Would you like a view with that Oreo Blizzard?

Dairy Queen Pensacola
Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Every family has a list of favorite Florida beach spots and must-visit coastal eateries—places they visit year after year for nostalgia's sake. Dairy Queen franchises don't usually make the cut. Spots on those must-visit lists are normally reserved for beachside seafood restaurants, toes-in-the-sand, generation-spanning establishments like Bud & Alley's or The Red Bar, plus views from classic seaside boardwalks and favorite patches of deserted, sandy beach. Surely a Dairy Queen doesn't belong on that list.

Think again, my friend. One coastal DQ has become a must-visit spot on the itineraries of road-tripping families across the South. It takes the phrase "grill and chill" to a new level. The Pensacola Dairy Queen combines fast food treats and bay views that just can't be beat. This unassuming, park-your-car-and-walk-up establishment is connected to a gas station. There's a parking lot and a few patio tables outside. It looks like your run-of-the-mill gas station/Dairy Queen hybrid, a place to refuel your car and your family on a long road trip…until you see the view.

At this DQ, your meal comes with a blue-skies, tranquil-waters panorama of Escambia Bay. Some savvy Southerners have been stopping here year after year, grabbing a meal and a table by the water to watch boats zip past and cars zoom across the I-10 bridge. When you park your car, you're pointed directly toward the bay. In front of you, there are shimmering waters as far as the eye can see. All you have to do is roll down your windows for a few gulps of sea breeze. Thanks to the patio tables, which are right on the water, you're also free to sit and stay awhile. Slurp your Blizzard, and feel the salty sea air drift past.

A visit to this DQ is a good—dare we say essential?—way to start your beach vacation. It's a five-star view at a fraction of the price. If you're heading to the Gulf this summer, refuel at 7600 Scenic Highway in Pensacola for one of the best views on the coast. Plus a Blizzard and some fries. You're on vacation, after all.

You may also be interested in:

Planning a beach vacation this summer? Check out our travel guides and recommendations for places to see during your trip to Southern beaches.