Back in 1931, The Casino Resort opened its doors in Pensacola. It was a place for tourists to retreat from the world and eat, drink, and be merry. It’s important to remember, the U.S. was in the midst of The Great Depression and good times were in short supply.
This resort put Pensacola Beach on the map! At The Casino Resort, people could forget about their problems – if only for a short time – and pretend all was well with the world. They ate, drank, danced, fished, and took part in boxing matches and beauty pageants – anything to get their mind off the news coming from Wall Street.
Thousands of visitors from across the country took advantage of the opportunity to live the good life, and The Casino Resort flourished throughout the Depression and into the 1950s. However, shortly thereafter the tennis courts, restaurants, bars, and bath houses had fallen into disrepair and The Casino Resort shuttered up.
Today, where The Casino Resort once stood, Casino Beach (now simply known by most as Pensacola Beach) continues to thrive. That same joy and escape from reality continues to this day, providing a much-needed respite from the real world.
There is an annual air show by the Blue Angels and New Year’s Eve Fireworks display at the end of the Pensacola Gulf Fishing Pier. What we loved about Casino Beach was the variety of ways to spend our time.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Time on the Water
There is no shortage of ways to spend time on the Gulf at Casino Beach, but two nearby recommendations are Key Sailing and Dolphin Express. Key Sailing – at the Boardwalk in the heart of Pensacola Beach – was established in 1974 and continues to be a popular facility for paddle-boarding, sailboat rentals, wave runners, kayaks, pontoon boat rentals, parasailing (if you’re brave), and dolphin tours (a favorite with kids of all ages). Dolphin Express was created with families in mind and gives you the opportunity to take a cruise on a 50-foot retired Navy Launch vessel. We recommend the sunset cruise, during which you can simply listen to the water lap against the boat as the sun sinks into the horizon. There are few things more relaxing on this planet.
The Iconic Casino Beach Bar & Grille
We are here to testify that it would not be a trip to Pensacola Beach without a stop (or two) at the Casino Beach Bar & Grille. We are especially fond of their brunch menu, with something for everyone in your party.
Try the Chicken & Waffle Sandwich with crispy fried chicken, mouth-watering Applewood-smoked bacon, bourbon barrel maple syrup, Belgian pecan waffles (unbelievable), and home fries.
If you’d rather indulge in something savory, go for the Three-Egg Omelet with Black Forest ham, sautéed peppers and onion, Monterey Jack cheese, green onion, salsa, and home fries.
Our suggestion is for every member of your party to choose something different and share with the entire party.
Pensacola Beach/Casino Beach is the best of the past with an eye on the future. It seems that the more it evolves, the more you can feel the spirit of fun and refreshment upon which it was initially built.
-Beverages around the beach are relatively expensive so bring your own cooler if you’re watching your budget.
-Dogs are not allowed on Casino Beach, so make other plans for the furry members of your family.