2017-02-01 / Features

Top 10 places to go in February

By Lisa Newell

Winter is one of the best times to enjoy Northwest Florida’s diversity. The cool air is clean and invigorating and it’s warm enough that you can enjoy spending quite a bit of time outdoors. February is a busy month, with a lot of scheduled activities, especially for Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day but there are also plenty of unscheduled times to get out and enjoy yourself. The beach. Pensacola Beach, Navarre Beach and Perdido Key are blissfully unpopulated in February and it’s a wonderful time to take a long stroll along the shore, picking up shells, watching the birds and hearing the sounds of waves lapping. It’s a great place to reflect, meditate and recharge your inner batteries.

Museums. Pensacola has so many wonderful museums and art galleries to visit. A neat idea is to make a list of the local museums and pencil them into your appointment calendar.

The rivers. Our area has rivers and streams you can explore by canoe or kayak. The Coldwater and Blackwater Rivers offer a completely different nature experience from the ocean, and it’s just about an hour away.

Sports. The Ice Flyers are breezing through the Bay Center, and the Double Bridge Run is fun for participants and volunteers. Check out the Pensacola Sports Association’s website for details.

Nature. Our area offers an array of opportunities to commune with nature. From the Navarre Beach Science Center where you can learn about sea life, to horseback riding, trail hikes, gardening seminars and more.

History. It’s Black History Month and Pensacola is home to the first black four-star general in American military history, Daniel “Chappie” James. His birthplace is located at 1606 Martin Luther King Blvd. St. John the Baptist Church was established in 1846 as the first black church in Pensacola and it is still serving congregants today at 101 N. 10th Ave. Julee Cottage, 210 E. Zaragoza St. in Pensacola was the home of Julee Patton, a free woman of color.

Shopping. Browsing shops and boutiques is another way of learning about a community as well as getting in some “retail therapy.” We all need new clothes, shoes, jewelry and home décor to prepare for spring, and shopping is great exercise, if done properly.

Dining. Plenty of local eateries offer outdoor dining, even when the weather is cool. The Grand Marlin on Pensacola Beach allows patrons to enjoy the beautiful views of Santa Rosa Sound while protecting them from bitter winds that may blow from the north. Most of the establishments have heaters and windscreens that make dining outdoors a winter treat.

Parades. Of course we need to get in our quota of beads and moon pies this month and the Mardi Gras krewes are supplying them for free. Make a plan to “let the good times roll” at the many parades. Theatre. Get cozy indoors by taking in a play at Pensacola Little Theatre or a music concert at the Saenger. Pensacola State College and University of West Florida have many artistic offerings to enjoy as well.

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