My Next Florida Road Trip: Panama City Beach

I was born and raised in sunny Florida, one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations, so no one is surprised that I turned out to be such a traveling fiend. As you know I’ve spent the past four years and countless dollars outside my home state’s borders, searching the world for the best meals, beaches, attractions, cultural experiences, etc. In doing so I’ve ticked off plenty of boxes on my personal travel bucket list, but you might be surprised to know how much of that list includes attractions just a stone’s throw away.

Now that I’m once again Florida-based and attempting to pare my travels down to mostly domestic jaunts with a few splashy international excursions per year, finding exciting, new destinations that can still wow me within driving distance has become a priority. You may recall a few months ago I checked out Little St. Simons Island for the first time, and I’ve been to Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort about 20 times already this year… so what’s next on the road trip agenda?

Photo courtesy: visitpanamacitybeach.com

Photo courtesy: visitpanamacitybeach.com

Next stop: how about an Autumn trip to Panama City Beach! I haven’t yet decided if this might be a romantic weekend, an adventurous sibling escape like the Ford road trip out West or a solo “me time” getaway, but I think all the items on my personal Panama City Beach Bucket List will fit the bill for whichever theme I choose.

Arrr, matey! The first item on my PCB bucket list is coming up soon. On Columbus Day, Panama City Beach hosts the free Pirates of the High Seas Fest, when hordes of (friendly!) pirates invade the coastal town for a memorable fiesta. I’ve never been to any of Florida’s big pirate-themed gatherings, so this seems like a good starting point for my revelries.

SUP yoga. I SUP. I yoga. But I’ve yet to combine the two. After reading Camels & Chocolate’s post on her experience combining both stand up paddleboard and headstands out in the Gulf of Mexico, I’m adding this activity to my bucket list. I’ve practiced yoga for years, so I have high hopes that I’ll be a natural, but according to Kristin, things are different once you step on the paddleboard. I accept that I may fall right into the drink.

In Panama City Beach, there are two stand up yoga practitioners in the area who offer classes, and I really can’t think of a better place than the Gulf to experience a hardy workout and the mind-clearing benefits of yoga. Kristin mentions that on occasion dolphins and manta rays swim by during the practice… so I can’t really imagine yoga or SUP getting any better than that. I’ll just have to find a way to snap photos while in downward-facing dog.

Photo courtesy visitpanamacitybeach.com

Photo courtesy visitpanamacitybeach.com

Kayak fishing. So I’m really into hybrid sports these days – yoga + SUP, kayaking + fishing. It’s all good! I’ve never tried a kayak with pedals, but I can imagine it makes the combo of fishing & ‘yaking that much easier and more enjoyable.

Spencer saw a pod of dolphins during his kayak fishing excursion, and presumably the dolphins were on a fishing excursion of their own, so I’m adding “fishing with dolphins” to my bucket list. Certainly they’re the best fishing partners as they always know where to look.

Kayak fishing (with or without dolphins) is just one of the many options for the sport in Panama City Beach. I’d also love to check out one of the offshore deep sea charters in the Gulf where you can catch billfish, cobia and wahoo. Either way, I love that you can go with a guide or a charter, or just grab a kayak, some poles and a Florida fishing license and cruise around the coast or mangroves on your own.

Photo courtesy visitpanamacitybeach.com

Photo courtesy visitpanamacitybeach.com

Scuba. I am ashamed to admit that I’ve never been scuba diving in Florida. I know, it’s ridiculous. I think there’s a law saying I’ll be deported from the state unless I remedy that soon, so I’m adding a wreck dive in Panama City Beach to my personal bucket list.

I had no idea until I started researching for this trip that PCB is the Wreck Diving Capitol of the South, and historic wrecks, like the WWII Liberty Ship and the Empire Mica, are scattered throughout the coastal waters. Between the wrecks and the creatures like enormous Goliath grouper and sea turtles, PCB’s dive scene is calling to me!

Have you been to Panama City Beach? What’s on your bucket list that I should add to mine? 

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This post brought to you by the excellent folks at Panama City Beach and Travel Mindset. All dreams & plans are my own!

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  • November 05, 2014

    Great choices! I’d also add the helicopter ride to your list. While I know you’ve probably been up in one a time or two, I was absolutely in love with how clear the water was and all the marine life you could see from above (turtles! pods of dolphins! your favorite…SHARKS!).
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Pirates of the CaribbeanMy Profile

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