Located 40 miles from Pensacola, Shalimar is much loved by tourists. Head to this place to access the Eglin Air Force Base and Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, two outstanding attractions you won't quickly forget. Just 45 miles away is another neighboring destination that's well worth visiting. Destin is a handy place to access amazing attractions like Destin Commons and Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park.
During the early years of settlement, a tri-racial creole society developed. As a fortified trading post, the Spanish had mostly men stationed here. Some married or had unions with Pensacola, Creek or African women, both slave and free, and their descendants created a mixed-race population of mestizos and mulattos. The Spanish encouraged slaves from the southern British colonies to come to Florida as a refuge, promising freedom in exchange for conversion to Catholicism. King Charles II of Spain issued a royal proclamation freeing all slaves who fled to Spanish Florida and accepted conversion and baptism. Most went to the area around St. Augustine, but escaped slaves also reached Pensacola. St. Augustine had mustered an all-black militia unit defending Spain as early as 1683.
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In 1559, Tristán de Luna y Arellano landed with some 1,500 people on 11 ships from Veracruz, Mexico. The expedition was to establish an outpost, ultimately called Santa María de Ochuse by Luna, as a base for Spanish efforts to colonize Santa Elena (present-day Parris Island, South Carolina.) But the colony was decimated by a hurricane on September 19, 1559, which killed an unknown number of sailors and colonists, sank six ships, grounded a seventh, and ruined supplies.
There are a number of different performance venues in the Pensacola Area, including the Pensacola Bay Center (formerly the Pensacola Civic Center), often used for big ticket events, and the Saenger Theater, used for performances and mid-level events. Other theatres used for live performances, plays, and musicals include the Pensacola Little Theatre, Pensacola State College, University of West Florida, Vinyl Music Hall, and Loblolly Theatre. Pensacola is also home to the Pensacola Opera, Pensacola Children's Chorus, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, Pensacola Civic Band, Pensacola Bay Concert Band, and the Choral Society of Pensacola, as well as Ballet Pensacola. There is also the Palafox Place entertainment district.
A colorful retro sign at the foot of the Bob Sikes Bridge points the way to 1Pensacola Beach. 1Pensacola Beach Google Map: Via De Luna Website: https://visitpensacolabeach.com/ 800-874-1234 It’s topped with a striped sailfish and the proclamation “World’s Whitest Beaches.” That famous, wide sweep of sand is the result of quartz particles rinsed thousands of years ago from the Appalachian Mountains and swooshed by rivers into the Gulf of Mexico, where they formed a new shoreline. You can spot sharks, dolphins, manatees and rays from the pier, a popular spot for sunset-watching and fishing. The beach boasts all the routine human comforts — seafood restaurants, hotels, paddle board and water scooter rental shops. But don’t miss its unique feature: the famous healing waters. By this I mean the slushy alcoholic milkshake called a bushwacker. Recipes for this dangerous brew include rum, vanilla ice cream, coconut cream, Kahlúa — you get the idea. I poked into Sandshaker before noon on a Sunday, by which time the bartender told me she had already mixed dozens, including one she whipped up before the bar opened for a guy waiting outside.
I’m driving on Via De Luna through Pensacola Beach, and I’ve soon left the condos behind. The name changes to Fort Pickens Road, running through unspoiled dunes and leading me into 3Gulf Islands National Seashore. 3Gulf Islands National Seashore Google Map: Fort Pickens Road Website: https://www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/florida.htm 850-934-2600 Pensacola Beach is actually part of a barrier island across Pensacola Bay from the city of Pensacola. The west end of that barrier island is in this protected park, bordered by spotless white sand and bunchy green knobs of sandhill rosemary. Beyond, on either side of me, there’s all that clear, sparkling water. Suddenly I’m in my bathing suit, standing shin-deep in the gulf, watching little fish dart around my toes. A few sandpipers pick their way to the water’s edge, and together we study the marine life beneath the waves. It doesn’t occur to me to do anything else. Later, I remember my mission and drive to the island’s tip to tour Fort Pickens, construction of which ended in 1834. It was, in its era, a war machine, with more than 200 cannons as well as tunnels filled with gunpowder. You can catch a ferryboat from here; just last summer, a ferry system started shuttling passengers from Pensacola to Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens.
It is nicknamed "The City of Five Flags", due to the five governments that have ruled it during its history: the flags of Spain (Castile), France, Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America. Other nicknames include "World's Whitest Beaches" (due to the white sand of Florida panhandle beaches), "Cradle of Naval Aviation", "Western Gate to the Sunshine State", "America's First Settlement", "Emerald Coast", "Red Snapper Capital of the World", and "P-Cola".