The Pensacola visitor center publishes a complete list of rental condominiums and cottages. Among the leading rental agents are JME Management, 22-A Via de Luna, Pensacola Beach (www.jmevacations.com; tel. 800/554-3695), and Tristan Realty, 1591 Via de Luna Dr., Pensacola Beach (www.realtymarts.com/tristanrealty; tel. 800/445-9931 or 850/932-7363; fax 850/932-8361).
Escambia County adds an 11.5% tax to all hotel and campground bills; however, at certain properties on Pensacola Beach, there is an additional 2.5% fee charged by Santa Rosa Island Authority.
The accommodations listed are in downtown Pensacola and Pensacola Beach. Bear in mind that Pensacola Beach is at least a 15-minute drive from downtown.
When Room Rates Are Lowest
Room rates at Panhandle beaches are highest from mid-May to mid-August, and premiums are charged at Easter, Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day. Hotel or motel reservations are essential then. There's another high-priced peak in March, when thousands of college students invade during Spring Break. Economical times to visit are April (except Easter) and September -- the weather is warm, most establishments are open, and room rates are significantly lower. The lowest rates are during winter, but many attractions and some restaurants may be closed.
The University Mall complex at I-10 and Davis Highway, about 5 miles north of downtown, has a host of chain motels, and there's an ample supply of inexpensive restaurants on Plantation Road and in the adjacent mall. Another good bet is the Hampton Inn Airport, 2187 Airport Blvd. (tel. 800/426-7866 or 850/478-1123; fax 850/478-8519), in an area that's not as congested as that around University Mall; there's a free shuttle to nearby Cordova Mall and its adjacent restaurants.
Several of the town's Victorian homes have been turned into bed-and-breakfasts. Among the best is Springhill Guesthouse, 903 N. Spring St. (www.springhillguesthouse.com; tel. 800/475-1956 or 850/438-6887), in a turreted 1900 Victorian and featuring paradoxical amenities such as DVD players and high-speed Internet connections. Rates are reasonable at $115 a night.
One of downtown Pensacola's newer stays: Solé Inn and Suites, opened on Palafox Street, in the heart of downtown Pensacola, 200 N. Palafox St. (www.soleinnandsuites.com; tel. 850/470-9298). Rates at the 1950s-style, retro hotel start at $89 and include free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and cocktails from 5 to 7pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.