7 Best Beaches In Pensacola Florida

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The beaches in Pensacola are some of the best beaches in the sunshine state. Located on the panhandle of the Gulf of Mexico, this area is known as the Emerald Coast and offers a wide range of beach activities.

With crystal-clear turquoise waters and soft white sand, Pensacola beaches provide the best environment to soak up the sun and have some fun in the water. From sunbathing and building a sandcastle, to swimming and snorkeling, the beach is fun for the whole family.

Since a few of these beaches have a fee, they provide nice amenities such as restrooms, pavilions, picnic tables, and outdoor showers.

After the beach, you can explore the old town of Pensacola and have a bite to eat at one of their delicious restaurants. So, pack your beach bag and let’s explore some of the best beaches in Pensacola, Florida!

Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach Florida

Pensacola Beach, also known as Casino Beach, is one of the most popular gulf side beaches in Pensacola. It is the central beach as soon as you get off the bridge from Pensacola to the Santa Rosa Island. The iconic Pensacola Beach Water Tower marks the spot so it’s hard to miss.

This is a long and wide stretch of beach that has powdery soft sand underneath your feet and the emerald, crystal clear water. Adding to your beach experience, the facilities are great, which include restrooms and a pavilion.

The Pensacola Beach Boardwalk is where you will find it all from the dining to the shopping and all of the events. Seafood dishes created with locally caught seafood are some of the popular things to eat in Pensacola. Pick out a seafood entrée at The Grand Marlin or enjoy an ice cold drink, meal and live music at the Casino Beach Bar & Grille which is just steps away from the beach.

There’s plenty of shopping to do at the boutiques where you will find clothing, jewelry, art and gifts for anyone on your list. There are beach accessories too if you do need something last minute.

Spending a fun-filled day at the Pensacola Beach is one of the best things to do in Pensacola and at the end of the night, be sure to enjoy the sunset views too.

Langdon Beach

Langdon Beach is located in the Fort Pickens are of the Gulf Island National Seashore. There is an entrance fee of $25 per vehicle and once you enter the park, you’re in a historic place with excellent outdoor recreation opportunities.

The biggest draw to the area, next to the gorgeous beaches of course, is the historic fort. The pentagonal fort was first constructed in the early 1800’s and had been through the Civil War up to World War II. It is one of the largest brick forts built in the United States and was named after Brigadier General Andrew Pickens. It is one of the best historical places in Florida overlooking the Emerald Coast.

Although there are a few beach access points, Langdon Beach is the main beach of the Fort Pickens area and it’s definitely the highlight of the area. The powdery soft sands shape the sand dunes and the sparkling sea makes it the perfect beach for swimming and sunbathing.

Overnight camping at this park is one of the best camping experiences you can have in Florida. The campground is one of the top ten campgrounds in the state so be sure to book ahead.

Opal Beach

This beach is one of the most underrated ones but it’s probably best kept that way. Since most people flock to the other beaches, coupled with little development around and an entry fee, this beach doesn’t get very crowded.

This quiet beach costs $25 for a vehicle to enter but that entrance pass is good for up to 7 days and includes all of the Gulf Islands National Seashore locations (including Fort Pickens). If you are a local resident then you can purchase a yearly pass for only $45.

The beach was named after Hurricane Opal that flattened the dunes and created this beach. Since this beach now is part of the national park beaches, it has nice facilities that include restrooms, pavilions, parking, and outdoor showers.

With little crowds, this is one of the best clear water beaches to visit in Florida.

Navarre Beach

Navarre Beach Florida

Navarre Beach is located at the eastern side of Santa Rosa Island and is also one of the best beaches you can visit from Destin. The area is called Florida’s most relaxing place so be sure to live up to the name on your vacation and spend a lot of time relaxing on this incredible beach.

While visiting Navarre Beach, be sure to check out the fishing pier. It is one of the longest piers in Florida being 1,545 feet long and 30 feet high above the water. It is $1 per person to be able to walk out on the pier or $7 if you want to spend all day fishing on it.

Visit the little boardwalk shop and find the perfect dining option at one of the restaurants in the area. No matter what you choose to do, spending time at Navarre Beach near Pensacola is a relaxing and fun experience for the whole family.

Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve

The beach coast line is a little more rugged at the Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve but that is the beauty of it. This beach might not be the best for swimming because of its shallow waters as some of the other beaches in Pensacola but it is great for exploring.

This nature preserve is a little more quiet and off the beaten path for those looking for a beach in Pensacola. You can still set up along the shore and enjoy some sunbathing or you can go hiking, biking, fishing, and bird watching on just about 8 miles of trails.

It is perfect for a more adventurous family beach day since it provides all kinds of landscapes to enjoy. The area is very wooded so once you’ve had enough of the sun, especially in the hottest hours of the day, you can head over to the shaded area under the trees for lunch and games.

The history of this area is also unique as it dates back all the way to the 1800’s. The land back then was used as the first federal tree farm in the United States that supplied timber for building ships. Over the years there are still a few live oaks that have survived that you can find around the preserve.

Perdido Key Beach

Perdido Key Beach Florida

Perdido Key, nicknamed the “lost” island as it translates in its Spanish name, is a barrier island that’s a little slice of paradise. The water is a pretty blue with sugar white sand making it an ideal beach to take leisurely strolls, sunbathe in the sun, watch for wildlife, and swim in the water.

The island is at the very western part of Florida that a part of the island actually is in the state of Alabama. At one time the whole island was likely in Florida but due to hurricanes and shifting sand, part of it now is considered to be in Alabama.

For wildlife, you can view several hundred species of birds, sea turtles, and even possibly spot dolphins out in the water. The monarch butterfly can also be seen during times of migration.

Staying on the island is very affordable where you can find beachfront rentals with great prices which makes this a great place for a weekend getaway.

Pensacola Dog Beach ( East and West)

Those looking to share the beach with their furry friends are in luck. Pensacola has a few dog beaches where owners can take their dogs but they must remain on the leash.

The more popular one is Pensacola Dog Beach West which is located around the Fort Pickens area. The other, Pensacola Dog Beach East is on the other side of Pensacola Beach and offers a quieter setting.

There is also a location on Perdido Key where owners can bring their dogs. Perdido Key River Road Park is a pet-friendly beach that actually allows dogs to roam off-leash.

Owners must pick up after their dogs which makes it easy since doggie bags and disposals are provided on the dog beaches. These beaches are a great option for both people and pets to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Pensacola, Florida.