June 17, 2024


sights and trips

6 Stunning Beach locations To Go to On Florida’s Panhandle

If you head east from the Florida state line in close proximity to Pensacola, on the scenic routes of U.S. 98 and Point out Highway 30A, you will experience some of the most gorgeous shorelines in the place, if not the planet. 

Situated just a very little far more than 100 miles in the Florida Panhandle is the spot regarded as the Emerald Coastline. When you gaze at the miles and miles of the Gulf of Mexico’s blue-inexperienced waters washing the white sandy shoreline, you rapidly see how the spot acquired its nickname.

The bleached gypsum that kinds the glistening bone-white sand is located all together the Emerald Coast. The sand actually has its origins in the mountains of Appalachia, and feeds the beaches by using inland rivers meandering to the sea. The beach locations you see currently began forming through the soften off from the previous ice age additional than 12,000 several years back. As the glaciers melted, sea ranges all over the environment started to increase and the coast in this article expert a extraordinary modify. Most notably, the coastline receded as substantially as 80 miles farther inland than it was in the course of the Pleistocene period Ice Age.

Make The Generate Together A Florida Scenic Highway

Our Florida panhandle street journey started out with sunrise at Pensacola Seaside. The interesting morning breeze off the gulf mandated extended sleeves. But soon the sunlight mirrored off the nearby pier and brought a definite warmth to the working day. 

Pensacola Seaside is component of the Gulf Islands Nationwide Seashore, which truly starts in Mississippi. It will get interrupted in Alabama, and then stretches about 80 miles together the Panhandle. 

Driving together the pristine seashores is a preference among U.S. 98 or Condition Street 30A. Exactly where you have the selection, 30A in fact receives you correct alongside the h2o and is the most effective scenic route, while 98 requires you inland in some locations. 

Navarre Beach Pier.
Fred Mays

Navarre Beach

The coastal highway, which is selected a Florida Scenic Freeway, affords seashore obtain details and picnic shelters each several miles. Immediately after Pensacola Beach, the initial beach front town you occur to is Navarre Beach front, lined with condos and a signature pier jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico.

At Navarre Beach, you have to cross the causeway to the mainland and choose up U.S. 98 in buy to arrive at the up coming seaside town, Fort Walton Seashore. There is a channel out to the gulf at Fort Walton, and the location provides a range of deep sea fishing charters. This part of the coastline is strongly affected by Eglin Air Pressure Base on the mainland. Warplanes and helicopters are widespread sights alongside this expanse of the coastline. There is an Air Drive Armament Museum showcasing aircraft dating from Entire world War I to the present which is well worth a glance-see.

Henderson Seaside State Park

Up coming in line is the city of Destin, a tourism magnet for midwesterners trying to find comfortable sand and heat waters. Having out on the water in a boat or on jet skis is a main attraction in Destin. Hundreds of small craft fall anchor in the shallows of Destin Bay, every day forming a smaller flotilla of boat dwellers in the pristine waters. No boat, no issue! Boat and jet ski rentals are offered. Locations like Blue Crab Drinking water Sporting activities and Destin Family vacation Boat Rentals can repair you up with pontoon boats and jet skis. 

Continuing east on U.S. 98 provides you to the prepared local community of Seaside. This location is not frequently available to outsiders, unless of course you are leasing a house in the town. Seaside was the setting of the film The Truman Present starring Jim Carey, exactly where each individual resident was an actor and the overall city was a huge soundstage. The 1998 movie garnered a few Oscar nominations and place the city on the map. Artwork shops and galleries are also identified together this stretch of highway. 

Grayton State Park, Florida.
Fred Mays

Grayton Seaside Point out Park

A person of my favorite stops in this space is Grayton Beach State Park. This is a tiny park, with a going for walks trail guiding the dunes, a kayak path in the again waters, an RV campground, and of system, a terrific beach front. Parking is minimal, and when all areas are taken, the park gate is shut. Going early is advisable, and all over mid-afternoon the park will reopen as parking areas turn into accessible.

Although you wait around for the gates to reopen, test a lunch prevent at Crackings, just west of the point out park. It specializes in omelettes for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, and has lots of shaded, outside eating. Immediately after ingesting, test out numerous artwork galleries and stores nestled in the exact site. 

Panama City Beach, Florida
Fred Mays

Panama City Beach

Additional east, all people is familiar with about fabled Panama Metropolis Seaside, the spring split haven for school learners who pack the beaches, beachside inns and condos, bars and restaurants each individual March. The finest time to pay a visit to is April and May. It’s considerably less crowded and off-period costs are widespread. Targeted visitors picks up once more in the summer months, and beaches are very crowded till Labor Day. Drop is a different great time to stop by, when temperatures drop a tiny and you have off-period prices return.

