Pensacola was first inhabited by Panzacola Indians thousands of years ago. There existed pine forests which provided good shade and easy passage ways since there were no undergrowth. Since the forests offered less food, the Indians lived near bodies of water where food was abundant. Nothing much has been known of these inhabitants, as the tribes prior to European colonization had become extinct.
The area’s history on record starts in the 16th century upon the arrival of European explorers. Panfilo de Narvaez and Hernando de Soto visited the Pensacola Bay in 1528 and 1539 respectively, during the time when the bay was still known as the Bay of Ochuse.
In 1559, Tristan de Luna y Arellano arrived from Vera Cruz, Mexico. He had with him 1,4000 people aboard 11 ships. His purpose was to create a settlement/outpost in Florida, which he called Ochuse. From that effort came more explorers to colonize Santa Elena. The colonization was hit by a September hurricane which killed hundreds, sank ships, and destroyed their supplies. The survivors decided to relocate the outpost, but famine made them abandon their efforts in 1561. 240 survivors who sailed to Santa Elena were affected by another storm, thus they sailed for Cuba and separated. The survivors who were left in Pensacola went to Mexico. There, the advisers of the Viceroy came to a conclusion that northeastern Florida was not a safe place to stay. For 135 years, that view came to effect.
Late 17th century had the French exploring the lower Mississippi River. They wanted to colonize that area, a part of Louisiana. The Spaniards feared that the explorations would threaten the Spanish territory in Florida and Mexico, thus they decided to create another settlement. They established a town near present-day Fort Barrancas in 1698. That settlement became the foundation for Pensacola’s present-day city. The three presidios built by the Spanish were Presidio Santa Maria de Galve, Presidio Isla de Santa Rosa, and Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola.
As a consequence of the French and Indian War, the Spanish gave Florida up to the British in 1763. Pensacola, then, became capital of the new British colony. In 1763, the British went to San Carlos de Barrancas and established the Royal Navy Redoubt. In 1779, Spain joined the American Revolution. She gained control over West Florida after capturing the city in the Battle of Pensacola in 1781. In 1819, Florida was sold by Spain to the United States for the sum of US$5 million under the Adams-Onis Treaty. In 1821, Pensacola became part of the United States, during the administration of Gov. Andrew Jackson.
Pensacola remained West Florida’s capital until 1822. In 1862, during the Civil War, the city was given up to the Confederate forces.
Tourists can reach Pensacola by plane or car.
Tourists by plane to Pensacola land at Pensacola Regional Airport. From there, you can rent a car or a cab, or use their Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT) bus. A number of companies offer car rental services, thus this is an easy option for tourists who want to tour the city. Taxis charge an additional $1 to pick up tourists (since they are authorized to do that), and a $11 charge for taxi use from the airport. Taxis are expensive yet easy ways to travel throughout the city.
Mobile Regional Airport is also an alternative, though more expensive than when landing at PNS. However, if the flight won’t need a stopover in Atlanta, it is cheaper to land at Mobile. From there, there are rental cars available, or, for about $20, tourists can take the Greyhound bus to Pensacola.
If tourists opt to drive, they can reach Pensacola via I-10, Highway 29 and I-65 (three hours from Montgomery). The easiest way throughout the city is Interstate 10. Highway 90 is a road travelling parallel to I-10. If you want to travel with a better scenery and not minding driving long hours, go for Highway 90. When travelling along 90, the road forks in Pensacola. The northern fork is Nine Mile Road, and usually doesn’t lead to the city. The southern fork is named as follows: Mobile Highway, Cervantes Street, Scenic Highway. The travel is longer, but the Pensacola Bay view from Scenic Highway is breathtaking. Interstate 110 is a 6-mile long road connecting I-10 with Pensacola.
Pensacola has a warm subtropical weather. It also has short and mild winters, tempered with hot summers. During summer months, Pensacola has thunderstorms which occur in the afternoons or in the evenings. Pensacola enjoys over 300 sunshine days, and is one of the famous holiday destinations.
The hottest months fall between June, July, and August, though July is also considered as the rainiest month. Summer temperature runs from 23-24 °C to 32-34 °C. During winter, Pensacola temperatures are coolest in December, January, and February, with the temperature plunging to approximately 10°C in January. Snow, though rare, occasionally falls on Pensacola.
