And there is a lot to love about Pensacola and her beaches. Pointing the way is the flashy, trashy 40-foot neon billfish, a sign that you have arrived! Pensacola Beach, the hub of Santa Rosa Island, is populated by trendy boutiques, luxury condos, fantastic eateries, the longest pier on the Gulf of Mexico, and the neighborhood portion of the island. Here, the sun and the nightlife are scorching hot—it's the place to see and be seen.
Flanking this busy central core are portions of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a 150-mile stretch of islands and keys from Destin, Florida clear over to coastal Mississippi. On Santa Rosa Island, 22 miles of gulf and soundfront are forever preserved. Visitors also enjoy the pre-Civil War sights at Fort Pickens, a fortress where Apache medicine man Geronimo was once incarcerated. Other interesting treasures include the Naval Live Oaks Preserve in Gulf Breeze, Johnson Beach on Perdido Key and Fort Barrancas at Pensacola's Naval Air Station.
For a city that's been on the map for more than 450 years, it's no wonder that Pensacola's fascinating history is in evidence everywhere you go. In its earliest days, Pensacola was tossed around like a volleyball between France, Spain, Britain... even the Confederacy before the U.S. made its final claim. Her abundant natural resources and deep-water harbor were a prime catch for any country to claim and the historic architecture, street layouts, old cannon, and especially food have all been influenced by Pensacola's rich heritage. The city is especially proud of its three historic districts and active marine and land archaeology programs. In fact, there's so much to love about Pensacola, many visitors still consider moving there as an option... especially if you just can't get enough... of beautiful Pensacola!