Whether you’re searching for a dreamy couples’ beach break or a fun-for-all family vacation, Pensacola, Florida, delivers. Set up camp in one of these top hotels, all bookable on Culture Trip, and make the most of your time in the City of Five Flags.
The rich history, shimmering beaches and laid-back lifestyle of Pensacola prove that a North Florida vacation can rival any trip to the central and southern parts of the Sunshine State. Archaeological sites rest just below the surface, while famous fighter jets frequently perform aerial acrobatics across the sky. Even if you’re unfamiliar with this panhandle paradise, these hotels will make you feel at home.
Forget a spa day; you deserve a spa stay at the Beach Club. This resort residence specializes in rejuvenation of mind, body and soul. Think hot stones loosening up your back and facials that rejuvenate your skin. When you’re not being pampered from head to toe, let time float by in the heated indoor pool or relax on your private beachfront balcony only a few steps from the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s always 5 o’clock at Margaritaville Beach Hotel. This little slice of paradise on the shores of Pensacola Beach welcomes you with margarita tastings in the lobby. Snag a breezy button-up from the on-site shop and flip flop your way to the sugar sand beach with a drink in hand. Hungry? Order a cheeseburger from Frank & Lola Love Pensacola Cafe. You’re welcome to spend a few lazy days enjoying panoramic Gulf views from your coastal suite. Just be sure to sneak out at least once to use the complimentary LandShark beer vouchers found in every room.
Portofino Island Resort is the perfect place for a family vacation on the Emerald Coast. Separating the Santa Rosa Sound from the Gulf of Mexico, the outdoor pools and whirlpool spas of this expansive resort mean your swimsuit will quickly be everyday attire. In the rare moments you’re not tracking wet footprints across your luxury condo, you can rent a few bicycles. Ride around the Gulf Islands National Seashore on a hunt for seashells, souvenirs, and a sweet treat to enjoy as the sun sets.
Crawfish boils. Dive-in movies. A 250ft (76m) lazy river. The Holiday Inn Resort is stacked with so much to eat, enjoy and experience that you just might forget a white sand beach is only a frisbee’s throw away. Colorful kids’ suites with bunk beds and in-room gaming systems will help you sneak away to the tiki bar for a few mai tais. Fill their mini-fridge with snacks and let them game all night while you walk down to Casino Beach Bar for a salted caramel cheesecake that you can have all to yourself.
No one has ever regretted spending a vacation soaking up sun, sand and surf. However, should you want to see more of Pensacola than the beaches, let the Hilton point you in the right direction. The hotel team will let you know when you can see the Blue Angels fly after you browse the National Aviation Museum, or suggest where the best drink specials are in the lively Seville Quarter. No car? No problem. The Luna Fine Art Gallery is in the hotel itself; it’s worth a look if you’re an art enthusiast.
Beachside and budget-friendly? It’s no mirage. This oasis is hugely popular for both kids and adults. Playing in the splash pads during the day and snacking on s’mores by the fire pits at night will create amazing family memories. Grab a little solo time on your balcony with a good book, or claim a hammock for the afternoon and put your cell on silent. Keep sunscreen at the ready; you never know when the foamy Gulf waves will summon you for a swim.
Hampton Inn has plenty of space for you – poolside or on the sand. Should you want to enjoy time on the water, the team here will even help you rent a pontoon boat, take a dolphin cruise, or cast a line offshore. Nursing a sunburn? Catch a football game with a plate of fish tacos at Riptides. Alternatively, hang out all afternoon at Red Fish Blue Fish, where you can listen to live music, and swim your way through a few fruity and boozy sips of Pensacola Sunset.
Don’t tell the boss, but staying at SpringHill Suites makes it difficult to feel like you’re truly on a business trip. Sure, the ergonomic workstations in each suite and AV-equipped conference rooms maximize productivity, but the gorgeous Gulf views are a bit distracting. We wouldn’t be surprised if a few of your coworkers got “lost” at one of the three outdoor pools while en route to the business center. Were it not for the free breakfast buffet, anyone who stepped foot out of the hotel in the morning might decide to “work remotely” on the beach.