Published: May 29, 2019
By Jim Graves
We recently took a trip to Pensacola, Florida, known for its sandy white beaches and for its military base over which the Blue Angels aircraft practice and perform. Here are some highlights:
Best Western Plus Blue Angel Inn (www.bestwestern.com/en_US/book/hotels-in-pensacola/best-western-plus-blue-angel-inn/propertyCode.10368.html) – Named for the Blue Angels, the family-friendly hotel is located conveniently off the I-10 which cuts through the city. Our room was spacious, and the bed comfortable. There was a refrigerator. Amenities included free breakfast, exercise room and a pool. It was a great place for us to stopover for a few nights.
National Naval Aviation Museum (www.navalaviationmuseum.org/) – This free museum is located on a military base (use the 1878 South Blue Angel Parkway entrance!) is one of the city’s top attractions. It features many exhibits and old airplanes which share the history of U.S. naval aviation. It could easily be an all-day activity; take advantage of the guides standing by to help. Check the dates online; you can watch the Blue Angels practice on select days during the year. Enjoy lunch in the café.
Premier Adventure Park (www.premieradventurepark.com/) – We wanted to experience some of the fun on Pensacola Beach, so we headed to the Premier Adventure Park. It offers a variety of activities, both in the sea and on land. Sea activities included parasailing and jet skiing (including with a dolphin tour option); land activities included a two-level ropes course and go-karts. The staff was young and friendly, the water warm and scenery beautiful.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (www.crackerbarrel.com/) – We needed a quick dinner upon arriving in Pensacola, and opted for Cracker Barrel, which was located near the Best Western Plus Blue Angel Inn. This is a friendly, family restaurant which also has country store. The chicken and dumplings was delicious; the baked beans, corn on the cob and cornbread are some great choices for sides. Another great option is the country fried steak. Make sure you try the buttermilk biscuits or corn muffins. The service is friendly and the prices reasonable. And, on a cold day, they’ll build a fire in the fireplace. Very kid-friendly.
Lucas’ – Where Locals Go (portofinoisland.com/lucas) – This beachside eatery is located near Premier Adventure Park on the Portofino Boardwalk on Pensacola Beach. It is a great vantage point to people watch, and has a nice beach view. They offer soups & salads, appetizers, sandwiches, flatbreads and pastas. They also have a wide selection of premium wines and beers, a kids’ menu and desserts. I had my first hamburger of the trip, the pan seared burger, I also had the crab & corn chowder soup. We also had the Margherita flatbread, and the Lobster Mac n’ Cheese. Pensacola was a lot of fun. We look forward to returning soon.
- Jim Graves is a family travel writer who travels to family-friendly locations throughout the U.S. with wife, Carol, and two children.