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19 Best Things to Do in Pensacola Beach FL from a Local

19 Best Things to Do in Pensacola Beach FL from a Local

There are plenty of Things to Do in Pensacola Beach, FL to keep you occupied for days.

If you’re looking for a vacation destination that offers delicious seafood, breathtaking sunsets, and endless fun, look no further than Pensacola Beach. This small but vibrant beach town on the Gulf Coast of Florida has everything you need for a memorable trip, from lively nightlife to family-friendly activities.

The food scene in Pensacola Beach is nothing short of amazing. Seafood is king here, and you can find it fresh and cooked to perfection at many local restaurants. From oysters to blue crab to crawfish, there’s something for every seafood lover. Don’t forget to check out the hermit crab races at Crabs We Got Em, where you can cheer on your favorite crustacean while enjoying drink specials.

Of course, no trip to Pensacola Beach is complete without experiencing its famous sunsets. Whether you’re watching from the beach or a nearby boardwalk, the sky comes alive with a stunning display of colors as the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico. Be sure to check out the best sunset spots, including Casino Beach and Quietwater Beach Boardwalk.

When the sun goes down, the fun doesn’t stop in Pensacola Beach. With a variety of bars and clubs, you can dance the night away to live music or enjoy a cold drink with friends. And for those looking for family-friendly activities, there are plenty of options, including dolphin tours, paddleboarding, and beach volleyball. In this article, we’ll explore the 19 best things to do in Pensacola Beach, FL.

19 Best Things to Do in Pensacola Beach, FL

1. Pure Quartz, Pure Paradise: Pensacola Beach’s White-Sand Wonder

Pensacola Beach is known for having some of the whitest beaches in the world. The sand is made up of pure quartz crystals that reflect the sunlight, making it look as white as snow. The beaches are open year-round, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy on the sand, from sunbathing to beach volleyball.

In addition to beach activities, Pensacola Beach offers a variety of water sports, including paddleboarding, kayaking, and parasailing. Paddleboarding has become increasingly popular in recent years, with calm waters and stunning scenery making it the perfect way to explore the area.

You can rent paddle boards from various vendors on the beach or join a guided tour to learn more about the local ecosystem. Fishing and dolphin-watching tours are also popular options. If you prefer to stay on land, several bike rental companies allow you to explore the beach on two wheels.

After a day of fun in the sun, head to one of the beachfront restaurants for fresh seafood and cocktails while watching the sunset. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, Pensacola Beach has something for everyone to enjoy.

Pensacola Beach's White-Sand Wonder Pensacola Beach things to do

Pensacola Beach’s White-Sand Wonder/ Flickr

2. Bands on the Beach: The Sand is Your Dancefloor and the Sun is Your Spotlight

Bands on the Beach is an exciting and free summer concert series that music enthusiasts shouldn’t miss. Held on Tuesday nights, the event features a wide array of music genres performed by talented local and regional bands.

Whether you love rock, country, or jazz, there is something for everyone at the Gulfside Pavilion on the Pensacola Beach boardwalk. With the sand as your dancefloor and the sun as your spotlight, you can enjoy the live music under the open sky and create unforgettable memories with your friends and family.

So mark your calendars and get ready to groove to the beat at Bands on the Beach, a fantastic summer event that offers the perfect combination of great music, stunning beach views, and a lively atmosphere.

bands on the beach

3. McGuire’s St. Patty’s Run: Leprechauns, Green Beer, and Running Shoes

McGuire’s St. Patty’s Run is a fun-filled annual event held on St. Patrick’s Day in Pensacola Beach. The event is a perfect blend of fitness and festivities, attracting runners from across the country. Runners can choose from either a 5K or 10K race and are encouraged to don their green running shoes for the occasion.

The race starts and finishes at the iconic McGuire’s Irish Pub, where participants can enjoy live music and refreshing drinks after the run. The event is not just about fitness; it’s about celebrating the Irish culture and traditions with the community. The festive atmosphere of the event is contagious, with leprechauns, green beer, and jovial conversations adding to the excitement.

McGuire’s St. Patty’s Run is a unique event that brings together fitness enthusiasts, Irish culture fans, and the local community, making it a must-attend event in Pensacola Beach.


