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Why work so hard and not enjoy life? RELAX on the beaches of the GULF COAST OF FLORIDA!
Own your own piece of paradise; live in a gated waterfront community in Santa Rosa Villas Estate. Build your dream villa, cabana or LOVE SHACK! Protected with convenants and building restrictions.
Enter a gated community of 15 homes sites; a small neighborhood that is nestled cozily between the SOUND and GULF of MEXICO. Walk a few steps to the beaches on either the Sound or Gulf…. cast your fishing line on the private community’s dock. Enjoy the community’s pool (where you do not have to personally keep it up!) This lot is next to the community pool!, ride on the bike path which runs the entire span of the Island – all the way East to Navarre Beach or West to Ft. Pickens- or just sit and watch the waves, the sunset, the surfers, the Pelicans, the Blue Herons and the dolphins. Walk right out to the beach or the pool (about 120 – 150 steps to both), and then head to the pier on the back bay to catch crabs or cast a fishing line. There is a bike path which runs directly in front of the gated subdivision and you can ride for a little shopping; dining either casual or for the more discerning palate – a 5-star dining on Pensacola Beach’s restaurants. You can ride your bikes on the beach for ice cream and goofy golf or watch hermit crabs at the back bay. Enjoy the beach every afternoon and then collapsed “HOME” at night to listen to the waves. Life is short; so stop and smell the “salt air”! neighborhood is located next to Portofino towers. From our pier you can walk East along the sound past Portofino for miles and miles on an empty beach where you can find crabs and all kinds of wildlife. On Pensacola Beach is an elementary school, two full-time churches, a small grocery store and boutique shopping. There are free outdoor concerts on Tuesday nights in the summer, great bands at the local bars all year long, and a range of restaurants from burgers to fine dining. Not to mention the outdoor things you come here for – surfing, swimming, fishing, bike riding, and walking on the beach. Several charter fishing boats leave out of Pensacola Beach. The beaches are open for anyone to walk – throughout the entire island. If you feel you need outlet shopping, SilverSands Outlet Mall is 55 minutes via the newly opened beach road and Cordova Mall is 30 minutes in town. Downtown Pensacola has places to hang out with fine dining, art galleries, museums and great night spots MARGARITAVILLE HOTEL is now on Pensacola Beach! Jimmy Buffett, the legendary singer-songwriter has reached an agreement to launch the first Margaritaville Beach Hotel in a $50 million, 162-room Gulf-front hotel and is now open for Parrotheads!redfish caught dock of Santa Rosa Villages Gulf Front from Santa Rosa Villages walkIf it has been a while since you’ve come to the beach, take a deep breath. It’s time. The gentle breeze is still soothing just as the crystal-clear waves roll in from the emerald sea. The flawless white sand is just as soft as before, and the sea oats still dance for a glowing sun.Film North Florida has beautiful photos of RANGE POINT of Pensacola Beach which is right next to a beautiful gated subdivision on East Pensacola Beach called Santa Rosa Villa Estates and next to Portofino Island Resort.If you ever watched EXTREME HOMES on HGTV.com, you will sometimes see on the flash intro the UFO alien house on Pensacola Beach. The Quietwater Beach BoardwalkThe Boardwalk is on the Santa Rosa Sound side of the island, directly across from Casino Beach. Retail shops, restaurants, nightclubs, street musicians and sidewalk artists line it. The Boardwalk has a large sea shell stage where concerts are held several times a year. Behind it, there is a beach silent except for the sounds of sea gulls, and children making sand castles. Most events are held here, including The Lobster Fest, Bushwacker Fest, and the Independence Day fireworks. Behind the beach there is a boat dock where anyone can park their boats free of charge. Fort PickensFort Pickens was completed in 1834 and used until WWII, when modern weapons made traditional coastal defense obsolete. Fort Pickens has changed over the years, so take the self-guided tour and peel back the layers of history. You’ll see the plaster-lined rooms that were intended as officers’ quarters, and later used to house Apache prisoners. The most famous resident, Geronimo, lived in identical rooms along the south wall, which have since collapsed. Fort Pickens now houses an auditorium, a museum, and a visitors center offering information about the area.The Fort itself is only part of the National Seashore’s attractions: the boundary stretches back seven miles (11 km). (Fodor’s rates Ft. Pickens’ beaches the best in Florida.) So whether you take the bike trail or the highway, you’ll find campgrounds, nature trails, and miles and miles of protected beaches perfect for sand dollar and sea shell hunting, and for picking through flotsam washed ashore from the high seas and exotic foreign ports. The highway to the Fort has been blocked since hurricane Ivan caused significant damage to the surrounding areas and the Fort itself. The Fort is still accessible by hiking or biking, but the structure itself is very weak due to storm damage, and considered a safety hazard.Novelty housesA Beach is home to several “novelty houses”, including a house with a UFO-shaped Futuro attached as a second story. This Futuro house is sometimes called the “Spaceship