Written by Wildcat Dianne on 12 May, 2010
What is "Doing the Rhode Island?!" one may ask. It's us native Rhode Islanders term for playing hooky from work or school and going to the beach for the day. Now, I never played hooky from school when I was in high school…Read More
What is "Doing the Rhode Island?!" one may ask. It's us native Rhode Islanders term for playing hooky from work or school and going to the beach for the day. Now, I never played hooky from school when I was in high school 25 plus years ago. The principal and vice principals at East Providence High School, my alma mater, would go out when the weather got warm and students were "doing the Rhode Island" instead of studying the three R's at Bristol or Newport beaches and nail any East Providence students and take them back to school to be suspended for three days and a week's detention after that. To me, it wasn't worth being suspended by your school and after that your parents grounding you for the rest of your time in high school for playing hooky.
Twenty-five years later, my cousin Melissa, her daughter Molly, and I were "doing the Rhode Island" during their visit to our home in Milton last month. Except this was a legit "doing the Rhode Island" since Melissa was on spring break from her teaching job in Georgia, and I was off from work for the next three days. I doubted if my bosses would be going to Pensacola Beach to hunt me down if I had called in to play hooky at the beach.
Melissa, Molly, and I got an early start to Pensacola Beach on a windy but nice Wednesday morning in early April. I chose Pensacola Beach as our destination because I have always enjoyed this beach on several visits, and the parking is free and being a weekday, it wouldn't be that busy with everyone else in school or working.
Melissa, Molly, and I made good timing getting to Pensacola Beach from Milton, and after we hauled all of our toys, blankets, and other junk from Melissa's SUV, we hit the beach and were able to get a front-row position near the water. Molly went to the water right away and was having a ball getting hit by waves and making friends with the other little kids there, and Melissa and I settled down on the blanket to read and keep our eyes open for Molly not to wander. Not long after we got settled, there was a commotion a few feet away from us. A little boy playing in the sand had found a dead sand shark in the sand and was proudly displaying it for all to see. Now all fans of the movie Jaws will run to their cars when they hear the word "SHARK!" while they are at the beach, but before everyone could gather their blankets and make the mad dash to the parking lot, we discovered that "Jaws" was only about a foot-long and very, very dead. It was actually used as bait by the fishermen who fish from the pier at Pensacola Beach daily. After taking pictures of the little boy and his treasure, Melissa, Molly, and I went back to sunbathing and wave catching.
Three years ago, I came to Pensacola Beach for the first time while visiting my sister Erika and her husband Todd. The beach was still reeling from the destruction of Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis, but there were still shops for me to enjoy along with Hemingway's Restaurant. Three years later, I discovered that a lot of reconstruction has been done on Pensacola Beach, and after getting my share of sun and sand up my bathing suit, I was ready to explore.
I walked up to the Pier which had just had a shack where you paid to walk the pier and get a frozen non-alcoholic daquiri or other cold drink three years ago. Today, the Pier has a bait shop, a restaurant, and a souvenir shop for one to enjoy when they need a break from the beach. There is an amphitheater for concerts and a couple of restaurants on the beach itself.
After I returned from my walk, I told Melissa all about it, and after getting Molly from the water, we went for a walk on the Pier. It costs $1.25 for adults to get onto the Pier and Molly got on for free. We walked the pier and took pictures along with watching the fishermen trying their luck for Kobia and other fish indigenous to the Gulf of Mexico. Melissa and Molly bought souvenirs from the Go Fish store while I got a Diet Coke from the bait shop. After that we stopped at the restaurant where Melissa and I had 99-cent Bud Light drafts and Molly had an ice cream cone. We all sat down at one of the tables outside the restaurant and rested and enjoyed our refreshments. Melissa thought Molly's ice cream looked great and asked for a lick. Molly took that request literally and licked her mother on the cheek like a dog but stickier. It was a funny moment for all of us!
By 3:00, Molly, Melissa and I were tired and sunburnt (I had a little sunburn on the top of my feet) and ready to call it a day, but Melissa and Molly were planning to return a couple of days later, but I had my beach fun for the week and stayed home. I was happy that Pensacola Beach is coming back from the 2004-05 hurricanes that destroyed so much, and I am looking forward to returning there again soon!
