The kids have been out of school for a week and already the “I’m bored” has started. With 9 weeks left of summer vacation, what’s a mom to do? That’s why we put together this post of FREE and cheap things to do this summer in Pensacola. So have fun, save money and keep the kids busy… we call this a WIN WIN!
FREE Summer Concerts in Pensacola
Bands on the Beach
Bring your lawn chair and listen to live music from regional artists every Tuesday night at 7pm at the Gulfside Pavilion at Casino Beach. FREE
June 5 – Tyler Mac
June 12 – Elvis Remembered
June 19 – Moderate Chop
June 26 – Category 4
July 3 – Johnny Earthquake
July 10 – Reunion Band
July 17 –Bay Bridge Band
July 24 – The Rowdies
July 31 – Mr. Big and The Rhythm Sisters
St Christopher’s Church Concert Series
Bring your lawn chair and beverage of your choice to enjoy the 2018 concert series featuring these Gulf Coast top musical performers from 6-8pm at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church 3200 N 12th Ave, Pensacola
- June 7 Bay Bridge Band
Blues On the Bay
Outdoor concert series on Saturday nights throughout the summer when the Blue Wahoos aren’t playing at home. The concerts start at 6pm at Community Maritime Park Hunter Amphitheater. Bring your chairs, blankets and coolers but please leave pets and glass containers at home.
- June 10 Bay Bridge Band
- June 24 Paxton Norris Band / Nick and the Ovorols
- July 15 Reunion Band
Tunes by the Dunes
Navarre Beach Summer concert series every Thursday from 7-9pm at the Navarre Beach Park’s Sand Crab Pavilion just east of the Navarre Fishing Pier.
- June 7 Still Standing
- June 14 Theresa Byrd / Less Than Zero
- June 21 Blue Lee and the Beach Comber Blues Band
- June 28 Robert Wayne
- July 5 Lectric Mullet with Rickey Lee Phelps
- July 12 Lucky Dogs
- July 19 Emerald Gold
- July 26 The Blenders
FREE and Cheap Summer Movies in Pensacola
Hill Kelly Movies In the Park
Summer movies series with movies once a month at Community Maritime Park.
- June 1 – 7:50pm Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
- July 6 – 8 pm Star Wars: The Last Jedi
AMC Summer Movie Camp
Every Wednesday at 10am, $4 plus tax includes movie and kids pack at AMC Classic Pensacola 10 (161 E. 9 Mile Road)
- June 6 Boss Baby
- June 13 Paddington 2
- June 20 Lego Batman
- June 27 Ferdinand
- July 11 Trolls
- July 18 Despicable Me 3
- July 25 Captain Underpants
- August 1 Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
Saenger Classic Movie Series
Every summer in July the Saenger Theatre in Downtown Pensacola host a 10 week movie series for $5 per person. 2018 movies to be announced.
FREE and Cheap Summer Outdoor Activities In Pensacola
Grand Fiesta Parade
Celebrate the 69th annual Fiesta Parade in Downtown Pensacola on June 1st at 7pm. Beads, floats, bands and fun!
World Oceans Day
June 8 from 10 am – 2pm at Perdido Key State Park. Fun and educational day on the beach. See a live owl, touch a tank , fly kites, learn about sea turtles and more. FREE
Learn about all the fun Florida has to offer at the Florida Welcome Center from 9am-3pm on Friday, June 8th. Attractions will be on hand with information, coupons, characters and more.
Fourth of July Fireworks on Pensacola Beach
Enjoy fireworks over the Santa Rosa Sound behind the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk at 8:30pm. FREE
Fourth of July In Pensacola
Day long family friendly festival in Seville Square. The festival hosts a FREE children’s area with inflatables, pony rides, face painting, and more. There are also food vendors, craft vendors, live entertainment and a hot dog eating contest. The day ends with fireworks over Pensacola Bay at 9pm. FREE
The annual air show takes place on Pensacola Beach in July. The Blue Angels, alone with other civilian and military aircraft perform stunts over the Gulf Of Mexico, July 11th – 14th.
