National Naval Aviation Museum#2 in Best Things To Do in Pensacola
The National Naval Aviation Museum is based on board the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola. Founded in 1914, it's the oldest air station in the country and it's a rite of passage for all aviators and naval flight officers. Along with exhibiting more than 150 preserved aircraft, the museum also features exhibits showcasing the people and events that defined aviation history. NAS Pensacola is also home base for the Blue Angels, a demonstration squadron perhaps best known for its truly awe-inspiring aerobatic maneuvers.
Travelers describe their visit to the National Naval Aviation Museum as impressive, and highly recommend forking over a little more coin to watch the informative movies playing in the IMAX theater, which can vary throughout the year. Other travelers recommend inquiring if the Blue Angels are practicing since those practice sessions are free to watch. Practice usually takes place Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from March to November. Visitors also recommend taking the free guided tour of the museum, saying it provides a much richer experience than a self-guided spin through the museum.
The National Naval Aviation Museum is free to visit, tour and even park your car. You'll find it about 15 miles down the coast from central Pensacola. It's open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Visitors ages 16 and older will need to show identification to enter the museum. Keep in mind that if you do not possess a Department of Defense ID card or if you're not accompanied on base by someone who possesses one, you'll have to enter through West Gate, located off Blue Angels Parkway. For more information, visit the National Naval Aviation Museum's website.
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#1 Pensacola Beach
Pensacola Beach outlines the Santa Rosa barrier island and offers visitors two very different beach experiences. On the Gulf side, visitors are treated to unparalleled Gulf Coast views, as well as a powdery white shoreline and emerald waters. The soft sands that ribbon the Santa Rosa Sound side of the island are popular among families since they offer gentle waves and access to a boardwalk filled with fun shops and restaurants.
Keep in mind that although the entire island's beaches are known as Pensacola Beach, there are also names for the smaller strips of sand therein. For instance, Quietwater Beach is located on the sound side, stretching from the Portofino Boardwalk to the Pensacola Beach bridge tollbooth, and it's very family-friendly with its lifeguard protection and its "quiet waters." Casino Beach is located on the Gulf and has a host of amenities, including restrooms, changing rooms, lifeguards, a fishing pier and more. You'll find this beach just south of the intersection of Via de Luna and Fort Pickens Road.
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