Pensacola is located in the stunning Florida Panhandle. In the area in Northwest Florida sunny days, crystal clear water and sugar white beaches are appreciated parts of daily life. But where to stay in Pensacola for the best experience?
Pensacola Beach, Downtown Pensacola, Gulf Breeze and Navarre Beach are all great options for where to stay when visiting the Pensacola area.
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Find places to stay in Pensacola
- Pensacola Beach – On the beach
- Downtown Pensacola – A city stay
- Gulf Breeze – Convenience on a budget
- Navarre Beach – Off the beaten path
Pensacola Beach, FL – Stay on the incredible beach
A great option for where to stay in the Pensacola area is the impressive Pensacola Beach. Located on Santa Rosa Island, Pensacola Beach offers mile after mile of sandy dunes. In Pensacola Beach the sand is as white as sand gets and the water as clear as water gets.
Santa Rosa Island is a long and thin island. So at Pensacola Beach hotels you’re never far away from the sandy dunes. In other words you have great beach access from all Pensacola Beach hotels. And there are many beachfront hotels as options for where to stay in Pensacola Beach to make a stay extra memorable.
On top of that Pensacola Beach has a good selection of restaurants and bars on the island. So you don’t even need to leave the island during your Pensacola Beach stay. But the best option for where to stay in Pensacola Beach depends on what you’re after.
The busiest area in Pensacola Beach is the area around Casino Beach. There you find restaurants, bars, stores and the Pensacola Beach Pier. Therefore Casino Beach is the best area to stay in Pensacola Beach if you want to base yourself near Pensacola Beach entertainment.
If you go east or west from Casino Beach the ambience gets quieter and quieter for every step you take. You can walk for miles on quiet and relaxing stretches of the beach in both directions. So if you prefer a more quiet time, the best area to stay in Pensacola Beach is either further east or west on Santa Rosa Island.
Pensacola Beach is a beautiful destination for a beach stay and the premium location is reflected in the hotel rates. So for Pensacola on a budget you should look into the other alternatives for where to stay in the Pensacola area.
To sum up, Pensacola Beach is a great choice for where to stay when visiting the Pensacola area if you’re after a traditional beach vacation. In Pensacola Beach you literally stay on the beach and step right out on the sandy dunes as soon as you wake up in the morning. And the hotels and resorts in Pensacola Beach have all you need for an unforgettable stay.
- Pick Pensacola Beach for: Best possible access to the beach.
Recommended Pensacola Beach hotels
Margaritaville Beach Hotel – Pensacola Beach lodging just steps away from Casino Beach
Margaritaville in Pensacola Beach sits in a strategic location just steps away from Casino Beach and surrounding attractions. The incredible oceanfront location with walking distance to the Pensacola Beach Pier and restaurants is central. Yet Margaritaville’s location is a bit secluded as the Pensacola Beach hotel sits on Fort Pickens Road off the main drag. Margaritaville is time after time mentioned as one of the best places to stay in Pensacola Beach.
Holiday Inn Express Pensacola Beach – Another Pensacola Beach hotel near Casino Beach
Just a stone’s throw further west and away from Casino Beach you find the Holiday Inn Express in Pensacola Beach. The beachfront Pensacola Beach hotel also sits near Casino Beach but away from the liveliness. Holiday Inn Express is a great Pensacola Beach place to stay if you look for proximity to Pensacola Beach entertainment but still want to be slightly off the beaten path.
Portofino Island Resort – A peaceful Pensacola Beach resort further east on the island
At Portofino Island Resort you stay at a Pensacola Beach resort further east on Santa Rosa Island and away from the liveliness. The location of the Pensacola Beach accommodation next to Gulf Islands National Seashore is extremely peaceful. Portofino Island Resort is the best Pensacola Beach place to stay if you’re after a quiet and relaxing time away from it all.
Downtown Pensacola, FL – A city stay near Pensacola Beach
The charming Downtown Pensacola has more than 450 years of history behind it. The Spanish founded the city already in 1559. Today the historic downtown is the pumping heart of the city and a great option for where to stay in Pensacola.
