Pensacola Beach, located on the Gulf coast barrier island of Santa Rosa, features some of the smoothest sand of all. Comprised almost entirely of quartz, you will be tossing off your flip flops and digging your feet right into the fine sugar like sand, which rivals the smoothness found at Sarasota’s Siesta Key. This beach is most know for its’ stunning pier, which at 1470 feet, is one of the largest on the Gulf of Mexico.
The Emerald Coast is the nickname given to the 100 mile stretch of beaches in the Panhandle region. The name comes from the brilliant emerald green hue of the water which results from the sun reflecting off the algae.
Like most Florida Gulf beaches, Pensacola offers no shortage of bird watching opportunities. Orioles, towhees, indigo buntings, warblers, and osprey can all be seen as hundreds of migrating birds make their way to the Gulf Islands National seashore, the longest section of protected seashore in the country. Three species of the endangered sea turtle can be found here. The nesting season for the sea turtle runs from May-October, with the prime hatching season in August. Consider yourself lucky if you get to see one of these magnificent creatures.
The adjacent beach boardwalk is home to a number of restaurants and bars. Hemingway’s is a casual grill which overlooks the Santa Rosa Sound. The Grand Marlin is another excellent choice, especially if you like seafood.