Welcome to the quiet side of Florida where you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, all lapped by clear, emerald-green waters. Delve into Northwest Florida’s colorful history, family attractions, down-home cookin’ and unique little shops, all laced with friendly people with Southern accents. By Steve Winston
The Emerald Coast
Begin your day with a half-day fishing trip, dolphin cruise or sailing adventure and be soothed by the emerald-green waters of the Gulf. Venture over to The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island where you can lunch on fresh Gulf-to-table seafood with beachfront views of the sugar-white sand and the Okaloosa Fishing Pier. In the afternoon, stroll downtown Fort Walton Beach’s Heritage Park and Cultural Center, comprised of the Indian Temple Mound, 1912 Camp Walton Schoolhouse and Garnier Post Office Museum.
Authentic Florida thrives in quiet coastal communities like Apalachicola, St. George Island, Carrabelle, Eastpoint and Alligator Point. Enjoy quiet, pet-friendly beaches on St. George Island and Alligator Point. Climb historical lighthouses. Camp, paddle or hike along wooded trails and quiet sloughs. Watch commercial fishing boats unload their daily catch or charter a trip with an oyster fisherman to learn how to catch your own. Explore the area’s charm, boutiques, galleries and museums. End with fresh local seafood served at more than 30 area restaurants and seafood markets.
Panama City Beach
At Zen Garden or Finn’s Island Style Grub, start your day with gourmet coffee and a yoga session or a quick surf check. From there, explore 27 miles of beautiful beaches. Try snor-keling or paddleboarding at St. Andrews State Park, or catch a boat to Shell Island, a seven-mile-long natural barrier island. Explore diving history at the Man in the Sea Museum, before shopping at Pier Park. Catch the sunset from Schooner’s restaurant, where the nightly event is celebrated with a cannon blast!
Santa Rosa County
Enjoy the sugar-white sandy beaches of Santa Rosa County. Fish from the Navarre Beach Pier (Gulf of Mexico’s longest) or visit the Gulf Breeze Zoo, Navarre Beach Marine Science Station or Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center. Tour Coldwater Gardens near Milton. See why this part of Florida is known as the Canoe Capital of Florida with Adventures Unlimited. Canoe, kayak and tube along Coldwater Creek past secluded sandbars, through the pristine ecosystem of Blackwater River State Forest, or soar on its zip line canopy tour.