Spring and autumn are dry seasons, characterized by a humid weather and light rainfalls. Pensacola also experiences hurricanes due to its location on the Panhandle region.
What to Wear
During summer months, it is advisable to wear light-colored and cool clothing, especially those made from cotton. Women can wear skirts and cool sundresses. Flip flops are definitely something to bring. If you plan to stay outdoors for longer hours, bring along a hat, a pair of shades for eye protection, and apply a generous amount of sunblock with a high SPF, applying every 2 to 3 hours.
For night outs, it is advisable to wear appropriate outfits.
During the rainy seasons, be sure to have a jacket or sweatshirt. Same goes for non-rainy days but with cooler nights.
Listed below are the famous fish which anglers can catch in Pensacola’s waters.
BEST MONTHS TO FISH
Below is the list of the best months to catch Pensacola’s fishes.
June to September – red snapper
May to August – grouper
April to October – amberjack
May to August – king mackerel
March to May – Spanish mackerel
April to June – cobia
April to August – marlin
May to August – sailfish
May to September – mahi mahi, wahoo, tuna, speckled trout
April to September – shark, bonito
March to September – red fish
July – tarpon
all year round – mingo snapper, white snapper, black snapper, trigger
WHAT TO BRING AND WEAR WHEN FISHING
The following are the most appropriate outfit when going for a fish:
• light long sleeves, cool light-colored cotton outfits
• jacket or other rain gear
• boat shoes
• sun screen with high SPF
The following should also be in your A-list:
• camera (souveniers anyone?)
• water or your preferred beverages
Attractions and Activities
Listed below are some of the fun things and the attractions where tourists can visit and indulge in when vacationing in Pensacola.
*National Naval Aviation Museum
1750 Radford Blvd.
NAS Pensacola Pensacola, FL 32508
(850) 453-2389 or (800) 327-5002
Fax: (850) 457-3032
Pensacola, FL 32562
2081 Radford Blvd.
(on NAS Pensacola) Pensacola, FL 32508
118 Palafox Place, Pensacola, FL 32502-5630
*Gulf Islands National Seashore
Pensacola, FL 32563
Fax: (850) 932-2954
*Marcus Pointe Golf Club
2500 Oak Pointe Drive Pensacola, FL 32505
*Buccaneer State Park
1150 S. Beach Blvd.
Waveland Pensacola, FL MS 39576
6601 North Davis Highway, Suite 22 Pensacola, FL 32504
16 S. Palafox Place Pensacola, FL
*T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum
120 Church St Pensacola, FL 32502-5941
*Rave Motion Picture Theater
6596 North W Street Pensacola, FL 32508
Where to Stay
Listed below are Pensacola’s rental and hotel accommodations which offer affordable yet one-of-a-kind experience to tourists.
*Hampton Inn Pensacola Airport
2187 Airport Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32504
*Sole Inn and Suites
200 N Palafox St, Pensacola, FL 32501
*Best Western Plus Blue Angel Inn
2390 W Detroit Blvd, I-10 Exit 7, Pensacola, FL 32534
*Hilton Garden Inn Pensacola Airport -Medical Center
1144 Airport Boulevard, Pensacola, FL 32504
*TROPICAL THERAPY 5CU
*Holiday Inn Pensacola-North Davis Highway
7813 N. Davis Hwy, Pensacola FL 32514
Where to Eat
Listed below are gastronomic havens which Pensacola’s tourists can choose from.
*McGuire’s Irish Pub & Brewery
600 E Gregory St, Pensacola, FL 32502-4153
119 East Nine Mile Road, Pensacola, FL 32534
*The Tuscan Oven Pizzeria
4801 N. 9th Ave., Pensacola, FL 32504
*The Global Grill
25 South Palafox Street, Pensacola, FL 32501
400 South Palafox Street, Pensacola, FL 32502
*Five Sisters Blues Cafe
421 W. Belmont St., Pensacola, FL 32501
*Peg Leg Pete’s
1010 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, Pensacola, FL 32561
(850) 932 4139