Pensacola, Florida

Best Places to Retire in Florida


Pensacola (population 60,000) is located on the Gulf of Mexico in the extreme western part of the Florida panhandle. The area, which includes Escambia and Santa Rosa County, has a total population of 430,000.

Called the ìCradle of Naval Aviation,î it has been a training site for every major military conflict.  There are five military bases in the area and an estimated 36,000 Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviators start their training here each year.  It is also home of the famous Blue Angels precision flying exhibition team, which practices here weekly from March until November. There are an estimated 24,000 active duty military and federal employees, and over 30,000 retired military living in the area.

Pensacola, which pre-dates St. Augustine, takes its name from the Panzacola Indians who lived here when the Spanish explorers arrived in 1559.  It has been under five flags in its long history: Spanish, French, English, Confederate, and US.  The Seville Historic District is one of the oldest and most intact in all Florida.  It includes Old Christ Church (1832) and St. Michaelís Cemetery, deeded by the King of Spain in 1822 when Florida became a US Territory.  Both North Hill Preservation District and Seville Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pensacola is a medium-sized city with a great many amenities and activities.  It has asymphony orchestra, opera company, large capacity Civic Arena, live theater and nightclubs. The city is also known for its almost continuous stream of festivals, celebrations, and special events. There are art galleries and specialty shops, antique shops, museums and attractions.  It offers a wide range of dining choices, from casual to fine dining with elegantly prepared food, or dining with live music.  There is excellent health care and it has its own regional airport.

The Pensacola Bay Area has been referred to as ìFloridaís best kept secret.î  There are more than 40 miles of stunningly white beaches, with sand dunes, crystal waters, and lots of seashells. Two of its beaches have been ranked among Americaís top 10 beaches. The area also offers some of the best fishing along the Gulf. There is free access to all the waterways, including 20 boat ramps, and picnic, camping, and swimming facilities are widely available.

Arts & Culture

Pensacola Symphony Orchestra offers a subscription series, as well as special event concerts.

Pensacola Opera –

Pensacola Little Theatre presents live theater.

Saenger Theatre is a beautifully restored historic theater of Spanish Baroque architecture. It hosts touring Broadway shows, symphony concerts, and other large-scale events.

The University of West Florida Theatre Department offers stages productions throughout the year.

The Arts Council of Northwest Florida –

National Museum of Naval Aviation has more than 130 Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft on display.

Pensacola Museum of Art –

Civil War Solders Museum –

Pensacola Historical Museum –

Gulf Breeze Zoo –

Pensacola is well known for its many festivals and special events.  Included are the Greek Festival, Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival, Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show, Fiesta of Five Flags, Springfest Music Festival, Pensacola Beach Air Show, Pensacola Seafood Festival Jazz Fest, Crawfish Festival, Mardi Gras Festival, Bushwacker Festival, Symphony by the Sea, LobsterFest, and more.

The Pensacola Civic Center is the premier venue with its 10,000-seat arena, 20,000 square feet of exhibition space and more than 13,000 square feet of meeting space.  It hosts a wide range of events including shows, world-class stars, concerts, regional sporting events, ice hockey, and arena football, to name a few.


The Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide range of parks and facilities, including Osceola Municipal Golf Course, a tennis center with 18 lighted courts, and nine community centers.  There are outstanding choices for sport and recreation including over 50 miles of pristine sand beaches, charter fishing, fishing from the beach, sailing, swimming, snorkeling, or diving.  There is also a wide paved path parallel to the beach for joggers, skaters, walkers, and bikers.  Or if you choose, there is canoeing, kayaking and fishing on the freshwater creeks.

Perdido Key State Park –

There are more than a dozen area golf courses. This site offers a partial listing.

Pensacola Ice Pilots professional hockey team –

Pensacola Pelicans professional baseball team –

Pensacola Power ñ National Womenís Football Association –

Pensacola Greyhound Race Track –


University of West Floridaís 1,600-acre main campus consists of rolling hills and woodlands along the Escambia River, 10 miles north of downtown Pensacola.  It also has a Fort Walton Beach Campus, the Eglin Air Force Base Center and offices at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Hurlburt Field, and Whiting Field.

Pensacola Junior College –
Pensacola Christian College –

Senior Programs

West Florida Healthcare is affiliated with ìThe National Association of Senior Friendsî which provides its members an array of healthcare discounts.

The Parks and Recreation Department offers an extensive array of activities for seniors.  Most of the activities are at one of the community centers.

Directory for Seniors Assistance and Programs –


Baptist Hospital, Inc. has been awarded the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.
Sacred Heart Hospital is a 449-bed acute care facility.
Naval Hospital Pensacola
West Florida Hospital is a 400-bed acute care facility.
Santa Rosa Medical Center is a 129-bed community hospital in Milton, Fla., 20 minutes from Pensacola.


Pensacola Regional Airport –



Pensacola News Journal –

Property Taxes

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency


Perdido Key – 17 miles
Navarre – 25 miles
Crestview- 52 miles
Mobile, AL – 59 miles
Panama City – 103 miles
Biloxi, MS – 120 miles
Tallahassee – 197 miles

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