Girls’ Getaway in Panama City Beach

As a born-and-raised-and-retreated-and-returned Florida gal, it may surprise you just how little time I’ve spent exploring the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast. The drive from Angie Away Base Camp in Jacksonville is only about 4 hours, so it’s unfathomable that I’ve only ever visited Panama City Beach once before, in the late 90s when my Dad was touring with his band.

Girls’ Getaway in Panama City Beach
Girls’ Getaway in Panama City Beach
Photos via Camels and Chocolate

I don’t remember anything from the trip except PCB’s crystal clear turquoise water and white sand, a hypnotic combo that I’m eager to experience whenever possible. So when Travel Mindset invited me to visit and explore with longtime squad members Kristin and Jade, it was not an assignment I had to think about for too long…

The only problem with our idyllic sand-and-sea plan? Our girls’ getaway collided with a messy system of clouds and rainy days, the very few Panama City Beach gets each year. So yeah, the weather wasn’t perfect (nor was my hair, as you’ll note from all the photos.)

But let’s be real – when it’s a girls’ getaway with your favorites, a few raindrops are hardly an issue.

Girls’ Getaway in Panama City Beach
Girls’ Getaway in Panama City Beach
Photos via Camels and Chocolate

You can chat for hours over coffee and donuts, fish tacos, fresh seafood, key lime pie – uh, yes, we sampled the local fare with gusto! — and hardly notice the cloudy skies, and that’s exactly what we did.

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Photo via Camels and Chocolate

ACCOMMODATION

Candy-colored houses all lined up in a row? That’s how you do a Panama City Beach vacation the right way. We stayed at Carillon Beach, a quiet, uncrowded, upscale neighborhood of unique condos, vacation homes and an inn, although we were very close to lining up a stay at an RCI timeshare we had found.

Within the 104-acre community is a large freshwater lake, pools, basketball and tennis courts, more than half a mile of private beach access and a cute, central “downtown” with café, restaurant, yoga studio, salon and gym.

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Photo via Camels and Chocolate

Kristin and I stayed in Lilypad, a green two-story cottage with a full kitchen, three bathrooms, three huge bedrooms and space to sleep up to 10. Here’s the crazy part – this place rents for less than $250/night. For 10 people, that’s $25 bucks each. You can barely stay in a hostel for that kind of dough, and this is so much more luxurious and cozy.

With all the amenities and activities, you’d never have to leave the Carillon Beach world if you didn’t want to, though you’d miss out on some of the offsite fun. Which brings me to…

Girls’ Getaway in Panama City Beach
Girls’ Getaway in Panama City Beach
Photos via Camels and Chocolate

FOOD

As with every trip I go on, I had every intention of eating well during our four day Panama City Beach experience. And then as usual, upon arrival, I quickly started redefining what I meant by eating “well.” I certainly ate deliciously and decadently – so I decided to call that “well” enough for this particular trip and focus on salad some other time.

BEACHSIDE DONUTS

How many donuts should three dainty ladies order? ALL OF THE DONUTS. Thomas Donut and Snack Shop had so many options, we didn’t have to be picky. We just snapped up a dozen and enjoyed the sun peeking through the clouds.

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Photo via Camels and Chocolate

KEY LIME PIE

We made it our mission to try Key Lime Pie iterations wherever possible. First at Patches Pub, then at Uncle Ernie’s Bayfront Grill in St. Andrews. We deviated from our limey mission to have No-Name Pie at J. Michaels – an out of this world combo of whipped cream and magic.

Girls’ Getaway in Panama City Beach
Girls’ Getaway in Panama City Beach
Photos via Camels and Chocolate

FISH TACOS

Another beachy favorite is fish tacos, and they’re found all over Panama City Beach. I had the (not-so-beachy) salmon tacos at Zen Garden’s Lotus Café, and a sampler of mahi, ahi and carnitas tacos at Finn’s Island Style Grub in historic downtown St. Andrews.

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SIGNATURE MARKET AND CAFE OF 30A

My favorite meal of the trip was within walking distance of our rental house. Kristin and I shared the truffle burger and a 3-way pork sandwich and hoooboy! Not like I needed another reason to come back to Panama City Beach, but I’ve been raving about that dinner ever since I got home.

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Photo via Camels and Chocolate

Casual, friendly service and lots of choices had me pretty stoked after four days living the life in Panama City Beach. And after all the food, it was highly necessary to do some physical activity, so stay tuned for recommendations on how to get active in PCB – rain or shine!

This adventure brought to you by Visit Panama City Beach and Travel Mindset. All opinions and ideas presented are my own.

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  • May 13, 2016
    Taj mahal Moonlight Tour

    Panama beaches is awesome and really beautiful. It is the best place for spending vacation. It is the entertainment place. This is the place where friends enjoy together.

  • January 12, 2017

    WOW! Looks like such a fun and relaxing trip! Thank you for sharing all the awesome details: cheap stay and awesome food? Count me in!

  • April 14, 2017

    Whenever i see a beach , i get very much excited , i hope you all have spent a best time . 🙂
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  • August 30, 2017

    Key lime pie and fish tacos are two of my favorite things to get when I’m at the beach. Great photos! Thanks for sharing!

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