Florida's famous Emerald Coast is world-renowned for its gorgeous white sand beaches, and Pensacola does not disappoint. Here are some of the top Pensacola Beaches, some public, some private, as well as some activities you can look forward to when booking your vacation to the area. Some are more kid-friendly, while others tend to be geared toward more adult activity, sometimes even late-night.

One of Florida’s fantastic state parks on Big Lagoon's northern shoreline, Big Lagoon State Park offers both soft sand and salty marshes. The area's versatility makes Big Lagoon State Park one of the top Pensacola beaches. If you’re into bird watching you will delight in your time there, as the area boasts a wide variety (just watch your head). You will also find a variety of activities like camping, swimming, fishing, canoeing, and hiking. There are picnic areas, so you can have an outdoor meal with friends or family and get the best out of your experience with nature.

Also near the Pensacola area, the Perdido Key State Recreation Area is a beach and park on the Gulf of Mexico where you can relax and enjoy nature by the water. You get the best of the white sandy beaches the area is known for, and you may even catch a glimpse of a few of the endangered species of birds that nest there. You can drive in with your own vehicle and pay a small fee within an “honor box.”

True to its name, this stretch of beach behind the Portofino Boardwalk has very calm waters that can be nice for kids. The waves from the Gulf of Mexico don’t disturb these narrow waters, so you may find it a perfect, serene place to spend time with your family for a quick dip into the water. However, be sure to note that there are no lifeguards here, especially if you are bringing your children.

You’ll find that this is the busiest part of Pensacola Beach. There are restrooms, lifeguards, changing stations, vendors, a fishing pier, and a sweet view of local surfers. During the summer you’ll experience the most action when the local radio station broadcasts right from the beach and reminds you of episodes of Baywatch. You can walk to Portofino Boardwalk for some food once you get hungry from all the swimming and sunbathing. If you feel the need to get away from the crowds, you can simply move a little further away from the pier.

The main way to spend time on a private beach by renting a private vacation rental. Getting your own private stretch of beach is one of the best ways to savor the top Pensacola beaches with your friends and family with immediate access between your rental home and the emerald green waters. Another way is to access private beaches is to stay in a resort. However, with a vacation rental, you won’t feel limited during events such as family vacations or reunions. With your own vacation home, when you spend time at the house or even indoors you are still close to and part of the action.

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