4. Blue Angels Air Show: Ultimate VIP Lounge for Aviation Enthusiasts

The annual Pensacola Beach Air Show is a thrilling event for aviation enthusiasts. Held in July each year, the show features the US Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, who are based in Pensacola. Along with the Blue Angels, other military and civilian performers showcase their skills, providing spectators with a breathtaking display of aerial acrobatics.

The show is free to attend, with prime viewing locations along the beach and boardwalk. For those looking for a more exclusive experience, VIP tickets are available, providing access to a special VIP area with shaded seating, refreshments, and a catered lunch.

The Blue Angels Air Show is a must-see event for anyone interested in aviation, offering an up-close and personal view of some of the world’s best pilots and aircraft.

Blue Angels Air Show

Blue Angels Air Show/ Flickr

5. Mardi Gras in Pensacola Beach: Floats, Beads, and Beachy Vibes

Pensacola Beach’s Mardi Gras celebration is a unique blend of traditional carnival festivities with a coastal twist. The event, which includes a parade and street party, showcases colorful floats, marching bands, and an abundance of beads.

In recent years, the festival has seen a strong cultural influence from the nearby city of New Orleans, located just a few hours away. This influence can be seen in the vibrant costumes, live music, and delicious cuisine featured in the festival.

The street party takes place on the Quietwater Beach Boardwalk and offers a range of food and drink options, from classic carnival treats to beachy cocktails. The combination of traditional Mardi Gras festivities with coastal vibes makes Pensacola Beach’s celebration a must-attend event for anyone visiting the area during the carnival season.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras/ Flickr

6. Snapper Season: The Time of the Year When Fishermen Become Legends

Snapper season is not the only time of year when fishermen become legends. In Pensacola Beach, there are several seasons throughout the year that offer exciting fishing opportunities.

One such season is amberjack season, which typically runs from May to August. Amberjack is a popular catch due to its size and strength, providing a thrilling challenge for fishermen of all skill levels. However, the most sought-after catch in Pensacola Beach remains the red snapper.

The season usually runs from June to July, but it’s essential to check with local fishing charters for specific dates and regulations. With its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life, Pensacola Beach is a year-round fishing destination that promises to keep fishermen of all levels entertained and engaged. So, pack your gear, and head out to Pensacola Beach to create your own legendary fishing tales!

7. Pensacola Beach Art & Wine Festival: Sip, Stroll, and Get Tipsy with Local Art and Wine

Looking for the perfect excuse to sip, stroll, and get tipsy while enjoying local art and wine? Look no further than the Pensacola Beach Art & Wine Festival! Held annually in November, this event is a celebration of all things local – from artists and crafters to wineries and wine lovers. As you peruse the various booths filled with unique art and crafts, you’ll also have the opportunity to sample wine from regional wineries.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply enjoy a good glass of vino, this festival offers something for everyone. But the Pensacola Beach Art & Wine Festival isn’t just about wine and art. It’s also a chance to take in the breathtaking scenery of Pensacola Beach and support local artists and wineries.

So mark your calendar, grab a glass, and join us for a day of sipping, strolling, and getting just a little bit tipsy. We promise it will be a feast for your senses – and your soul.

Pensacola Beach Art & Wine Festival

Pensacola Beach Art & Wine Festival/ Facebook

8. Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival: The Sun, the Sand, and the Sounds of Music All Meet

The Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival, held in October, is a unique event that celebrates local and regional songwriters as they perform their original music.

The festival offers a range of performances at different locations across Pensacola Beach, including bars and restaurants. With the sun, the sand, and the sounds of music all around, attendees are sure to enjoy an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a fan of country, rock, or folk music, this festival has something for everyone.

Don’t miss out on the chance to immerse yourself in the local music scene and discover some new favorite artists at the Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival.

Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival

Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival/ Facebook 

9. Gallery Night: Art, Music, and Food – A Monthly Party That’s Worth the Trip

Gallery Night is a popular monthly event in downtown Pensacola that’s not to be missed. Held on the third Friday of every month, the event showcases the best of the city’s local art, music, and food scenes.

Visitors can stroll through the streets and experience a vibrant mix of cultural offerings, including art exhibits, live music performances, and food trucks. The event’s lively atmosphere is made all the more inviting by the charming streetscape of downtown Pensacola, with its historic buildings and charming storefronts.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Gallery Night is a fun way to explore the city’s creative side, meet new people, and experience the best of what downtown Pensacola has to offer. A cool activity for couples in Pensacola Beach.

