Battle of the Beaches: Destin vs Pensacola Beach

Florida's Emerald Coast is home to several beach town delights, a couple of favorites being Destin and Pensacola Beach.

These cities, just over an hour away from each other, are both highly popular tourist destinations within the Florida Panhandle. They essentially offer the same scenery, both being Gulf cities that boast white sugar sand and clear emerald waters.

There are several key differences between these cities, however, such as crowd level, attractions available, and price of visiting.

When it comes to finding the perfect beach for your group there are certain factors you should consider: weather, crowds, price, and views. Take a look at our Destin vs Pensacola Beach breakdown below.


  • BEACHES: Henderson Beach State Park, Crystal Sands Beach, Jetty East Beach, James Lee County Park, Okaloosa Island
  • WEATHER: 76°F Average Summer, 61°F Average Winter, 62 inches annual precipitation 
  • CROWDS:  4.5 Million Annually
  • PRICE: $$$

    Destin beach in Florida at Henderson State Park the USA

Pensacola Beach

  • BEACHES: Perdido Key Beach, Pensacola Beach, Opal Beach, Navarre Beach, Gulf Island National Seashore
  • WEATHER: 77°F Average Summer, 65°F Average Winter, 65 inches annual precipitation
  • CROWDS: 3.9 Million Annually
  • PRICE: $$
    Pensacola Beach Pixabay Public Domain

    Pensacola Beach Pixabay Public Domain

The common agreement among travelers:

Almost every traveler can agree that both locations provide that same 'Emerald Coast charm' all comes down to whether you like crowds or not! Destin is a more crowded and 'touristy' location, but it also offers more things to do and more selections for shopping and dining. Pensacola Beach, on the other hand, offers a smaller area, fewer things to do, but a more authentic experience overall. 

So, which beach wins for your group?? Call us, let us know, and let us get you there!!

Check out our Battle of the Beaches: Honolulu vs Miami BeachBattle of the Beaches: Virginia Beach vs Myrtle Beach, Battle of the Beaches: Clearwater vs Key West blogs as well.