There is a beach in Pensacola, Florida for just about any vibe. Whether you’re looking for fun activities, a spot to unwind away from it all, or a place to bring your furry friend, there’s something for everyone on the coasts of the Sunshine State!
If you enjoyed our guide to Pride Month in Pensacola and want to explore the Florida Panhandle further, then this is the post for you. We’ll go through the best beaches Pensacola has to offer and why we recommend these spots for your next Pensacola beach vacation.
41 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach
Famous for its sugar white sand and gorgeous emerald green water, Pensacola Beach is a great beach to feel your resort fantasy. Situated on the Santa Cruz barrier island, this gorgeous beach is wide and long, so there’s ample space for you to set up your little section of paradise.
This is not a secluded slice of pristine wilderness, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want peace and quiet. However, it is close to the downtown area – the roads are dotted with bars and hotels, and there are lots of places to stock up on anything you’ve left behind.
Pensacola Beach also has a vibrant gay community. During Memorial Day Weekend, thousands of LGBTQ tourists flock to this white sand beach for a giant party!
Casino Beach is a popular section of Pensacola Beach, complete with a boardwalk and food establishments. Despite being a popular destination, the beach is wide enough that it never feels too crowded.
Plus, you can fish right off the 1,500-foot pier. The water is rich with sea life, so you have excellent chances of catching something!
Opal Beach is one of the hidden gems of Florida. The sand is powdery white and the ocean is clear. While it’s on the same island as Casino Beach, it’s just a little further out than most tourists are willing to go. If you are searching for a place to get away from it all, this is it!
It’s not as wide as many of the other beaches on this list, but there’s still ample space for sunbathing and lounging around. It is also secluded enough to go fishing. If you go during the right season, you can catch pompano, red drum, and more!
Located near Fort Pickens, Langdon Beach is a peaceful beach with clean facilities. The beach stretches for miles, so you will have tons of gorgeous, unspoiled shore to explore. There are picnic tables and showers available, but there are no other resorts and amenities. This beach is all about privacy, so pick a secluded spot and relax with a good book or chill tunes!
If you are a history buff, hop on over to Fort Pickens and explore a 19th-century fort. Another pro-tip: go on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning to see the Blue Angels practice – the fort is a great vantage point.
253 Pensacola Beach Blvd, Pensacola Beach
Quietwater Beach sits on the protected side of the Santa Cruz barrier island. It faces away from the Gulf, meaning that the water is shallow, calm, and warm. If you are traveling with little kids, this is an excellent beach to visit because the water is easy to wade in.
Not many tourists know about this place as it’s a secluded spot hidden behind the Pensacola Pier. If Pensacola Beach is too crowded for your liking, this might be a good alternative.
While there are amenities galore at Pensacola Beach, it’s not the most conducive to a laid-back experience. On the other hand, Perdido Key is perfect for that! It’s not the easiest place to get to, but that only serves to discourage huge crowds. It’s exactly what you want if you are looking for quiet beaches where you can commune with nature.
Perdido Key Beach
15301 Perdido Key Drive, Pensacola
Perdido Key Beach is right at the edge of a wildlife sanctuary, and its rolling dunes and estuaries are the perfect places to go birding and walking. If you’re lucky, you might spot herons, loons, and many more water birds in the area.
Are you more into spotting marine life than birding? There is a snorkeling reef just off the beach for you to check out. Divers can also explore the USS Oriskany, the world’s largest artificial reef, all year round.
While there are picnic tables and bathrooms, there are no other services available at the beach – you will have to bring your own umbrella, chairs, and any other beach supplies you want to use. Remember to pack it all up after, and leave the beach as pristine as you found it!
Johnson Beach Road, Perdido Key
Also located on Perdido Key, Johnson Beach is the only beach with lifeguards and other facilities on the island. While it’s a fun beach to visit, it’s better known for its Discovery Nature Trail and boardwalk that snakes through the national park, giving visitors amazing views of beach pines and salt marsh.
Because this beach is operated by a state park, there’s a fee upon entry. The park also limits the number of people who are allowed into the beach to prevent crowding, so make sure to arrive early and secure your spot!
Dog Beaches In Pensacola
Looking to bring your furry friend with you on your beach vacation? Don’t worry, Pensacola has two excellent dog-friendly beaches!
Dog Beach West
Fort Pickens Road, Pensacola Beach
Situated only a few miles from Casino Beach, Dog Beach West is both accessible and popular. If your dog is the type to play well with others, this is the perfect spot to meet other owners and their furry friends.
Your dog will love running around on the beach, but keep in mind that the area isn’t very big. While you won’t be able to take your dog out on long walks here, they’ll have a great time making friends and playing games with other pups.
Dog Beach East
Via de Luna Drive, Pensacola Beach
If you want some privacy for you and your four-legged friend, Dog Beach East might be more of your vibe. It’s wider and more relaxed, making it better for less social dogs.
There are so many beaches in Pensacola, FL for kids, dog owners, and anyone who wants to escape the stress of the modern world. You’ll find many places to go fishing, snorkeling, diving, or even just lay on your blanket under the sun.
If you are dreaming of a beach vacation, Pensacola might just be the perfect spot for you!
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.