Best Time to Visit Pensacola: Pensacola is one of the most popular cities on Florida’s panhandle, attracting over 2 million visitors per year. Vacationers from the local area and from all over the United States and Canada visit Pensacola to enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches, great weather, excellent restaurants, and recreational activities, including fishing, snorkeling, birdwatching, scuba diving, and more.
The climate of Pensacola is classified as humid subtropical. Pensacola is characterized by hot, humid summers, and short, mild winters. Unlike areas of south Florida, Pensacola (along with the rest of the panhandle) do see cold temperatures, and the months of November through mid March see average temperatures in the 50s and low 60s, with cold ocean waters. These months are considered Pensacola’s “low season” and the city generally sees little tourism activity. Peak season stretches from mid March to early September, when spring breakers and summer vacationers flock to the beaches near the city.
The best time to visit Pensacola falls in the lull between peak season and low season, from mid September through the end of October. This is when the crowds that pack the city’s beaches during spring and peak summer months have dissipated, but the temperatures are still warm (averaging in the mid 70s) and the ocean waters are still temperate and swimmable.
September and October is the best time to visit Pensacola not only due to the nice weather and lack of crowds. These months are also when some of the most popular events in the city take place. If you plan on visiting Pensacola between September and October, here are some of the events you should be sure to put on your itinerary.
Emerald Coast Beer Festival
Pensacola’s version of Octoberfest, the Emerald Coast Beer Festival is one of the city’s most popular events in September. Over 50 breweries participate in the two-day event, which usually has at least 2,500 attendees who come to sample the 200+ beers and try the dinner pairings. Mixed drinks and food from food stands are also available to all attendees.
The festival has been held annually for 25 years, and seems to increase in popularity each year. With live music, a street party atmosphere, and of course, great food and beer, the Emerald Coast Beer Festival is a must-attend event for anyone in Pensacola in September.
Vettes at the Beach Car Show
The annual “Vettes at the Beach” car show is a car show that features over 300 corvettes and thousands of enthusiasts and attendees. The show has been held annually for almost 20 years, typically on the second Saturday in September. Held at the Pensacola Beach parking lot, just a couple of steps away from one of Pensacola’s famous white sand beaches, the event is one of the most popular events in the month of September.
Great for car enthusiasts, families, and just about anyone else, the event has a lively, friendly atmosphere, and the restaurants and food vendors in the area provide plenty of excellent, fresh seafood and southern-style dishes. If you are planning to be in the Pensacola area in September, you should be sure to check out the show.
Santa Rosa Triathlon
Scheduled for October 1, the 25th annual Santa Rosa Triathlon is an excellent fall event for both athletes and spectators. Featuring a 600 yard swim, 21 km bicycle race, and 5 km run, the race is a USAT sanctioned sprint distance triathlon.
Early October is the perfect time to watch or participate in an event like this. The weather is still beautiful, and the crowds have largely dispersed, giving competitors unbridled access to the pristine Gulf waters and uncrowded Pensacola Beach streets. After the completion of the race, the after party features free food and drinks for the competitors, plus prizes for the winners in each category.
Taste of the Beach Festival
A daylong festival held every year in Pensacola Beach, the Taste of the Beach features over 25 of the city’s best restaurants showcasing their signature dishes for just $5 a plate. With a beer tasting section, a free concert, frozen desserts, games, and more, this festival is fun for the whole family. The festival is located right on Casino Beach, giving visitors beautiful views of the white sands and cool blue gulf waters.
Other Popular Activities
Besides the festivals and events outlined above, the months of September and October are perfect for a wide range of recreational activities on and off the beach. Here are some of the most popular activities to partake in in Pensacola in the fall.
September and October are the ideal times for swimming, with water temperatures averaging in the low 80s. The gulf waters around Pensacola are generally calm, and plenty of locals and tourists alike find themselves spending all day swimming on the beach in the fall. However, it is important to pay attention to weather conditions and lifeguards, and heed their warnings regarding currents or unsafe swimming conditions.
Kayaking in the gulf and in Pensacola’s many saltwater marshes is a very popular activity in September and October. The calm, warm waters make Pensacola a kayaker’s paradise during the fall, and the views and natural beauty in the area is absolutely breathtaking. Paddle along the shoreline, discovering unspoilt coves, observing fish and birds in the natural habitats, and reconnecting with nature.
Fall is the perfect time for fishing in Pensacola. After the peak summer season, when the weather has cooled, conditions are perfect for fishing without worrying about sunburn or heatstroke. September and October are the perfect months for catching a wide variety of fish, including marlin, tuna, grouper, red snapper, amberjack, and more. Surf fishing and charter boat fishing are both popular in the fall.