“The City of Five Flags,” “World’s Whitest Beaches,” “Cradle of Naval Aviation” and “Red Snapper Capital of the World”are all nicknames for Pensacola, FL. Pensacola is a sea port on Pensacola Bay, which connects to the Gulf of Mexico. The first United States Navy airbase is located southwest of Pensacola and is home to the Blue Angels flight demonstration team and the National Museum of Naval Aviation. The main campus of the University of West Florida is situated north of the city center.
Pensacola, FL boasts an intriguing history dating back nearly 450 years. It was the first European-inhabited settlement in the continental United States in 1559. Pensacola’s location has caused great turmoil, with many buildings destroyed by wars and by numerous major hurricanes. Its location along the Perdido River, south of the original British colonies, served as the dividing line between French Louisiana and Spanish Florida. Pensacola has been under the possession of the Spanish, French, British, Confederate States and United States; hence the nickname “City of Five Flags.”
But before the arrival of Spanish explorers, Florida was home to at least 250,000 Native Americans who were part of several cultural groups. These first Floridians developed extensive trade routes and complex societies. During the 16th century, the Florida Panhandle was home to several smaller groups, such as the Panzacola, Chatot and Sawokli Indians. As these people hunted and fished along the West Florida cost, the area’s sheltered bays and estuaries provided abundant food sources for them. When more Conquistadors arrived in 1698, Spanish soldiers, aided by slaves, built a fort at what is now the Naval Air Station on Pensacola Bay. That settlement was unearthed in 1998; a bastion and educational kiosk was opened to the public to help you imagine life over 300 years ago.
Fort Pickens was completed in 1834 and used until WWII, when modern weapons made traditional coastal defense obsolete. The Fort has changed over the years, so take the self-guided tour and peel back the layers of history. It’ll lead you to cannon emplacements, powder magazines, and show you where Bastion D once stood, the corner of the fort that was destroyed when a warehouse fire reached a magazine holding four tons of black powder. The 1899 explosion showered debris over 1-1/2 miles, reaching Fort Barrancas at the naval air station on the mainland.
Pensacola residents produced more than 21 million bricks right across the bay in Pensacola; most were barged to the site where Fort Pickens stands today. Those bricks were used in constructing many historic forts in the local area including Ft. Pickens, Ft. Barrancas, the Pensacola Lighthouse, the Navy Yard (all at the Pensacola Naval Air Station) and the now submerged Ft. McRee. Bricks were also shipped to New Orleans and the Florida Keys, where they are a part of Ft. Taylor and Ft. Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas.
Civil War buffs will delight in the 4,200 square feet of historical exhibits and artifacts at the Civil War Soldiers Museum. Popular with military reunions, the Wall South at Veterans Memorial Park on Bayfront Parkway is a one-half scale replica of the design in Washington, D.C. You won’t want to miss the Pensacola Historical Museum with overviews of the nations whose flags flew over Pensacola. The Seville Historic District is one of the oldest and most intact in all of Florida, its architecture reflecting modest structures perfectly suited to the climate. Within this small neighborhood is Old Christ Church, Florida’s oldest church (1832) and St. Michael’s Cemetery, deeded to Pensacola by the King of Spain in 1822, is where slaves and nobility alike are buried.
Pensacola became the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” when the Naval Air Station opened for business. The world-class National Museum of Naval Aviation showcases the history of Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation with a historic collection of 150 superbly restored one-of-a-kind aircraft, both inside the Museum’s 291,000 square feet of exhibit space and outside on the 37-acre grounds. Be sure to catch the latest large format film at the IMAX Theater. Almost 7 stories tall with a 6-channel, 15,000-watt sound system, you can experience a take-off in an F-18 fighter jet , land on an aircraft carrier at over 150 miles per hour or cruise the skies at mach speed!
The climate of Pensacola is subtropical, with mild winters and hot, humid summers. Summer temperatures are characterized by highs in the low 90s and lows in the mid 70s. Evening thunderstorms are common during the summer months. With an average high temperature of 77°, the area is known for its moderate climate, making almost anything possible. Sports enthusiasts have their choice of activities ranging from 5-K runs and marathons to golfing and fishing to parasailing and scuba diving. National and State Parks also provide opportunities for camping, swimming, boating and hiking. If white sands and relaxation are what you seek, then look no further. Pensacola can offer you days of fun in the sun while basking on our soft white sands. 52 miles of unspoiled white sand guarded by the remains of Fort Pickens and Fort McRee offer the sun worshiper plenty of space to walk the pristine shoreline or simply relax with a great book and a cool beverage.
Extraordinary shopping is always available as are dining options where you can sample Cajun dishes, Southern barbeque or fresh seafood at downtown Pensacola specialty shops. The downtown area also showcases wonderful art galleries featuring both local and regional art, as well as traveling exhibits in the Pensacola Museum of Art. If antique shopping entices you, antique stores and flea markets pepper the area from the elegant to the eclectic. From mullet-tossing to wine-tasting, Greyhound racing to Five Flags Speedway, with professional ice hockey in between, there is endless fun to be had at this beautiful coastal paradise.
Spend some time in Pensacola. Pensacola offers the best of all worlds to visitors—full of culture, history, outdoor adventure, sports, nature, fine museums, shopping and attractions plus 52 miles of BEAUTIFUL BEACHES that have remained untouched through the centuries—there’s something for everyone! Pensacola has fulfilled many dreams of a fabled Florida vacation. So plan a little, dream a little…and share in the delight of our corner of Florida by contacting us today about Florida Real Estate in Pensacola. You’ll see why they say it’s where thousands live the way millions wish they could.
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