Gulf State Park Shark Week
A week of education, games and fun learning about sharks July 23-27. $3 per person per day for all activities and pier sightseeing.
Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier
This 1470 foot pier is a great place to watch the sunsets or view marine life. It’s also a great place to fish. Open from 6am to 7pm daily, and fishing licenses are not required. Cost are $1. 25 to observe | $7.20 for adults | $4.50 for youth | $6.50 for Seniors and Military | Free for children under 6. Annual passes as well as rod and cart rentals are available.
Pensacola Beach Trolley
Explore Santa Rosa Island by trolley. The trolley runs 7 days a week from 5pm – 1am. FREE
Navarre Beach Fishing Pier
This 1545 ft long pier is popular with local fishermen. My kids love just walking on the pier looking for marine animals that can sometimes be spotted. The pier is open from sunrise to sunset from November-March, 5am-8pm March-May and 5am-10pm May-November. The cost to walk on the pier without fishing is $1 for ages 5 and up and FREE for ages 5 and under. The cost to fish on the pier is $7 for adults | $6 for seniors | $4 for ages 15 and under | FREE for ages 5 and under, disabled veterans and those who are mobility and visually impaired. Daily pass includes fishing license. Monthly passes are also available. You can bring your own rod and bait or rent a pole and purchase bait at the shop at the foot of the pier.
Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida
Located at 105 North S St. Pensacola the wildlife sanctuary is home to over 100 animals including deer, fox, bald eagles, owls, and hawks. Open Wednesday – Saturday from 12-3:30. A small donation is requested for admission.
When the Blues are in town Pensacola gets its own mini air show on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11:30 am. And on select Wednesdays visitors can get meet the pilots and get pictures and autographs at the National Naval Aviation Museum. My kids love sitting in the backyard watching the Blues fly overhead, it’s one reason we love our house.
Once a month Downtown Pensacola shuts down the streets and comes alive. Enjoy music, art and cuisine at this perfect change to explore Pensacola’s downtown and art scene. Summer Gallery Night dates are: June 15 and July 20
Hands On Habitat
Every Tuesday at 11am at Tacky Jacks in Gulf Shores. Fun educational nature series that teaches kids and adults about the ecosystem and allows them to interact with the animals that live on the Gulf Coast. FREE
Tacky Jacks Beach Games
Every Thursday through out the summer from 11 am – NOON, children ages 6-12 can compete for prizes in relays, brain puzzles and more. All participants will also enjoy a free lunch. FREE
Orange Blossom Special
Climb aboard and take a journey with Storyteller Paul Morrell on the Orange Blossom Special train ride! Learn Florida train history inside the museum and then take a ride on the train in quaint downtown Pensacola. Rides start at the Pensacola Children’s Museum on Saturdays from 10am-2pm. Admission: $5 (includes 1 adult)
Gulf State Park Junior Ranger Program 2018
Every Friday from June 8th – July 27th (excluding July 6th) at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores for ages 11 to 14 from 9-11am Cost is $5 per child per week and each child must be accompanied by an adult and attend five of the seven sessions to earn their badge.
