As a military veteran, finding a perfect getaway spot to unwind, reconnect with nature, and bond with family and friends can be tough. Look no further than the Blue Angel Recreation Area. Situated outside Pensacola, Florida, this hidden gem is an ideal destination for military veterans seeking a serene and picturesque site for camping.
Please note that this is a military recreation area, which means you’ll need to meet some eligibility requirements. Typically if you have access to military bases, you can use military campgrounds. If you’re unsure or want to learn more about making reservations, please read our Guide to Using Military Campgrounds.
This recreation is operated by Pensacola Naval Air Station but is actually 9 miles outside of the NAS back gate and off of Hwy 98 just before the Lillian Highway bridge to Alabama. The Florida Panhandle offers a unique blend of breathtaking nature and fascinating history. With its pristine beaches, lush parks, and vibrant attractions, Pensacola is truly the jewel in the Panhandle’s crown. The great thing about the Blue Angel Recreation Area is that it is close enough to serve as a base for exploring the greater Pensacola area while offering you a peaceful respite from the tourists.
There are two separate camping areas here along the northern shore of beautiful Perdido Bay: Battleship Row and Anchor Cove, as well as a mobile home rental section.
- RV: 75 large paved RV full hook-up sites. We have a 44’ Fifth Wheel and fit in it with no problem. Every site had a picnic table and a fire ring. There are two bathhouses and laundry rooms with change machines.
- Tent: Near the beach, there are 4 elevated 10’ x 10’ tent platforms with picnic tables and fire rings. A single water spigot is shared. There’s also a beach bathhouse.
- RV: 72 sites with water and electricity. There is a dump station available.
- Tent: 4 elevated 10’ x 10’ tent platforms with water and electricity.
- Cabins: 7 rustic cabins with a full-size bed, television, microwave, and air conditioner. No running water or bathrooms, but they are close to the bathhouse.
- Mobile Homes: 12 two-bedroom mobile homes. Outside each trailer is a fire ring with a cooking grill and picnic table.
Both camping areas have bathhouses and laundry facilities. Although they don’t offer cable or internet, our Dish Satellite and Verizon hotspots worked great in the Battleship Row section.
One of the great things about this campground is the range of activities. They have a 35-acre wooded paintball course (open weekends only), three 18-hole championship disc golf courses, mini golf, playgrounds, a beautiful beach, numerous hiking trails, and several geocaches. The Blue Angel Outpost Marina has kayaks, paddleboards, and sailboats for hourly rental. They even offer small boat sailing courses by reservation from April through September.
You can make reservations online or by phone via Navy Getaways at 1-877-NAVY BED (628-9233). Blue Angel Park is open year-round for active/retired military and DoD employees and their family members.
Gulf Coast Beaches
Now, what’s a Florida getaway without a stunning beach? Known for its sugar-white sands and dazzling blue waters, Florida’s Gulf Coast is a favorite among tourists. The closest beach area to the campground is Perdido Key. It’s only about a 20-minute drive to the quiet beach at Perdido Key State Park. If you’re looking for a little more action, Pensacola Beach is actually about an hour away. The iconic Pensacola Beach Pier stretches 1,471 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, offering exquisite panoramic views. Be sure to take along your fishing gear, as the pier also allows fishing – who knows, maybe you’ll catch your dinner!
Explore History at NAS Pensacola Navy Museum
Adding a touch of history to your trip, the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola is a world-class museum, celebrating over a century of naval aviation history. The museum is home to more than 150 aircraft, including rare and one-of-a-kind planes. It provides an interactive, hands-on experience that’s both educational and fun for every age group.
Entry to the museum is free, and you can even experience the thrilling simulators, like the Blue Angels 4D Experience, for a small additional fee. Don’t forget to check their calendar for special events, including the awe-inspiring Blue Angels practice shows.
Macaw Bird Rescue
While there we paid a visit to Uncle Sandy’s Macaw Bird Park, a parrot rescue and sanctuary. Entry costs $5.00 for adults (13+) and $2.00 per child and includes one cup of peanuts to feed the birds. The money goes directly to help these beautiful birds and to educate people about the demands of owning a parrot, the kind of lifestyle a parrot lives, and how to provide them with essential needs to keep them happy and healthy. You’ll get one-on-one handling of an exotic bird and the chance to enter the largest open-flight aviaries in the Florida panhandle.
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