Pensacola Beach Overview
The small tourist town of Pensacola Beach resides on a barrier island that sits below Florida's panhandle. This oceanfront community is a popular destination for many travelers and contains an excellent array of beachfront activities, tropical weather and natural splendor. The land on which the town rests is bound by a unique deed, signed in 1947 by the U.S. Department of Interior, that stipulates the island's properties would never be sold, but rather leased to long-term tenants. As a result, all of the structures on the island are bound under 99-year renewable leases, and remain the property of the federal government.
The island enjoys mild atmospheric conditions throughout the year, but remains cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than some of Florida's more central communities due to the effects of the surrounding waters. Inhabitants also experience gentle sea breezes that kick up during the day and subside around sunset during the summer months. Visitors should pack light clothing for their trips to Pensacola Beach, and include items such as shorts, sandals, sunglasses and sunscreen to take advantage of the pleasant temperatures.
This seaside community is almost completely surrounded by water, which gives guests ample opportunity to engage in a myriad of aquatic activities. Whether you're looking to reel in a prized catch, enjoy a relaxing day on the water or jet across the waves at top speed, the town of Pensacola Beach has you covered.
Dolphins are some of the most beloved marine species in the ocean, and Aquatic Charters gives visitors the opportunity to get an up-close look at these majestic mammals. Step aboard the "Chase-N-Fins" harbored in Pensacola Bay, then take a journey onto the high seas in search of bottlenose dolphins in their natural environment. Along the way, you'll be able to gaze upon some of the area's picturesque attractions, including Fort Pickens, Fort Barrancas, Fort McRee and the Pensacola Lighthouse. Upon reaching the dolphins' native waters, guests will be happy to find that these marine mammals are quite a friendly and curious bunch, and prove to be rather photogenic and playful. Walk-ins are welcome, but larger parties would be wise to schedule reservations ahead of time to avoid lengthy waits.
Grab a mask and flippers and jump into one of Pensacola Beach's fantastic snorkeling spots. The Pensacola Beach Gulf Snorkel Reef and Pensacola Bay Snorkel Reef provide visitors with the chance to gaze upon the underwater habitats of diverse tropical specimens. These man-made reefs are located about 500 feet offshore, and are marked by orange-tipped flags posted in the sand. To find the reefs, simply swim, kayak or paddle board straight out from where the flags are located, and enjoy the vibrant hues and interesting form of the area's stunning marine life.
Visitors looking for a thrilling ride on the Gulf's waves, stop into Radical Riders and rent one of the many jet-skis, pontoons or waverunners available at this local establishment. The staff always ensures you have your pick of the latest and greatest models from the industry's top brands, and rental fees are relatively inexpensive. Patrons may also charter a parasailing trip that will lift you high above beach to gaze upon the gorgeous vistas from above. Single, tandem and triple rides are offered, to take in the scenic beauty of Pensacola Beach with friends, family or that special someone.
If you're set on keeping your feet firmly on the ground, Pensacola Beach has a few land-based activities that are sure to provide some leisurely enjoyment. While this narrow barrier island may not have much ground to work with, it still provides visitors with the opportunity to engage in some of the area's most delightful excursions and attractions.
Pensacola Beach Eco-Trail
Outdoor enthusiasts should spend an afternoon strolling along the area's most expansive trail system for a chance to take in the indigenous wildlife, native foliage and breathtaking natural features of this coastal community. An wide array of crustaceans, turtles, birds, fish and other marine life inhabits the white sands, tide pools and shallow waters of the beach, and gives visitors the opportunity to see the ecosystem in all its grandeur. Native plants include specimens such as palm trees, century plants, prickly pear cacti, Southern live oaks and a variety of colorful blossoms, which provide a scenic backdrop to all who meander through this natural sanctuary.
The Portofino Boardwalk
Travelers who're feeling hungry or the need to drop some coin, head over to the Portofino Boardwalk where a wide selection of vendors and eateries are stationed featuring a wide selection of goods and cuisine. Bamboo Willie's or Hemingway's Island Grill are excellent places to grab a bite to eat, and offer great menu items ranging from finger-foods to flavorful culinary creations. If you're looking to update your wardrobe, stop into one of the many boutiques situated along the boardwalk to acquire the best in beachfront attire.
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