Article as seen in Pensacola Magazine:

What do people dream about on cold wintry days when the temperature is frigid and there’s ice and snow all around? They dream of vacationing on a warm sunny beach where all their cares are forgotten.

Living in Pensacola, just minutes from 8 miles of one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, has taught us a deep appreciation for the Gulf, the Sound and everything in between. Summer is great for swimming with friends and family, and winter is special for dressing warm and walking on a deserted beach, contemplating the beauty of being. No matter the season, it is physically and mentally healthy, intoxicating and invigorating.

According to an article in the Washington Post, research studies have looked at the correlation between health and coastal living and have found an improvement in total health among people who live by the water. The original intent of the study was to determine the effect of nature on anxiety and depression, particularly in urban areas where there’s less natural beauty. It’s well established that having bodies of water or green space promotes physical and social activity. And that being near nature has a known stress-reducing effect.

The article went on to say that using data from a New Zealand Health Survey, researchers were able to compare mental-health statistics to where people live. They found no significant benefit for people living near green areas, but there was a notable difference for people who lived near water features. Even when they broke down demographics by age, sex and personal income, there was still an improvement in health among people closer to the water.

Summertime in Pensacola is synonymous with the beach. There’s boating, bicycling, places to eat, from fine dining to pizza, weekly concerts, festivals, camping, dog parks and freebies. The beach is undeniably a beautiful place to be in the spring, summer and fall. You won’t be short of visitors once you move to the beach. Everyone jumps at the chance to visit and take advantage of your good fortune. There’s always something to do or somewhere to go. There’s nothing more relaxing than lying in the sand, collecting shells, or floating in the water, and we’re lucky to claim it as our backyard.

Holidays are spectacular with fireworks displays and special events. And every Pensacola resident feels the thrill and the pride of our very own Blue Angels, who perform for us annually in a spectacular summer airshow, and surprise us with flyovers throughout the year.

Winter on Pensacola Beach has its own unique set of benefits. There’s nothing like gazing out at the ocean, watching the shore birds hunt for food, or traversing the deserted seashore in harmony with the power and majesty of nature. Sunrises and sunsets are awe inspiring. And the frisky dolphin treat us to a playful spectacle year round. Cultural activities spring to life downtown with the Symphony, the Saenger Theater, the Ballet and the Opera in full swing. Social activities increase as friends gather, looking for ways to while away the hours, waiting for the first signs of Spring. We even enjoy a Mardi Gras parade on the beach. For sure, you’ll never get bored, as the weather, the landscape and wildlife change daily, offering new delights.

There’s good reason visions of a relaxing vacation often include the ocean, or why many people fantasize about retiring to the coast. You feel a twinge of pride when asked where you live.

After all, you get to live somewhere that people yearn to visit all year. There’s a sense of fun and wonder that comes from being by the water. Of course, Florida snowbirds have known this forever.

Surprisingly, when you choose to make the beach your home, you’ll actually welcome the tourist season when you realize that visitors can be a great financial asset. As Pensacola gains more and more national attention, the demand for summer beach rentals is booming. Many places are already booked. You’ll see a substantial return on your investment, offsetting expenses in ways you never imagined. It’s a perfect time to do your own vacationing while your beach home pays for itself. Most importantly you’ll want a real estate professional who specializes in beach properties to guide you when making such an important and lucrative, life-changing decision.

Many people think living at the beach may seem financially out of reach, but when you consider some of the possibilities you may be surprised. Those fortunate enough to live on Pensacola Beach have discovered that the dream can become a reality. If you weigh all the options, it may become your reality too.

Conna O’Donovan, known as “The Resort Specialist,” is an award winning, top producing Pensacola Realtor® selling waterfront property for over 28 years.

The Conna O’Donovan Team