- June 8 — Camping 101 at the Gulf State Park Education Center
- June 15 — Sea Turtles at the Gulf St. Park Pavilion
- June 22 — Birds of Pray at the Gulf State Park Education Center
- June 28 — Fishing at the Marine Resource Complex
- July 13 — Bugs and Insects at the Gulf State Park Education Center
- July 20 — Seining at Lake Shelby – lunch of hot dogs and chips will be provided after this session
- July 27 — Frogs and Toads at the Gulf State Park Education Center and Golf Course
Uncle Sandy’s Macaw Bird Park is a parrot rescue and sanctuary. However, they have a variety of birds including a few peacocks and emus. The park is completely staffed by volunteers and is a non-profit. They only accept cash at Uncle Sandy’s Macaw Bird Park. The cost of admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children 7-13 and children 6 and under are FREE. Active duty personnel, veterans and their families can receive $1 off admission with their ID
Star Gazing on Pensacola Beach and Ft. Pickens
Discover the greatness of the night sky on beautiful Pensacola Beach. Volunteers will set up nearly 20 telescopes ranging in strength and size from duplicates of Galileo’s original telescope to today’s incredible large-scope devices for the public to take a peek at wonders such as Jupiter, the Milky Way and other galaxies. June 22, 23 and July 20,21 on Pensacola Beach. June 15 and July 13 at Ft. Pickens
Geocaching in Pensacola
Explore Pensacola on the Pensacola Geo Tour. There are four trails that allow you to explore the beaches, history and culture of Pensacola. Geocaching is can also be done in City of Pensacola Parks, Escambia County Parks and Florida State Parks. FREE except at Florida State Parks.
Free and Cheap Inside Summer Activities In Pensacola
National Naval Aviation Museum
Step back and time and learn all about Naval Aviation through the years. Located on the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The museum has a indoor playground, an IMAX theater, simulators and hands on exhibits that explore aviation history. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. FREE
Located on NAS Pensacola, this light house built in 1859 with only 177 steps to the top offers one of the most beautiful views of the Gulf Coast. Opened daily from 9am – 5pm with the last climb at 4:45pm. Admission is $7 Adults | $ 4 for children 12 and under, military, and ages 65 and old.
West Florida Railroad Museum
Learn the history of the railroad in West Florida at the West Florida Railroad Museum. The museum is located at 5003 Henry St., Milton and is opened Friday and Saturday from 10am – 3pm or by appt. FREE
Visiting the Pensacola Historic Village is like taking a step back in time. Located in Downtown Pensacola the area includes 8 1/2 acres and 28 properties including the TT Wentworth Museum, Museum of Commerce, Museum of Industry, Julee Cottage, Voices of Pensacola and more. The “One Ticket, Seven Days to Explore” allows you to pay one price to explore all of the Pensacola Historic Village museums and take 7 days to do it! Admission is $8 dollars for adults | $7 for ages 65 and older, active duty military and their dependents, AAA members, Pensacola Museum of Art members, and UWF Alumni Association Members | $4 for ages 3 to 14 | FREE for UWF students and EBT cardholders (4 family members free per EBT card). On Sundays admission to the TT Wentworth Museum and the Pensacola Children’s Museum is $5 for adults | $3 for children’s ages 3 to 14 | FREE for EBT card holders and UWF students with Nautilus card.
WSRE Imagination Station
Free hands on learning venue with a strong focus on early literacy and use of digital media using educational resources from WSRE and PBS Kids, featuring your child’s favorite PBS Kids characters. Located at Blue Wahoos Stadium, Imagination Station is open Monday – Saturday from 9am – NOON. FREE
Preschool storytime at Ever’Man Cooperative Grocery and Cafe located at 315 West Garden Street. Children listen to stories, sing songs, try healthy snacks, make a craft and sometimes play in the garden. From 10am-NOON on Tuesdays, space is limited so call (850) 438-0402 to reserve your spot. FREE
Barnes and Noble
Barnes and Noble offers themed storytimes on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11am plus addition storytime and special kid events throughout the month. Check the calendar for more information. FREE
Kids Skate FREE all summer long (ages 13 and under)! Must register in advance – select dates/times vary.
Navarre Sea Turtle Conservation Center
Learn more about sea turtles and the marine animals that call NW Florida Home. Located at 8740 Gulf Blvd, Navarre. The center is open Tuesday-Saturday from 12-4pm. Admission is $5 per person | $5 for military and seniors 64+ | FREE for children 2 and under.
