ABOUT THE PENSACOLA BEACH, FLORIDA AREA
Pensacola Beach is an unincorporated community located on Santa Rosa Island, a barrier island, in Escambia County, Florida. It is bordered to the south by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Santa Rosa Sound and Pensacola Bay, and to the east and west by the Gulf Islands National Seashore. It is situated south of Pensacola, connected via bridges spanning to the Fairpoint Peninsula and then to the island, on the Gulf of Mexico. As of the 2000 census, the community had a total population of 2,738.
Pensacola Beach is best known for its incredible white sandy beaches and emerald water. There are also a number of other attractions on Pensacola Beach that include seafood restaurants, hotels, single family housing developments, multi-family developments, hotels, the Boardwalk, Fort Pickens National Park, a great elementary school, and churches.
The Boardwalk is on the Santa Rosa Sound side of the island, directly across from CasinoBeach. Retail shops, restaurants, nightclubs, street musicians and sidewalk artists line it. The Boardwalk has a large sea shell stage where concerts are held several times a year. Behind it, there is a beach silent except for the sounds of seagulls, and children making sand castles. Most events are held here, including The Lobster Fest, Bushwacker Fest, and the Independence Day fireworks. Behind the beach there is a boat dock where anyone can park their boats free of charge.
Fort Pickens was completed in 1834 and used until WWII, when modern weapons made traditional coastal defense obsolete. Fort Pickens has changed over the years, so take the self-guided tour and peel back the layers of history. You'll see the plaster-lined rooms that were intended as officers' quarters, and later used to house Apache prisoners. The most famous resident, Geronimo, lived in identical rooms along the south wall, which have since collapsed. Fort Pickens now houses an auditorium, a museum, and a visitor’s center offering information about the area.
The Fort itself is only part of the National Seashore's attractions: the boundary stretches back seven miles (11 km). (Fodor's rates Ft. Pickens' beaches the best in Florida.) So whether you take the bike trail or the highway, you'll find campgrounds, nature trails, and miles and miles of protected beaches perfect for sand dollar and sea shell hunting, and for picking through flotsam washed ashore from the high seas and exotic foreign ports. The highway to the Fort has been blocked since hurricane Ivan caused significant damage to the surrounding areas and the Fort itself. The Fort is still accessible by hiking or biking, but the structure itself is very weak due to storm damage, and considered a safety hazard.
There is one school on Pensacola Beach. The Pensacola Beach Elementary School is for children from kindergarten through fifth grade. This school has an enrollmentranging from 120 to 140 students. All elementary-school age children on Pensacola Beach are eligible to attend the school. The first year the school was open, for the school year 1977-1978, classes were held in an empty A-frame house owned by a local named Harry Gowens. The Pensacola Beach Volunteer Fire Department building was also used in aiding the teachers and administrators. In November 1977, four portable buildings were moved to the present site. The school has continued to grow and produce some outstanding students. The school has been ranked as an 'A' school in the state for many years running. They have also received the 5 Star School award since 1998. This award recognizes schools with exemplary student involvement. In 2001 the Pensacola Beach Elementary lost its ties to the Escambia County School District and became a Charter school. Now the school, with the help of parents, volunteers, and the community, must find ways to pay for their resources and staff.
There are only two churches on the island of Pensacola Beach. It is under the laws and guidelines of the Santa Rosa Island Authority that these be the only churches on the island. The first is the Pensacola Beach Community Church, affiliated with the United Church of Christ. The second is the Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church. Our Lady of the Assumption Church is a mission church of St. Ann's Catholic church, located in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
Pensacola Beach is located on one of the most beautiful islands in the world! It is also located just minutes by car to downtown Pensacola and Gulf Breeze that offer numerous cultural opportunities, air transportation, regional medical facilities, shopping, rich history, and the Pensacola Naval Air Station.
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