If miles of white sand beaches, hiking trails through oak trees, and a trendy cultural and art district sound like paradise to you, you’ll enjoy Gulf Breeze. Located in the metropolitan area of Pensacola and Santa Rosa County, the city of Gulf Breeze provides families and residents a high-quality of life.
If you’re a local or just in the area for vacation, be sure to check out these 10 best activities in the area:
1. Brackenridge Nature Trail
The Brackenridge Nature Trail is a great day trip for hikers of any level. Nature lovers will be able to see the wildflowers, walk along the boardwalk, or stroll through a protected oak forest.
The Brackenridge Nature Trail will also appeal to the history buff. The Naval Live Oaks Preserve that it runs through was established over 200 years ago to protect the oak trees that were used to build naval vessels in the 1800s. Today, it’s an eight-mile-long trail for nature lovers.
Open from 8 am to sunset, the Brackenridge Nature Trail is perfect for both new and experienced outdoor adventurers.
2. Gillian’s Watersports
Operating out of the nearby city of Destin, Gillian’s Watersports offers the opportunity to parasail or rent a WaveRunner for the adventure seeker. The parasailing operates out of a private dock so you don’t have to worry about competing with swimmers for space.
Kids ages 6 to 18 will need to have parental consent to participate in either of these activities. The WaveRunners are three-seaters and no experience is necessary to use them. Gillian’s Watersports is a fun way to spend an afternoon out on the water with friends or family.
3. Buccaneer Pirate Cruises
Also located in Destin, Buccaneer Pirate Cruises are a popular activity for families. Walk the plank onto a 100 ft vessel and find entertainment as you sail the seas.
Parents can sit back for a few hours as the little ones participate in treasure hunts and water cannon battles. It’s also likely that you will spot some wildlife on board too. Overall, the pirate cruises are sure to provide you with a memorable time.
4. Gulf Breeze Zoo
The Gulf Breeze Zoo has 50 acres of wildlife featuring over 1000 animals. Spend the morning taking a train through the safari and chatting with zookeepers about the animals. You can pack your own lunch or dine on-site. In the afternoon, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo. Check out the sheep, goats, and even giraffes up close and personal. The Gulf Breeze Zoo is open year-round for family fun.
5. Fort Pickens
If you’re looking to really experience the outdoors, Fort Pickens National Park is a good option for both new and experienced campers. Camping trips are a great way to make memories, even if they may seem daunting if you’ve never done it before.
The staff at Fort Pickens are there to make your stay as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. They offer staff-led tours so that you can familiarize yourself with the park. The campground offers plenty of amenities, such as biking, fishing, and kayaking. There’s an onsite convenience store, in case you get a hankering for ice cream.
Image Source: NPS Photo via https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?id=5C7025B8-E5C2-1ECF-3C948468B1F3EFA3
It’s best to reserve your camping spot in advance, as it can quite busy during peak season. You can also just come for a day trip from 7 am to 10 pm.
6. Gulf Breeze Flea Market
The Gulf Breeze Flea Market is a must-do for those who love antique shopping. This is the perfect place to find a gift for yourself or a loved one.
The items at the Gulf Breeze Flea Market are both new and used. The Market is open the weekends, year-round from 9 AM to 5 PM. Give yourself enough time at the Gulf Breeze Flea Market and you’ll surely walk away with something special.
7. Seville Quarter
Seville Quarter has all your nightlife needs covered in Gulf Breeze. Come here for an intimate evening or to dance the night away. The Quarter has a lot of live music events so you’ll get to hear some local favorite bands.
The restaurant at Seville Quarter has seasonal and daily specials and is also open for breakfast. This is overall a great spot to check out for a lively and delicious time!
8. Palafox Street
Palafox Street is one of the trendiest districts in the area. It will have all of your food and shopping needs covered. Sip on a drink special at some of the best bars in the Gulf Breeze area and then catch a show at one of the historic theatres located here. Palafox Street is a great place to go with your family as it’s a bit quieter than other major cultural centers.
Image Source: Cynthia Catellier / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0) via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:100-226_South_Palafox_Street_Pensacola,_Florida_USA.jpg
9. Opal Beach
Opal Beach is one of the best beaches in Gulf Breeze. Formed after Opal Hurricane, this beach has pristine sand along a coastline of dazzling blue water. Pack a lunch, laze in the sun, and check out some of the wildlife here. It’s a great way to spend a day in the sun and features amenities such as outdoor showers and picnic shelters. Opal Beach is also a great place to go fishing. You’ll want to come back here again and again!
10. Gulf Shore National Sea Shore
The Gulf Shore National Sea Shore is a birder’s paradise. You’ll be able to look for over 280 different species of birds that have been spotted in the area. You can get a checklist to keep track of what you see when you arrive at the visitor center.
This is a world-renowned spot to see migratory birds as they cross over the Gulf of Mexico. Grab your binoculars and spend the day looking through the beaches, marshes, and dunes for unique birds.