Pensacola On My Mind

We stopped in at the James
Beard House earlier this week for their Pensacola Celebrity Chefs
foodie event promoting the Florida coastal town and its restaurants, chefs and seafood. Turns out, Pensacola isn’t just about fresh fish – it also prides itself
on being a great place for families, with a water park, amusement centers,
museums and, of course, the beach.

Your first stop, no doubt,
should be the beach. Head to Pensacola Beach or Perdido
for well preserved shores and fun in the waves. Pensacola also boasts one of the longest boardwalks on the Gulf of Mexico, with 1,471 feet of shops, restaurants, free summertime
concerts and shallow water for kids to play in. For really little ones, Santa Rosa Sound at Portofino Boardwalk is considered the
perfect “baby beach.” With its calm waters, even tiny tots can splash and play

For the family that loves
adventure, Pensacola also features plenty of opportunities for canoeing
and kayaking. Check out Adventures
for canoe and kayak rentals and an outdoor ropes course. Or, head
out on the open waves with Lanier
or Condor Sailing Adventures. They
both offer classes for all ages.

If your fun in the sun leaves you
sunburned, escape inside to the National
Naval Aviation Museum
, a perfect pick for kiddos who love to fly. Or climb
to the top of the Pensacola
for great views and a little bit of history. But be warned–the
lighthouse is supposedly haunted!

The beach town also features
several great amusement centers. Sam’s
Fun City
is an amusement and water park, with more than 20 rides. Tiki Island, located on the beach, has
a putt-putt course and an indoor arcade.

For dinner, head
to Pensacola’s downtown for its famous restaurants. The Gulf Coast boasts fresh seafood cooked up with Southern flair,
and even a little kick of Spanish flavor from its colonial days. Don’t miss out on the crab cakes
or red snapper! For something extra special, try the fare at restaurants
the Pensacola Celebrity Chefs call home, like Jackson’s Steakhouse, where you can dine on creamy crab cakes, crispy fried oysters and tender scallops.

And, perhaps most important of all, your trip can be
affordable. Hotels on the beach are available for as low as $120 a night during
the summer season. Click here for a helpful
Pensacola lodging guide.

But before taking off for all
that Pensacola has to offer, the low-key beach
village wants you to know that the Gulf and its
seafood are safe for visitors and diners! Scientists, government
agencies and
universities, have tested the seafood from the Gulf Coast and everything
has come up negative for dangerous
chemicals. After the BP oil spill in the Gulf last summer, Gulf beaches
took a
big hit – Pensacola alone lost $10 million in lodging revenue last
summer. And now the city is happy to announce that things are back in full
swing this summer!

So no matter what you find
to do in the sunshine state’s Pensacola, remember to slow down your New York style for some southern living.