Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier

 “The Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier is recognized by the State of Florida as a regional recreational resource beneficial in the support of the tourist infrastructure.”

The Early Days of the Gulf Pier

The Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier has long been recognized as a historical landmark of the Gulf Coast. In the early days there was no access to the beach, except by boat. This all changed when the Pensacola Bay Bridge opened in June 1931. Pensacola Beach suddenly became easily accessible to both locals and travelers. After the bridge was constructed it brought a surge of tourists who were looking for fun, beach views and entertainment. The Casino Resort was created for tourists and the pier was built as a part of the development. The pier created amazing opportunities for guests to get a scenic view of the water and marine life, as well as take advantage of a prime fishing spot. As one of the first large landmarks to be built on the beach it became synonymous with Pensacola Beach.

Casino Beach and the Pensacola Beach Pier throughout history
University of West Florida Archives

Hurricanes and Storms

The location of the pier leaves it susceptible to storm surges and hurricanes. Throughout the years, the amount of damage the pier sustained from hurricanes created multiple structural issues. Each time the pier suffered damage, extensive repairs were necessary to fix it. However, in 1995, Hurricane Opal hit the pier with such a large amount of force that it created irreversible damage. Unfortunately, the original pier had to be removed, but a new pier was built in its place. The current pier is made of stronger materials: concrete piles, caps and beams and wood decking. The wood decking was developed to be sacrificed during a catastrophic event, in an attempt to ensure that the piles and caps stay put and are not damaged. In addition to a more resilient structure, the pier also gained turtle-friendly, low-pressure sodium lights, handrails and benches. Today, the pier is 22 feet wide, 26 feet above the water and 1471 feet long, and, until recently, was the longest pier on the Gulf Coast.

A long view of Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier in history.
University of West Florida Archives

No Boat Needed…

The pier was and continues to be a fantastic place for deep-sea fishing without the need for a boat. The Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier gives you the opportunity, depending on the season, to reel in King and Spanish Mackerel, Cobia, Pompano, Mahi-Mahi, Flounder, Whiting, Blue Fish, Tarpon, Bonito, Red Fish, and if you’re extra lucky, you might even get a Sailfish! They offer bait and tackle right there so you’ll have everything you need for a successful pier fishing experience.

Concession stand at the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier in the 1930's
University of West Florida Archives

Sources

Ritzie, Diana. “Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier”. https://archives.uwf.edu. History Department. University of West Florida. March 2017.

Baskerville-Donovan, Inc. “Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier”. https://www.baskervilledonovan.com. 2001.