Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

Florida Lighthouse Trail // Pensacola & The Forgotten Coast

Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime MuseuMPensacola’s Naval Air Station is home to the Gulf Coast’s tallest lighthouse.

When you visit Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, you’re stepping onto an active military base, the Naval Air Station Pensacola. And if you time your visit right, you’ll watch the U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet pilots practice their roaring aerobatic maneuvers against a bright blue sky.

Pensacola has a long history with the Navy and has been called the Cradle of Naval Aviation. In 1825, they designated the area for the Pensacola Navy Yard, and Congress appropriated $6,000 for the first lighthouse. Extensive nearby forests provided timber for shipbuilding, and a natural deep-water port on the Gulf of Mexico made Pensacola an ideal location. Upon entry into World War I, Pensacola was home to naval aviators, training programs, and airplanes. The Naval Air Station once again became the hub for air training activities during World War II and has continued to grow into one of the most extensive training operations in the Navy. 

Experience Family Matt 474 41663875355 O

Climb 177 steps up the historic Pensacola Lighthouse for a breathtaking view of the Gulf Coast.

The current lighthouse is the second one constructed. In 1859, the 159-foot tower, built on a 40-foot bluff to add height, was lit. Ten years later, it received its distinguished paint pattern. The lower third of the tower is white to contrast with the surrounding trees, and the upper two-thirds is black to stand out against the sky. 

Guests climb 177 steps to the top for amazing views of the Gulf’s glistening white shores. The Richard C. Callaway Museum, once the keeper’s quarters, houses various fascinating exhibits. 

For security reasons, you must book your visit online and be escorted. Select a visit to the lighthouse or pair it with Blue Angels practice viewing either on the ground or from the top of the tower.


Book a Gulf view room at Margaritaville Beach Hotel on Pensacola Beach, where the Jimmy Buffett vibe is alive and well. Set on one of the prettiest stretches in Florida, the shore’s soft white sand is amazing  |


Sample the Bushwacker rum drink at the old-school Sandshaker bar on Pensacola Beach. For dinner, Pensacola’s Fish House serves up a Southern twist with fried green tomatoes and Grits à Ya Ya, jumbo shrimp with smoked Gouda cheese grits  |


Joe Patti’s is a one-of-a-kind seafood emporium—a fantastic destination. Bins heaped with stone crab claws, lobsters, prawns, grouper, snapper and more. Plus, all the “fixins” from seasonings to sauces  |


← Back to Explore the Ultimate Florida Lighthouse Trail
Categories: Travel