What Makes Pensacola Beach So Unique
By Leigh Davis
Executive Director of the Santa Rosa Island Authority
Pensacola Beach just added another prestigious award to its long list of accolades when TripAdvisor’s annual Travelers’ Choice awards named Pensacola Beach a Top 25 beach in the United States this February.
The popular travel site had this to say about Pensacola Beach: “Glorious white sands, clear warm water, wonderful views, ease of parking. Great fun, miles and miles of beach.”
Locals couldn’t agree more, it’s why we live here. The sentiment that Pensacola Beach is one of the best beaches you could sink your toes into is no longer just a local one.
From the minute you hear our sugar-white sand sing under the soles of your feet, you realize you’ve stepped onto a beach paradise unlike any other along the Gulf Coast.
Why, you may ask? That’s because within an 8-mile stretch of island, you have it all here.
Pensacola Beach offers the best of both worlds — a vibrant commercial core with first class hotels and accommodations, restaurants, bars, water sports activities, and a host of other amenities and things to do for the adventurists; all while being bookended by miles of unobstructed views and a more remote, peaceful experience at Park East and Park West on either end of the island.
But there’s even more.
For the history buffs, Pensacola Beach is home to Fort Pickens – a pre-Civil War era fort designed to fortify Pensacola’s harbor. Administered by the National Park Service, Fort Pickens offers a unique look into the military significance of Pensacola going back before the American Revolution. History lovers can explore the historic fort and batteries spanning the Civil War through World War II eras.
For the jr. and sr. explorers and aspiring marine biologists, Pensacola Beach’s “Footprints in the Sand” Eco Trail is a hands-on way to learn about our island’s flora and fauna. Pensacola Beach is home to a diverse ecosystem with an abundance of wildlife and plant life: from the inquisitive Bottlenose dolphin to the mighty Bald eagle to the rarest of all sea turtles – the Kemp’s ridley, all call our pristine beach home. The 8-mile stretch of eco trail consists of 28 sites with informative, educational signs scattered along the gulfside, soundside and everywhere in between. Participants can learn the secrets of Pensacola Beach’s sugar-white sand, discover the dangerous journeys of sea turtles as well as the migration of seasonal shorebirds, monarch butterflies, sharks, jellies and much more.
Pensacola Beach thrives because of its local sense of community. With so many full-time residents, the island is proud to offer so many local traditions and activities throughout the year. It is not unlikely for visitors to meet and mingle with those who call Pensacola Beach their home.
This unique experience isn’t replicated elsewhere. It’s what makes Pensacola Beach so special and keeps people coming back for more.
And when they do, we’ll be here to welcome them.