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Day trips to take from Pensacola

Day trips to take from Pensacola

If you are looking to get out of Pensacola for a brief day trip or weekend vacation, then this is the list for you! We have compiled some of our favorite things to do when we want to get away and experience something new nearby, and the best part is they are all under a 3-hour one-way drive from Pensacola. We have included everything from family-friendly adventures to adult-only activities so there is something for everyone.

Foley, AL (1 Hour +/- From Pensacola)

Another town with tons of charm but also big adventures to be had is Foley, Alabama. With the short drive, you can spend the day at OWA Amusement Park and Downtown OWA. We recommend staying to catch one of their evening shows at the OWA Theater- our favorites include the comedy magic show or a murder mystery dinner show at the OWA Theater. Be sure to check out their calendar for the current activities they have going on! Bring your swimsuit and enjoy the indoor water park for all ages at Tropic Falls. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is always a great time, and you can even take a zip line over the park or get up close and personal with an animal encounter. Grab a bite to eat at the “Home of the Throwed Rolls” at Lambert’s Cafe before heading over to Tanger outlets for a day of discount shopping. Take the long way back and detour through Elberta for a photo op at Bamahenge or go north to spend an hour or two at Alligator Alley in Summerdale, AL on your way back into Florida.

Mobile, AL (1 Hour +/- From Pensacola)

Mobile is the metro just to our west along 1-10 and is a great place to visit! Make sure to stop at Buc-ee’s in Robertsdale on your way. One of our favorite things to explore in Mobile is the USS Alabama Battleship. Take a walk along Daulphin Street in Downtown Mobile or visit one of Mobile’s many museums, including the Exploreum Science Center. Travel a little further to Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore, a sight to behold year-round and a colorful display of lights at Christmastime.

Ponce De Leon, FL  (1.5 hours from Pensacola)

Vortex Springs is most popularly known in the diving community for its crystal-clear water full of wildlife and a cavern to explore. They offer daily diving passes as well as diving lessons. If you aren't into diving, you’ll still enjoy a trip to Vortex Springs. Enjoy multiple slides and swings that lead you into the 68-degree year-round spring water. Most pack a picnic and stay all day relaxing in the warm Florida sun. You’ll also find two other springs in the Ponce de Leon area that are worth visiting! Ponce de Leon Springs is another natural spring that offers more areas with shallow water, making it more suitable for younger children. Morrison Springs is a county park that offers free admission and is a better fit for nature enthusiasts with a backdrop of Cypress trees that are stunning.

Marianna, FL (2 hours +/- from Pensacola)

Marianna is a nature lover's dream! One of the most popular attractions is the Florida Caverns State Park open year round with Cave tours Thursday through Monday.  You can also boat, canoe, paddle board, and kayak on the river. Take a walk on the many trails and set up a picnic. This is an equestrian-friendly park! On the way to Marianna, stop by Falling Waters State Park, just off I-10 in the Chipley area to see one of Northwest Florida’s only waterfalls. Blue Springs Recreation Park is also an option for those looking for a day to cool off in the hot sun or take a guided kayak tour with Merritt’s Mill in a clear kayak. 

30A area, FL (2 hours +/- from Pensacola)

Located in Northwest Florida, Hwy 30A is a coastal drive like no other. It’s just under a 25 mile-stretch of roadway along the Gulf of Mexico just south of Hwy 98 between Miramar Beach and Panama City Beach. If you want to feel like you stepped into a storybook town, 30A a place you surely need to visit. You’ll find picturesque homes with stunning architecture nestled among the Gulf of Mexico. Explore Alys Beach, as the northern part of the beach is dedicated to a nature preserve with lots to explore. to Rosemary Beach full of great restaurants, spas, and the 30A Farmers Market. Be sure to check out the Grayton Beer Company and enjoy some beers at the brewery. Amongst these small beach communities, you’ll also find Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Grayton Beach State Park, Point Washington State Forest, Deer Lake State Park and Camp Helen State Park. This is a great destination to visit in the off-season, as this is a popular spring and summer destination but is relatively quiet in fall and winter.

Biloxi/Ocean Springs, MS (2 hours +/- from Pensacola)

We highly recommend that you make a trip to Ocean Springs, MS at some point. It is often a stopping point for some on their way to Biloxi or New Orleans. This town gives off the small-town vibe with TONS of shopping. Enjoy your day shopping and don't be surprised if you stop by and the streets are all blocked off on main streets for an arts festival. You’ll also enjoy the shade from the trees that overhang the roads and sidewalks. If you're looking for an adult adventure, continue down the road 5 miles to Biloxi and enjoy the casinos, including The Palace, a smoke-free casino option. If you’re visiting with the family, check out Margaritaville Resort which features a fabulous entertainment center, complete with a rooftop playground with slides and a lazy river and a fabulous entertainment center with a huge arcade equipped with a rock-climbing wall and bowling. Next door to Margaritaville is a newer amusement park called Paradise Pier Fun Park and features several outdoor rides including a roller coaster and observation wheel.  

New Orleans, LA (3 hours +/- from Pensacola)

Depending on traffic there is a 50/50 chance the drive to New Orleans, LA may take you longer than 3 hours, however, it’s well worth the drive! There is so much to explore than you may find yourself wanting to make New Orleans a week weekend getaway to make sure you squeeze in as much as possible. We all know that New Orleans is known for Bourbon Street and while we surely recommend experiencing that once, this town is full of culture with much more to explore. There are many museums to check out including the Louisiana Children's Museum as well as an Audubon Aquarium, Insectarium, and Zoo, along with a city park that has Storyland. Don't forget to take a walk in the French Quarter and stop in Jackson Square. With plenty of soul food, shopping, live entertainment, and nightlife, New Orleans is a versatile destination, perfect for a Bachelor’s party or a family weekend.

Panama City, FL (2.5 Hours +/- from Pensacola) 

While Panama City Beach is known as a popular vacation destination and has beautiful beaches like our own, Panama City has a lot of entertainment and shopping options that are worth exploring. If you are looking to spend the day shopping, I suggest a stop at Pier Park with 124 stores, there is surely something for everyone. If you are looking for a break from the heat, check out Shipwreck Island Waterpark, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, and Wonder Works. Adventure awaits you at Coconut Creek Family Fun Park, Gator County Alligator Park, Skywheel, Race City, Emerald Falls Family Recreation Center, Cobra Adventure Park, Dave and Buster’s, and so many more. 

Montgomery, AL (2.5 Hours +/- from Pensacola) 

Montgomery Alabama fun daytrip from Pensacola

This is another Alabama town within a proximity that is worth exploring. Montgomery, Alabama has tons of history and plenty of museums that are worth visiting. You can also take a drive through the 350 acres in the Alabama Safari Park or stop by the Montgomery Zoo. Take a walk through Riverfront Park and catch a ball game at the Stadium or just enjoy the splash pad to cool down. We also love the indoor playground Newtopia Fun Park that we promise you your children will love!

Tallahassee, FL (3 hours +/- from Pensacola)

As the state capital, I'm sure you can imagine the abundance of things to do. Also home to Florida State University, we suggest you stop by and tour the campus and check out the sports teams. There are also lots of museums to explore from state history to the automobile museum. While Tallahassee is inland, you can head out to St. Marks Lighthouse if you want some amazing views. You can always count on great shopping and great food when you stop in Tallahassee as well, including one of our favorite stores, Trader Joe’s.