House.” Another novelty house is the “Dome of a Home”, a home in the form of a large concrete dome, designed to structurally withstand hurricane-force winds and storm surge.EducationThere is one school on Pensacola Beach. The Pensacola Beach Elementary School is for children from kindergarten through fifth grade. This school has an enrollment ranging from 120 to 140 students. All elementary-school age children on Pensacola Beach are eligible to attend the school. The first year the school was open, for the school year 1977-1978, classes were held in an empty A-frame house owned by a local named Harry Gowens. The Pensacola Beach Volunteer Fire Department building was also used in aiding the teachers and administrators. In November 1977, four portable buildings were moved to the present site. The school has continued to grow and produce some outstanding students. The school has been ranked as an ‘A’ school in the state for many years running. They have also received the 5 Star School award since 1998. This award recognizes schools with exemplary student involvement. In 2001 the Pensacola Beach Elementary lost its ties to the Escambia County School District and became a Charter school. Now the school, with the help of parents, volunteers, and the community, must find ways to pay for their resources and staff. http://www.visitpensacola.com THIS LINK HAS THE LATEST HAPPENINGS IN PENSACOLA with a live CAM WEB so you can see the surf!Florida’s fun can be found in Pensacola Florida located on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Pensacola Beach is a 40 mile barrier island with sugary white sand. The eight and one-quarter square miles of land that comprise Pensacola Beach was originally owned by the United States Department of the Interior, but was deeded to Escambia County in 1947, on the condition that the land would never be sold. As a result, there are no property owners in the community, only long-term leaseholders. Casino Beach is busy; especially when the Blue Angels are scheduled for an Air Show.In the community of Pensacola Beach, there are quite a few stretches of shoreline to choose from, depending on your tastes. Just a short drive takes you from a rowdy party beach, to a calm kid-friendly one, to sand-dune protected solitude. The most popular beaches are on the south side of the island, facing the Gulf of Mexico, usually called Gulfside; these beaches have powdery white sand, clean water, and moderate waves, but there is a danger of rip tides and marine life. The north side faces Santa Rosa Sound, and is called Soundside; there are few waves here, and no rip current, but the sand isn’t as nice, and the water is more polluted due to boats and runoff.
- Casino Beach, Via de Luna Dr (south of intersection of Via de Luna and Fort Pickens Rd). Daily 24-hours. This is the most popular beach in all of Pensacola, and has the most amenities. Restrooms and changing rooms are available, there’s a large lifeguard presence, police, vendors, umbrellas, a large fishing pier, and surfer-free areas. Portofino Boardwalk, with food and shopping, is within walking distance. During the summer and on weekends, the local radio station is often here, broadcasting music for the beachgoers. Volleyball courts are available here. The further you travel from the pier, the fewer crowds there are. You can even drive down Ft. Pickens Road and use one of the entry points on the left-hand side of the road to find less popular areas, although these areas may not have changing rooms.
- Fort Pickens Gate Park, Soundside, Fort Pickens Rd (north of Fort Pickens Rd, at Fort Pickens Area gate entrance). It lies on the north side of the island, facing Santa Rosa Sound. It is mostly a parking area for the gulf side public beach. Although there are tons of interesting shells, shell-collecting here is a bad idea, since almost all the best finds are already inhabited by hermit crabs.
- Fort Pickens Gate Park, Fort Pickens Rd (south of Fort Pickens Rd, at Fort Pickens Area gate entrance). Daily 24-hours. This out of the way beach is located just before the Fort Pickens gate, and is one of the best beaches on the island. It has restrooms, lifeguard protection, ample parking, good waves, lots of white sand and shells, and has far fewer people than the busy Casino Beach. Make sure not to cross into the Fort Pickens park boundary; the shoreline there is off limits due to nesting shorebirds. Walking the shoreline further to the west will lead you into Gulf Islands National Seashore property. Beware of nesting bird areas and stay out of those areas. However, the shoreline is not otherwise closed to visitors.
- Park East, Via de Luna Dr (follow main road east). Daily 24-hours. Park East is 1.25 miles eastof the Portofino Resort and Spa, this is the last beach on the island before you enter Gulf Islands National Seashore property and reach the Opal Beach area further to the east. There’s a restroom and changing room here, as well as picnic pavilions and a lifeguard station. This beach tends to be less crowded than other beaches.
- Langdon Beach, Fort Pickens Rd (inside Fort Pickens Area). 8AM-sunset. Langdon Beach is one of the beaches open to the public in the Fort Pickens Area; most other beaches in the park are closed for shorebird nesting. There are no amenities, and no lifeguards. Like the rest of the Fort Pickens Area, there is no automobile access, so you’ll have to hike, bike, or boat here. Since it’s so hard to get here, the area is isolated, with very few people: just sea grass, sun, sand and waves.
