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Old 06-29-2008, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Central NY
32 posts, read 42,525 times
Reputation: 58

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Hi all.. I am a snowbird an am looking for some help. My family has visited florida a few times (disney 3 times, crystal river once) but would like to vacation in a different spot this time. I have been reading up on the panhandle beaches, we are looking for white sand, and very clean clear, caribbean type water, with a tropical atmosphere. There are many adults and two small children, so we're looking to rent a beachfront cottage or house for a week. I can't decide which town would be best for us, we don't want something too deserted and quiet, we'd like to go out to dinners and see a few things, maybe a zoo or aquarium or comedy club, something with family activities and nightlife. I was considering Panama City Beach or Destin.. anyway.. I guess my question is if you were looking for the qualities I've described, where would you choose to vacation? We don't get down that way much and would like to make it worthwile, also.. is the weather typically very nice around march? I think that's when we'd be looking to go. Thanks so much on any input! :-)
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:53 PM
 
384 posts, read 1,416,799 times
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I've enjoyed vacationing at Florida's panhandle beaches countless times over the years. You'll find beautiful sand and water all along the panhandle from Panama City west to Gulf Shores,AL.

In terms of "tropical atmosphere," keep in mind that the panhandle can occasionally get chilly in winter. Usually, a cold snap doesn't last long, but it's not as "tropical" feeling as Orlando south.
The weather should be great in March, with the only potential downside being rain.

Destin tends to be a little quieter and more upscale than Panama, which has some fun family activities, but also college spring breakers of the inebriated variety. For someone vacationing in the area for the first time,
my number one suggestion is to look at renting somewhere in between (Rosemary Beach, Watercolor, Seaside, etc). There are lots of beach houses available to rent, mostly very expensive, but it might well be worth it to you for the really memorable experience. The beaches along 30-A also have significant sand dunes, which is a nice little bonus, since Florida is mostly flat. Those areas as well as the Sandestin resort are very quiet, perfectly scenic, and upscale, yet still an easy drive to the busier cities east or west.

By staying in those "in between" areas, you can easily visit both Destin (gorgeous green water, very nice shopping and dining, Gulfarium on nearby Okaloosa Island) and Panama City (many more public beach access points, a zoo, Gulf World, lots of stereotypically "beach tourist" amenities like souvenir shops, fun restaurants, mini-golf places).

Wherever you decide, I bet you'll enjoy it greatly.
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:14 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,869,650 times
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Northwest Florida is not the same as south Florida. There are palm trees, but it's not exactly the same as Miami.
March weather might still be brisk.
OTOH, when we lived on the Gulf, I remember getting into the water for a swim by April.
If you do not want something that is too deserted and quiet, I would follow Alatex's suggestion and look into 30-A: Rosemary Beach, Seaside, etc.
It is very expensive but has all the beauty and amenities.
Further east you would indeed have Panama City which to me is not as nice.
Further east from there, you have Mexico Beach, Port St Joe and Cape San Blas, which have gorgeous beaches but much fewer amenities.
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
440 posts, read 2,239,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillowPlate View Post
Northwest Florida is not the same as south Florida. There are palm trees, but it's not exactly the same as Miami.
March weather might still be brisk.
OTOH, when we lived on the Gulf, I remember getting into the water for a swim by April.
If you do not want something that is too deserted and quiet, I would follow Alatex's suggestion and look into 30-A: Rosemary Beach, Seaside, etc.
It is very expensive but has all the beauty and amenities.
Further east you would indeed have Panama City which to me is not as nice.
Further east from there, you have Mexico Beach, Port St Joe and Cape San Blas, which have gorgeous beaches but much fewer amenities.
Here are a few helpful links to the different areas:

BeachesofSouthWalton.com -- this site covers the beaches the others have recommended ... Rosemary Beach, Seaside, Seagrove, Watercolor, Watersound, etc ..... this is also where we live so if you need any additional recommendation let us know ....

Destin-Fort Walton Beach Chamber

Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau

Hopefully this gives you a little insight into our beautiful Emerald Coast and you can see what options are around in regard to kids activities ....

Most importantly, have fun doing whatever you decide
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Living in Paradise
5,702 posts, read 22,238,176 times
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Destin will be my choice, centrally located, can support activities for adults as well as for the younger ones...

The summer weather in the area is hot, humid, rain, and white beaches. Lots of things to do for all.

Check the following link: Destin Florida Travel, Vacation, & Shopping Info - Destin, FL - EmeraldCoast.com
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Living in Paradise
5,702 posts, read 22,238,176 times
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Thumbs up The Seven Wonders of the Emerald Coast

1. Sugar white beaches
2. Dune Lakes
3. Seaside
4. Oyster beds of Apalachicola
5. Cape San Blas, St. George and St. Joseph Islands
6. Crab Island - the ultimate party destination in Destin. Just pull your boat up on the sand bars on the bay side of the East Pass and enjoy the live entertainment.
7. Mid-Bay Bridge

Destin: The Seven Wonders of the Emerald Coast | wonders, seven, coast
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:50 AM
 
207 posts, read 625,909 times
Reputation: 73
Red face Pets on beaches?

HI....Wondering if any of you know if there's any beach on the Emerald Coast where you allowed to take your dog.

Thanks for any info....
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Kissimmee, Fl/Guntersville, AL Soon
482 posts, read 2,200,161 times
Reputation: 347
St. George Island allows dogs on the beach.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:05 AM
 
5,969 posts, read 7,724,361 times
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If you are vacationing in March keep in mind that the panhandle may be too cold. Try St. Pete or Clearwater. They have more of a tropical feel with much more to do.
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:03 AM
 
207 posts, read 625,909 times
Reputation: 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guntersville Boomer View Post
St. George Island allows dogs on the beach.
Thanks so much!
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