Portofino is perfectly located just east of Pensacola, with its historic downtown and outstanding shopping, dining and entertainment options, and just west of quiet Navarre Beach. This beautiful area features unique ecological diversity including miles of dazzling white beaches, 45-foot sand bluffs and emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, Pensacola is home to the world-famous U.S. Navy 'Blue Angels' precision flying squadron. The beaches here have been rated best in the nation for their cleanliness, safety and breathtaking beauty. Whether you are seeking a quiet, relaxing holiday by the shore or an outdoor adventure with thrilling recreational opportunities and exciting attractions for the entire family, Pensacola and Navarre Beach have it all.
While visiting Portofino, enjoy these exciting nearby attractions:
The National Museum of Naval Aviation is one of the largest and most beautiful air and space museums in the world. Share in the excitement of Naval Aviation's rich history. See over 140 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviation. These historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft are displayed both inside the Museum's 291,000 square feet of exhibit space and outside on the Museum's 37-acre grounds. Soar with the Blue Angels in the dazzling seven-story glass and steel atrium that showcases four A-4 Skyhawks in a diving diamond formation. View them at eye-level from the mezzanine. Retrace the first flight across the Atlantic; stand on the flight deck of the USS Cabot.
Enjoy guided tours; fly an F/A-18 mission in Desert Storm through our motion-based flight simulator. See The Magic of Flight, our own IMAX film projected on a seven-story high screen, and feel like you've had a bonafide ride with the Blue Angels. Enjoy a delicious lunch at the CubiBar Cafe, decorated with over 1000 squadron and unit plaques reassembled from the historic Officers' Club at Cubi Point in the Philippines. This Museum, preserving the history of Naval Aviation, is the most visited museum in the State of Florida. There is no charge for admission. Open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, 362 days each year, except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
Two fortifications built for coastal defense are open for exploration and guided tours. Hike through the surrounding woodlands or enjoy the area's quiet beauty in the small picnic area. Don't miss a trip to the historic lighthouse located on Naval Air Station property.
The Fort Pickens Area is the western seven miles of Santa Rosa Island, near Pensacola Beach. This area was heavily damaged by Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Dennis (2005).
Road reconstruction of the Fort Pickens Road began Monday November 3, 2008. The road is located in a sensitive habitat for nesting sea turtles and colonial shorebirds. These factors and weather conditions must be considered in the road construction schedule. Visitors to the Fort Pickens Area need to be aware that during construction, the roadway and construction corridor will be CLOSED to the public. This corridor will include the paved area westward from the entrance to the Ranger Station. This is for safety and also to allow the contract to move forward with minimal disruption.
Visit one of the most unique and friendly zoos in America. Catch a ride on the Safari Line train for an up-close, fun-filled excursion through 30 acres of free-roaming animals in their natural habitat. The latest additions of our preserve African wild dogs (only 18 zoos in the country have them) and even a pygmy hippo exhibit. A wildlife experience awaits you with over 700 animals surrounded by botanical gardens.
At this friendly zoo, you can get a close look at bears, tigers, rhinos and zebras. Bring a camera to photograph the colorful birds. Have fun watching playful primates. See sleek otters slither through water. Be amazed at the sight of western lowland gorillas. Marvel at the strength and beauty of our white Bengal tigers. Take a stroll through the 30-acre wildlife preserve on an elevated boardwalk. From there you'll get a close look at Gorilla Island, a free-roaming habitat featuring gorillas and chimpanzees. For a kid's-eye view of animal life, take your children to The Farm, where they can feed and pet tame animals. Open Daily; weather permitting, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (summer); 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (winter).
The survivors of an earlier attempt to settle Santa Rosa Island established a permanent settlement here after a hurricane destroyed their island village in 1752. At that time, they built a fortified outpost in Seville called San Miguel. After the French and Indian War of 1763, the British took West Florida and occupied a crude stockade in the area.
During this period, the British took West Florida and occupied a crude stockade in the area. Surveyors mapped out the street system surrounding the open commons area. The old town square was laid out in 1764 by Elias Durnford who was a British surveyor. When the Spanish captured Pensacola in 1781, they retained the original British layout of streets in the Seville area, but changed the British street names to Spanish. The British street map and Spanish names remain in use today. Seville Square was designated as a park in 1814. In the 1960's a small group of preservationists began the reconstruction of the square and today it serves as the focal point of festivals and concerts where thousands gather.
For additional area information please visit www.visitpensacolabeach.com