With 27 miles of renourished white-sand beaches and emerald water reminiscent of the Caribbean, you simply can’t go wrong with a trip to the sun-drenched haven of Panama City Beach, Fla..
Jet smarts: Fly directly into nearby Destin/ Fort Walton Beach and rent an auto: It’s just a scenic 90-minute to your PCB lodgings. With all the activities, shopping and dining opportunities in Panama City Beach, you’re going to need a rental car and the charges won’t be as high
Condo-cation: The family-friendly Seychelles Condominium Resort (www.seychelles-beach-resort.com) is a high-rise with beautiful, unobstructed views of the Gulf of Mexico and is directly on the pristine beach. The property is adjacent to a restaurant and beach club, Schooner’s. (When making your reservations, however, be sure to request a condo on the opposite side of the popular nightclub.)
Gulf World: Visit Gulf World Marine Park (www.gulfworldmarinepark.com), a wildlife micro-park with a mini-celebrity – a small bottle-nosed dolphin, named Roux Brees.
). Check out rays, sharks, pods of dolphins and possibly even a herd of manatees. Don’t forget to bring your camcorder or high-res camera.
Paddle boarding: Discover the fast-growing sport of stand-up paddle boarding on a pleasurable outing to Powell Lake (www.wowpaddleboards.com). A mix between surfing and kayaking, it’s an easy activity all members of the family will enjoy. On the 90-minute outing, soak in the sunshine and the serene surroundings of Camp Helen State Park.
Kid stuff: Take the little ones to the Miracle Strip at Pier Park. The amusement park’s well groomed landscaping provides a beautiful backdrop for a memorable afternoon. All ages will enjoy the multitude of rides as well as the Butterfly Pavilion.
Dining: No trip to PCB is complete without a breakfast at Andy’s Flour Power Restaurant (www.andysflourpowerpcb.com). Entrees range from legendary French toast to the mouth-watering Crawfish Julie (a sauce of crawfish, vegetables and cream is served over a poached egg and homemade biscuit. The reasonably-priced bistro has amazingly healthy fare that tastes great.
Firefly, one of the area’s top-rated fine restaurants, is low-lit and offers a romantic atmosphere. It’s where President Obama and his family ate when touting the Gulf Coast after the 2010 oil spill (he had the New York strip). Firefly (www.fireflypcb.com) is a tad on the pricey side. (Consider an early arrival for the reasonably priced “early bird” entrees).
Area info: 800-722-3224; www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.