We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

texas
Level Contributor
2,453 posts
49 reviews
Save Topic
Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

I think we have these 2 places as our 2 vacation spot choices for family vacation this Summer. Now I hope you do not think this is crazy, but are the beaches in the areas similar? Both sugar white and beautiful? The reason I ask is because in Texas we have some that are pretty and a few that are not that great. So would either of these places have similar beaches? Not big into extra stuff to do in either area, as we really are just planning about 3 days of beach lounging and eating at night, so not that interested in extra stuff to do around. Just the beach itself. Thank you.

U.S.
Level Contributor
3,109 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

Both are wonderful beaches!

Yes, there are areas on the Panhandle that may not be quite as stunning. But, both of these areas are great.

If you really, and truly, just want the beach. And maybe some limited dining, Pensacola Beach would be a good choice.

As a Destin fan, I decided to give Pensacola Beach a try during our last visit. I was not convinced that the beach could compare to the Destin area. The conditions were 'chamber of commerce' or 'postcard'. The beach was spectacular.

Pensacola Beach is actually a small place.

An area on the island across from Pensacola, bordered on both sides by the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Miles of beautiful sand and sea.

If you are not traveling during high season.

Destin would be wonderful too.

Absolutely gorgeous beach.

My little thumbnail photo you see was taken at Pompano Joe's.

And, just as the icing on the cake, there is a lot more great dining in the Destin area.

But, as you know, it can be very crowded during summer high season.

texas
Level Contributor
2,453 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

So when you say Destin area, are you referring to Destin and Ft Walton? I guess Ft Walton is the city and Navarre beach is the beach actually? We are looking at end of July, first of august, due to college Summer school getting out after that, so assume that is high season.

And yes, your pic is gorgeous. Exactly the white sands and turquoise water I want. And that place is something I have read about while doing research.

Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

Destin is a bit further east of Fort Walton, while Navarre is about 15 minutes to the west of Fort Walton. Destin has a lot more to do but traffic is awful during the summer. Pensacola Beach has more restaurants and bars than Navarre.

U.S.
Level Contributor
3,109 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

Yes, my bad!

I was kind of referring to both.

They are often combined. Called 'The Emerald Coast'.

I am more familiar with the Destin area.

Ft. Walton Beach, of course, right across the bridge.

It sounds like you are wanting something more laid back, less busy. But, for your children, if you want like kiddie pool areas, lazy river, etc, you might want to look into Waterscape or Destin West, which are there at FWB.

You will LOVE the beaches!

You can't go wrong with the Pensacola, FWB, Destin areas.

Edited: 04 February 2012, 01:32
texas
Level Contributor
2,453 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

Thank you. Am leaning toward Best Western in FtWalton. Its 100 less a night than others in area and we need 3 rooms for4 nights so that would be in our budget. We want to get away and do not want a lot of traffic. kids are 18 to 30 all girls so they want the relaxing beach as well. Grandkids are 7 and 11.so they will just do what we do.

Edited: 04 February 2012, 05:08
U.S.
Level Contributor
3,109 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

Ohhh, yes I see you are thinking 'hotel'.

Yes, many accommodations in this area are condo-complex-resorts.

Just to throw this out there, have you looked into what a three bedroom condo with 2/3 baths, full kitchen etc. might come out price-wise.

With your group, perhaps three totally separate hotel rooms are what fits better. But a condo with living area, full kitchen etc.. can be really nice.

texas
Level Contributor
2,453 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

I did think about the condo route, but am completely at a loss as to which ones to even begin to look at. I like the idea of having a living room to all meet at night and visit before sleep, but then at the same time since I am the mom, usually ends up being more work for me to keep stuff picked up, etc and would sort of like to have a little separate spaces. Also not a big fan of really high buildings, but would be ok with one that was maybe 4 or 5 stories. And then some say partial views. I want that ocean staring me every morning and evening. Any that you can recommend since you have been there on either one of those places.

U.S.
Level Contributor
3,109 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

About which condo, that is a bit harder.

I am not as familiar with these specifics.

I am thinking that at Pensacola Beach, many options are hotels.

Perhaps you could start a new thread, and give some specifics...

Price range

High Rise or Low Rise

Near Dining, or Food and drinks onsite

Pools and amenities

Etc...

The thing about Condo's, Many of these complexes are individual condo owners, and are operated by a rental association. One condo might be well furnished and super nice, but the one right across the hall, with a different owner, may not have a great standard of furnishing, upkeep, etc..

There are many condo rental agencies. In the Destin FWB area, one mentioned here recently is Ocean Reef Resorts. Newman Daily is another that I believe is well known.

And, often, one can find great condo rentals directly thru the owners on VRBO.com.

If you want to be sure, you should look for a rental where good photos of the actual condo, and possibly reviews from prev. renters, are shown.

Again, I am not a huge expert.

But, since not that many people seem to be online here at this time, I thought I would offer any info that I can.

Happy Planning!

texas
Level Contributor
2,453 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

Thank you. That is the problem. All sorts of condos and then you read and some reviews are great and some are not. The hotel route I at least think would be the safest as far as nice accommodation and knowing for sure we have total beach view.

U.S.
Level Contributor
3,109 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Pensacola vs Ft Walton Beaches

I notice that the Holiday Inn Express at Pensacola is at the top of the list here for hotels on the panhandle. Check it out, and pull it up on Googlemaps. Excellent location right on the beach, all Gulf View rooms.

If you decide to stay somewhere other than Pensacola, I will just repeat the old adage that I have seen several times.

Once you go 'condo' you don't wanna go back to a hotel-room!

Just know that the rental agencies mentioned are reputable. And many VRBO properties and owners are really great as well. Nothing to be too worried/anxious about. And, again, if you really want to even see photos of the particular condo, you can see those when renting from the Resort Rental agencies or VRBO.

I am more familiar with the Destin area, places like Sandestin (crowded during high season), I just noticed Adagio (out of town - uncrowded) since we have visited the Grayton/Blue Mountain Beach area.

At Fort walton beach, Waterscape and Destin West come to mind for waterpark style pool areas (Could be pricey in high season) Or, for just hotel rooms with nice pool and amenities, I think it is the Ramada at FWB that I am remembering.

Happy Planning!

: )

Edited: 07 February 2012, 01:22