I just traveled to Pensacola and Navarre Beach, Florida this last week. So while it is fresh on my mind, I wanted to share some of the the amazing sights to see as well as some tips I wish I had read before visiting the panhandle of Florida. Read through my recommendations for food, beach, and having the best time.
Travel Tips to Pensacola
We traveled in March, but I have lived in Tampa before and found that while Florida weather changes, it is generally a temperate weather with warm days and warm nights with an average temperature of 70 degrees. Florida is humid so take that into account for your hair needs and considering the clothing. I talk more about that below. There is often fog from the beach and high winds as well. The area is covered in mossy trees and palm trees. Tropical plants are scattered as natural greenery. And sea grass lines the beaches. Something we learned really quick in Navarre is that they are trying to grow back the sea grass so along the beaches, don’t climb the dunes, even for sea shells. (Wouldn’t know from experience, haha!)
Fun places to visit include Alvins Shop which has all the souvenirs you could dream of. We also shopped inexpensive souvenirs at the Walmart of all places. We spend most of our time at the Navarre beach which has lots of sand dollars, shells, wildlife, and thin white sand. Another place we almost went to was the Pensacola light house. You can also head downtown to shop some really cute shops including a cute candy shop. You can also go on some rides at amusement parks. And there’s some museum’s too. Also check out Bay Buffs Park for a scenic southern boardwalk. Check out some food options written below if you head that way. You can also see the blue angels flying by if you are downtown too if you walk to the water. You can see their air show times here.
As of March 2021, there is no mask mandate though mask are recommended. So, if you are coming from a more conservative state, do not be surprised when multiple people have no masks on. Regardless, masks were still required on the plane and recommended. Also know that some highways near Pensacola require tolls. If you are using a rental car you may be able to buy a temporary pass when you pick up your rental car.
I have to admit, it had been a few years since I had been to the beach. So I came home a lobster aka burnt but learned a few tips from my stay in Florida. First of all, Florida sun is strong. If you are traveling from some place more north, be ready for the sun and how quickly it can create a burn. Head down to the “What to Wear…” section for some clothing recommendations. But bring high spf sun screen, even if you’re someone who normally tans. Also if you do get burnt, go grab some “After Sun” by Hawaiian Tropic. It helped a lot. Also a tip, set a timer on your phone to reapply your sunscreen and make sure you applied it 30 minutes before you go in the water.
A genius hack for getting the sand off your feet is use baby powder! It gets the sand off easily for slipping your sandals on without sand. Also if you plan to bring a baby. bring lots of sunscreen and a hat for baby’s face. An umbrellas or covering could be helpful too. If you want to bring a stroller or wagon make sure the wheels are pumped up as it helps to get through the sand easier.
For playing at the beach you can always rent fun toys such as kayaks. But we opted to go to the local Walmart just off of Navarre Beach and buy some toys. Some things that worth worth it were the boogie boards, a beach mat, and a volley ball. We also saw sand toys and more there. In the words of my sister in laws, “Even if it’s cold outside, go in the water. the water will actually feel warmer.”
What to Wear In Florida
With the humidity and chance to get burned I highly recommend bringing loose clothing. Because of those reasons I only wore loose clothing while there. Think linen pants, dresses, and skirt. Also because of the sun be sure to bring at least one hat and sunglasses. A sunhat is great, but also know with the beach comes wind. So I also brought a straw visor that was really handy.
For the beach I highly recommend a cover up and maybe a long sleeve thin shirt if the beach gets a little chilly or you’re a little cold from swimming. I brought mostly sandals. And for the beach easy slip on and offs were great. Bring a beach bag such as a straw bag. Basically, for the beach plan on the sand getting in everything. Even a plastic phone holder would be handy.
Places to Eat Near Pensacola and Navarre Beach
We ate out a few times and saw some places we would have loved to visit. Here they are:
- Mcguires Bar and Grill – 600 E Gregory St, Pensacola, FL 32502 – This is a must see. The inside of the restaurant is lined with dollars, actually over one million of them! They also have the delicious food to back it up. Order the Senate Bean Soup that’s only 18 cents! No joke! Also the burgers and fish and chips are delish. And the rueben rolls on the appetizers are amazing!
- Ruby Slipper – 509 S Palafox St, Pensacola, FL 32502 – This was recommended to me. It in the downtown district next to lots of cute shops including a great candy shop.
- Next to the the Ruby Slipper is the Garden which had all these cute stands like the picture below.
- Hilton in Navarre- We went and ate here one night. And if you are staying near Navarre and want some fresh seafood this is a great high end place to go. It is spendy, but the food was amazing.
- Here’s a list of some other fun places I would love to try if I came back.
So theres a recap of our trip, some tips, and recommendations. If you are headed out that way I’d love to hear where you go or where you recommend. I hope you get that beach time and have a great time.