In the age of sailing ships, the Spanish colonists of northwest Florida were battered by a series of storms and misfortunes so fierce that they finally concluded the area was as close to uninhabitable as any place on planet Earth.

Nowadays, of course, Pensacola’s pristine white beaches and warm Gulf waters draw countless visitors, many at the very peak of hurricane season. They come to soak up sun and the endless ocean horizon, to swim, eat seafood, and walk barefoot on the sand.

But there is more to Pensacola than its beaches.

At the Veterans Memorial Park Pensacola, visitors can tour the “Wall South,” a half-size replica of the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as well as a memorial for World War l, World War ll, the Korean War, and the Revolutionary War, among others. The Park overlooks Pensacola Bay; the view, combined with the solemn atmosphere of remembrance, seems like a fitting way to honor this shared past.

The historic Fort Barrancas and the Pensacola Lighthouse offer two more fantastic views of the Bay and the Gulf, as well as a glimpse into history.

And if you don’t mind crowds, you might try to time your visit to catch one of Pensacola’s annual festivals, celebrating everything from seafood to the arts. The adventurous may want to seize the opportunity to take up scuba diving: off the shore of Pensacola lies the wreck of the USS Oriskany, purposefully sunk in 2004 to create a man-made reef.

Worth Checking Out

  • Veterans Memorial Park Pensacola
  • Pensacola Lighthouse
  • Fort Barrancas
  • Pensacola Seafood Festival
  • Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival

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