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Dolphins, Airshows and Honky-Tonking are Alive in this Beach Neighborhood

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

"The Key", Perdido Key to be exact, is a friendly beach neighborhood in Pensacola. It's a place to kick back, enjoy great seafood, wallow in the waters and hang out at the local honky-tonk. More a family area, Broker Associate of Mainstreet Properties Alison Davenport says that while there is not a lot of nightlife, "those wishing for that have easy access to it in both directions (east and west)."

With everything from condos for rent or sale, single-family homes, and recreational vehicle (RV) parks, there is a place to stay for both short- and long-term visitors and residents. "Unlike many other beachfront communities, Perdido Key is 'single loaded' on the gulf," Davenport notes. "We do not have multiple tiers of lots leading from the main road to the beach."

The Key has many water-based activities or land-based golf courses. "We enjoy a great deal of undeveloped/protected property (about 64-65%) in the form of National Seashore and state and county parks. Kids and adults alike can search the Gulf Islands National Seashore with Park Rangers or walk along the seashore of Forts Barrancas and Pickens.

A longtime resident, Davenport names off a few of the The Key eateries: "Fisherman's Corner, Sunset Grill, Jellyfish Bar and Grill, Flora-Bama Yacht Club, along with the Crab Trap and Shrimp Basket." Shop for fresh seafood at Perdido Bay Seafood and TC's Seafood and Gallery in Villagio Shopping Center.

There are a number of small shops to browse in and activities to do. Festivals and events are held all year. Davenport suggests visitors not miss the Pirate Ship Aquarium at the Perdido Key Visitors Information Center. "It was featured on "'Tanked'," she excitedly mentions. Full-sized replicas of Spanish ships the Nina and the Pinta used by explorer Christopher Columbus have also visited more than once at the Oyster Bar Restaurant.

Look up and see the Blue Angels airshows almost every week. On Sundays, Davenport tell us, "They never fail to thrill us by flying in the delta formation down the beach and putting the smoke on at the Flora-Bama."

The Flora-Bama, by the way, is a famed honky-tonk and live music spot on Davenport's must-see list. Where else can you get "Worship on the Water" on Sundays and eat at their omelette bar before the service? A true area experience.

With winter holidays in the air, there are many unique and local ways to celebrate. Sail with Santa sounds especially memorable, as you sail the waters of Orange Beach with Santa on Wild Hearts catamaran while chugging egg nog and munching on cookies. Or what about the Holiday SPECTRA where families can hear and view the special sounds and lights down Main Street twice each evening. For more ways to feel like a local, check out the Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

Davenport exclaims, "The Key atmosphere is very laid back, gentle on the nerves, and nourishing to the spirit. As a longtime resident and business owner on Perdido Key, I can say that choosing to live, work and raise a family here was one of the greatest decisions I ever made!"

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