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Best things to do in Pensacola

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Where in the world: USA  /  Florida  /  Florida Panhandle  /  Pensacola

Top 15 things to do in Pensacola

1. National Naval Aviation Museum

Dedicated to preserving the history of naval aviation, National Naval Aviation Museum displays more than 4,000 artifacts and 150 aircraft and spacecraft. In addition to the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic, the museum's collection includes other historical helicopters, biplanes, fighter planes, gliders, and space capsules. The museum also operates a flight academy, a six-day program meant to teach the youngest of aviation enthusiasts about the importance of science and math in aerospace careers. Pilot wannabes of all ages can ride the museum's flight simulators or watch IMAX films at the on-site theater. The museum gift shop sells aviation books, toys, caps, flags, patches, and posters.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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2. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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3. Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

Climb 177 steps up Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum for one of the best views on the Gulf Coast. Built in 1859, the lighthouse is located within Naval Air Station Pensacola, so you may need to obtain a special permit to visit. It's best to check the official website for details about visiting. Visitors praise stunning views of Pensacola Bay, Pensacola skyline, and historic Navy Yard. Keep in mind that you must have valid picture ID to enter, and that you will not be able to bring any type of purse or bag.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Chase-N-Fins, Pensacola Beach

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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5. Pensacola Beach, Pensacola Beach

Beautiful Pensacola Beach is known for its white sand and emerald water. Favorite activities include snorkeling, diving, sailing, and fishing off of the pier. Nearby you can head over to the boardwalk, lined with shops, musicians, and sidewalk artists, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many fresh seafood restaurants.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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6. Dolphin & Whale Watching, Orange Beach

Orange Beach dolphin and whale watching excursions provide an ideal way to sail the placid waters of the Gulf of Mexico and spot a range of native land and marine animals. Pick your favorite time of the day and the most appealing watercraft--boat, jet ski, or kayak--and prepare to meet the underwater community of some of the most intelligent marine creatures in the world. Exploring with an informative guide, you'll learn about their eating and breeding habits and have plenty of chances to capture their acrobatic stunts on camera. Most tours last from 90 minutes to 3 hours.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile

Walk the decks of USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park, the highly decorated U.S. Navy ship that served for 37 months in World War II, now a museum at Battleship Memorial Park. The ship is half as long as the Empire State Building is tall and weighs 44,500 tons. Initially, the military intended to scrap the ship in 1962 due to its maintenance costs, but Alabama school children and corporate fundraising saved the ship and brought it back to its home state in 1964. After you’ve explored the historical vessel, you can step inside a World War II submarine, see cockpits of military aircrafts, or even enjoy a picnic on the park’s grounds.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Fort Barrancas

Fort Barrancas (1839) or Fort San Carlos de Barrancas (from 1787) is a United States military fort and National Historic Landmark in the former Warrington area of Pensacola, Florida, located physically within Naval Air Station Pensacola, which was developed later around it.
The hill-top fort, connected to a sea level water battery,

overlooks Pensacola Bay. From 1839–1844, the historic Spanish fort on the hill was reconstructed and dramatically expanded in brick. This is now termed "Fort Barrancas". The older, water battery downhill (Bateria de San Antonio, 1787) has been separately named as "Fort San Carlos".

It is a remnant from the Spanish fortification, the wooden (Spanish: Fuerte) Fort San Carlos de Barrancas of the late 18th century.

Due to changing requirements, the U.S. Army deactivated Fort Barrancas on April 15, 1947 following World War II. Designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1960, the fort was transferred to the control and administration of the National Park Service in 1971. After extensive restoration during 1971–1980, Fort Barrancas was opened to the public (see below: Timeline).

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Dolphin & Whale Watching, Perdido Key

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. Gulf Islands

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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13. Santa Rosa Island

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. AJ's Water Adventures, Destin

AJ's Water Adventures include dolphin cruises, sunset tours, sailing, and snorkeling excursions. Every cruise comes with free wine, beer, water, and other beverages. The operator provides all snorkeling gear needed, so all you have to worry about bringing is sunscreen. If you're planning a private event or celebration, book a tour on one of the company's boats and share an adventure just with your friends and family. You'll find details about available tours on the website, where you can also book a boat for a private tour.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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