Are you looking for a winter getaway? Looking for a place with mild temperatures and lots to do? Pensacola is a great place to spend the winter.

Why winter in Pensacola Florida? My husband and I are now snowbirds. What began as a weekend trip during the holidays, has now turned into a two- or three-week stay in a sunny and warm winter location.

As with most ” Snowbirds “, getting out of cold weather is the primary reason to “fly south for the winter”. In Pensacola the winter months are mild to warm. Temperatures range from mid-60s to low-70s. It can be warmer when the sun is shining. I wore only long sleeves and a lightweight windbreaker during our recent mid-December trip.

Pensacola is the “Way To Beach” in Florida for winter vacations. Here are the top 7 reasons you should consider spending the winter in Pensacola.

Pensacola Beaches Are World Famous and Historic

Pensacola Beach, located just over the bridge in downtown Pensacola is home to the most beautiful fine-quartz sugar sand and emerald green water. Pensacola Beaches are among the best beaches I have ever visited. Pensacola Beach is home to many public beach access points. Many of these are located within the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

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Gulf Islands National Seashore is enjoying a mild winter. Photo by Loretta Berberry

Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier stretches 1,471 feet above the water and has something to offer everyone. The pier offers the ideal place to stroll, sightsee, and fish. The pier offers great fishing and is a spectacular place to watch birds, marine life, people, and more. The pier is the perfect vantage point to watch some of Pensacola Beach’s most beautiful sunsets. You might be lucky enough to see the Blue Angels flying by or practicing.

Pensacola Pier. Photo by Loretta Beretta

Picture-perfect and walkable downtown

Downtown Pensacola has a picture-perfect appearance. A wide variety of shops including bars, restaurants, boutiques and galleries. The American Planning Association named Palafox Street as one of the “Top 10 Streets in America”.

Picture-perfect Palafox Street downtown Pensacola. Visit Pensacola Photo

Palafox and its surrounding streets have an old-world “French”, old-world feeling reminiscent of New Orleans. There are wrought iron balconies and outdoor dining as well as music that wafts through the air. The area is very walkable. The best way to explore the downtown historic area is by walking.

Downtown Pensacola. Photo by Loretta Berberry

Pensacola was America’s first settlement

Walking through the Historic District and downtown on America’s First Settlement Trail is a great way to spend some time. The three-mile path has been marked. The Trail has 20 stops, and more than 70 points of interests. Discover Pensacola’s humble beginnings and learn how it became the vibrant, modern city that it is today.

America’s First Settlement Trail. Photo by Loretta Beretta

Winter is the Best Time to Visit Pensacola Museums

Pensacola, the first settlement of America (c.1559) has a rich history. The city is known as “The City of Five Flags”, because it has been ruled by five different governments over the years: Spain, France, Great Britain and the Confederate States of America.

The Museum of History is the best place to discover Pensacola’s colorful past. It’s housed in an old Pensacola City Hall, built around 1907. This three-story Mediterranean Revival building has a Mediterranean Revival style.

Pensacola History Museum. Photo by Loretta Berberry

Historic Colonial Pensacola Village

Historic Pensacola Village is located on 8.5 acres behind the Museum of History. It dates back to the 1800s. Visitors can go on a Historic House Tour that takes them through the Lavalle House, Old Christ Church, Dorr House and Lear/Rocheblave House.

The Village is a self-guided walking tour that includes the Museum of Commerce, Museum of Industry and historic buildings.

Old Christ Church, Historic Pensacola. Photo by Loretta Beretta

Another fantastic museum is the Pensacola Museum of Art. The old city jail from 1906 is located centrally in Pensacola’s historic downtown district. Multiple art exhibits are displayed on the two-story museum, including both rotating and permanent ones.

Note If you love museums, you can take advantage of a seven-day pass that allows you to visit all downtown Pensacola’s museums. Remember that all museums are closed on Mondays. Only the Museum of History and the Pensacola Childrens Museum are open Sundays, from 12 to 4 pm.

Pensacola’s Winter Hiking is Exhilarating

The Florida Panhandle has many easy and flat trails along the beach, bayous, and prairie lands. You don’t need to purchase expensive hiking gear. The trails in the Florida Panhandle run along the beaches, bayous and prairies. They are mostly flat and easy.