Gallery Night

Gallery Night/ Facebook

10. The Seafood Festival: When Pensacola Beach Becomes the Land of the Seafood Lovers

The Pensacola Seafood Festival, held in September, transforms Pensacola Beach into a seafood lover’s paradise. The festival offers a range of delectable seafood dishes, including fresh Gulf seafood from local restaurants and food trucks.

Alongside the food, visitors can enjoy live music from regional performers and browse through a variety of arts and crafts vendors. The festival has something for everyone, from the seafood enthusiast to the music lover to the art collector.

The event is a celebration of the Gulf Coast’s culinary and artistic heritage, making it a must-attend for locals and tourists alike.

Sea Food Festival Pensacola Beach

Sea Food Festival Pensacola Beach/ Facebook

11. Taste of the Beach: Savoring the Flavors of Pensacola’s Culinary Scene

Taste of the Beach is a culinary event held every September in Pensacola that showcases the city’s diverse dining scene. Local chefs and restaurants present their signature dishes, offering visitors the opportunity to indulge in a variety of flavors and cuisines.

From seafood to barbecue, there’s something for everyone at this foodie festival. Guests can enjoy samples and small plates from a range of local eateries, as well as live music and other entertainment. Taste of the Beach is a great way to discover new favorite restaurants and dishes, all while enjoying the beautiful Gulf Coast weather and atmosphere.


12. The Bushwacker Drink: A Cocktail That’s Cool, Creamy, and a Little Bit Nutty – Just Like Pensacola Beach

The Bushwacker is a beloved frozen cocktail that was created in Pensacola Beach. Made with rum, Kahlua, coconut cream, and chocolate syrup, it’s a refreshing and nutty treat that is popular among beachgoers. Several bars and restaurants on Pensacola Beach serve the Bushwacker, including Sandshaker Lounge and Bamboo Willies.

If you’re looking for a drink that embodies the laid-back and fun-loving vibe of the beach, the Bushwacker is a must-try. Don’t leave Pensacola Beach without enjoying this cool and creamy concoction.

Sitting back and enjoying a Bushwacker is one of the best things to do when it rains in Pensacola Beach.


13. Crawfish Season and the Best Places for Crawfish Boils: Pensacola Beach Turns Up the Heat

Pensacola Beach heats up during crawfish season from March to May, with several restaurants and bars hosting crawfish boils. Visitors can indulge in boiled crawfish, corn on the cob, and potatoes while enjoying the warm weather. Flounder’s Chowder House and Lillo’s Tuscan Grille are some of the best places to get crawfish boils on Pensacola Beach.

Another popular spot for crawfish boils is Peg Leg Pete’s, a local seafood restaurant known for its delicious boiled seafood and lively atmosphere.

Visitors can also try their luck at catching their own crawfish by renting a trap and heading out to the nearby bayous. The crawfish season in Pensacola Beach is not only a celebration of food but also a way to bring together locals and visitors in a fun and festive atmosphere. With so many options for enjoying this tasty crustacean, crawfish season is an experience not to be missed on Pensacola Beach.

14. Hermit Crab Races at Crabs We Got Em: A Slow and Steady Race to the Funniest Night Ever

Get ready to laugh and cheer on your favorite hermit crab at Crabs We Got Em’s hermit crab races! This popular seafood restaurant on Pensacola Beach hosts the races every Tuesday and Thursday evening during the summer months. The races may be slow, but they are entertaining and fun for all ages.

Pick your own hermit crab to race and enjoy drink specials and tasty seafood while waiting for the race to begin. The atmosphere is lighthearted and perfect for groups of friends, families, or anyone looking for a unique experience on Pensacola Beach.

Don’t miss out on this hilarious and unforgettable night at Crabs We Got Em!

Hermit Crab Races Pensacola

Hermit Crab Races Pensacola/ Facebook

15. July 4th in Pensacola Beach: The Beach Becomes a Patriotic Playground

Pensacola Beach celebrates July 4th with an extravagant beach parade and fireworks show that is not to be missed! However, due to the high volume of visitors, we recommend arriving early to secure your spot. The daylong celebration is packed with food, drinks, and live music at various beach bars and restaurants.

