Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Pensacola Beach, FL

  • Published 2022/05/25

Pensacola Beach is a resort area located on the Gulf Coast barrier island of Santa Rosa in Florida.

Sitting on the Western tip of the state, this beach has a lively community that provides a wide range of activities to do for you and the whole family!

Enjoy the magical waves and the soft, white sandy beaches under the Floridian sun that can give you the tan you want!

This island barrier is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, environmentalists, and beach-goers with all the amenities this beach has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for a lively setting at Pensacola’s main beaches or a moment of peace and serenity in the quiet, secluded beaches, you’re sure to have an enjoyable time!

Before packing your sunscreen and swimsuits, check out some of the best things you can do at Pensacola Beach, Florida!

Take a Stroll on Pensacola Beach Boardwalk

The Pensacola Beach Boardwalk overlooking the beach

Cheryl Casey /

Start your trip off by visiting Pensacola Beach Boardwalk, a popular tourist destination for those visiting Pensacola!

This boardwalk is located on the waterfront side of the gulf and is lined with a variety of restaurants, stores, boutiques, and more!

You can also find an amphitheater along this boardwalk where they host different shows, live entertainment, and music throughout the year!

Surf shop at Pensacola Beach Boardwalk

Lacey Lin Photography /

They carry a wide range of dining options and cuisines; whether you’re looking for classic American dishes or a seafood platter, you can find it here on the boardwalk!

Or you can simply choose to take a lovely stroll while admiring the views of the glistening water under the sun!

Drop by Pensacola Beach Boardwalk and see what else they have in store for you!

The shops along Pensacola Beach Boardwalk

Lacey Lin Photography /

Rent a Bike and More at The Fun Store

Located at the heart of downtown Pensacola Beach, The Fun Store is a family-owned and operated business that rents and sells anything you may possibly need to ensure a fun-filled trip!

You may choose to rent a golf cart or a bike to efficiently explore this barrier island or surfboards and paddleboards for when you get out on the open water!

They carry a variety of items and rentals you can avail of for competitive prices you can use to maximize the activities you plan to do.

If you’ve forgotten other beach necessities, such as towels or sunscreen, you can easily purchase them here!

The Fun Store aims to provide high-quality service to give guests a great experience for their trip to Pensacola!

Go Golfing on the Gulf at UFO’s Mini Golf, Ice Cream & Arcade

According to local newspapers, Pensacola Beach is well-known for multiple UFO sightings and other extraterrestrial activities as far back as the 80s, hence the name of this popular establishment.

At this entertainment center, guests can try out their 18-hole mini-golf course, where they can practice their aim.

In addition to golf, you can also purchase ice cream from their ice cream bar to beat the heat of the sun.

If you get tired of playing golf, you can check out their arcade and play some indoor games!

Do Adventurous Water Sports at Radical Rides

If you’re looking for something adventurous to do, check out Radical Rides!

You can find this establishment along the boardwalk right next to the water, where you can rent jet skis, kayaks, waverunners, or go parasailing!

This establishment has been serving the community of Pensacola Beach for over 25 years with its rental services.

You may also explore the mesmerizing waters by renting a boat and getting out on the open water!

Add some fun and excitement to your vacation by stopping by Radical Rides!

Take a Scenic Hike at Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve

Looking for a break from the water? Stop by Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve!

Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve is a dense, forested area under the protection of the federal government; however, it is open to the public for visits and stop-overs!

This preserve sits between Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound and can take you away from the busy crowds of the beach and its streets, where you can take a scenic hike and admire nature!

They also have open pavilions and picnic tables where you can have a nice, quiet picnic with your friends or family.

Since 1828, this forest has been a tourist attraction with all the trails you can explore, as well as all the wildlife that have made this forest their home!

Try and add Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve to your itinerary!

Explore the Gulf Islands National Seashore

Welcome sign of Gulf Islands National Seashore

James Kirkikis /

Pensacola Beach is one of the two barrier islands that are home to some of the longest stretch of federally protected seashore in the entire country, which you can visit at Gulf Islands National Seashore!

This stretch of coastline is on the private side and is not often crowded with groups of people, giving you the serenity and solitude you might be searching for.

Enjoy a relaxing stay atop your beach blanket as you soak in the sun with unobstructed views of the glistening waters of the gulf!

Beach waters of Gulf Islands National Seashore

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This area is also spacious, providing opportunities for other activities and sports such as beach volleyball, a quick bike ride, kayaking, and more!

There are also three historic forts found along the seashore that can give you a glimpse of what this barrier island was like pre-American Revolution.

Various wildlife has also made this place their home, so be on the lookout for these critters and marine creatures!

A fort at Gulf Islands National Seashore

MedstockPhotos /

Unwind and Relax at Crabs We Got ‘Em

Crabs We Got ‘Em, also known as Crabs on the Beach, is another waterfront dining option you can try out.

In addition to their delicious food options, this restaurant hosts live music and entertainment while unwinding after a long day outdoors!

You can sip on a refreshing drink while listening to the music and enjoying the views of the sunset.

This restaurant’s location on the waterfront also gives you unparalleled views of the Gulf of Mexico, topped with a refreshing, cool breeze.

You may even opt to check out their water tank, where various sea creatures swim around.

Book a Room at Hilton Pensacola Beach

Hilton Pensacola Beach is one of the more popular hotels that tourists stay at with its easy and convenient access to the beach!

This hotel has magnificent views of the waters of the Gulf of Mexico as well as beachfront access!

You can select from the different rooms they offer while still enjoying the views of the balcony.