- Opal Beach, Via de Luna Dr (past East Park barricade). 8AM-sunset. Further east than East Park is the hurricane-damaged Opal Beach, part of the National Park Service. The road from Pensacola Beach to Opal Beach and Navarre Beach is now open (April 2009). Opal Beach is currently under construction and some features might be out-of-service, but you can still walk or bicycle down the beach road or enjoy the sun.
- Quietwater Beach, Quietwater Beach Rd (from Portofino Boardwalk to Pensacola Beach bridge toll booth). Daily 24-hours. Located on the sound side of the island, behind the Portofino Boardwalk. The beach here is narrow, and since the island blocks the waves from the Gulf of Mexico here, the water is quiet, with no waves. With no waves, no rip currents, and lifeguard protection, it’s a great beach to take kids to.
Events are happening all the time. Below are just a few!
- Bushwacker & Music Festival, Quietwater Boardwalk. First weekend in August. Locals like to keep this event a secret, and it’s hard to find any information about the festival online, but the festival has been celebrated every year in August for more than twenty years. Sponsored by the bars on the island, it honors the famous Bushwacker cocktail with live bands on two stages, a dance club, and cheap drinks; the fun lingers into the early hours of the morning.
- Pensacola Beach Air Show. July. Sometime around Independence Day, the famous Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, puts on a free show for spectators at Pensacola Beach. This popular event swamps the small island, so expect hard-to-find parking, incredibly slow traffic, and long waits at the local restaurants. If you don’t mind spending a lot of time on the beach instead of fighting traffic, and love air shows, it’s a great way to spend a weekend celebrating the United States.
- Christmas Boat Parade. The lead boat will be Reel Eazy, piloted by Captain Buddy Rogers, and will carry Santa Clause for the duration of the procession. This year’s parade will take place Saturday, December 3rd, and will begin around 6:15 in front of the Sabine Marina on Pensacola Beach. From the marina, boats will cruise out into the sound, make their way toward Deer Point, and come back through the bridge. The Christmas spectacle will then pass the boardwalk and the lead boat, Reel Eazy, will drop Santa Clause off at Key Sailing. Santa says he hopes to be greeted by his loving fans and is excited about sharing his Christmas cheer. Succeeding the event, there will be an after party at Bamboo Willie’s open to both parade participants and the general public.
- Mardi Gras Parade on Pensacola Beach is one of many parades during the Mardi Gras season.For a view of photos from 2009, click here:
Eat > Pensacola Beach has avoided the glut of fast food restaurants that most of northwest Florida is known for. Food on the island is more expensive than on the mainland, and since they cater to tourists, the food generally isn’t authentic, but there are still some good eating options. Budget??? Eating???
- Bagelheads, 5 Via de Luna Dr, ☎ +1 850 916-3287. M-Sa 8AM-5PM, Closed Su. A small Pensacola-based chain of shops featuring fresh-baked, from scratch bagels, Bagelheads has a popular location on Pensacola Beach. Try their veggie cream cheese, made with freshly cut, crisp vegetables for an awesome (but still not healthy) breakfast. Skip the coffee though, unless you like rubber-tasting Community Cup brews; instead, try their cinnamon-y House Latte, or their excellent cappuccinos. $1-5.
- Surf Burger, 500 Quietwater Beach Rd, ☎ +1 850 932-1417. Their burgers are often called ‘Cheeseburgers in Paradise,’ but then, what beachside burger joint isn’t compared to that? This joint, built above an innertube shop, serves made-to-order hamburgers and cheeseburgers from fresh ground beef, along with fries and shakes.
- Tiffany’s, 3 Casino Beach Boardwalk, ☎+1 850 932-3663. Despite numerous attempts by the county to evict it and resell the land, this scrappy hamburger shack on the Casino Beach Boardwalk has managed to stay in business. You can walk up from the beach, order a burger and a milkshake, or a cold beer, and head back to the sand to enjoy. And yes, they have heard the ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ line a million times.
For decades, every stretch of sand on the island was simply called Pensacola Beach. Now, there’s a colorful variety of names for the beaches, some old, some new, and some really weird.
Opal Beach was created after Hurricane Opal wiped out the sand dunes there in 1995, so it makes sense that the beach was named for the storm.
Casino Beach is named for the Casino Resort, the first tourist destination on the island, which opened on the same day as the first Pensacola Beach Bridge in 1931. With a bar, tennis courts, bath houses, and a restaurant, it was a popular resort until it eventually closed in the 1960s.
Quietwater Beach’s name is self-explanatory; the water of Santa Rosa Sound is much less wavy than at the Gulfside beaches.
Langdon Beach is named for Lieutenant Loomis S. Langdon, a soldier stationed at Fort Pickens during the Civil War who eventually became commander of the fort. He was commander of the fort in the 1880s, during Geronimo’s famous imprisonment there.