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The Many Faces of Pensacola Beach…

Posted by on September 13, 2016

PENSACOLA BEACH. Anchored at the western tip of Florida, stretching miles along the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola Beach’s sugar-white sand beaches, and crystal clear waters draw beach lovers, fishing enthusiasts and environmentalists alike. The all-inclusive term “Pensacola Beach” is however a misnomer for the location of my visit today. Because it is but one of the beaches located on Santa Rosa Island, one of the longest barrier islands in the world. It includes natural beaches, local hangouts in densely occupied local hangouts and even an historic fort. On either side of it is the National Seashore.


Our morning at the beach began at dark, as we awaited the day’s first color. Here’s how it began to appear at about 6 AM.

TODAY’S PHOTO-ESSAY. But despite all the different “places” called Pensacola Beach, my photo-essay today will focus on but one aspect of this natural coastline paradise. That’s the secluded shore where Florence and I arrived early on the morning of September 10th to capture these photos. Where we arrived before 6 AM and watched the beach awaken for another day. Where we saw dark turn into crimson and orange change to blue. Where the sand and the flowers became visible only as the morning progressed. Where in less than two hours we departed this peaceful shore and the wildlife now-moving about the wispy sea grass.


6:05 AM.This image reveals the same landscape about 5 minutes later. 

MANY FACES OF THIS BEACH. These, then, are the many faces I saw during those two hours. After the miracle of a new day happened as it does every day, we stopped for coffee and then returned home. More certain than ever that if we just “look around” we’ll see God’s work and His detail. Even in the most unlikely places.


6:15 AM. I just began to see some blue sky. Same beach, same morning.

SIMPLY THE BEST. Named Best East Coast Beach in 2016, I can drive from this spot to Gulf Islands National Seashore, the nation’s longest stretch of protected seashore, in just a few minutes. But we’ll “stay put” for this post and save the other nearby beaches for another day. All right with you? Good.


6:20 AM. Same beach. Same morning. My feet haven’t even moved.



“Poof.”  Cotton balls emerge over my shoulder. 



“Pop!”  Here comes the sun! 



A little “different take” on it. My take. I own this moment in time.


ANOTHER SPOT CLOSE BY. For history buffs, Fort Pickens on Pensacola Beach offers a unique look into the military significance of Pensacola going back before the American Revolution. Designed and built to fortify Pensacola Harbor, the Fort is located on the very tip of Santa Rosa Island within the national seashore. But again, that’s a story for another day. I’m just mixing a bit of history and other descriptive text with the photos. To punctuate them. To make it easier for you to share my early morning visit to this place in time.


Daybreak. I’m in the same spot. But look what a difference. Now there is more to see. Let’s keep looking around, shall we? If we look closely, I’ll be there’s lots more.





One of the fundamentals of photography is to shoot landscapes either early in the morning or late in the evening. Because without shadows the image is boring. And if it’s boring I lose your attention. And I don’t want that to happen.



The sand dune is coming to life.


As the sun climbs higher the shadows become less pronounced.


A closer look.


YET ANOTHER SPOT FOR ANOTHER DAY. The Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier is one of the longest in the Gulf of Mexico at 1,470 feet, stretching beyond two sand bars. In addition to being a perfect vantage point for some of the most vivid sunsets you’ll ever see, the fishing pier is the perfect place to spot an abundance of marine life – including dolphins, manatees, rays, and sharks. But today, we’re still at our little section of the beach where we’re taking photos. Let’s return, shall we?


Now the sun is much higher in the sky. So we see no shadows, but instead there are flowers. And new colors, different from those earlier in the morning. And when I described the “white sugar sand” above, you might not have understood. Now you do.



This colorful bouquet was also growing on the beach. I’ll bet of 100 folks standing in this very spot, only a few of them even look down at the side of the beach. Which is where I took this photo. So I hope you’ll take time to look all around when you next go to the beach. Up, down, sideways and down.



Another photographer I met on the beach. I asked him if I could take a picture of him taking a picture. He agreed. I gave him my travel card with my blog web address. Perhaps he’ll look. That would be nice.


PENSACOLA BEACH BOARDWALK. The boardwalk is also located nearby. The Pensacola Beach Boardwalk features open-air bars and restaurants, shops, piers and shallow water for kids along the Santa Rosa Sound. There’s also an array of shopping, lodging, restaurants, beach bars and entertainment. But once again. That story is for a different day. We’re still looking at flowers on the secluded beach where we’ve been standing in the same spot for just about an hour. Let’s go back there.


This crab scurried around and then buried itself in the sand. I nudged the area gently with a stick and got him to climb out and say hello. In his own way. Now, to take this picture I did move from “our spot.” But only about 20 feet. I promise. If you sense that I’m trying to make a point with all of this, you’re probably right.





ARE YOU GETTING TIRED?  Why don’t we finish this post now. In a few days I’ll post Part II…a few more shots of the beach area and the homes of the people who live here. I enjoyed our morning here at the beach. Have you been to this beach? Others in the area? Or others anywhere? Tell me about your visit. Leave a comment. Let’s get involved. So until next time, just a little housekeeping. First, thanks for being here. I appreciate those of you who follow my blog. I don’t sell anything but my ideas. My experience, strength and hope. But if you’ve read this post and you’re not already subscribed, please do so by leaving your email address. You’ll be notified of new posts and that’s it. I think you’ll enjoy becoming a “regular.” Hundreds of others already do. And they will tell you that my site is not a travelogue. Sure there are photos. But there’s a whole lot more here. When I see you next time I’ll explain.

New Image

I’ll continue my story next time.

4 Responses to The Many Faces of Pensacola Beach…

  1. Kitty

    There’s nothing like watching the sun rise, it’s spectacular. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Greg Alford

    And guess what? Each of the photos in this post was taken with my iPhone. Stay tuned for Part Two of “The Many Faces of Pensacola Beach.” By the way, Kitty, your travel blog is really nice. I sure wish we’d met in Jamul. How many times do you suppose we were shopping at Harvest Ranch Market or Albertson’s and passed each other with our shopping carts? But as I’ve stated, I’m certain our paths will cross. Happy trails to you and Jim.

  3. Lisa

    Just what I needed…..a walk on the beach during the pre-dawn hours. I can just feel the sun, sand and smell the fresh salt air. Needed the reminder…..maybe I will read it again tomorrow with a fresh cup of coffee. Aaaaahhhhhh.

  4. Greg Alford

    Now, young lady, if you and Mike would just get back in that big, beautiful motorhome and return to the RV Park, all four of us could go to the beach together. And Sunday afternoon, we could all go to the Italian restaurant for their prime rib dinner. That was a fun time!

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