Despite being a completely separate municipality, it is easy to confuse the history of Panama City Beach with the larger Panama City located just inland from Panama City Beach. However, these two entities offer very distinct opportunities.
Known for its 27-mile stretch of stunning white sand beaches, Panama City Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations located in the Florida panhandle, and it’s hard not to fall in love with what the city refers to as “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” Tourists and residents alike are able to enjoy scenic state parks and some great golf courses.
Panama City Beach History
Originally discovered by Spanish explorers, the area that would become Panama City Beach was purchased by the United States in 1819. It then became a favorite location of General Andrew Jackson when he marched his troops through the Florida panhandle on their way to New Orleans. When the territory became available to settlers, many of Jackson’s troops were the first to call Panama City Beach home.
Fast forward quite a few years and we will see that the early 2000s were one of the most interesting times in the history of Panama City Beach. This is when the real estate boom motivated builders and investors to upgrade many of the older beachfront buildings into modern condominiums and fabulous luxury homes.
Panama City Beach Lifestyle
The lifestyle in Panama City Beach starts and ends with that absolutely stunning 27-mile stretch of gorgeous white sand beaches. Whether you like to enjoy the beach by spending the entire day laying out in the sun or you prefer to walk for miles in the sugary sand, this is paradise for anyone who loves the beachfront lifestyle.
One of the most popular beach destinations in Panama City Beach is St. Andrews State Park, where visitors will find the perfect combination of beachfront beauty and natural surroundings. In addition to offering beach access, St. Andrews State Park also picnicking and boating facilities, as well as two nature trails that are great for bird watching.
Another place that really fits in with the Panama City Beach vibe is a visit to the Panama City Beach Winery. This local winery specializes in many different types of fruit wines that are all spectacular. They also offer something called “Wine Slushie Mixes” which are basically wine smoothies!
Panama City Beach Shopping
For many people in Panama City Beach, the best shopping can be found by wandering into one store after another as you walk up and down the beach. But if you are looking for a more serious shopping experience, Pier Park is definitely the place you want to start. This outdoor mall contains all of your favorite stores like Target, Forever 21, Dillards, JC Penney’s, and Marshall in a beautiful beach setting.
If you are shopping for more original items, Little Village is the place to find them. This waterfront shopping venue hosts all kinds of unique items from many different local artists. The inventory is always changing here, so you will want to stop back often to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Panama City Beach Dining
One of best things about Panama City Beach is the unbelievable selection of fantastic restaurants that residents and visitors have to choose from. If you are looking to grab a quick bit for breakfast or lunch, you will definitely want to check out the breakfast menu at Red Rae’s Restaurant and the monster burritos at Diego’s Burrito Factory.
When you are ready for a fancy dinner that will blow your mind, Firefly is the local steakhouse that will wow you with sizzling filets in one of the most romantic atmospheres you will find anywhere. But as good as the steaks are here, you really have to try the bone-in pork chop.
The most notable retirement community in this area is Latitude Margaritaville Watersound.
Located on Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast between Pensacola & Panama City, Latitude Margaritaville Watersound is the 2nd Jimmy Buffett-inspired 55+ community in Florida, and the 3rd one overall when you include Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head.
The list of amenities coming to Latitude Margaritaville Watersound is very similar to what we’ve seen in other Latitude Margaritaville communities.
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When you combine a fantastic selection of restaurants with a great state park and interesting culture and shopping experiences right on one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world, you end up with the ultimate beach lovers’ paradise. If that sounds like the place for you, then you should definitely plan a visit to Panama City Beach.