The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway make vacationing in Pensacola Beach a water wonderland. Sailors and boaters have long discovered the beauty of this area, known for its clean, gulf-fed waters. It is the ideal playground for cruising, sailboat racing and of course sunset tours and dolphin watching.
Sailing in Pensacola has a long history. In 1559 Don Tristan de Luna sailed 11 ships into what is now known as Pensacola Bay, establishing the first European settlement in the United States. Pensacola was chosen by de Luna because of its natural deep-water harbor.
If you sail the waters of Pensacola Bay today, you still can see many historical landmarks and interesting sights during your trip including the Pensacola Lighthouse, the ruins of Fort Pickens, a massive pre-civil war era fort, and Fort McRee. Fort Pickens is open to boaters, hikers and bikers. Fort McRee, only accessible to boaters, is an ideal place to anchor overnight and enjoy the day's catch for dinner as the southern breeze kicks in.
Enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or go the calmer Pensacola Bay with its remote locations along Fort Pickens and Fort McRee. Wherever you decide to set anchor, expect bountiful seashells and sand dollars while strolling along Pensacola's white sandy beaches.
Pensacola is also the closest departure point to the "Nipple" in the Gulf of Mexico, the point where the continental shelf gets very deep and billfish prefer to live. Fishing in the bay also proves plentiful as it is fed by freshwater streams teeming with fish.
If you prefer your fish cooked, anchor your boat at one of Pensacola Beach's restaurants that welcomes guests at their docks like Flounder's and Peg Leg Pete's.