Big Lagoon State Park is located approximately 10 miles south of Pensacola and offers five miles worth of hiking trails that traverse nearly 700 acres saltwater marshes, pine flatwoods, and pine flatwoods. The park is the gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail.

Hiking in Pensacola during winter. Photo by Visit Pensacola

In Perdido Key State Park, ‘hiking’ is mostly along the beach. The boardwalk that connects the parking area to the beach crosses the dunes. During the winter, shelling and bird-watching are popular activities. Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park offers two trails:

  • A half-mile ADA accessible trail with elevated boardwalk and sidewalk meanders through prairie, cypress and titi forests
  • A 6.5-mile, more rugged trail through oaks and pines that passes muddy areas on its way to the Bayshore Beach.

Fort Pickens is a great place to visit during your winter in Pensacola.

The national park is located on the western tip Santa Rosa Island. It is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore Fort Pickens. There are many outdoor activities available all year round, such as beautiful beaches, camping overnight, hiking trails, Fort Pickens Trails and the Naval Live Oaks Area.

Built in 1834, the massive fortress was once home to Union troops as well as Apache leader Geronimo. You can take a free tour every day, or immerse yourself into a self guided tour.

Note : Fort Pickens is a place where you can easily get lost. You should plan to spend a few hours there. Stop by the Fort’s gift shop to find unique treasures.

Fort Perkins has cannons and bunkers. Photo by Loretta Beretta

Explore the diverse arts and culture scene

Pensacola is a small, charming city with a southern charm. This coastal city is a master at arts and entertainment. Pensacola, the only city between Tampa and Mobile, Alabama that offers a variety of cultural experiences, is located in this coastal city.

In the downtown district, you will find the Pensacola Opera and Pensacola Symphony Orchestra. You can also see the Ballet Pensacola as well as the historic Saenger Theatre.

The Pensacola Ballet. Visit Pensacola.

Note : These venues offer a wonderful way to spend an icy winter evening or afternoon. Each venue has a variety of shows that are both exceptional and high-quality throughout the winter. Check out their schedules by clicking on the links.

Pensacola’s Winter Festivals are a great way to enjoy the winter season

The Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival, which attracts more than 200 artists from around the world, is held in Seville Square every year in November. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the Blue Angels Airshow every Veteran’s Weekend. The Foo Foo Festival is also held in November. It’s a 12-day “big fun” celebration that features a diverse line-up artistic and cultural events.

The annual Winterfest & Trolley Tours is a family favorite event that runs from November to December and attracts locals as well as visitors. Winterfest is a family-friendly event that starts in November and runs through December. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the Winterfest Train, the “snowfall” falling from the sky at night, hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies. Trolley Tours, which are always entertaining and fun, are a must-do.

Winterfest Polar Express Trolley Tour Photo by Loretta. Berry

Everyone Loves Mardi Gras

This must-attend event is the Mardi Gras celebration, which returns to Downtown Pensacola. It will feature live music, free food and drink, and public access to vibrantly decorated Mardi Gras floats. Mardi Gras is celebrated from the first of January to Fat Tuesday.

In February, you can enjoy the most spectacular parades of the year with the Pensacola Beach Mardi Gras Parade and the The Illuminated Parade of Krewe of Lafitte. Pirates of Lost Treasure hosts their Mardi Gras Celebration with the Pirate Flotilla, an annual floating boat Parade traveling along the Intracoastal waterway in Perdido Key.

Mardi Gras Parade downtown Pensacola. Visit Pensacola Photo

Are You a Comic Book Fan?

Pensacon, the premier comic book convention and pop culture event held every February, is a three-day event. The event is a combination of a short film festival, accompanied by dozens of celebrity meet-and-greets, that attracts thousands from all over the world.

Note : Expect traffic delays at all events. If you need to cross a bridge to reach an event, allow extra time. We suggest that if you are staying downtown or nearby, leave your car parked and walk to downtown events.

Pensacola is a great place to spend the winter.

Sometimes, a Pensacola winter vacation requires a little creativity. You can try things that you wouldn’t normally do during the summer months when beaches are abound. There are many outdoor and water sports available, including kayaking, boating and dolphin tours. You won’t want leave Pensacola once you get there. When planning your next “snowbird winter getaway” to Florida, or another sunny state such as Arizona, let Wander With Wonder inspire you.