The Pensacola Lighthouseon the base can be seen any time from the outside and it's open to the public (May through October) thanks to the energy of the volunteers of the Lighthouse Society.
Call 850-916-7864 for special events and more info. Display rooms in the restored 1869 Keeper's Quarters are open to the public. Hours are M-W-F 10:30 AM-5 PM and Saturdays 12:30 PM-5 PM. Private tours for other days may be arranged. There are fees and children must be at least 7 to climb the tower. It seems that since this is a working lighthouse on a working Coast Guard Station, tours cannot be scheduled too frequently, but you can visit the Lighthouse online at www.floridalighthouses.org/pensacola.htm at any time!
Anther interesting Pensacola place to visit is Fort Barrancas. The phone is 850-455-5167 for information or you can check it out online at http://www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/fort-barrancas.htm. These contacts also have information on Fort Pickens, which offers many fun outdoor experiences including a fishing pier and camping. Both are venues of the Gulf Islands Nationl Seashore and are staffed by full-time personnel.
Approaching the city from the east, you encounter the first interesting harbor and facilities at the south end of the 65-foot Pensacola Beach Bridge in Little Sabine Bay, a protected harbor with Beach Marina, which has public docks and fuel. Several restaurants and shops are within easy walking distance.
Just east of the bridge, at Fishing Bend on Pensacola Beach, is a most unusual facility — Quietwater Mall, with a long dock where visitors are invited to tie up at no charge! A fun place in season, it has lots of shops and restaurants and there's often free entertainment at the band shell.
Hemingway's Island Grille and we've added the name and phone on Chart 23. We enjoyed seeing this bit of history hanging on their wall: a blown-up copy of the order for Ernest Hemingway's 38' twin cabin, built by Wheeler Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York, dated April 18, 1934. Pilar's cost seems to have come in just under $7,500 — including delivery to South Florida. The signatures of Ernest Hemingway and Eugene Wheeler appear on the order.
Across the sound the Santa Rosa Yacht Club has dockage and fuel. West of the Pensacola Beach bridge, turning northward around the point at Gulf Breeze and into Pensacola Bay you come to downtown Pensacola. At the foot of the Historic District is Seville Harbour Marina. Its sister-marina, Palafox Pier (owned and managed by the same company) is nearby. The third in this group of three is Bahia Mar at the entrance of Bayou Chico, a mile or so to the west. The three share the same telephone number.
Bayou Chico is a sheltered downtown harbor with several other marine facilities. The Oar House Restaurant, next to Bahia Mar, is extremely popular and a fun place to visit for good food and drinks.
Among the other facilities along the north side of Bayou Chico is the Pensacola Shipyard Marina & Boatyard. This was the first marina in Florida to be officially designated as a “Clean Marina.” The yard handles haulouts for almost any size vessel and Troendle Marine provides comprehensive marine services on site. There's also a launching ramp (available 24-hours), dry storage (on your trailer or their blocks) and a ship's store — plus ice and tackle and more. And there's lots of room for all of this — the place is huge — and has an interesting history, nicely covered on its web site: www. psmc.net. But that's not all for Bayou Chico!
Across the bayou are Island Cove Marina, Palm Harbor and Yacht Harbor. Transients may find space there and these three facilities share a telephone number: 850-455-4552. There are more facilities in the bayou and all are listed on Chart 23.
Another hop west and south leads to Bayou Grande, which separates the city from Pensacola NAS to the south. Larger and far less developed than Bayou Chico, Bayou Grande is guarded by a 14-foot fixed bridge at the entrance and served by only one small marina, Mac’s, on the north shore. But for boats that can get under 14 feet and need less than 5 feet of water, the area offers good anchorage possibilities.
Turning back to the north and east of the city and under the Pensacola Bay Bridge, you can turn north into Escambia Bay and up the Escambia River, where there are no facilities but some really fine cruising and many opportunities to anchor in relative seclusion. Farther east is East Bay and Blackwater Bay and the Blackwater River, where again you will find beautiful cruising water and good anchorages for five or six miles to the low bridge at Milton. (Continue...)