If you’re looking for a less crowded spot to watch the fireworks, consider heading east towards Navarre Beach or west towards Perdido Key. Although the parade usually features colorful floats and costumes, and participants march down the main street to the beat of festive music, beachgoers can also enjoy a range of activities throughout the day, including swimming, sunbathing, and beach volleyball.

As night falls, visitors gather on the beach to watch the spectacular fireworks show. It is truly a day of fun, relaxation, and patriotic pride, just make sure you plan ahead!

16. Crackin’ Up: Blue Crabbing in Pensacola Beach is No Joke

Blue crab is a celebrated delicacy in Pensacola Beach, with a long-standing history dating back to the early days of the Gulf Coast. From April to September, visitors can enjoy locally sourced and freshly caught blue crab available at Joe Patti’s Seafood and Gulf Breeze Seafood.

If you prefer a restaurant experience, The Oar House and Peg Leg Pete’s are highly recommended for their delicious blue crab dishes prepared by talented chefs. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to savor some of the sweetest, freshest blue crab you’ll ever taste. Blue crabbing in Pensacola Beach is no joke, and it’s a treat you’ll treasure for years to come.

17. Live Music on Pensacola Beach: The Music is as Cool as the Drinks and the Breeze

Pensacola Beach has a vibrant live music scene that offers visitors a range of music genres to enjoy while sipping on refreshing drinks and taking in the ocean breeze.

From tropical to country and hip hop, beach bars and restaurants showcase the talents of talented musicians. The Sandshaker Lounge, Bamboo Willies, and Paradise Bar and Grill are among the top places to experience live music on Pensacola Beach. These venues feature a laid-back atmosphere and a variety of musical acts, making them perfect for a fun evening out.

Whether visitors are looking to dance the night away or simply sit back and enjoy the music, the live music scene on Pensacola Beach has something for everyone.

Live Music on Pensacola Beach

Live Music on Pensacola Beach/ Facebook

18. Best Places for Oysters: When the Seafood is So Good, You’ll Shell-ebrate Your Taste Buds

Oysters are a beloved delicacy in Pensacola Beach, and the restaurants here do not disappoint when it comes to serving them fresh and cooked in various ways.

From raw to baked, grilled to fried, oysters are on the menu in many forms. Some of the top spots to indulge in oysters on Pensacola Beach include the Grand Marlin, Peg Leg Pete’s, and Flounder’s Chowder House, which are known for their fresh, flavorful, and creative preparations.

Many of these restaurants also offer happy hour oyster specials, making it a great time to sample these mouthwatering mollusks. Whether you’re a fan of oysters on the half-shell or prefer them served up in a po’ boy sandwich, Pensacola Beach is the perfect place to celebrate your love for this classic seafood dish.


19. Golden Hour Magic: Where to Catch the Best Sunset Spots in Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach is a spectacular place to witness a breathtaking sunset. There are several spots on the beach to catch the view, but some of the best include Casino Beach, Quietwater Beach Boardwalk, and the Gulfside Pavilion.

Visitors can enjoy a peaceful stroll along the beach or relax on a beach chair while watching the sky change colors. In addition to the daily sunset views, there are also fireworks displays during special events like the July 4th celebration and the Pensacola Beach Air Show.

The fireworks shows take place over the Gulf of Mexico and are best viewed from Casino Beach or Quietwater Beach Boardwalk. Don’t miss out on the golden hour magic of Pensacola Beach.

Golden Hour Magic

Golden Hour Magic/ Flickr

In conclusion, Pensacola Beach, FL is the perfect destination for those seeking a balance between relaxation and entertainment. With its sugar-white sand beaches and emerald green waters, the beach is a paradise for sunbathers, swimmers, and water sports enthusiasts.

The music scene is alive and kicking, with live performances offered by talented local musicians and bands. The culinary events are a treat for foodies, with fresh seafood being the star of the show. Whether you want to savor a delicious blue crab dish or indulge in a wine tasting at the Art & Wine Festival, Pensacola Beach has got you covered. And let’s not forget the hermit crab races at Crabs We Got Em, a slow and entertaining race that is perfect for a fun evening out.

So, whether you’re planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a solo trip, Pensacola Beach is the ideal destination to unwind, soak up the sun, and create unforgettable memories. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience this vibrant and beautiful beach town!


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