I’ve just returned from a glorious 3 day vacation to sunny Panama City Beach, Florida. It was just the break my family and I needed and there was no better place we could have escaped to.
This post is sponsored by Panama City Beach.
Panama City Beach is in the Northwest part of Florida. It’s 98 miles southwest of Tallahassee and 297 miles southwest of Atlanta. From Houston, it was an easy ten hour drive for us. If you’d rather fly, there are direct flights from Houston to Panama City Beach.
If you have in your mind that the sand is powdery white and the water a gorgeous emerald green, you’d be absolutely right. As far as the eye can see, there are stretches of beautiful beach to look at. A perfect place – my happy place.
We arrived mid-afternoon on Thursday and checked into the condo we rented. We stayed at a condo on the 15th floor of the Palazzo Condominiums and the view from our balcony was incredible.
As soon as we set down our bags, we threw open the curtains and opened the sliding glass door to see what view awaited us. Beautiful, right?
After the drive from Houston, we were ready for an early dinner so we drove the short distance to Pier Park. Pier Park is an over 1 million square foot open-air shopping/dining/activities center. It’s in the heart of PCB and has every kind of shop and restaurant you can imagine. We found a table outside at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and my husband and I promptly ordered a couple of margaritas. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that they were some of the best margaritas I’ve had in a long time. I guess when you’ve got a vibrant sunset, a cool breeze off the gulf and island music playing in the background – you just can’t get better than that!
After dinner, we walked around Pier Park and visited a few of the shops and enjoyed an ice cream cone from Kilwin’s Chocolates, Fudge & Ice Cream. Kilwin’s is like an old-time confectionery store. They make their own fudge right by the front window and their ice cream is extra creamy and delicious.
We walked into a few of the shops then back to our car. By then, it was getting late and I needed to pick up a few groceries to bring back to our condo. We found a Winn-Dixie grocery store almost across the street from our condo. We picked up muffins and fruit for the morning, a bottle of wine to share on our balcony and other snacks to keep in the condo.
When we got back to our condo, we opened up the sliding glass doors to the balcony to hear the sounds of the waves and to feel the breeze off the water. There’s nothing quite like the sounds of the waves rolling up the shore and that’s exactly what was waiting for us when we returned to our condo. EJ and I opened up our wine and sat outside. It was the perfect way to end the day.
The next morning the weather was absolutely perfect. It was sunny with a light breeze and ideal for spending time at the beach. We were able to rent a beach umbrella and lounge chairs for the days we were there and it was such a nice convenience. I highly recommend doing this, even if you don’t plan to spend the entire day at the beach. You can come and go as you please but you’ll always have your “shaded beach space” ready and waiting for you when you return.
About mid-day, we decided to walk the beach down to Hook’d Bar and Grill to grab lunch. The fish tacos were fantastic!
After lunch, we walked across the street to Pier Park to do a little shopping. We picked up t-shirts and souveniers and enjoyed strolling and browsing through the shops.
Later that evening, we played miniature golf at Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf. We had a great time and thought this was one of the nicest miniature golf locations we had ever been to. The courses were fun and challenging and the people were super friendly.
For dinner, we went to Dee’s Hangout, a great seafood restaurant not far from Pirate’s Island, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and WonderWorld. I ordered the Blackened Redfish and I highly recommend it.
The next day, we woke up bright and early and enjoyed coffee and breakfast on our balcony. Look how clear the water is, we could even see sting rays swimming close to shore.
At around 10 or so, we walked out to the beach for a couple of hours.
After the beach, we explored the Grand Lagoon Farmer’s Market near Captain Anderson’s Seafood Restaurant. This was loads of fun. We picked up a jar of local honey, fresh fruit, handmade soaps, jellies and salsa, as well as beautiful handmade jewelry to bring back.
There was even the cutest 1-week old goat that wanted to follow us home.
I had read about the Panama City Beach Winery that makes Florida citrus wines and I was very intrigued. I’m so glad we stopped by because surprisingly, citrus wines are very enjoyable! Although I don’t prefer sweet wines, these wines really surprised me. The Sangria was so flavorful and we also enjoyed the Peach, the Guava and the Orange Coffee wines. Our favorite was the Key Lime Wine, which won 1st place at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in 2013. Definitely stop by for a tasting, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
For lunch we ate at The Front Porch Restaurant and thought the burgers were fantastic. They were juicy and messy and absolutely delicious.
After lunch, we went back to the condo to put away the items we purchased. We opened a bottle of wine and went outside to enjoy the view and to relax a bit before our sunset sail.
There were so many exciting places we visited and memories we created while in PCB, but perhaps one of the biggest highlights of our trip was a sunset cruise with Stern to Stern Sailing.
This was such an amazing experience. Captain Laura, one of the owners of Stern to Stern put a wonderful cruise together for us.
My husband, our daugher and I sailed on a 46′ Gaff Rigged Schooner Sailboat whose hull and rig was modeled after working boats from 200 years ago. Captain Dale and Captain Carl along with his lovely wife, Charlene were wonderful and we would highly recommend this cruise to anyone.
The cruises come with a lovely tray of cheese, fruit and crackers as well as wine, sodas and water. I’ll have more about our cruise with Stern to Stern in another post.
As you can see, Panama City Beach is a wonderful destination for couples as well as for families. There’s so much to see and do and the beaches are absolutely beautiful.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Panama City Beach via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.