Enjoy all Pensacola, Florida, & Selma, Alabama, Have to Offer

Discover History, Culture, Recreation & Attractions in Two Regions


Both Pensacola, Fla., and Selma, Ala., have their own unique history, cultural appeal, recreation, engaging attractions, foods and so on. And United Country Real Estate | Whibbs Real Estate Group has brokers and agents in both cities, ready to help you find your dream property.

At the western end of the Florida Panhandle along the Emerald Coast sits Pensacola. This Gulf Coast city is known for its sandy white beaches, clear blue-green waters and vibrant downtown scene. From Navarre to Destin and farther east to Panama City Beach along the coast, you’ll find as many tourist hot spots as you will secluded havens.

Meanwhile, three hours due south in Selma, the vibe is country living. This is south central Alabama, right in the Black Belt region, with rich soil perfect for row crops and a lot of farmland to raise livestock. And as in Florida, outdoor recreation is very popular. However, instead of snorkeling or deep-sea angling, the game in Selma is more about bass fishing the river and lakes, and hunting big bucks, ducks and turkeys.

Let’s take a closer look at the draw of (each) Pensacola and Selma and their surrounding areas for residents and visitors alike.

Beaches & Beyond: Nothing Comes Close to Florida’s Emerald Coast

The Pensacola Bay Area on Florida’s Emerald Coast is popular with vacationers and locals who enjoy a relaxed beach lifestyle. Pensacola Beach is a world-famous hangout that offers luxury resorts, great dining, boating excursions for fishing or dolphin watching and so much more.

There are also plenty of other spots to explore in and around the city, including Perdido Key State Park for surf fishing, and the 700-acre Big Lagoon State Park, where you can swim, kayak and camp. Head east of Pensacola along the coast to reach Navarre Beach and its Marine Park, where you can learn all about the area’s marine ecosystems and meet green sea turtles.

Nearby Fort Walton Beach features the popular Okaloosa Island, with its fishing pier, boardwalk and family-friendly parks. Continue along the coast to the resort town of Miramar Beach near Destin, “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” and a perfect place for snorkeling and deep-water diving. However, landlubbers might want to play the amazing golf courses of the Destin/Fort Walton Beach area.

Alabama Outdoor Adventures near Selma & around the Black Belt

Located on the banks of the Alabama River and surrounded by lakes and forests, Selma offers ample opportunity for outdoor adventures. Part of the Talladega National Forest (the Oakmulgee District) lies here within Dallas County, and along with multiple state parks, these areas are made for biking, canoeing, swimming and other recreation.

There’s the 1,080-acre Paul M. Grist State Park about a 15-minute drive from Selma in Valley Grande. It features great boating, hiking and picnic spots around a 100-acre lake. A little farther out in Camden, Roland Cooper State Park along the Dannelly Reservoir offers incredible fishing on the Dannelly Reservoir (AKA Millers Ferry), and is a featured spot on the Black Belt Birding Trail. Rental cabins are also available.

The Alabama River Lakes in nearby Tyler consist of Claiborne Lake in southwest hill country; the Dannelly with its 500 miles of shoreline; and Woodruff Lake. Most are surrounded by parks and campgrounds and all are top recreation spots.

Hunting is an extremely popular activity in Selma and the Black Belt region. The Lowndes Wildlife Management area near the River Lakes covers 12,500 acres and features prime hunting for whitetail deer, wild turkeys, waterfowl, hogs and various small game. AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org is a great resource for those seeking hunting outfitters and lodges.

AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org is a great resource for those seeking hunting outfitters and lodges.

Airplanes, Baseball & Food: American Pastimes, NW Florida Favorites

Known as the "Cradle of Naval Aviation,” Pensacola is home to the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and their frequent air shows. Fittingly, the National Naval Aviation Museum is also here in Pensacola. For cultural and historic education beyond planes, the Pensacola Museum of Art is a great choice, and just one of many ways to explore historic Pensacola.

If you’re into festivals and events, Tuesdays from April-October people flock to Pensacola Beach to hear local bands and solo acts. The Pensacola Seafood Festival is three days of food vendors and live music in September. No need to wait until then for good eats though. Any time, you can grab some oysters and a cold beer at Peg Leg Pete’s or go upscale fine dining at The District Seville Steak & Seafood.

For shopping and entertainment venues, go to Palafox Street. Some say it’s like a toned-down New Orleans at night, but most agree you must visit the local boutiques, food trucks and other stores here day or night. Last but not least, sports fans take note — the Miami Marlins’ Double-A affiliate Blue Wahoos, and minor league hockey team the Pensacola Ice Flyers, both call the city home.

Explore History, Art, Food & Fun in & around Selma, Alabama

Selma was at the heart of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and marches from here to Montgomery marked the peak. Start at the Selma Interpretive Center where the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail begins, for related materials and exhibits. Drive this trail for 54 miles on Hwy 80 and hit noteworthy landmarks along the way.

Continue your historical journey at Selma’s National Voting Rights Museum & Institute. In fact, Dallas County boasts Alabama’s largest historic district, with some 1,200 structures listed on various historic registers. You might check out Old Cahawba, the county’s original capital and now a famous ghost town. It’s just one of many historic sites and museums.

When you want to shift gears to some fun outings for the whole family, take a drive to Montgomery and enjoy the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum, or the Alabama Safari Park. Art buffs should visit the Selma Art Guild Gallery for work by local artists every month (Many of these artists helped create the giant butterfly art pieces around town; Selma is Alabama’s “Butterfly Capital.”).


Finally, for the food and festival folks, Selma holds annual events such as the Alabama River Chili Cookoff, the Central Alabama Crawfish Festival, and a wild game cookoff. Can’t wait to eat? Good news … there are several tasty barbeque joints right in Selma.

Sources: VisitPensacola.com; VisitFlorida.com; Alabama.Travel; SelmaAlabama.com; FloridaStateParks.org; PensacolaBeach.com; StateParks.com; NationalParks.org; En.Wikipedia.org; Nps.gov