Recently, I made my way to experience what Florida’s Emerald Coast had to offer before heading to the Pensacola area. I had a lot of activities packed into a short period of time which was a great way to see what the two areas had to offer families. Similarly, Pensacola was adorned with beautiful beaches but it was also a location rich in history dating back to the 1800’s. I loved both areas and plan to return with my family in the future.
Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach
The experience of Pensacola starts on the drive into Pensacola Beach. No matter where you look gorgeous water and white sandy beaches can be found.
Located right on the beach, Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach adds to the family beach vacation. Choose a day on the sand or at the hotels family-friendly pool deck area. The pool area had a lazy river, hot tubs, a beach bar and fire pit area. For nights where you want to spend outdoors with the family, you wouldn’t be alone if you wanted to hunt for sand crabs on the beach with a flashlight. It’s a perfect family haven.
FLOUNDER’S CHOWDER HOUSE
One of the first stops we made was for lunch at Flounder’s Chowder House. Known for their seafood, this restaurant had a unique atmosphere from the moment you pulled in the parking lot. If you’re kids are acting up, you can simply tell them the Man-Eating Giant Clam is ready as you pass it through the front entrance.
Once your step inside, the beachside restaurant has a playground area for kids with misters on hot Florida days, beach chairs and fisherman themed paraphernalia throughout. I especially loved the Beach Rules sign, simple but effective.
Scoot Coupe Adventure
With a delicious meal of the catch of the day in my belly, we made our way off to the Portofino Island Resort for a quick view of their vacation condominiums. The view from the tower over Pensacola Beach was amazing. After I gained some designer inspiration from this gorgeous condo, we were off on an adventure along the coastline in these super fun Scoot Coupe’s. These street legal 3-wheeler’s had me reminiscing about my days on my motorcycles, short of the speed.
H20 CAJUN ASIAN RESTAURANT
As always, we were famished by the time supper rolled around and made our way to the H2O Cajun Asian Restaurant, located in the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front hotel. From this sushi platter to dessert, the food was stunningly presented by the Chef and just as delicious as it looked.
A quaint dinner in Pensacola, The Ruby Slipper Cafe is a must-do for breakfast. With the feel and tastes of New Orleans, the restaurant with have you enjoying the company and leaving with a belly full of mouth-watering food. I tried the Raspberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast, because cheesecake, and it had me closing my eyes to take in the full flavour bursts of the dish.
Had my husband been with me, he would have been giddy over the mix and match Eggs Benedict. There isn’t a dish you wouldn’t appreciate in this restaurant; if only the pictures provided the taste experience to go along with the visuals, you would be in heaven.
My kids adore exploring historic locations and would have loved touring the Historic Pensacola Village area where you can step back in time and learn how settler’s lived. You can take part in self-guided and guided tours through antique structures and interpreters cloaked in clothing from the times.
The Historic Pensacola Village boasts the is the Museum of Commerce and Industry, T.T. Wentworth, the Pensacola Children’s Museum and other historic educational experiences all located in the area. For an opportunity rich in history, as Pensacola is well known for, a tour in the Historic Pensacola Village should be on your list while in the area.
Carmen’s Lunch Bar
Once we reached the lunch hour, we popped into a local hot-spot called Carmen’s Lunch Bar. It was a busy little restaurant near the Historic Village. The owner of the restaurant has a very interesting story of how her restaurant came to be in this exclusive area. The local business holders held a Pensacola Business Challenge where ideas for the space were entered for the chance to be selected as the new holder of the building space and Carmen’s Lunch bar was the winner.
It’s not surprising this restaurant was chosen, the owner clearly shows her love for her business in every item on her menu. The flavours and sit-up bar style atmosphere are something you need to experience, if you are walking around the area. I tried the squash chowder and summer salad; both were gobbled up quickly but the crab melts a friend was eating is on my list for next time.
On the Beach
When we came into Pensacola Beach we had the instant hit to our senses of white beaches, emerald water and blue sunny skies. It was beautiful. Families could be seen playing, boats pulling up to the docks, and the boardwalk of shops had a unique feel. Watersport rentals were available along the beach and access to a large beach store for all the beach necessities, in case you forget your own.
If you’re looking for a day on the beach, you could easily be entertained on Pensacola Beach with a number of family friendly activities.
It seems that everywhere our family goes, we seek out the rich history and culture of that location. Relaxation is only part of a vacation; we look forward to exploring and learning about the destination. Having been to a couple of location historic fort landmarks here in Canada, I knew I had to check out one of Pensacola’s well known historic sites, Fort Pickens. From 1834 until 1947 Fort Pickens operated and saw through several battles from Forts surrounding the peninsula.
We arrived near closing when the sun was setting as only one of a handful left to explore the fort. As I was taking pictures of the jail cells I felt a very eery feeling. I don’t necessarily believe in hauntings but I was unsettled; perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me. The history of this place is hard to ignore, so many deaths took place in this Fort before it was abandoned and then later reopened to the public as an educational historic site. If you are in the area, you should take a day to explore and learn about Fort Pickens.
Before we left the area, we wanted to watch the sunset on the beach. As beautiful as this was in person, what I loved most was finding locals fishing on the beach. One fisherman had been back to the beach for days trying to gain the trust of a crane who had happened upon a fishing line, dragging it behind wrapped around it’s ankle. The fisherman was throwing his catch to the bird and hoping he would soon get close enough to help remove the line. Seeing this up close was a beautiful sight.
Pensacola Beach is rich in history, natural beauty, to-die-for cuisine and family friendly activities. We were limited to the number of days spent in the area and wished we could have explored to so much more of the area. If you are looking for an exceptional location to spend with your family, you should look at the Pensacola area.
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own.