Location: in the panhandle of Northwest Florida on the Gulf Coast
Military Population: 16,000 service members and 9,000 civilian personnel
Known as a starting point for many naval aviators, flight officers and aircrewmen, this installation in Escambia County is the headquarters for Naval Education and Training Command and the Blue Angels Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron. It was also the first Naval Air Station commissioned by the Navy in 1914. If you are currently stationed here, expect no shortage of beautiful beach activities on or near the water. Here are a few recommendations for your time beyond the base.
- Combine clear-bottom kayaks, warm nights and waterproof lights for a unique evening on the water with Glow Paddle.
- Pretend you are a Blue Angel and execute aerial maneuvers during a 4D experience at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
- Have the beach and unobstructed views of the Gulf all to yourself at Gulf Island National Seashore, the longest stretch of protected seashore in the U.S. (accessible by hike, bike or kayak).
- Cheer on the Blue Wahoos (Pensacola’s Minor League Baseball team) on Military Family Sundays, when service members receive discounted tickets and families enjoy a post-game run the bases and family toss in the outfield.
- Get spooked on a Haunted House Walking and Trolley Tour in Historic Pensacola.
- Experience the impressive views of Escambia Bay on the walking trails throughout the Bay Bluffs Preserve.
- Challenge your kids’ creativity during one of many Curiosity Days at the Pensacola MESS (Math, Engineering, Science and Stuff) Hall.
- Eat your way around the world in one location at The Garden at Palafox + Main, Pensacola’s outdoor food hall.