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Pensacola, Fl: A Little Known Florida Paradise
When you think of Florida, what city comes to mind? Most people think of Miami due to South Beach and the night life. Some think of Gainesville or Tallahassee or Jacksonville because of college or professional football, or Tallahassee being the capital. Some may even think of St. Augustine as the first permanent settlement, but Pensacola, Florida is an amazing city rich with a long history, sugar white beaches, a pletheora of museums, and wonderful people.
Pensacola is located in the panhandle of Northwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. It's recorded history dates back to 1559 when Tristan de Luna came from Vera Cruz, Mexico with about 1400 people and 11 ships to establish an outpost. It is a little known fact that Pensacola is actually the first settlement in Florida, but St. Augustine became the first PERMANENT settlement due to the fact that in September of 1559, a hurricane wiped out much of the de Luna settlement. A new settlement was established in 1698 when the French threatened to take control of the area. During the French and Indian War, the British took control of the city, but during the Battle of Pensacola in the American Revolution, Spain took back control. In 1819, Spain negotiated a treaty with the United States and sold "the Floridas" to the United States for $5 million dollars. With Andrew Jackson as provisional governor, Pensacola became part of the United States in 1821.
History You Can See
As you drive around various areas of Pensacola, you can see much of the history in the form of monuments, forts, the downtown area, and old cemetaries. Historic downtown Pensacola provides a working representation of life in Pensacola as it would have been in the 1800s. Many houses are also from that era. Old Christ Church is the oldest church in Pensacola with amazing architecture and beautiful craftsmanship. Archaeological digs in various places allow visitors to see civilizations that once existed. Parks in downtown showcase monuments of various explorers, and as you drive out to the beaches, you can tour the forts (Fort Pickens and Ft. Barrancus). Ft. Pickens was used during the Mexican War and the Civil War, and was used to house Apachee prisoners, including the most famous, Geronimo.
Other Wonders of Pensacola
Not only is Pensacola rich in history, but the beaches are some of the most beautiful in Florida. The white, sandy beaches stretch for miles and accompany gorgeous water of blue and green hues. If you're a sun lover, bring a beach chair and enjoy the sounds of the waves splashing against the beach, the gulls calling to each other, and families playing in the sand and surf. If you enjoy the water, you can have fun diving into the waves, lounging on floats, or playing ball with friends. If speed is more your thing, there are places to rent jet skiis, sail boats, and even go parasailing.
The fishing in Pensacola is wonderful as well. There is a myriad of fishing boat captains ready and waiting to take you out for the day, and will provide you with everything you need, including just the right spot to catch the big one. Or, if you like to fish from shore, we have MILES and MILES of shore and plenty of local bait shop owners who can direct you to just the right place. From spanish mackerel, to trout, to dolphin (not Flipper I should add), and many more, the schools are just waiting. If you enjoy sea life, however, there are sunset dolphin cruises where the dolphins swim by the boat. Photo ops await.
One more Pensacola highlight (though I could go on and on) is the National Naval Aviation Museum. This museum is world renowned and is located aboard the Pensacola Navy Base, home of the Blue Angels. It is here that you can watch the Blues practice during their season (March to November), sit in real airplane cockpits, watch IMAX movies (including The Magic of Flight), tour acres of original aircraft, enjoy flight simulators, and walk through a street as it would have been in the 1940s during World War II.
Pensacola is an amazing city filled with history and beauty. It is a well kept secret, but one worthy of being shared. If you're ever planning a trip to Florida, consider Pensacola. You won't be sorry you did.