Pensacola

Last fall, a friend was meeting some of her old pals in Pensacola and knowing that I had lived there, she asked me for some recommendations. I knew that she and her friends were looking for a relaxing and carefree weekend and already had a condo reserved.  Here’s what I sent to her:
ON Pensacola Beach:
Hemmingway’s Island Grill $$- Go for lunch, share appetizers
Cubano’s, grilled, fresh
 
PegLeg Pete’s $$ – Yes, touristy trappy – but LOCAL FAVE!!
Typical Americana beach food, raw bar, fried/grilled seafoods, burgers, etc (good for mixed appetites)

Hole in the wall Mexican – Cheap but great
3755 Gulf Breeze Pkwy

Near Wal Mart
There is  Publix on Gulf Breeze on the way to P’cola Beach
 
In DOWNTOWN P’cola/Seville**
Dharma Blue – $ – go for lunch on your spa day/or sushi for dinner
Check the menu – not a lot of options but all done well.  Vegetarian Friendly
 
Reservations suggested for dinner – unless you don’t mind a wait
Great for the meat eater.  Take your dollar bills!  (not for THAT!)
 
Vegan – coffee, light fare, desserts. Med/Indian/American  Totally missed this when I was there in June.
Lots for everyone to enjoy – even people afraid of vegan!
 
You may hear about the Fish House.  It was only okay when I lived there (YEARS ago).  May be worth a visit if you go during lunch and aren’t starving.  Otherwise, the prices are a bit high for the quality.
 
**Ask a local when is the best time to AVOID Seville Quarter – bar area.  This is THE Sailor hangout on certain nights.  Lots of fun, if you are single, drunk, and like being groped.  Not that ALL Sailors are like that, of course!  But the young ones in flight school definitely have a good time!  Avoid any eateries on Military Hwy.
 
FREE or Fun or Both!
Naval Aviation Museum – http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/
Even if you don’t like military history – this is pretty neat.  Life-size/mock ups, etc
Recommended on a day that you head out early to Big Lagoon State Park ($6/vehicle) to commune with nature and see what Pensacola Beach looked like 150 years ago!  Take a picnic lunch or hit Trigger’s Seafood for breakfast/lunch.  Then head back toward Pensacola Naval Air Station to the museum.  The Blue Angel Parkway entrance has a visitor lane so you can get a pass onto the base.  When you leave the museum – go left, you can leave through the main base to get back to Pensacola Beach (it’s shorter than going out and back around.)    
 
Another military thing (but you ARE in a military town!)  Ft. Picken’s  – When here and on the Naval Air Station, look for evidence of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.  Ft. Pickens was totally submerged by the tidal surge, and NAS was heavily damaged.  
OHHH, plan to go here on a morning that the Blue Angels are practicing: for a great view.  OR go to the museum for front row seats! ~8:30 am  November 1, 2, 8, 
 
Spas:
Still Waters looks nice – but overpriced.  Massage should average $1/minute.  Anything more and you are paying for the amenities – which are really nice!
Allegria – no frills.  massage only.  Good reviews.
Back Rub Store and Fusion Spa are owned by same group.  Back Rub store is in the mall and a little cheaper.  Odd, but that’s where I got hooked on massages!!  Fusion is on the beach and a bit more expensive, but has more options.  I’d give Fusion a try if I were there and staying at the beach.  I hate having to drive anywhere after my relaxing massage.  Not sure where you are staying, but this is the closest day spa.
I would love to report that they enjoyed all of my recommendations and had a blast, but as it turns out my friend needed this vacation more than we both realized….too bad the condo was in Destin!  LOL!  No worries – a few clicks and links later and she had an updated list before their feet ever hit the sand!

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