In the community of Pensacola Beach, there are quite a few stretches of shoreline to choose from, depending on your tastes. Just a short drive takes you from a rowdy party beach, to a calm kid-friendly one, to sand-dune protected solitude. The most popular beaches are on the south side of the island, facing the Gulf of Mexico, usually called Gulfside; these beaches have powdery white sand, clean water, and moderate waves, but there is a danger of rip tides and marine life. The north side faces Santa Rosa Sound, and is called Soundside; there are few waves here, and no rip current, but the sand isn’t as nice, and the water is more polluted due to boats and runoff.
Pensacola is nicknamed “The City of Five Flags” due to the five governments that have flown flags over it during its history: the flags of Spain (Castile), France, Great Britain, the Confederate States of America, and the United States. Other nicknames include “World’s Whitest Beaches” (due to the white sand prevalent along beaches in the Florida panhandle), “Cradle of Naval Aviation” (the National Museum of Naval Aviation is located at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, home of the legendary Blue Angels), “Western Gate to the Sunshine State,” “America’s First Settlement,” “Emerald Coast,” “Redneck Riviera,” and “Red Snapper Capital of the World.” Content via Wikitravel