Located at the base of the Navarre Beach Bridge the Butterfly House has over 300 species of butterflies including some native to Florida. You will also see all of the stages of the butterfly life cycle. The house is open Thursday – Saturday from 10am-3pm. Please allow 30 minutes to see the house. Admission is free however a $5 donation per person is suggested.
Parks and Playgrounds in Pensacola
Not your typical park or playground, this one is located next to the Pensacola International Airport and has a mini control tower where you can watch the planes take off and land and listen to the real control tower talk to the pilots. Located at 4200 Jerry L. Maygarden Rd, between Pensacola Aviation Center and the commercial hangar facilities and accessible from either Spanish Trail Rd. or Summit Blvd. FREE
Big Lagoon State Park
Located off Gulf Beach Hwy along the Intracoastal Waterway, the park offers beaches, swimming, hiking, boating, fishing as well as has a playground with a waterview. The park is open daily from 8am to sunset. Cost of admission is $4 for single occupant vehicles | $6 for vehicles with 2-8 people | $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers and passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
This pirate shaped playground is located on Ft. Pickens Rd on the Sound side and is home to a kid friendly beach and snorkel area.
Blackwater River State Park
Located at 7720 Deaton Beach Rd, Milton, the park offers white sand beaches along the river for swimming plus fishing, canoeing, tubing, hiking trails and more. The park is open daily from 8 am to sundown. Cost of admission is $4 per vehicle up to 8 passengers | $2 for National Guard Admission for Active Florida National Guard members, EBT Cardholders, pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers and passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
Community Maritime Park
Located behind Blue Wahoo Stadium, this multi-use waterfront park includes an inclusive playground with unique play structures, shade trees and a covered picnic area. FREE
Naval Live Oaks
Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, located off Hwy 98 in Gulf Breeze. The park has hiking trails, a picnic area and swimming in the Santa Rosa Sound and is opened daily from 8am to Sunset. There is are also exhibits in the Headquarters Building that visitors can view Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm. FREE
Navarre Children’s Park
Located on Navarre Pkwy right before you get to the bridge that takes you to Navarre Beach and opened from 7am-10pm daily the park has a great play area with swings that face the water, a nature trail with turtles and more.FREE
Perdido Kids Park
Located off Gulf Beach Hwy, Perdido Kids Parks has one of the most unique play structures of all the local parks. Pretend your a princess or prince in the castle play structure, or a Blue Angel pilot in the Blue Angel flyers or climb the rock wall. There is something for kids of all ages and they will never want to leave. There is a also a nature trail at the park. The park is open from 7am – sunset. FREE
FREE Hiking Trails and Nature Walks in Pensacola
Bay Bluffs Park
Located at 3400 Scenic Hwy., Bay Bluffs offers boardwalks and nature trails down the cliffs to the water with vistas and close up views of the bluffs. FREE
Blackwater Heritage State Trails
Nine miles of paved trail great for biking, running, walking, skating and more that runs through the town of Milton. Open 8am-sundown daily, the Milton trailhead is located at State Road 87 and US Hwy 90. There is a visitors center one mile from the trailhead that offers parking, restrooms, picnic tables, BBQ grills and a playground. FREE
Colonial Archaeological Trail
Located in Downtown Pensacola, this trail highlights colonial history and archaeology and is a collection of outdoor exhibits that showcase the Spanish, British and American influences that shaped Pensacola.
Coldwater Creek Paddling Trail
This 20 mile spring fed shallow water creek that runs through the Blackwater Forrest is a great place for canoeing and kayaking while explore the natural beauty of NW Florida.