Written by Emily May on 21 Sep, 2006
Pensacola Beach is about 10 to 15 minutes away from the city of Pensacola. Journey over one bridge, through Gulf Breeze, and over a second bridge; pay a dollar; and voila, you have arrived. They are barrier islands on the Gulf of Mexico.Dubbed the…Read More
Pensacola Beach is about 10 to 15 minutes away from the city of Pensacola. Journey over one bridge, through Gulf Breeze, and over a second bridge; pay a dollar; and voila, you have arrived. They are barrier islands on the Gulf of Mexico.
Dubbed the "World’s Most Beautiful Beaches," northwest Florida is blessed with white sandy beaches and light-blue to aqua-green water. The surf can vary from calm to light, and rough in times of hurricanes. Nothing more than a body board for the maybe 3- to 4-foot waves on occasion. In the springtime, the algae moves in just as the weather gets warmer. I’m told this is why the area is called the "Emerald Coast." It’s not harmful, just a little bit gross. The first 3 feet of the water is dark with the green stuff.
Jellyfish come and go. In spring and late summer, they are more popular, as they come in to feed. It’s just something we live with. Numbers can vary daily. They are small to medium-sized and sting; it hurts for about 10 to 15 minutes and then leaves a small red welt. Dolphins or porpoises are frequent visitors to the beach area. They can often be seen from the beach.
The main beach area has more than enough space for everyone to lie out and marvel at the wonder of nature. The beach spans about a half-mile and is 100 yards wide at points. Play some Frisbee or football, or set up your own volleyball net.
Ravaged by Hurricane Ivan, much of Pensacola is still recovering, and the beach is no exception. Although most businesses have returned, there is still construction and some vacant buildings. Eat at one of the many beach bars/ eateries. Grab a beer and relax.
No pets, or glass on the main public beach. If you need to bring your dog or have a longneck, go down to the residential section, farther along the main road, and hide your beer when the beach patrol comes zooming by on an ATV.
There is a state park located on the island, Picken’s Gate. It’s an old fort. Due to Ivan, it had been closed, but it’s open now. Get some education in while you're sunbathing. Take a right when you get to the first stop light and drive. This is also a good direction to take if you are looking for a bit more solitude away from the crowds. The only problem could be parking. There is no designated area along the way, but there is some in the State Park Area.
Written by R U ready 2 Vacation on 06 Nov, 2006
The beach is sugar white and the water is wonderful hues of blue, green, and teal... like you see in the movies. Hot bodies every where but also family OK.…Read More
The beach is sugar white and the water is wonderful hues of blue, green, and teal... like you see in the movies. Hot bodies every where but also family OK. Close
Written by ajavagal on 01 Feb, 2006
Gorgeous, sugar-white, fine-powder quartz sand. Oceanside, surf can be rough (great for surfers), but in summer, it's plenty tame for kids. Also, the Santa Rosa Sound side of the island has beaches, as well as Gulf Breeze and Navarre (each just across a bridge). During our visit, the…Read More
Gorgeous, sugar-white, fine-powder quartz sand. Oceanside, surf can be rough (great for surfers), but in summer, it's plenty tame for kids. Also, the Santa Rosa Sound side of the island has beaches, as well as Gulf Breeze and Navarre (each just across a bridge). During our visit, the road across the island was not fully open, and hurricane damage was still apparent, but rebuilding was going on everywhere, and there was plenty open, even in off-season. I'm sure everything will be back to normal by spring. Beaches to the south FWB, Grayton, and Destin looked fine--not near the damage to structures in that area. However, just across the stateline in Alabama, more damage to property and the coastal beaches is still apparent. It will be longer before these areas recover; the same, if not more, goes for Mississippi beaches. Gulf Port Casinos are opening in new, land-based buildings since Katrina destoyed the barges, but the beaches, as well as local businesses (shopping and dining), were hit hard and are not yet ready. Close
Written by ashleyren on 22 Jan, 2002
This island features a Gulf side and a bay side. The beaches are spread out and you can always find a peaceful spot on the sugar white sand. The water is vivid turquoise and azure, and very clear. There are plenty of accommodations but no…Read More
This island features a Gulf side and a bay side. The beaches are spread out and you can always find a peaceful spot on the sugar white sand. The water is vivid turquoise and azure, and very clear. There are plenty of accommodations but no huge high rise condos to block your view. Everything is very laid-back and casual. Prices are inexpensive, especially in the off-season. People are very friendly and warm. A park on one end offers campgrounds, deserted natural beaches and ancient forts to explore.Be sure to be careful when swimming on the Gulf side, as rip tides can drown people even when the weather seems peaceful. Close