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Visit Pensacola Gives Travelers a Walk on the Wild Side

March 22, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Just in time for Earth Day, Visit Pensacola is giving away a vacation for four. The package includes four round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines, beach accommodations, and vouchers for popular restaurants and attractions.

In November, Southwest Airlines began offering two direct flights daily from Nashville to Pensacola.

Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key are part of the longest stretch of protected seashore in the country, the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The Gulf of Mexico is a haven for hikers, cyclists, birdwatchers, surfers, fishermen and scuba divers.gI_130583_iStock_000019370640Large2

“Visitors have a variety of recreational activities along beautiful white sand dunes and clear aqua waters of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Susan Teel, national park ranger with Gulf Islands National Seashore. “There’s kayaking, snorkeling, biking, camping, and we also have ranger-led programs like tours of Fort Pickens, Fort Barrancas and Fort Massachusetts. Visitors can get a little history and information on our natural areas along with the enjoyment of being in the great outdoors.”

Just off the shore is the USS Oriskany, the world’s largest artificial reef, which has attracted technical divers from across the globe. The USS Massachusetts is another reef ideal for beginners, and beach-goers can also snorkel off the shores ofPerdido Key and Pensacola Beach.

Paddle boarding remains a favorite hobby. Big Lagoon State Park provides boards for casual self-guided tours or you can rent a board from Coastal Paddle Company and explore the waters off of Pensacola Beach. Dozens of boating charters are available, from deep-sea fishing and sailing excursions to family dolphin cruises and parasailing.

April is prime-time for spotting migrating birds as they travel north across the Gulf of Mexico. Johnson Beach and Fort Pickens Beach are ideal and secluded spots for sighting some rare species.

Of course, every adventurer wants his or her experiences caught on camera. Several spots around the area make for amazing panoramic photos sure to wow Instagram and Facebook followers. The three-story observation tower at Big Lagoon State Park and the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier are great places to spot dolphins, while Fort Barrancas and the Pensacola Lighthouse provide great vantage points of Pensacola Pass, where the Spanish first sailed through in 1559.

Just north of town in Milton is Adventures Unlimited where visitors can enjoy fresh-water tubing, canoeing and kayaking and a challenging ropes course with hipline.

Opportunities abound in the Pensacola Bay Area for an activity-filled, memorable vacation that is Mother Nature approved.

To enter to win a vacation package for four or to request a free Visitor Guide, go to Registration ends March 30. Start planning your next adventure today.

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