Tag Archives: Pensacola Beach

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.



Spring break, but not booze, on the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk

By Claudia Carlson
Staff Writer


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johns.

Spring break is here for UWF students, but if you are planning to go to Pensacola Beach, be aware. Some things are not as they used to be.

The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners approved an ordinance that took effect March 1 banning the possession of open containers of alcohol in the central commercial areas of Pensacola Beach. Along with the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk, this ban also includes parking lots, streets, sidewalks, parks and other public areas or recreational facilities within the restricted area.

Open containers (no glass) are allowed only in the sand, the beach itself, except for the family designated area of Casino Beach just west of Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier.

This ordinance means that when you go to a bar or restaurant on Pensacola Beach, you are not allowed to leave the premises with an alcoholic beverage, as in the past.

“I think this new ordinance is a really good idea,” said Natasha Coulter, Pensacola Beach Hooters waitress. “The laws on the beach about drinking should be stricter. There are so many people who get too intoxicated, and with this ordinance, I believe it will help make the boardwalk a safer place.”

“There are also so many underage people, or people in general, who try to sneak their alcoholic drinks into our establishment, so I really do think this will be a good thing.”

The ban on open containers of alcohol anywhere other than the sandy beaches was put into effect on March 1, just in time for spring break season.

“The move is largely aimed at the raucous behavior business owners say has become the norm at the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk on weekend nights during the tourism season. While drinking will be allowed inside bars on the boardwalk, drinking on the boardwalk will not,” according to a Pensacola News Journal story on March 1, 2016.

In November, the PNJ conducted a Twitter poll asking followers: “#PensacolaBeach alcohol ban a good idea or bad idea?” Thirty-four percent of recipients voted it was a good idea, while 66 percent voted it a bad idea.

While this may seem like a bad thing for spring breakers, tourists or beachgoers in general, this ordinance is for the safety of the public.

“I remember when I was little, my mom telling me how dangerous the boardwalk was at night, and how she never wanted me to go there,” said Emily Ioakim, a college student on spring break. “While on spring break this past week, I stayed at Perdido Beach because it is calm and safer, but I still went to the boardwalk one day, went to Bamboo Willies and got drinks with my friends. I didn’t think it was a problem, only being able to drink inside the bar. We didn’t even notice.”

The county will be monitoring crime and business statistics on the beach to see how well the ordinance is working. In June of 2017 the ban will either expire or become permanent, depending on the results of the statistics.

Spring breakers, be safe, have fun — just keep your alcoholic beverages in the bars or the non-restricted white sand.

The Bay Bridge project picks up speed as the new year begins

MacKenzie Kees

Opinions Editor

 This artist’s rendering shows the Pensacola side of the planned Bay Bridge. Photo courtesy of www.pensacolabaybridge.com

This artist’s rendering shows the Pensacola side of the planned Bay Bridge.
Photo courtesy of www.pensacolabaybridge.com

One reason many non-resident students come to UWF is Pensacola Beach’s beautiful emerald Gulf waters and powdered-sugar beaches. The easiest access to the beach is crossing a three-mile bridge.

The “Three-Mile Bridge,” or Pensacola Bay Bridge, is nearing the end of its 50-year design life, and contractors are already vying for the opportunity to construct its replacement, a nearly $500-million dollar project slated to begin in late 2016 or early 2017. A project that has been brewing since January 2011, reconstructing the Bay Bridge was deemed necessary when it failed to reach the proper sufficiency rank after its last inspection in 2010.

The structurally deficient Bay Bridge lacks a bicycle and pedestrian lane and is considered to be a safety hazard, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Other concerns published in the Pensacola Bay Bridge PD&E Study include a projected increase in average daily traffic from 59,200 vehicles per day to 68,500. This increase in future traffic demand will surpass the bridge’s current capacity threshold.

By July 2016, the FDOT will choose the project’s contractor out of the remaining five proposals submitted, according to FDOT’s timeline. If the contractor chosen completes the new southbound bridge within 860 calendar days, a $15 million dollar bonus will be awarded as a financial incentive to insure apt progress is made.

“It’s a chain of events that we’re looking to expedite so we can have the newer structure completed,” FDOT Spokesman Ian Satter told the “Pensacola News Journal.” (Taken from a PNJ story published on Oct. 14, 2015.)

Other modifications to come with the bridge include a new boat launch in Gulf Breeze’s Wayside Park and a ferry service connecting Pensacola to Santa Rosa Island.

“The numbers from the PD&E study indicate that the bridge would be 15-20 feet higher,” Gulf Breeze City Manager Edwin “Buzz” Eddy told the “Pensacola News Journal.” (Taken from a PNJ story published on Feb. 13, 2015.) Eddy said the new six-lane bridge would also be “twice as wide,” and “vehicles will be able to drive underneath the bridge.” This design concept attempts to create more space in order to alleviate the negative impacts the project may have for local shops near the bridge.

The Bay Bridge replacement project is expected to be one of the biggest road construction developments in the local area’s history. Providing important regional access for commuters, the Bay Bridge has been a crucial link between Gulf Breeze and Pensacola since its original conception in 1960.

Avoiding the bridge to take the nearest detour route to Gulf Breeze from Pensacola would add an extra 27 miles to the trip, which is impractical for commuters and residents alike. The new Bay Bridge will reduce delay times, so residents and commuters will rejoice.

For more information about the Pensacola Bay Bridge project, visit http://www.pensacolabaybridge.com/.