Welcome to Casino Beach, Pensacola Beach’s main beach and home to some of our island’s most iconic attractions. From fun in the sun and sand by day to dining and bands on the beach after dark, everyone’s a winner at Casino Beach.
Once you’ve crossed the scenic Bob Sikes Bridge and exited the toll plaza you’ll drive about 3⁄4 of a mile and veer to the right at the traffic light. This will put you directly in front of the Casino Beach parking lot. You can’t miss the iconic “beach ball” water tower. Parking is free, but plan to arrive early during events and the high season as the parking lot fills up fast.
The modern era of Santa Rosa Island began in 1931 with Casino Beach. After the first bridges opened, locals flocked here to experience a brand-new casino built by the Pensacola Beach Company. Although there wasn’t any gambling going on, there was no shortage of good times.
For decades, the casino played host to beauty pageants, boxing matches, fireworks displays, and boat races. There was also a bath house, banquet hall, dance pavilion, restaurant, and 1,200-foot pier. In 1972, the site was demolished, but you can still find some of its salvaged wooden beams at Apple Annie’s in the Seville Quarter.
If you have a medical emergency come up during your trip it can really put a damper on it. That’s why we recommend reaching out to Gulf Coast Mobile Medical. Gulf Coast Mobile Medical Care’s team delivers on-site urgent care services in the comfort of your home (if you’re local), Airbnb or hotel. For less than the cost of an emergency room visit, you can have a trained medical professional arrive at your location, on your schedule, and get you back on the beach in no time.
With its proximity to some of Pensacola Beach’s most iconic attractions, Casino Beach has something for all members of the family. You can enjoy sprawling on the beach while the kids play in the sand with toys from Alvin’s Island or go boogie baording in the waves. The area can get lively during peak season, so the Island Authority has designated the beach just west of the Pier a “family-friendly” zone with no alcohol permitted.
Food & Drink
There are great options for food and drinks right in the heart of Casino Beach. From quick, casual bites at the pier to the more refined dining options of Drift and Casino Bar & Grille, there’s plenty of variety to satisfy any appetite. If it’s your thirst that needs quenching, there’s several Gulf front watering holes on the east side of the pier. You can also order items ahead of time from Grocery Concierge who will deliver food and drinks straight to where you’re staying before you step foot on the beach.
The east side of the pier is known for being the most festive zone on Santa Rosa Island. With crowds flocking for peak season and special events, the atmosphere is one of fun. Open alcohol consumption is permitted in moderation, in approved containers (no glass), this excludes the west side of the pier. Whether lounging in the sand or strolling the Casino pavilion pathway, the vibes are loose.
Top 5 Things to Do at Casino Beach
The Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier has something for everyone, whether you’re an avid angler or looking for some of the best panoramic views that our island has to offer. With our south facing location the sun rises and sets over the gulf nearly year-round. It’s worth the $2.25 walking access fee to watch the sunset over the shimmering emerald water from the end of the pier. At certain times of the year you’ll see awe-inspiring displays of colors as the bright orange ball dips below the horizon.
Blue Angels Airshow
There’s nothing quite like catching the Blue Angels precision acrobatics from a beach chair at Casino Beach. Short of being in the cockpit, it’s as close as you can get to the roaring engines of the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron. For those who may not know, Pensacola is home base to the Blue Angels. Catching the Blues at Casino Beach is a bucket list item worth checking! Interested in learning more about the Blue Angels? Head over to our Blue Angels page for their history, practice and airshow schedule.
Bands on the Beach
The Gulfside Pavilion at Casino Beach welcomes beachgoers with free concerts, movies, and other live shows. One such staple event series is “Bands on the Beach”. This event has a large following and is a great event for people of all ages. Beginning in April and going through October, various regional bands perform live each Tuesday evening from 7 pm to 9pm at the pavilion. Bring a chair, blanket, your favorite beverage and enjoy the vibes of the beach music.
If you’ve had enough sand and sun for one day, stroll over to UFO’s located on the east side of Casino Beach for an extraterrestrial round of miniature golf. While you’re there, beat the heat in their air-conditioned arcade or grab a tasty ice cream treat.
Ready to go fishing, but don’t know where to start? Let Bloodline Fishing Charters help you out! Whether you’re looking to go offshore fishing, take an island adventure, or just go cruising, the crew of Bloodline will show you an unforgettable experience accompanied with southern hospitality.
Depending on the type of trip you book and time of year, species caught on the Bloodline are Snapper, Grouper, Triggerfish, Amberjack, Wahoo, Dolphin, Tuna, Billfish, Mackerel, and many more! Bloodline Charters provide all accommodations just bring your own food, drink, and leave your worries at the dock.