6 Most Scenic Outdoor Spots in Pensacola, FL

Pensacola, located on the northern panhandle of Florida, is a prime beach town with pristine sand and a lovely subtropical climate. The year-round warm weather means that residents and visitors alike get to visit some gorgeous, scenic outdoor spots in Pensacola. From mile-long beaches to local parks, there are plenty of places to enjoy nature and take in the sights.

1. Gulf Islands

Without a doubt, no visit to Pensacola is complete without a stop at the Gulf Islands. It is the go-to spot for swimming. There is a long path from the parking area to the beach, so be ready for a bit of a walk. The emerald-green water meets pure white sand for a breathtaking scene. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the Gulf Islands.

Compared to other beaches, you are less likely to feel crowded at the Gulf Islands. It is six miles of preserved beaches. While you are in the area, check out Fort Pickens for a bit of exploring or you can enjoy some fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll find restrooms and showers for convenience.

2. Veterans Memorial Park

Located on South 9th Ave, the Veterans Memorial Park is home to the Wall South, the first permanent replica of the National Vietnam War Memorial. The Park opened in 1992 and continues to grow, now including a WWI Memorial, a WWII Memorial, and a Korean Water Memorial. It may be a small memorial park, but it is worth a visit. You can sit on a bench and reflect on the memorials in reverence and awe. The parking along the waterfront is free and provides a lovely view.

3. Santa Rosa Island

If you are ready to see a stunning beach, you will love Santa Rosa Island. The sand is a pristine white, and the water is clear and warm. Fish dart around the waters and don't be afraid if you see a small shark. Most of the island is a national protected seashore. You won’t believe that a few miles away you can find shops and restaurants when you will feel alone in the middle of paradise.

4. Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum

The Pensacola Lighthouse might be a bit of a tourist trap, but there is a good reason for that. If you want the best view in town, you have to stop here. Built-in 1859 on the Gulf Coast, a 177 stair climb to the top offers stunning views. You will get a birds-eye view of the Pensacola Bay, the Pensacola skyline, and historic Navy Yard.

While you are there, take a nature walk to the shore to see the crisp, white sands and blue, clear water. It is a lovely beach to bring the kids. A picnic is a foolproof way to have a fun family day out here. The Pensacola Lighthouse is open 7 days so you can visit whenever you like.

5. Perdido Key State Park

Perdido Key is one of the best beaches in the area. The park offers places for you to picnic, fish, bike, hike, and swim. The Perdido Key Discovery Trail is an elevated trail. You can reserve picnic pavilions for dinner or family get-togethers.

Perdido has well-maintained, white sands, and beautiful views. You’ll use most of your time swimming on the beach or sunbathing, but the views are sublime. You might notice dolphins jumping in the waves, fishers enjoying time together, or joggers.

6. Naval Live Oaks Reservation

Visiting the Naval Live Oaks Reservation is a place where you can view wildlife and local flora and fauna. The Reservation offers 1,000 acres to explore, including dozens of nature trails for you to enjoy. You can bike the trails too if that’s your preference. There is a quick 1-mile path that leads to the Pensacola Bay with a beautiful view. You could pick the 4.5-mile trail towards the east if you want to spend the day exploring. The wildlife is abundant; watch for Osprey nests up high or sea hawk nests. All of this is close to the shops and beaches of Pensacola. The location makes Live Oaks a lovely, scenic outdoor spot.

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