Fall in Florida may be the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors, and Pensacola has so many activities to offer its residents. We’re happy to take this opportunity to showcase some of the attractions, events and places that make our city special and provide wonderful ways to enjoy the sunshine. After all, we’re nothing if not a team of nature lovers who enjoy getting outside.
Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival
The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival provides a perfect start to getting outside in the month of November. The three-day festival includes more than 200 renowned painters, potters, sculptors, jewelers, graphic artists, and other craftspeople, while the Student Art Show showcases the talents of the next generation of local artists. The Heritage Arts exhibition demonstrates spinning, weaving, woodcarving, engraving, and other skills found in traditional arts and crafts. Live music, good food, and free children’s art activities round out the day.
Not only is the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival one of the most popular arts festivals with visitors, it is also highly regarded by artists and ranked as the 9th top art festival in the nation by Sunshine Artist magazine. The festival runs November 3rd, 4th, and 5th in Seville Square.
Veterans Memorial Park
One of our favorite places for getting outside is Veterans Memorial Park. The park is designed as a place of healing, remembrance, learning, and celebration of the lives of America’s fallen service members. From the Walk of Honor to The Military War Dog Memorial, the nation’s heroes are memorialized and celebrated.
November is a special month. The park comes alive with the celebration of Veterans Week from the 4th through the 11th. Activities include key notes and ceremonies, arts, music, comedy, food and dining. There are also a variety of career resources and educational opportunities. This year the Week in the Park festivities begin in coordination with Foo Foo Fest. The 12-day celebration boasts culturally creative happenings and events.
Side note: Last year’s Foo Foo Fest brought colorful balloons to a streetscape we designed. It is one of our favorite projects to share, so take a look!
Art-in-the-Park – Gallery Row is one of the activities that we look forward to. The event takes place on November 5th, 2023 and features art booths with local art galleries, institutions, and organizations. Fun and educational activities for children will be offered, giving them hands-on opportunities to explore the world of creating art. There will also be painting and drawing demonstrations, notably including those focused on the outdoor creative process using natural light. To cap off the event, artist Randy New will be hosting a special exhibition of his latest public work, The Mariner. New is the creative mind behind many of the sculptures at Veterans Memorial Park.
Pensacola Dragon Boat Festival
Brought to us by the Northeast Pensacola Sertoma Club, this annual event welcomes 30 teams, supported by thousands of spectators, to compete for bragging rights in an exciting dragon boat race to the finish! Teams often have themes and costumes, making this a fun idea for getting outside with children. Or, just for those of us who love a theme and some friendly competition. This year’s race already took place back on September 30th, but next year will be the 10th annual event, so be sure to pencil it in now.
Getting Outside Around Pensacola
Even without special events, Pensacola’s parks are wonderful places for nature-loving residents to enjoy the outdoors right here in the city. From Admiral Mason Park to Zamora Square, the city’s 93 parks have a lot to offer. Benches, swings, playground equipment, and a variety of sports fields and courts mean there is something for everyone.
For those who like to combine getting outside with some history, we highly recommend the Fort Pickens Area. Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, the Fort Pickens Area features historic structures. These include like Fort Pickens, Battery Cooper, and Battery Worth. The Fort Pickens Discovery Center is a great place to learn more about the park and its history. The Battery Worth Picnic Area, nearby trails, and swimming at Langdon Beach provide plenty of ways to enjoy the sun, as well. Tent and RV camping are also available to make multi-day enjoyment possible.
Big Lagoon State Park is another of our favorite nearby places to enjoy the outdoors and it also has historical significance. Evidence of prehistoric and historic occupation have been found in the park dating back as far as 800 BC. Today, our favorite outdoor attraction in the park is that it is a gateway for the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail and is a stopover for a wide variety of ducks, warblers, sandpipers, and black-bellied plovers. Bring your binoculars and roam the shore and coastal forest!
If birding isn’t your thing, Big Lagoon State Park has plenty of other outdoor recreation possibilities. It offers swimming, boating, fishing, camping, hiking, and paddling for days of enjoyment. For the truly adventurous, the park serves as the beginning of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, a 1,515-mile sea kayaking journey around the entire state.
Pensacola Bay Bridge
Enjoying the outdoors does not have to be limited to parks, however. Runners, walkers, and bicyclists can now enjoy the views from a distinctive new Pensacola landmark, the Pensacola Bay Bridge. The bridge is now open to traffic between Pensacola and Gulf Breeze. It includes multi-use paths on the eastbound and westbound spans for pedestrians and bicyclists. We are proud of our role in making the new bridge an iconic threshold for our city. The Jerry Pate Design team looks forward to joining our fellow residents in enjoying the recreational opportunities that have been incorporated into it.
Whatever form our nature-loving interests take, our team finds an opportunity to enjoy all that Pensacola has to offer. Join us in getting outside and enjoying fall in Florida!