Ed Ball Nature Trail at UWF
Located on the UWF campus, this trail offers a 1/2 milk boardwalk through Thompson’s Bayou and a 20 mile bike trail for novice to experienced mountain bikers. The trails are open daily from dawn to midnight. FREE
Learn the secrets of Pensacola’s white sand beaches, the journey of the sea turtles, how to identify shells, local plant and animal life on this trail through Pensacola beach via educations signs posted across the beach. FREE
Perdido River Walk
Adjacent to the Perdido landfill is a 2/3 mile nature trail along the Perdido River through oak pine uplands and bottomland hardwoods. FREE
Yellow Marsh River Preserve State Park
Located at Dickerson City Rd and Garcon Point Road the hiking area can be accessed from the parking lot area located on Dickerson City Rd. There are no recreational facilities here and the park is open from 8am to sundown daily. FREE
Free and Cheap Places To Cool Off This Summer In Pensacola
Named for the casino that put Pensacola Beach on the map, this public beach is located on Santa Rosa Island on Ft. Picken’s Rd across from the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk. A portion of the beach to the right of the pier is an alcohol free zone making this a great place for families.
Cecil T. Hunter Pool
Located at 200 East Blount St., the pool is a zero depth entry pool with water slides and spray features. Admission is $2.25 for adults | $1 for children ages 3-7 | FREE for ages 2 and under. The pool is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day with the following schedule.
- Monday – Friday, May 27-August 7 from 10:30am-1:30pm and 2-5pm for open swim
- Monday-Friday, August 8- September 4 from 5:30-10am and 4-7pm.
- Saturday from 10am-2pm and 2:30-7pm
- Sunday from 12-3pm and 3:30-6pm
Gulf Breeze Splash Pad
Located at the Gulf Breeze Community Center and Kids Park on Shoreline Dr the splash pad is open all summer long from 10am-8pm. A maximum of 45 children are allowed on the splash pad at one time and it has water features that the kids can control with a touch of a button.
Gulf Islands National Seashore Santa Rosa Area
One of the most popular areas along Gulf Islands Seashore located on Hwy 399 between Pensacola and Navarre. Open 24 hours a day however the parking lots are closed from sunset to sunrise. There is no entrance fee for this area of the seashore except for the Opal Beach facilities
Just east of Pensacola, this 12 mile stretch of beach has public access points where you can swim, picnic and even take a bike ride down a scenic bike path.
Perdido Key State Park
Located at 15301 Perdido Drive, the state park is a favorite destination for visitors to Perdido Key. Swim, sunbathe, fish, picnic and enjoy the white sand and beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Open 8 am to sunset. The park entrance fees are $3 per vehicle up to 8 passengers and$2 for pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers and passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass. Please use the honor box and have exact change.
Pensacola Beach Boardwalk
Features open air bars, restaurants and shopping on Santa Rosa Island. As well as a shallow water beach area perfect for kids along the Santa Rosa Sound.
Plaza De. Luna Splash Pad
Located at the south end of Palafox at the end of the Palafox Pier the splash pad is open from March – October from 11am-5pm The pier also has wifi, concessions, a restroom and fishing. FREE
Located on the sound side of Pensacola Beach this a a great area for families of small children to enjoy the beach due to the shallow calm waters of the Santa Rosa Sound.
Roger Scott Pool
Located at 2030 Summit Blvd., the pool is a zero depth entry pool with water slides and spray features. Admission is $4 for adults | $3 for children | $3.50 for seniors | $2 for non swimmers | FREE for children 2 and under. The pool is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day with the following schedule.
- Monday-Friday, May 27-August 7 from 9am-noon, 12:30-3:30pm, and 4-7pm
- Monday-Friday, August 8-September 4 from 4-7pm.
- Saturdays from 10am-2pm and 2:30-7pm
- Sunday from noon-3pm and 3:30-6pm
Splash Pad at Navarre Children’s Park
Located in the Navarre Children’s Park at 8513 Navarre Pkwy the splash pad is open on Tuesday – Sunday from 9am-5pm from May 1st to September 15th. FREE
Have a FUN and fabulous summer!
Traveling this summer, here are some free and cheap summer fun ideas in other cities/areas:
- Free and Cheap Summer Fun In New Orleans
- Northshore Cheap Summer Fun
- FREE Summer Fun in Lake County, Wisconsin
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