Does just the term "tourist attraction". cause feelings of anxiety? While there certainly are some attractions that you are better off driving on by, there are plenty of good ones too. Our Pensacola 10Best list can help you sort the worthwhile from the worthless, ensuring only good memories are created this trip.


Excitement is the name of the game at the track! This popular Florida pastime is fast paced. The majestic and graceful Greyhounds vie for glory along the well-maintained tracks. For those who lament the sport to be inhumane, the owners assure that their animals are pampered and afforded better treatment than most household pets. Their Web site includes adoption information for the dogs (these gentle creatures are excellent companions for children as well as adults). Those placing bets must be at least 18 years of age.

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Approximately 10 miles southwest of Pensacola along Route 292-A, you'll find the sandy beaches and salt marshes of Big Lagoon State Recreation Area. A haven for a number of indigenous species of birds and animals. An observation tower located at East Beach affords visitors a panoramic view of Big Lagoon and the Gulf Islands National Seashore across the Intracoastal Waterway. The park boasts camping facilities, canoeing, swimming, fishing, a boat ramp, nature trails and picnicking and recreation facilities. Camping fees are $16, which includes electricity, water, picnic tables and a ground grill.

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The Gulfarium has activities for the entire family. Spend the day leisurely strolling through the animal exhibits. Then, sit back, relax and catch a show featuring dolphins, sea lions, or sharks. If you're after something more active, enjoy some up close and personal interaction in the water with "Kiwi," the dolphin, and its trainer.

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N.A.S. Pensacola

Perdido Key State Recreation Area is a 247-acre barrier island located in close proximity to Pensacola. Enjoy the wide, white-sand beaches which hug the Gulf of Mexico. Recreation opportunities include swimming, fishing, picnicking and guided tours. Shower facilities available.

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This nonprofit organization provides assistance to injured or orphaned wildlife, and the primary goal of the sanctuary is to rehabilitate and release these creatures. Also provides sanctuary for creatures unable to fend for themselves in the wild.

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The Blackwater River with its swamps and marshes hosts a myriad of bald cypress and water tupelo trees. Enjoy boardwalk nature trails which wind their way around lagoons where it is not uncommon to espy an occasional alligator. Camp sites and picnic areas are available.

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Gulf Breeze

Located just 15 miles from Pensacola, the Zoo is set on 50 acres of well-designed land. Home to more than seven hundred animals of countless species. The giraffe feeding tower affords visitors the opportunity to view the majestic creatures up close and personal. A great place to stroll, take in the sights and enjoy the magnificent Florida weather.

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Gulf Islands National Seashore

Come and enjoy the crystal-blue waters and white-powder beaches, marshes and historic sites located along this stretch of 150 miles spanning from Santa Rosa Island to West Ship Island in Mississippi. Visit the barrier islands which feature historic sites including forts and a tree farm begun by John Quincy Adams. Swimming areas are located at Perdido Key, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Fort Pickens. Visitors may also choose to fish from the beach, snorkel, scuba dive and walk on nature trails. Camping fees are $16-30 with electricity. Reservations required.

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