The Ultimate Guide to a Pensacola Beach Vacation

Pensacola Beach is a Fantastic Vacation For the Whole Family

This guide is meant to help New Orleans families planning their next beach vacation. We are all about sharing family traveling tips whether your next adventure from New Orleans is to the mountains, Disney, or the beach! As always, please do your own research and talk with other families. If you love the beach but are looking for a one-day trip, consider the Mississippi Gulf Coast, such as Gulfport. There is also a list of drivable destinations from New Orleans for every budget here. And if you end up staying right here in New Orleans, we have dozens of ideas for kid-friendly outings in New Orleans, too. But, if you are looking for white sandy beaches, blue and green water, and a few hours drive…look no further!

Driving to Pensacola from New Orleans

For New Orleanians who love the beach, it makes sense that Pensacola Beach is a favorite. If you leave after breakfast, you can be on the emerald coast before lunch. That’s true even if you decide to stop at Buc-ee’s (and we would highly recommend you do). We’re here to help you plan the perfect trip for your New Orleans family! In total, the distance between New Orleans and Pensacola Beach is just over 200 miles.

Family-friendly places to stay in Pensacola Beach

  • Portofino: you truly never have to leave the resort. Great views no matter what condo or tower, and awesome pool selections. Great dining options and kids activities.
  • Paradise Inn: Paradise Inn is a smaller hotel. The Inn isn’t within walking distance of the larger restaurants but they have a great restaurant on the beach that also has wonderful live music.
  • If a hotel is more your speed, there are many options including The Holiday Inn Resort, Margaritaville Beach Hotel, and The Hampton Inn.
  • If a stand alone beach house is what you’re after, there are so many options on VRBO and AirBnB Pro tip: you can filter by dates and guests as well as price so you can easily narrow down what works best for your vacation.

Things to Do With Kids in Pensacola Beach

  • Laguna’s Beach Bar & Grill: Let your kids play on the obstacle course, enjoy watersports and the nightlife.
  • Gulf Breeze Zoo: We love that you can feed the animals at the Gulf Breeze zoo. Smaller than the Audubon Zoo but you are able to get closer and interact with the animals.
  • UFO’s Pensacola Beach {Mini Golf, Ice Cream & Arcade}: Ever feel like Mini Golf and Beach vacation go hand in hand, it’s because they do. This mini golf course is fun for any age.
  • Watch the Pensacola US Navy Blue Angels Air practice. This is truly a great sight. Most days around 11am or 2pm the Blue Angels will fly a practice run of their planes with some military aerobatic performances at the Naval Air Station.
  • Juana’s Pagodas & Sailors Grill: A bit of a drive east and located in Navarre. But worth a trip for the beautiful waters, quiet beaches and a visit to Juana’s. Grab a drink at the bar, enjoy lunch with a beautiful view. You can grab a cold drink from the bar, rent a padded chair and umbrella and enjoy watersports when renting a jet ski, sailboat, pontoon boat, SUP or kayak.

Where to Eat with Kids in Pensacola Beach

  • Grand Marlin: By far our favorite Pensacola eatery, hands down. We have been wowed with every menu selection and the cocktails are perfection.
  • Peg Leg Petes: Seafood is obviously a must and Peg Leg Petes has some of the best crab legs in town. Tuesday nights are half priced bottles of wine so good food and good deals on wine. Most nights there is live music.
  • Crabs on the Beach: Great restaurant right on the beach. They have great drinks and food. The seafood, again, is amazing. One big bonus is they have a playground on the grounds. The boiled shrimp are a must try!
  • Red Fish Blue Fish: Delicious food and you can enjoy the scenery by sitting in the outdoor dining section overlooking Pensacola Bay.
  • If you need a break from the beach, check out downtown Pensacola for some great shops, wine bars, and delicious eateries including Angelena’s Ristorante ItalianoRestaurant Iron, and Bodacious.
  • If you want to cook, make sure you check out Joe Patti’s for the best seafood around.

If you have vacationed in Pensacola Beach, tell us your favorite spots you think should make the list. Happy planning and travels!


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