Pensacola : Florida

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What it's Like to Retire in Pensacola

Pensacola, population 53,000,  is a popular town for retirement and tourism in the western end of the Florida panhandle.  Its location on the Pensacola Bay gives it access to the emerald  green waters and sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.  People often remember that as a historical note about Pensacola, 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. Pensacola Beach is more relaxed and quite different than Pensacola proper. 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 right) 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 $205,000 in the second quarter of 2018.

 

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.
 

Who will like retirement in Pensacola

Pensacola is especially attractive to military or government retirees, who will find like company and government facilities for medical needs, shopping, and recreation. Folks looking for a relaxed, beach oriented lifestyle will like Pensacola Beach.
 

Local economy is driven by

Tourism, the Naval Air Station, and health care drive the economy.  All three provide considerable stability to the region.
 

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

Crime rate is above average in Pensacola - index of 482 vs national average of 319 (City-Data.com)
 

Medical facilities

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

Transportation

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

Valuable Links

Florida retirement guide
Pensacola Wikpedia
Pensacola News Journal
Downtown Pensacola
 

What people are saying about Pensacola

Pensacola Overview
When living in GA, I would vacation in this area from the 1970\'s until the early 21st century. Beaches are probably the best in the country with dazzling white sands and dunes and emerald green sea. There are four distinct seasons here. It does get cold (as low as freezing in the winter but it usually reaches 60 during the daytime) and hot and humid from late May until middle of September (with plenty of thunderstorms). Spring and fall have the best weather with dazzling sunshine and moderate temperatures. Cost of living is very reasonable and there is no state income tax. Strong military presence and the area is the most conservative politically in the state of FL. In my opinion, only downside to living here is threat of tropical storms/hurricanes and hot, humid weather and heavy tourist traffic during summer months.
Posted by rferrazz on June 19, 2018

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