I enjoy visiting new places, and since we are in the talking stages of next year’s summer vacation, I decided to suggest a few new locations. At the top of my list is Pensacola, on the west coast of Florida. I’m a little confused by Pensacola’s claim to be the first European settlement in the US, since I’ve been to St. Augustine many times and they also claim that title. So, I want to go to Pensacola and figure this out.
Pensacola was settled in 1559 and has existed under five different flags. It has some amazing historic areas, such as the Historic Pensacola Village and the Pensacola Lighthouse. The beaches are incredible with white, powdery sands and the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I want to explore Fort Pickens National Park, go shelling at Perdido Key, and perhaps even participate in a dig along the Pensacola Colonial Archaeological Trail.
My dogs will enjoy Pensacola because it is a dog-friendly city with much to offer pet owners, including the Bayview Dog Park and Beach, where dogs enjoy their very own beach, complete with showers. The National Naval Aviation Museum is also located in Pensacola, and we may just be able to witness a show by the Blue Angels. And, as a nod to the time of year and the inevitable “creep” factor that is ever-present in the month of October, St. Michael’s Cemetery is eight acres of 18th century gravesites. This cemetery was established by the King of Spain in 1807 and features self-guided walking tours. If that isn’t enough, the Pensacola Lighthouse was built in 1859 and is considered one of the most haunted lighthouses in America. The lighthouse was featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters.
Home to the University of West Florida, the Seville Historic District, art galleries, museums, and seafood restaurants aplenty, you may even be convinced to ditch the upcoming cold, harsh winter and move to sunny Florida. In that case, here are some great Pensacola neighborhoods to consider:
Gaslight Square: I included this neighborhood because it is near the Cordova Mall and the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area, perfect for boating and fishing.
Lexington Square: This neighborhood has a little bit of everything. Plus, it is close to Pensacola Regional Airport and Pensacola State College.
Harbour Square: This is a quiet little area near the Escambia Bay. It is a nautical neighborhood with easy access to local beaches.
Northeast Pensacola: A popular location near University Mall and several pocket parks, including Camelot Park, Bryan Park, and Eastgate Park.
Williamsburg Gardens: This diverse neighborhood is near the bay and the University of West Florida, making it ideal for college students.
Southwest Pensacola: This is a large area with several green spaces, including Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park, which is home to four species of the endangered carnivorous pitcher plants. Cool!