Trying to catch Blue Angels practice? Here are seven unique viewing spots

Pensacola News Journal USA TODAY NETWORK

Published 4:38 p.m. CT June 9, 2022 | Updated 12:34 CT July 5, 2022

Public domain image of the Blue Angels.

1. Fort Pickens on Gulf Islands National Seashore

Located across from Pensacola Bay from Naval Air Station Pensacola on the tip of Santa Rosa Island, most any location around the historic fort offers great views of the Blue Angels practices. The area has become an increasingly popular spot to watch the flights. 

The fort can be reached by car from Pensacola Beach or via the National Park Service’s Pensacola Bay Cruise ferry boats, which are expected to start service on April 19.

2. Pensacola Bay

Most Pensacola-area charter boat companies offer trips centered around the Blue Angels practices.  The National Park Service’s Pensacola Bay Cruise ferry boats, which are expected to start service on April 19, will also be on the water during practice times throughout the busy summer season and offer a fun way to get around the area while seeing the Blue Angels and other local sites from the water. 

3. Navy Point

beach-side neighborhood park at the corner of Gibbs and Baublits is a popular location for many folks on the west side of Pensacola to watch the show. Navy Point is located north of Bayou Grande across from Naval Air Station Pensacola and residents routinely get great views of the blue and gold F/A-18 Hornets. 

4. Walmart parking lot at Blue Angel Parkway 

A Walmart parking lot might not sound like the ideal place to hang out, but for families who don’t make it to the base in time for the show, it is a good spot to see the jets fly. Heavy traffic, backup at the base gates and parking issues can mean a long wait to make it the flight line. The Walmart Supercenter, at 2951 S. Blue Angel Parkway, offers lots space and you can even take care of your grocery shopping when the show ends.

5. Blue Angel Practice Cruise

Finally, the latest and most unique way to watch the blue is aboard a Pensacola Bay Ferry. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9:45 a.m. to noon, you can take a 1.5-hour cruise along Pensacola Bay with a covered rooftop view, seating and a climate-controlled cabin. The cruise departs from the downtown ferry landing, costs $25 a person and is free for kids two years old and under.

6. National Flight Academy

In 2019, the National Naval Aviation Museum opened a rooftop viewing area atop its National Flight Academy for Blue Angel practices. A maximum of 43 tickets to watch from the rooftop will be available each practice day for DoD ID card holders and their guests. Tickets can be purchased at the museum’s Giant Screen Theater ticket counter.

The museum offers three ticket packages including the $25 Alpha ticket, which includes seating and a bottle of water; the $35 Diamond ticket, which includes seating and a Chick-fil-A lunch with bottled water; and the $45 Delta ticket, which includes the lunch with the bottled water and an opportunity to fly the academy’s F-35 flight simulators for 45 minutes.

*Indicates Blue Angels autograph sessions in the museum.

Vacation or Trip? A Helpful Guide for Parents

A humorous observation from a delightful blogger, M. Blazoned, about the distinct difference between a “vacation” and a “trip.” Hopefully, you will find her musings relatable and still want to travel with your family here to The Mariner. Teaser:

So, you’re headed out on a family vacation this summer. Great news! But are you sure? Are you sure it’s a vacation? You might want to think about that for a minute. Because a vacation is best described as time away from a job and/or the monotony and frustrations of day-to-day life, with the goal of relaxing and having fun. Not to be a super downer, but chances are, if you have kids (and they are coming with you), you aren’t going on a vacation at all. You’re going on what I like to call… a trip.