Bay Breeze Dive Center’s expert instructors attentively guide flippered pupils through scuba classes in an expansive indoor pool and the idyllic Pensacola Bay. Students submerge for one hour in the Discover Scuba class to gain a feel for aqueous activities, testing out flippers and learning how to breathe underwater without making a pact with a sea witch. Alternatively, the open-water-certification course pairs academic know-how with hands-on underwater lessons to train beginning divers in the ways of the water.
Just off the white-sand coastline of northwest Florida, Lanier Sailing Academy teaches students to captain their own aquatic adventures with classes in cruising, chartering, and navigation. Classes include programs for beginners to advanced students, starting with the Practical Sailing for Basic Keelboat Certification course, in which novice navigators learn to steer boats, trim sails, and avoid swashbuckling sea otters. While working toward certification in various programs, students explore the Intracoastal Waterway and its bounty of dolphins, rays, blue pelicans, and myriad fish. Lanier Sailing Academy’s experienced members earn membership into the Buccaneer Sailing Club and are able to rent and sail 22- to 25-foot boats at their leisure.
With a complete line of Life Fitness and Cybex machines, the Pensacola branch of World Gym upholds the franchise's relentless tradition of providing 24/7 access to fitness. Each device in the cardio stable is hooked up to a personal cable TV and DVD set, allowing runners to finally live out their dreams of running wind sprints through aisle 7 of the electronics store. Conversely, an outdoor workout area beckons the ruggedly inclined with battling ropes and climbing stations. Instructors lead a medley of aerobics and yoga classes, and personal trainers help members to craft their own custom fitness plans.
Members of Freedom Boat Club enjoy the luxury of captaining their own aquatic excursions without the maintenance and storage hassles of owning a boat. Outings begin with a boat-orientation course, during which an experienced captain teaches students key nautical skills such as tying knots, docking in the wind, and navigating by the position of a half-eaten sandwich that kind of looks like the Big Dipper. Once skippers feel comfortable commanding a water chariot, they take to the seas for a day of sailing along with up to six additional guests. With the trial membership, boaters can choose any available Hurricane deck boat, inshore fishing boat, or pontoon. Hop aboard Orange Beach's 21-foot Hurricane 2100 to cut through the water on the strength of a 150-hp engine or commandeer Perdido Key's Sweetwater 2486 pontoon boat to benefit from a deck-top canopy in the event that a witch's curse makes it rain salamanders.
Visiting wanderlusters can unwind in the inviting alcoves of seafarer William Hazard Northup's historic, charming home, which houses trinket-filled curios and rich wooden embellishments. Guest rooms come stocked with complimentary beverages and baked goods, and offer Wi-Fi access, cable television, and private baths suitable for naval reenactments. Revel in the house’s sparkling chandeliers, spotless hardwood floors, and rooms where turn-of-the-century leaders would gather. Visitors can also shake off morning doldrums with Pensacola Victorian's full breakfast, a marriage of heartiness and elegance reminiscent of a bygone era.