Every year, millions of tourists from around the world head to Florida for their vacation. Why is this? Because every region of the Sunshine State is just as beautiful as the next, and has just as much to offer.
Today, we explore the Florida Panhandle along the Gulf Coast which will make you fall in love with the area, guaranteed! You’ll definitely want to experience an unforgettable vacation here. The Florida Panhandle is known for its picturesque beaches and affordable attractions that appeal to the whole family. The Panhandle is often nicknamed “The Beach” for its 93 miles of territory.
The beaches are definitely the most popular attraction. Once you’ve discovered them, you can’t live without them!
Whether fabulous or rustic, casual or dynamic, the Gulf Coast region has something to offer everyone. But emerald green waters and the whitest sand are to be found wherever you go!
From Destin, towards Mexico Beach to Port St. Joe, you will find a unique mix of modern Florida and a Florida from the past. The posh resorts rival the old, tiny houses; the vibrant cities are starkly different from the typical fishing villages.
By Anabel Hebert
The Sunshine State is known to be the US state with the most beaches! Throughout the 43 miles of beaches (and the most beautiful in the eyes of vacationers) on the Emerald Coast, the sand is so fine and white you’ll think you’re walking on white sugar – you’ll have a hard time believing that it’s actually sand!
Along the Emerald Coast, there are five parks on the seafront, with 12 points of access to beaches between Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island. Most beaches have picnic tables, restrooms with changing rooms, playgrounds and volleyball nets.
These beaches all have in common the beauty of their “sugary” white sand and emerald green water.
One of the most popular destinations is Henderson Beach State Park, where you can swim, fish, bike, camp and walk the trails. James Lee County Park is another family favorite. The water is clear and shallow, ideal for little ones! On Okaloosa Island, you’ll find John Beasley Beach Park where you can snorkel, fish and even surf! If you love beach volleyball, go to Newman Brackin Beach Park where you can also enjoy great restaurants, souvenir shops and a playground for children.
If you are looking to be more active than just lounging on the heavenly beaches, the Emerald Coast offers many options. Two of the region’s biggest water parks are Shipwreck Island in Panama City Beach and Big Kahuna in Destin. Both parks offer family attractions that are very refreshing in warm weather! You can purchase passes for the entire day and enjoy lots of family fun.
As one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States, Pensacola Beach is also known worldwide for its emerald waters and white sand.
Time spent in Pensacola Beach is definitely not limited to swimming!
You can also go surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, kite boarding, mini-golfing… whether on land, in the water or under the water, the activities are endless!
Stretch your legs and learn about animal life in the region while walking the Footprints in the Sand Eco Trail in Pensacola Beach. Information panels are displayed at key locations across the beach, each exploring a different environmental theme. This is a great educational activity to do with children for learning about local plants and animals as well as the secrets of the white sand beaches.
Visit the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, known to have one of the best views of the Gulf Coast! It’s only 177 steps up to the 150-year-old lighthouse for a beautiful view of the Pensacola Pass (where Pensacola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico meet).
The lighthouse is located just next to the Pensacola Naval Air Station – the largest naval base in the United States! It’s the main training base for all pilots of the US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. One of the attractions is the US Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team. You can discover the pilots’ incredible precision and the awesome power planes without having to crane your neck – you’ll have a view from the lighthouse catwalk at 150 feet above the ground!
Shopping & Nightlife
The Florida Panhandle is a shopping lover’s dream! From antique shops and specialty stores to shopping malls and outlets, you won’t be able to go far without making a purchase. Countless antique shops are located in Panama City Beach, where you’ll find stores and galleries on every street corner.
For nightlife, the Panhandle also has lots to offer. Panama City, Destin and Pensacola have many bars and clubs to suit all tastes. If you want to party big, Panama City is home to the largest nightclub in the US: Club La Vela.