New construction in Mexico Beach, Florida
New building in Mexico Beach, Florida (Picture Credit rating: Fred Mays)

Mexico Seashore

East of Panama Metropolis you pass as a result of Tyndall Air Force Base and arrive on rejuvenated Mexico Seaside. This town was actually flatted by Hurricane Michael in 2018, with only a handful of properties left standing. Nowadays it is on the comeback trail. Construction is everywhere you go … new homes, condos, compact enterprises. On the east side of city is a extended public beach front park, where by the shoreline is embraced by the emerald seas of the Gulf of Mexico. With design underway, there are nonetheless confined hotel rooms and condos for rent, but if you can come across a spot, this is an suitable spot for a quiet beach getaway.

St. Joseph Peninsula Condition Park

The final prevent on a tour of Panhandle beaches is my personal beloved of all Florida seashores … St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. It has wide, pure white shorelines and towering sand dunes. Sad to say Hurricane Michael brought about extensive problems to the campground and cabins, which are however less than repair. There is restricted beach obtain, and a spot to start boats and kayaks on the bayside of the peninsula. The park is not predicted to entirely reopen until 2022.

The scenic push alongside Florida’s panhandle is rated just one of the best in the country. The elegance of these beaches is normally overshadowed by publicity presented to seashores further down Florida’s coasts, but Emerald Coast seashores are unmatched 

Finest Accommodations Alongside The Emerald Coastline

I divided my Panhandle vacation into two days, starting up with dawn at Pensacola Beach. You can catch a fantastic night’s rest at quite a few lodges that line the beach front, together with the Hilton, a Hampton Inn, and the laid back Margaritaville Lodge

We stopped for the night at Panama Town Seaside. Hotels in this article are dear, and I opted not to get a home on the seaside. Beachside hotels involve the Hampton Inn, Spring Hill Suites, a Sheraton, and a extra price range-minded LaQuinta

Just a take note of warning: Resort costs any where together the beach front can double or even triple on weekends, irrespective of the year. 

View on Wakulla River at Wakulla Springs State Park, Florida.
Wakulla Springs Condition Park, Florida (Photograph Credit score: Fred Mays)

Very best Dining places Along The Emerald Coastline

The Native Cafe on Pensacola Seaside serves a good breakfast. For a seafood supper, test Peg Leg Pete’s. At Panama Town Beach attempt Pineapple Willy’s for a typical Florida seashore-food items supper (can you say fried shrimp, remember to!). You can even take your pet if you want to dine outside on the pier. 

No vacation to north Florida is total without a cease at The Lodge at Wakulla Springs Point out Park, south of Tallahassee. This lodge is just about 100 decades outdated, has at ease rooms and stately grounds, with plenty of oak trees and the greatest freshwater spring in Florida. Go swimming in the spring, and just take the one hour boat vacation alongside the stunning Wakulla River, in which many Hollywood films were being shot yrs back. Cypress trees alongside the river are as significantly as 600 many years old. The spring is a terrific place to snorkel or scuba, with crystal clear h2o and access to a submerged cave community.

The Lodge has a whole service cafe. Advance reservations at The Lodge are necessary, primarily on weekends.

Footprints in Florida sand
Fred Mays

Pro Ideas

I have traveled all in excess of Florida and visited seaside towns all over the state. There are fantastic seashores everywhere, but in my feeling, none are far better than those people you uncover in north Florida alongside the Emerald Coastline. The sand is tender and awesome on your feet the dunes are large and attractive, and the h2o is thoroughly clean and obvious. The shoreline is significantly less lined with higher-increase condos and hotels than you generally come across in the metro locations along the lower Florida peninsula. 

The Gulf of Mexico is normally calmer, with gentle surf, except when a storm develops offshore. It must be observed the Florida Panhandle is extra vulnerable to hurricane and tropical storm strikes than other areas of the point out, other than, maybe, the Florida Keys. Bear that in brain when booking fall visits, and travel insurance is a superior idea throughout hurricane year.

The finest time to take a look at here is late spring and early fall. My advice is April and May possibly, then in between Labor Day and Veterans Working day. Through the wintertime, many north Florida beach locations can truly get as well chilly and windy for seaside exciting. In summer season, the beaches are ordinarily overcrowded with travelers and locals.