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BetsyG Oct 9th, 2004 06:11 PM

Pensacola spring break
We are thinking about a trip to Pensacola for spring break, late March. Wondering if the water is warm enough for swimming? Any feedback would be grteatly appreciated. We are picking Pensacola becuase relatives live there.

Tandoori_Girl Oct 9th, 2004 06:27 PM

If you have relatives there, you need to find out how things are in Pensacola. They were really hit hard by Hurricane Ivan. I think you should be able to swim in March but it will be a little chilly. May would be comfortable water temperature so gauge that it will be considerably cooler in March, but swimmable.

OO Oct 10th, 2004 04:30 AM

Pensacola's average water temperature in March is 63, 71 in April.

That's way too cold for me, but whether or not the water is warm enough for you pretty much depends on where you're from. I see people swimming in the Tampa Bay area year round, but suspect those people in the water during the winter are Canadian visitors, used to chilly water.

I recall visiting my parents in Bonita Beach, considerably further south, in March and feeling the water was a bit "nippy", but our kids loved it and stayed in happily playing. To my mind, swimming in Pensacola during that time frame would be pushing it!

sognatrice2 Oct 10th, 2004 04:52 AM

As tandoori_girl says, it's best to ask your relatives there how things are going for them in Pennsacola.

Here's a quote from a relative of mine who lives near there. The letter is from the first week in Oct.

"...the Navarre Beach Island has no roadsleft. Owners of properties are taking ferries across the sound and having to walk to their houses. The strip along that barrier island that is developed is about 7 miles- terminating at the start of the Gulf shore National park, which then runs all the way to the Pennsacola Beach, which was very very badly damaged also. Sorm surges sent in walls of water from the Gulf and tons of sand which blanketed everything. It's really bad out there...(referring to Navarre Beach Island I think)

Don't know if this helps or not, good luck.

BetsyG Oct 10th, 2004 11:43 AM

Thanks for the info, sounds like it may be a bit cool. My relative seems to think things will be pretty much back to normal by next March,at least for her.

Floridafran Oct 27th, 2004 06:18 AM

I live at Pensacola Beach (well, not right now, but will again as soon as we finish repairs). As a Florida native I find the water in late March to usually be too cool for swimming. People who are from some place colder seem to find it warm enough, however. So a lot depends on your tolerence. Also, our weather at that time of year can vary a lot.

As for recovery from IVAN. The core business area of Pensacola Beach will be open to the public beginning November 1st. A few restaurants are ready to reopen and some hotels and condos are working hard to get open, as well. Residential areas will still be open to residents only due to extensive damage.

By March all of the Island should be open with a few exceptions. Most of the road to Fort Pickens on the west end has washed away and in at least one spot the Gulf is still washing through the Island to the the Sound. No time estimate from the National Park Service on when this will be repaired.

To the East, the road between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach is breached in several spots. Again, no word on when the two ends of the Island will be reconnected.

While our area has suffered monumental damage I hope the tourists will keep checking to see which facilities are opening up. Our businesses have taken a huge financial hit and need visitors to come back as soon as possible. (No, I'm not in that industry and usually can't wait for the "season" to be over so we can have the Island to ourselves for a few months.)

Right now lodging in the greater Pensacola area can be hard to find because so many people are temporarily forced out of their homes, in addition to the many, many recovery workers still here. This should ease off in the coming months as repairs are made and people can return to their homes. Even on Pensacola Beach many of the newer homes suffered lesser damage and the owners are just waiting for utilities to be restored to move back out to the Island.

While this area is a temporary mess, we will bounce back. Don't write us off as a destination.

ellen_griswold Oct 27th, 2004 07:09 AM

We love love LOVE Destin, located right 'next door' to Pensacola. We thoroughly enjoyed break there last march. The ocean was a bit cool but being from the northeast, our kids still had a blast.

You won't find a nicer beach, the sand is like powdered sugar and water like emeralds. Shopping was great, restaurants varied and plentiful. An added bonus was the daily Blue Angel fly-bys from the nearby AFB.

The gulf coast is truly a wonderful place for spring break and we would return in a heartbeat but are doing the Disney thing again next march.
Hope you can go ~ you'll have a great time.

stjohnbound Oct 27th, 2004 02:54 PM

Floridafran, so glad to see you are okay. I "lived" in Villa Venyce before Ivan and hopefully will be back before too long. We had four feet of water in our house. Hopefully I'll be moving out to the Beach soon to stay in one of my parents' condos which was damaged less than my house! Hopefully this was the Big One and we won't see this again for a long time. I'm confident we'll all bounce back bigger and better than before!

BetsyG Dec 26th, 2004 04:10 PM

I would be interested in any updates to the situation/reconstruction at Pensacola. Would we be able to stay on the beach?

stjohnbound Dec 28th, 2004 02:25 PM

The beach is still a mess and only the main core area is open to the public. But, if you aren't looking for a place to rent and only want to go to the beach, it shouldn't be a problem. The main public beach is open and a few restaurants are now open. It's not pretty though.

BetsyG Dec 28th, 2004 07:02 PM

Would Destin be the best place to stay to be close to Pensacola & have a good beach? Is the beach at Destin okay now? What about Gulf Shores? Any suggestions for a nice resort with heated pool? Are there any hotels in the area with special pools, waterslides, etc? stjohnbound, we love St. John, stayed twice there at the Westin. Anything close to that would be wonderful!

z Dec 28th, 2004 09:27 PM

Did any of you know about the "green water" in that area that is not very pleasant to swim in? When does it happen and why? Thank you

August04 Dec 28th, 2004 09:33 PM

We went to Pensacola for a spring break trip in 2003, it was either March or April, and it was very cold (it could have just been a cold front, but we were bundled up on the beach!). We still had a great time sightseeing in Pensacola, but the beach was too cold for my tastes for lounging (much less swimming). May is my favorite time to go to Pensacola and/or Orange Beach, AL (warm, but no large crowds like the summer months). As other posters mentioned, check with locals for conditions post-Ivan. We were in the area in November and there was still considerable damage.

Good luck with your plans!

stjohnbound Dec 29th, 2004 05:37 AM

BetsyG, sorry I can't comment on Gulf Shores. I honestly haven't been over there in ages and I don't know the specific status of any places since Ivan. Destin is doing fine and actually has the most beautiful beaches and water in my opinion. However, late March is usually not beach weather here! You might check into the resorts at SanDestin or check on Abbott properties. I prefer the areas further east - Grayton Beach, Seaside, etc. but Destin has more for kids to do. Better check into the waterslide parks (Big Kahunas is one) to see if they'll be open in late March. Gulf Shores also has a waterslide park and if I remember correctly, it might be far enough west to have missed the brunt of Ivan. Can anyone else out there help with Gulf Shores area? As for the "green water" that is not nice to swim in, the only thing I can think of is when the seaweed is here which is usually in the summer (which is also the only time we locals actually go in the water!). I hope you have a great trip but please don't be disappointed if the weather is not very nice. Of course this is Florida and you can definitely never predict the weather in Florida!

paige Dec 29th, 2004 08:15 AM

We have taken our Spring Break (3rd week in March) for the past two years in Destin. We have been very fortunate that the weather has been great. We've had warm sunny days and very little rain. Was warm enough to sunbathe on the beach and even venture in to the water. I really think we have just lucked out on the weather for that time of year so we are going on a Caribbean cruise for Spring Break this year - didn't really think we would get such good weather in the Florida panhandle three years in a row!

BetsyG Dec 29th, 2004 11:42 AM

Thanks for the advice. On a posting under Gulf SHores, it sounds like they had a lot of damage also. Will look into SanDestin.

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