You can also take a swim at their pools in case you’re looking for a break from the saltwater.

Other amenities include a sushi bar to satisfy your craving, hot tubs, and even poolside dining!

Book a room now and enjoy your stay at Pensacola Beach!

Take Your Furry Friends to Pensacola Beach West Dog Park

Your dogs deserve a vacation just as much as you do, so take them to Pensacola Beach West Dog Park!

This dog-friendly beach allows them to indulge in the waves, run around on the sand, and enjoy the vacation with you.

Play fetch, throw a frisbee or sit under an umbrella with them for some exercise and quality time.

This beach is open to dogs of all breeds but make sure to put them on a leash and clean up after them in case of any accidents.

Stop by Pensacola Beach West Dog Park and give your dog a restful vacation!

Do Various Activities at Laguna’s Adventure Park at Laguna’s Beach Bar and Grill

Inside a beach bar and grill sits Laguna’s Adventure Park, an outdoor waterpark and entertainment hub that can cater to all ages!

If you’re looking for something different to do after spending several hours at the beach, you can check out this adventure park, where you can find zip lines, go-karts, wall-climbing activities, and more!

This park has recently added new public facilities, including their scenic zip line trail and the “Tiny Tykes Rope Course.”

You can spend an entire day at this outdoor recreational facility with all the entertainment it has to offer!

In case you get hungry, you can easily purchase a meal at their bar and grill!

Bring the whole clan to Laguna’s Adventure Park at Laguna’s Beach Bar and Grill for a fun-filled day packed with activities!

Learn about Pensacola’s History at Historic Pensacola Village

A statue in the middle of Historic Pensacola Village

JNix /

Historic Pensacola Village is home to this island’s rich past and history, with much to learn!

Housing over 450 years of historical memorabilia, you can take a guided tour of this establishment where you can travel back in time.

The Julee cottage at Historic Pensacola Village

James Kirkikis /

Inside this village sits multiple museums, each carrying its own unique story that tells you all about the heritage of this island.

The Museum of Commerce, Pensacola Museum and History, and even a Children’s Museum are only a few of the buildings you can access.

Stop by to see all the artifacts, displays, exhibits, and more that give you a glimpse into the rich past of Pensacola and Pensacola Beach at Historic Pensacola Village!

Enjoy Waterfront Dining at Frisky Dolphin Sunset Oyster Bar & Grill

Frisky Dolphin Sunset Oyster Bar & Grill is Pensacola Beach’s self-proclaimed coolest indoor & outdoor deck beach bar and restaurant.

This restaurant gives you the opportunity to enjoy your meal on the waterfront.

Whether breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a light snack Frisky Dolphin Sunset Oyster Bar & Grill can provide you with various meal options to keep you full!

They’re best known for their seafood platters and fresh dishes from the waters!

At certain hours of the day, they also provide drinks such as mimosas and more.

Indulge in a delicious meal while enjoying the view at Frisky Dolphin Sunset Oyster Bar & Grill!

Learn about Marine Life at Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail

Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail gives you a break from your outdoor beach activities and gives you a glimpse into the diverse ecosystem with abundant wildlife and plant life that live here!

You can learn about a wide range of marine life, land mammals, and even plant life in an immersive manner through their activities.

Indulge in the thriving community underwater by swimming, snorkeling, and diving, where you can admire the sea creatures and corals!

This eco-trail is best known for being the home to different species of sea turtles that come out during the spring!

You can also keep an eye out for different species of birds that fly overhead while bird watching!

There’s so much you can do at Footprints in the Sand Eco-Trail, so be sure to check it out!

Go on a Private Cruise and Tour at Jolly Sailing & Dolphin Cruise

Jolly Sailing & Dolphin Cruise gives you the chance to explore the waters of the Gulf of Mexico on a private cruise.

Staying true to its name, you’re bound to spot some dolphins while on this tour as they jump out of the water and break the surface!

They also provide other tours, either snorkeling, diving, and more, giving you the chance to make the most out of your trip out on the open water.

Their last cruise of the day takes place while the sunsets, letting you wind back as you take in the breathtaking views as the sun descends beyond the horizon after a long day.

You’ll be taken on the most scenic tour this beach island has to offer with Jolly Sailing & Dolphin Cruise, so book a tour now!

Catch Some Fish at Hot Spots Charters

Hot Spots Charters give fishing enthusiasts the opportunity to catch some live creatures!

Providing both inshore and offshore charters, you’ll be taken out on the open water, where you can cast your line and bait while waiting for a fish to bite.

Snappers, groupers, amberjack, mackerel, sharks, and much more are only a few species you might catch!

Anyone of all ages is welcome to try their hand at fishing, where they can catch even some of the largest and heaviest fish that live in the water.

This fishing tour is complete with all the equipment you may need to schedule your fishing trip before they run out of slots!

Final Thoughts

Pensacola Beach’s location on the Panhandle of Florida provides guests with so much fun and activities to do!

Florida is best known as the home of some of the world’s best, most popular beaches, where you can unwind from the hustle and bustle of the busy city and its streets.

Whether you’re looking for adventurous water sports or simply lounging on the beach under the sun, this barrier island has it all for you.

No matter what time of year you visit, this thriving coastal area has events and activities year-round where there’s always something for everyone.

Enjoy the crystal clear waters and sandy beaches outdoors, indulge in waterfront dining options, or even go on a little shopping spree along the boardwalk to make the most out of your getaway!

You truly won’t run out of things to do and see at Pensacola Beach, so book your trip now!

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