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America’s oldest European settlement, established in 1559, Pensacola grew up around a natural deep water bay perfect for a protected port. Several fortresses were build to defend this unique position, including Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas, which still stand today. The first shots of the Civil War rang out above the ramparts, but the response at Fort Sumter came more quickly. Always a city of naval power, Pensacola still has a strong military community, with several major bases along its bays and rivers. Along the barrier islands of Santa Rosa Island and Perdido Key, its beaches are incomparable, with bright white sand against an emerald ...

America’s oldest European settlement, established in 1559, Pensacola grew up around a natural deep water bay perfect for a protected port. Several fortresses were build to defend this unique position, including Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas, which still stand today. The first shots of the Civil War rang out above the ramparts, but the response at Fort Sumter came more quickly. Always a city of naval power, Pensacola still has a strong military community, with several major bases along its bays and rivers. Along the barrier islands of Santa Rosa Island and Perdido Key, its beaches are incomparable, with bright white sand against an emerald Gulf of Mexico. Downtown Pensacola reflects the wash of cultures over its shores, with Spanish architecture and French influences evocative of New Orleans, and is heart of the region’s nightlife and dining, of history and culture, museums and galleries. Beyond the beach, Blackwater River State Forest – Florida’s largest state forest – offers numerous recreation areas for camping and fishing, extensive trails for backpacking and day hiking, kayak and canoe runs, equestrian and mountain biking trails, and a tubing run down Coldwater Creek.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States. Pensacola is a sea port on Pensacola Bay, which connects to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year-round