You’ve got orders in hand, and you’re heading to Pensacola – Congratulations!
Welcome to the Emerald Coast and the Cradle of Naval Aviation!
Knowing all of the decisions and logistics that go into a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), Pensacola Mom Collective has put together this guide to assist our military families as they transition to the area.
Military Bases in Pensacola and the Surrounding Area
One of the first things on your PCS checklist is to find a place to live. So many factors need to be considered when determining where to live – budget, distance from the base, local schools, proximity to children’s sports and activities. And of course, who doesn’t want to be near the beach?!?
If you are interested in base housing, contact NAS Pensacola Homes. If base housing is not an option, there is also a volunteer real estate agent at the housing office who can help you find a rental home off base.
NAS Whiting Field does not have on-base housing, however, there is a designated housing community, Whiting Field Homes, for active-duty personnel located nearby.
If you are planning to purchase a home, you will want to get in touch with a local real estate agent. Rachael Johnson with The Mark Lee Team at Levin Rinke Realty is a valuable resource and has a wealth of knowledge on the local real estate market in Pensacola.
Next on the list is to find the right school for your children. Sometimes, this dictates your housing search, and sometimes it’s the other way around.
There are two school districts that cover Pensacola and the surrounding area:
Escambia County School District (ECSD)
NAS Pensacola, Corry Station, and NHP are all located in Escambia County. There is a dedicated section on the ECSD website for military families. This is the best place to start as you consider your options.
If you are interested in enrolling your student in a school that you are not zoned for, see the School Choice website for more information. Military families transitioning to the area will receive priority, provided that the school is not over capacity.
Also, ECSD recently established a Joint Military Council for Educational Excellence which is a partnership between NAS Pensacola and ECSD. Its mission is: “Improving educational services and communication between the Escambia County School District and military families.” This is the best resource if you have specific questions or issues as they relate to military children attending or transitioning into ESCD schools. You may also want to contact the NAS Pensacola School Liason Officer.
Santa Rosa County School District
NAS Whiting Field is located in Santa Rosa County. Similar to ECSD, the Santa Rosa County School District also has a designated page on their website for military families as well as information on the School Choice program.
If you have questions or need assistance registering your children for school, you can also contact the Whiting Field School Liaison Officer.
Area Private Schools
In addition to the public schools in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, there are also a number of private schools in the area, including parochial, Montessori, and special needs schools. You can check out the Pensacola Mom Collective Guide to Private School Education for a comprehensive list.
In addition to the Navy Hospital, there are three major hospitals in Pensacola including Ascension Sacred Heart, home to Studer Family Children’s Hospital, Northwest Florida’s only pediatric hospital with the largest network of pediatric subspecialists in the region.
Women’s Health and Maternity Care
The Navy Hospital has a Comprehensive Women’s Health Center that focuses on the healthcare needs of women. Labor & Delivery services are longer offered at the hospital, so if you are expecting, you will be referred to a local network OB/GYN for prenatal care and appointments as well as a local hospital for delivery.
Ascension Sacred Heart recently opened five birthing suites for women desiring a low intervention or natural birth. These new birthing suites are located down the hall from the region’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit should any complications arise. This has been a wonderful addition to our birthing options in Pensacola!
Finally, if you are expecting a baby or have recently added a baby to your family through birth, adoption, or foster care, you will want to check out the recap from our recent Bloom Event. This virtual event included interviews with local experts on topics related to pregnancy, childbirth, pediatrics, dental care, early learning, estate planning, and more.
Dental and Orthodontic Care
Now that all of the “big things” are out of the way…LET’S MOVE ON TO the FUN STUFF!
THINGS TO DO IN PENSACOLA
Living on the Emerald Coast, you will never be at a loss for things to do! There is so much to experience and discover – here are just a few of our favorites!
Pensacola is full of rich history dating back to its establishment as America’s First Settlement in 1559. A walk through downtown Pensacola will provide education and perspective on the various cultures woven into our history.
PLACES TO EAT
There are so many wonderful dining options in Pensacola. We’re known for some signature dishes and of course, fresh fish and seafood. Check out some local favorites and kid-friendly spots!
ON THE WATER & AT THE BEACH
Of course, the beautiful weather in Pensacola allows us to enjoy the beach and water activities most of the year. We’ve got you covered on beach hacks, poolside essentials, and the best fishing spots in town!
And of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Hurricane Preparedness…it’s the price of living in paradise. There are some very helpful resources on the Fleet and Family Support Center website. In addition, PMC has put together a list of essentials to make sure you’re ready on June 1st!
On behalf of Pensacola Mom Collective, thank you for your service, and WELCOME TO PENSACOLA!
WE look forward to seeing you around!