Whether you’re already a resident of Pensacola, FL, or considering it as your new home, a plethora of attractions await you. From seeking the perfect rental apartment to finding your dream home to buy in Pensacola, you have many diverse options. With many engaging activities and dining establishments, newcomers might find the choices overwhelming. To simplify your transition, Redfin has curated a list of must-try experiences, exceptional dining venues, and unique activities recommended by locals. Get started on your Pensacola bucket list today.
1. Visit the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk
Experience the lively charm of Pensacola Beach Boardwalk, where stunning views, delightful shops, and delectable dining converge. Stroll along the inviting promenade, bask in the sun-soaked ambiance, and indulge in an array of coastal treasures.
“One of the areas in Pensacola Beach that I love is near the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk,” shares travel blogger Wayne Kask of Always On The Shore. “You can park at Quietwater Beach, which is just a tiny stretch of beach on the Sound Side. From here, walk on over to the boardwalk which is filled with restaurants, shops, bars, and entertainment. Grab a seat on the deck at Flounder’s Chowder House and try their Free Range Gulf Fish, while you enjoy the views and listen to live music.”
If you are planning to spend a day at the beach, Tricia Vines photography provides a great way to capture your memories with a beautiful photoshoot on Penscola’s sandy white beaches.
2. Discover the Rich History of Fort Pickens
Step into a bygone era at Fort Pickens in Pensacola, FL. Uncover the layers of history within its weathered walls as you explore the well-preserved grounds of this coastal fortress. From intriguing architecture to tales of military significance, Fort Pickens offers a fascinating journey through time.
“Going to visit Fort Pickens is an absolute must,” says owner of Riptide Media Jimmy Warr. “Seeing a historic, Civil War era fort still standing is something to behold. As the nation’s oldest city, Pensacola has so many things to offer the avid history buff.”
3. Enjoy Brunch at The Fish House
“Enjoy a leisurely Sunday brunch with friends at The Fish House, where fresh fish and sushi are highlights of the menu, and the Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast is a favorite,” states travel writer Gemma Arnold of TopFlight-Travel.com. “Be sure to arrive just before 11am to snag a table, as reservations aren’t accepted. The deck is perfect for relaxing with drinks into the afternoon.”
4. Discover the Gulf Coast’s Hidden Depths
“Exploring the depths of Pensacola’s underwater wonders is an adventure like no other,” says Taylor Kulik of H2O Adventures. “ As a seasoned multi-passenger Dive Charter boat in the region, we’ve been navigating these waters for nearly two decades. From novices to seasoned divers, our excursions cater to all levels, inviting you to discover the Gulf Coast’s finest diving spots.”
5. Craft sand castles by the shore
Participate in the joy of sculpting sand castles at the beach. Let your imagination run wild as you shape turrets, moats, and more. Whether young or young at heart, this timeless activity promises smiles and cherished memories along the shore. “This unique activity showcases our beautiful Gulf Coast while guiding you through the process of making bigger and better sand sculptures,” shares Janel Hawkines, owner of SandCastle University.
6. Stroll down the three-lined Historic Palafox Street
Visit Palafox Street in Pensacola and learn why this street is known to locals as the gateway to their city with its interesting architecture, unique shopping, and delightful dining opportunities,” states Emerald Coast Connected staff writer June Scroggin. “Part of the charm is the prevalence of art here. A must-do is visiting Blue Morning Gallery, a local art co-operative, the gallery features original works of art in all types of media.”
7. Attend the Pensacola Seafood Festival
“Our #1 Must-Do in Pensacola is the Pensacola Seafood Festival,” says Executive Director Bridget Middleton. “In its 46th year, this three-day festival boasts hundreds of vendors serving delicious seafood, artists and craftspeople from around the US; a children’s area, local restaurants serving their best dishes at ‘Gulf to Table’ and cooking demonstrations from some of the area’s greatest chefs. To top it off, there is live music on the Main Stage all weekend and entry to the festival is free.”
8. Dine at George Bistro
Indulge in this restaurant’s amazing flavors in the heart of Pensacola. Experience an unforgettable evening of exceptional dining. “My absolute favorite restaurant in Pensacola is Geroge Bistro,” shares local blogger Sarah Ritchie of Genuine Sunshine Blog. “Everything I’ve tried on their menu is incredible. Make a reservation in advance because it does book up. My favorites are the Alfredo Pappardelle and the Short Ribs + Mushroom Ravioli, but their Filet Mignon is also delicious. They also do an amazing brunch—you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Also great service and delightful cocktails and coffees.”
Pensacola bucket list: the bottom line
Discover essential Pensacola experiences for your bucket list. From the vibrancy of Pensacola Beach to the serenity of historic forts, and the dynamic allure of downtown exploration, each adventure contributes to Pensacola’s distinct charm. Whether you’re a resident or visitor, these cherished memories will stay with you for a lifetime.