three 9-hole tracks—Bayou, Lakeview, and Bayview, which are played in 18-hole combinations.

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A. C. Read Golf Club

Each 9-hole course features three sets of tees playing from 2,600 to 3,200 yards and the 18-hole combinations play from 5,400 to 6,600 yards.

The A.C. Read Golf Club also includes an 18-hole, par-60 executive golf course featuring three sets of tees playing from 4,000 to 4,300 yards. The original 18-hole golf course has been incorporated into portions of the entire golf complex.

Attractions in Pensacola

After a round of golf or walk on the beach, explore the National Naval Aviation Museum, also on the grounds of the NAS Pensacola. Set on 37-acres, the National Naval Aviation Museum is the world’s largest naval aviation museum.

You can experience hands-on history, and see more than 4,000 artifacts and 150 beautifully-restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviation. Visitors can experience the thrill that pilots do by strapping into a flight simulator.

The Giant Screen Digital Theater provides amazing life-like thrills. The National Naval Aviation Museum also offers a café and Flight Deck Store for souvenirs.

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National Naval Aviation Museum. Photo via Facebook

Admission is free to the museum, which offers 350,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space. For civilians wishing to visit the museum, proper identification is required to gain access. Details are available on the National Naval Aviation Museum website.

Adjacent to the museum is the historic Pensacola Lighthouse, which was built in 1859. Take all 177 steps to the top for one of the Gulf Coast’s most dramatic views.

Also located on the Naval Air Station Pensacola is Fort Barrancas. Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Fort Barrancas is a beautifully preserved brick fort that overlooks Florida’s Pensacola Bay.

Naval Live Oaks is also part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore This reservation is the first and only federal tree farm designed to reserve the valuable live oaks desired by shipbuilders in the 1800s.

Annual activities

If visiting Pensacola in July or November, be sure to look skyward as the famous Blue Angles will be practicing and performing.

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Blue Angels performing. Photo via Facebook

An estimated 15 million spectators view the squadron during air shows each year as the F/A-18 fighter jets reach speeds of nearly Mach 2, almost twice the speed of sound, or about 1,400 mph. The Blue Angels official title is the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron.

During spring and summer, minor league baseball can be experienced at the Blue Wahoos Ballpark, home of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

Santa Rosa Island is a must-visit any time of year. This stretch of sugary, white sand beach is peaceful beyond comprehension. You will feel yourself relaxing with every step in the warm sand. This uncrowded sliver of an island stretches 35 miles along the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s waiting for you!

For a comprehensive overview of the greater Pensacola area, check out www.visitpensacola.com.

Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a weekly golf blog, The 19th Hole, for RV LIFE. You can reach him at rstedman@gmail.com.

See also: 15 Scenic Places To Camp Along The Gulf Coast



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