In Downtown Pensacola you find a good selection of educational museums, fun shops, cozy cafés, award-winning restaurants and bars ready to cool you off. And as the area is very walkable, you don’t have to rely on your car when you explore the city’s offerings. From the Downtown Pensacola hotels you effortlessly can tour the area.
You don’t have direct beach access when you stay in Downtown Pensacola. But if you want to trade the city for the beach for a change, it’s just a 9-mile drive away. You reach the white dunes in about 20 minutes from hotels in Downtown Pensacola.
In short, downtown is the best area to stay in Pensacola if you want a blend of things to do and don’t mind to be a drive away from the beach. In a beautiful historic environment Downtown Pensacola offers a rich selection of entertainment, places to eat and bars where you can cool off during hot Florida days or nights.
Pick Downtown Pensacola for: Downtown Pensacola attractions.
Gulf Breeze, FL – The best place to stay near Pensacola Beach on a budget
Gulf Breeze is located north of Pensacola Beach, but south of Downtown Pensacola. The city offers hotels near Pensacola Beach and Downtown Pensacola. When you stay in Gulf Breeze you’re just a short drive away from both.
Therefore Gulf Breeze is a great option for where to stay when visiting Pensacola if you can’t decide if you want to stay in downtown or on the beach. Or if you simply want to go a lot to both areas and therefore stay in between them.
In Gulf Breeze you find Gulf Breeze Zoo. The zoo is home to a big number of animals including giraffes, zebras and of course alligators. Gulf Breeze Zoo is a fun attraction to go to for the whole family when visiting the Pensacola area.
That you are a drive away from Pensacola Beach also means that the hotel rates tend to be lower in Gulf Breeze, compared to hotels in Pensacola Beach. Therefore Gulf Breeze is a popular Pensacola choice to stay on a budget.
To sum up, Gulf Breeze is a very convenient choice for where to stay in Pensacola and vicinity. As Gulf Breeze is located between Pensacola Beach and Downtown Pensacola, it’s a great base if you plan to visit both areas. Also if you don’t mind the drive to the beach, it’s a great option for where to stay near Pensacola Beach on a budget.
Pick Gulf Breeze for: A convenient and budget-friendly base.
Navarre Beach, FL – A peaceful beach stay near Pensacola
Navarre Beach is an excellent alternative to staying in Pensacola Beach. The community is also situated on Santa Rosa Island, but further east.
All that separates Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach is the Gulf Islands National Seashore. And to drive the distance from Pensacola Beach to Navarre Beach takes about 20 minutes. It’s an incredibly scenic drive between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach.
The beach in Navarre is just as pretty as it is in the neighboring community. Instead the main difference is that Navarre is quieter. In Navarre Beach you find smaller crowds, less to do and fewer places to eat.
It’s also longer from accommodation in Navarre Beach to all the things to do in Downtown Pensacola. So if you plan to go there a lot, you should look into the other areas for where to stay in Pensacola and vicinity.
All in all, Navarre Beach is a great option for where to stay near Pensacola if you want a quiet beach stay. It’s quieter than Pensacola Beach, but the beach is as beautiful.
Pick Navarre Beach for: A quieter beach a scenic drive away.
Search for hotels in Pensacola, FL
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Where to stay in Pensacola FAQ
Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about where to stay in Pensacola, Florida.
If you’re after a traditional Pensacola beach vacation nothing beats the dunes and entertainment in Pensacola Beach. Downtown Pensacola is great if you’re after a relaxed city vibe not far away from the beach. Gulf Breeze is a convenient option in between them where you can stay near Pensacola Beach on a budget. Navarre Beach east of Pensacola Beach is a more quiet beach option if you want to try something off the beaten path.
Stay near Casino Beach if you want to base yourself near Pensacola Beach entertainment. If you want a more secluded stay it’s recommended to stay either further east or west on Santa Rosa Island.