Panama City Beach, Florida has long been known as the “Redneck Riviera.” Its miles of sugar white beaches draw people from south Alabama, from the gulf coast states, from northwestern Florida and from our state of Georgia. The shoreline road that runs alongside the beaches used to be littered with many small mom and pop motels. A lot has changed in Panama City Beach.
If you travel to Panama City Beach today, you will find a much more modern view of the coast of Florida. Gone are most of the old family motels. They have been replaced by tall condos and more brand named hotels.
The small honkytonks and fried seafood shacks are being replaced with nice bars and grills and larger more expensive seafood restaurants. You will even find Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville located in the Pier Park along with many other places to grab a bite to eat while enjoying your time in the Florida sun.
If you want to rough it a bit, you can find campsites available at St. Andrews State park which is located three miles east of Panama City Beach. St. Andrews is a former military base that now offers a mile and a half of white sandy beaches, two fishing piers, campsites, hiking trails and picnic pavilions.
One of our favorite places to stay in Panama City Beach offers a touch of the old days along with a totally relaxed atmosphere and one of the more interesting hostesses you will find anywhere. I am talking about the Wisteria Inn.
The Wisteria Inn is for adults and their pets. You can relax around the pool or hot tub and enjoy the afternoon wine social. The Wisteria provides free lounge chairs and towels for you to take for your visit to the beach which is just across the highway.
You also have the Marriott’s Legends Edge at Bay Point, the Holiday Inn Resort, and other family friendly brands like the Hampton Inn and Comfort Inn. And if you’re thinking of renting a condo or trading your timeshare unit, there’s plenty to choose from. You really should be able to find a place to stay in Panama City Beach.
by j.s. clark via wikimedia commons
Now I know you are wondering about where to eat. We have already mentioned the Margaritaville Cafe , so you know there is one tourist friendly location. We enjoyed our stop at Salty Sue’s which is on the west end of the beach and is away from the hustle and bustle of the “Miracle Strip.”
For you folks that have been coming to PCB for years, you may or may not be surprised to find that Angelo’s Steak Pit is still there about two miles west of the new Hathaway Bridge. But wait until March, for they are closed right now during the “off season.”
Speaking of the off season, don’t shy away from Panama City Beach just because the weather is a bit colder than it is further south in Florida. The area is still beautiful and there are still lots of things to do.
In fact you may want to go down for Panama City Beach Mardi Gras and Music Festival which starts on Friday February 13th.
So all in all, I recommend a trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. The drive from Atlanta is nice. The roads are good all the way down. And you get to drive through the city of Eufaula, Alabama, but that is a story for another day.