Pensacola, Florida (PRWEB) April 02, 2014
According to the 2014 travel survey by American Express, respondents noted an increase in soft adventure travel, selecting experience-rich destinations like the Pensacola Bay Area that appeal to everyone from the casual outdoor enthusiast to the hard-core adrenaline seeker.
Direct flights from United Airlines make traveling to the Pensacola Bay Area convenient from Chicago, and for those wanting an extended road trip, the drive can be done in a day as Pensacola is the first beach in Florida that greets Midwestern travelers.
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.
“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.”
Pensacola Beach completed the Footprints in the Sand Eco Trail in 2013. On the trail, you’ll learn about local plant and animal life including dolphins, sharks, birds and stingrays. You’ll also learn about the secrets of Pensacola Beach’s white sand, discover the dangerous journeys of sea turtles and so much more.
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 of Perdido Key and Pensacola Beach.
Paddle boarding remains a favorite hobby. Big Lagoon State Park provides boards for casual self-guided tours while at Fitness OnBoard, instructors lead guests in arigorous one-hour boot camp on the standup paddleboard. Dozens of boating charters are available, from deep-sea fishing and sailing excursions to romantic dolphin cruises at sunset.
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 their 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 Fishing Pier are great places to spot dolphins. Fort Barrancas and the Pensacola Lighthouse provide a great vantage point of Pensacola Pass, where the Spanish first sailed through in 1559.
Opportunities abound in the Pensacola Bay Area for an activity-filled, memorable vacation in the Florida sunshine.
To request a free Visitor Guide or sign up for e-deals, go to http://www.visitpensacola.com/chicago. Start planning your next adventure today.