In 1559, Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano led the first settlement of the region. His 11 ships, with 1500 settlers, anchored in the bay and established its colony on the site of today's Naval Air Station Pensacola. A hurricane decimated the colony a few weeks later, killing hundreds and sinking 5 ships. Suffering long-term famine and fighting, this first settlement was finally abandoned in 1561. A presidio was constructed on Santa Rosa Island in 1722 near the location of the more recent Fort Pickens. Hurricanes in 1741 and 1752 forced its relocation to the mainland.
“Life’s a Beach” all right on Pensacola Beach where building sandcastles, body surfing and beachcombing are popular pastimes. Away from the sands, there are several don’t miss sights for the entire family, including the National Aviation Museum, which features 150 vintage aircraft, flight simulators and an IMAX Theatre, Fort Pickens, an historic military fort built in 1829, and the Pensacola Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the Gulf Coast and also the tallest, standing 151 feet tall on a 40 foot bluff. To immerse yourself in the history of Pensacola, stroll the historic village, a pedestrian-friendly area with furnished historic homes, unique museums and the Colonial Archeological Trail. For the white dimpled ball set, try teeing up at Lost Key Golf Club, a target golf set up designed by Arnold Palmer and Marcus Pointe Golf club, an Earl Stone design. Don’t forget, there’s also great deep-sea fishing and other water activities like sailing, kayaking, diving and snorkeling to be actively pursued on Pensacola Beach.
Experience downtown Pensacola, Florida, like you cannot anywhere else. The historic area of Pensacola is specifically designed to preserve and maintain the history of Pensacola, its inhabitants and ancestors. Make the most of exploring this special heritage conservation space by taking part in a Historic Walking Tour. The tours come in various packages:
The entire island was initially owned by the federal government. In order to promote infrastructure and growth on the island, the federal government leased the lands now encompassing Pensacola Beach to the Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA), which in turn has leased the property to homeowners. As a result, all structures on the island have 99-year renewable leases with the SRIA rather than ownership of the land itself.
Seafood restaurants crowd the waterfront, but the bustling Joe Patti’s Seafood market stands apart, under a towering neon shrimp sign. Enter by the beignet wagon, and you’ll find an enormous fish market, which is worth a visit just to gape at the sea-dwelling varieties and their sizes. The humble restaurant next door is 8Captain Joey Patti’s Seafood Restaurant. 8Captain Joey Patti's Seafood Restaurant Google Map: 610 S. C St. Website: http://captainjoeysdeli.com/ 850-434-3193 odd hours/days This low-ceilinged blue bunker has no view of the water. It has no atmosphere. Ceiling fans whirl overhead. You eat over paper place mats with plastic utensils. Start with the thick, fiery seafood gumbo but leave room for heaping platters of fried fish. Mullet — you might know it elsewhere as a bait fish — is a rich-flavored specialty. “Did y’all get coleslaw?” our server asks, sliding crisp, sweet bowls of it across the table. Everything here is fresh. Stick a fork in the fried oysters, and juice jumps out; the oysters melt in your mouth. Did the cheese grits descend from heaven? Maybe so; they are that luscious. My physiological limits vexingly got in the way of what I wanted to do here: eat it all and then some.
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St. Michael's Cemetery was established in the 18th century at a location in a south central part of the city, which developed as the Downtown area. Initially owned by the Church of St. Michael, it is now owned and managed by St. Michael's Cemetery Foundation of Pensacola, Inc. Preliminary studies indicate that there are over 3,200 marked burials as well as a large number unmarked.
Pensacola is a sea port on Pensacola Bay, which is protected by the barrier island of Santa Rosa and connects to the Gulf of Mexico. A large United States Naval Air Station, the first in the United States, is located southwest of Pensacola near Warrington; it is the base of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team and the National Naval Aviation Museum. The main campus of the University of West Florida is situated north of the city center.