A UWF student’s guide to summer in Pensacola

By Claudia Carlson

Staff Writer

 Pensacola Beach is just one of many options for summer fun. Photo courtesy http://www.destination360.com/.

Pensacola Beach is just one of many options for summer fun.
Photo courtesy http://www.destination360.com/.

If you will be staying in Pensacola this summer, whether it’s because you live here or are staying for classes, a job or an internship, this is the guide to help you have a fun-filled summer.

Pensacola has always been known for its beautiful beaches, but recently, Pensacola has been expanding and becoming so much more. Of course, during the summer, the beach is the No. 1 attraction, but unless you’re a mermaid, you are going to want some other activities to fill your free time.

Here is a list of the 10 things I would recommend for you do this summer to ensure that you spend it doing the best things Pensacola has to offer.

  1. The beach – You’re living in Pensacola during the summer, so take the opportunity to soak up the sun and have some fun. There are tons of places for you to eat or just hang out. You can go play volleyball at Flounders, eat at Casino Beach Bar (the food is amazing), or simply go to 17th Avendia park at the church and lay out on the beach with no tourists.
  2. Blue Wahoos games – Something that makes Pensacola so special is that we have our own minor league baseball team with a beautiful stadium right on the water. There are multiple games a week and the tickets are reasonably priced. Get a group together and you will have the best time. For tickets and more information go to: http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t4124.
  3. Dine Downtown – Downtown really has the best food in Pensacola. Two wonderful sushi restaurants — Nom and Khans – are delicious; Union Public House just opened up with fantastic burgers; Carmen’s Lunch Bar has the best eclectic tapas that you won’t get anywhere else; and Hub Stacey’s is the place for hearty, delicious sandwiches with a great atmosphere. There are so many places for any kind of appetite.
  4. Naval Aviation Museum – Pensacola is known for being a Navy town, and we have the best museum to prove it. It’s perfect for a rainy day, or one of those too-hot days. You don’t have to have a love for airplanes or the Navy; it really is just an interesting and fun attraction for all types and ages. And it is free! http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org.
  5. Historic Tours of Downtown Pensacola — Pensacola is an historic town with so much activity. The Pensacola Historic Village has multiple tours where you can see how Pensacola was during the 1700s. During the tour, guides are dressed up and doing activities that were done in the 1700s (like churning butter and cooking over a fire), recreating early living in Pensacola. There is also a ghost tour that takes you to all the haunted places of Downtown Pensacola. http://www.historicpensacola.org/plan-your-visit/tours-exhibits/
  6. Thursday nights in downtown – If you go out on a Thursday night, you will find many deals and places to go. Wild Greg’s and Seville Quarter offer admission for 18+ (instead of the usual 21+), O’Rileys has drink specials, and just in general everyone seems to go out in Pensacola on Thursdays.
  7. The forts – Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas offer tours, or a place to go fishing or have a picnic. It’s a little bit of a drive into Pensacola Beach, but it’s beautiful and full of history. https://www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/fort-pickens.htm  and https://www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/fort-barrancas.htm.
  8. Scuba diving – Experienced scuba divers will want to visit the Oriskany, which is a former aircraft carrier that was sunk 12 miles offshore to become an artificial reef. http://www.ussoriskanydiver.com
  9. Tubing in Black Water River – This technically isn’t in Pensacola, it’s in Milton, but it is so much fun to leisurely float down the river on a hot summer day. My favorite place to go is Bob’s Canoes: http://www.blackwatercanoe.com.
  10. Florida Wildlife Sanctuary – For animal lovers like myself, I would highly recommend visiting or volunteering at the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, a nonprofit organization that provides care to injured or orphaned indigenous wildlife at 105 N. S Street. They have owls, bald eagles, turtles, etc. After they have rehabilitated the animals, they are released back into the wild. http://www.pensacolawildlife.com.

“I love staying in Pensacola for the summer,” Juliann Laird, UWF junior, said. “I am taking one summer class and I will be working a lot, but I will be relaxing on the beach as much as I can. That is what I love about summer. Even though I am still taking a class, it doesn’t feel like it. It is a lot more laid back and enjoyable.”

Pensacola is so much more than just a college town, which is what makes UWF so special. Most college towns are just that – a college town – but with Pensacola you get a really up-and-coming downtown area, the beach, as well as a lot of beautiful nature. It is the best of all worlds, which is why I believe staying in Pensacola this summer is the best way to go.