On a recent trip to Pensacola, Florida, our family explored many areas that we have not seen for years. We visited Pensacola Beach, Fort Pickens / Gulf Islands National Seashore, Big Lagoon State Park, and the National Naval Aviation Museum. Wow – we did a lot in 24 hours!
The part of the trip that didn’t go well was our truck battery dying in the middle of the Blackwater River State Park. We planned a nice hike in the park before heading to Pensacola Beach, and that did not happen. Thank you to the very nice person who helped us get the truck started using his battery – in our truck! Who knew a truck would run while you take out the battery! Another thank you to the Auto Zone in Milton, Florida, for having a new battery and saving our weekend from more distress. We will return for the hike and a paddle some day…
After the battery fiasco and recovery, we had a great time exploring Fort Pickens. You are able to drive into the Fort and then explore the whole area by foot. There are huge cannons (always a hit with our son) and lots to explore. The views were nice as well! Although we were not camping on this trip, we explored the large campground – it was like an RV show! We even saw a unimog style RV – think tires as big as your body, made for all-weather conditions. Awesome!
After the tour of the Fort, we checked into our hotel, and even though the air temperature was quite chilly, the kids had a blast floating in the (heated) lazy river at the hotel pool until the sun had set and it was time for dinner. Peg Leg Pete’s restaurant for dinner had the best blackened grouper ever! It was a long wait on a Saturday night, way longer than the kids’ attention span allowed, but the food was great, and at least for the adults, it was worth the wait.
On Sunday morning we explored Big Lagoon State Park and did some geocaching. The park was beautiful! They have a small campground, nature trails and access to a lot of water! We will return to paddle board there soon. There is also a great tower overlooking the water and the Intracoastal waterway in the distance.
On the final stop for the trip (and the highlight for the kids), we went to the National Naval Aviation Museum. It was awesome! Lots of planes to see, touch and sit in. We all took turns sitting in a Blue Angel plane. Who complains about legroom on passenger flights? Wow, Blue Angel / fighter pilots did not have much legroom at all.. Gauges and switches everywhere made me appreciate the simplicity of hang gliding as well. All the displays were great, but I really enjoyed the models of the aircraft carriers, the Blue Angel planes, and there was even a Sopwith Camel with “Snoopy” piloting! The museum was really well done and definitely worth a trip to see.
The Pensacola Lighthouse is on the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, so we were able to add one more lighthouse to our list We got some nice pictures to add to our lighthouse photo gallery as well.
Altogether it was a great trip! We hope you get a chance to experience this area and enjoy the sights and sounds. Happy adventuring!