Pensacola is a city at the very western edge of the Florida panhandle known for its beautiful white sand beaches. Taking its name from a Native American group that lived in the area and was founded in 1559 by the Spanish, Pensacola refers to itself as America’s First Settlement. It’s a 3-hour drive from New Orleans and 6.5-hours from Orlando.
Pensacola offers a wide variety of activities, from downtown bars and restaurants in Pensacola to outdoor camping and hiking opportunities. And, of course, its famous beaches.
EAT – PENSACOLA RESTAURANTS
Crabs on the Beach is a seafood restaurant in Pensacola offering a variety of crab dishes, including Alaskan snow crab and its signature Fiery Balls of Crab, which include snow crabs and cream cheese coated in Japanese bread crumbs and fried.
Children can play on the nearby beach while their families dine, and everyone can enjoy the restaurant’s hermit crab races.
Mi Su Food Truck
Part of vibrant Pensacola food truck scene, Mi Su dishes out items like fried chicken sandwiches and a Mi Su Melt burger made with a thin patty, chorizo mayo, American cheese, peppers and onions. It was founded by longtime service industry veterans Alden and Hylene Garcia after each of them was temporarily unemployed thanks to the pandemic.
Check Mi Su’s Instagram for regular updates.
Big Jerk Soda Co.
The “jerk” in the name refers not to anyone’s behavior but to the classic soda jerks who doled out carbonated beverages at old-time drugstore soda fountains. Big Jerk’s fruit-based flavors can be less cloyingly sweet than some of the big-name brands.
PLAY – THINGS TO DO IN PENSACOLA
Perfect Plain Brewing Co.
This brewery takes its name from an 1820s description of Pensacola. It offers a rotating selection of beer, including lagers, IPAs, and seasonal favorites, as well as cocktails. Perfect Plain is also pet and family friendly, and the same owners also operate the Garden & Grain cocktail-focused bar in downtown Pensacola.
McGuire’s Irish Pub
MacGuire’s Irish Pub in Pensacola has been around for more than 44 years. Visitors to this Pensacola bar will notice the huge number of single $1 bills attached to the walls. The restaurant bar serves signature dishes like lamb stew, corned beef sandwiches, and steak. McGuire’s also brews its own beer, with brewery tours available, and offers regular live entertainment in a classic pub atmosphere.
Five Sisters Blues Cafe
This restaurant, located in a section of town with a deep musical history, features a menu of Southern and Gulf Coast classics like chicken and waffles, collard greens, and red beans over rice. Sunday jazz brunches include live music.
STAY – CAMPING IN PENSACOLA
This eco-resort offers a variety of opportunities for glamping — that is, glamorous camping — including tents, cottages, and treehouse-style accommodations. There’s also access to a creek and hiking trails. Some produce is grown on-site, and you can also visit the resort’s chickens and koi.
A botanical garden-style environment is available for weddings.