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Living a Boating Lifestyle in Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola, population 53,000,  is a particularly good place for boaters to live and visit. Located at the western end of the Florida panhandle on the Pensacola Bay,  boaters have easy access to the emerald waters and  bays of the Gulf of Mexico for fishing and cruising.  The flags of 5 different governments have flown over the city. Recreational opportunities are plentiful with the many bays, Gulf, and plentiful land.  Vacationers and homeowners come here because they view it as a desirable place to live/visit, and it offers good value. Many military personnel become familiar with the area because of Naval Air Station Pensacola, a major training base, then stay or return to retire here.

Pensacola is not a typical kind of Florida town due to the navy presence and distance from the rest of the state. The area  was hard hit by hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Dennis (2005).  Photo of Welcome sign courtesy of Wikipedia and TheCustomOfLife.

Where to Retire in Pensacola and Home Prices

There are active adult and 55+ communities in the area (see link at left) to choose from, as well as many attractive neighborhoods. Many are near the water, whereas there are suburban areas quite a bit inland. 
Housing prices in Pensacola are more reasonable than the rest of Florida and the U.S. The NAR reported that the median selling price of a home in Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL was $315,500 in the 1st quarter of 2022.

What Is Special about Pensacola

Access to the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Bay. Gulf Islands National Seashore offers 150 miles of discontinuous pure white sandy beaches stretching from here into Mississippi. Pensacola Beach was voted Florida's best beach in a USA Today poll. Great fishing and boating too. Pensacola offers a combination of lower prices and taxes - but very close to the water.

What Is Not Special about Pensacola

A more conservative atmosphere than some other parts of Florida (which could be a plus for other folks!). The area is prone to hurricanes and insurance could become a problem.

Climate and Physical Environment

Located on the western end of the Florida panhandle on Pensacola Bay, an inlet from the Gulf of Mexico. Mobile and Tallahassee are the closest cities.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There are many festivals throughout the year such as the Great Gulf coast Arts Festival. As a tourist town there are many attractions. Two colleges are in Pensacola, University of West Florida, and Pensacola Junior College.


Crime rate is above average in Pensacola - index of 482 vs national average of 319 (

Medical Facilities

In addition to many naval medical facilities there are 3 other hospitals: Baptist, Sacred Heart, and West Florida


Interstate 10 runs through Pensacola with fast travel to points west or east.  The Pensacola Airport is a convenient one.

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