Panama City Beach (PCB) offers more than what the stereotype says; besides the beautiful ocean and delicious cuisine, PCB supports wildlife preservation with St. Andrews State park and the local military with its Naval Base and Tyndall Air Force Base.
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Nestled on the corner of the peninsula, St. Andrews is a true gem. Located in the park, there is a museum, a bay with jetties, and a campground. It's not hard to spend an entire day enjoying the natural beauty of Florida at this wonderful State Park.
Forget about the Joe's Crab Shack and Olive Garden, hidden throughout the city are local dives and restaurants that prove, time and time again, to be 'good eats'. My favorites? Gracie Rae's, a delicious restaurant hidden behind a better-known eatery that serves the same food, for less. Bayou Joe's, a delightful– albeit interesting– shack located on the local bayou. The food is delicious and relatively cheap, not to mention feeding the fish is an experience like no other. Besides these: Pier 77, Capt. Andersen's, Marco's Pizza, Hunts, Montego Bay, and Schooners are on my 'must-eat-at' list!
Most tourists visit Panama City Beach because of its well known, sugary white sandy beaches. Not only are the waters clear and oil-free (because of the local Navel Diving Base and the State Park, PCB is well protected), but the beaches are pristine and well kept. Dotted throughout the coast are easy public access portals that are free to use; assuring that no matter where you stay, you'll always have a part of the beach to enjoy.
[color=#CC66FF][size=15]Things to do[/color][/size]
Besides the beaches and St. Andrews State Park, Panama City offers fun family activities all ages can enjoy. My favorites? Renting a pontoon boat and visiting Shell Island, kayaking on Grand Lagoon River, and visiting the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum with friends. If you allow it, you can easily find something exciting and fun to do every night of your visit!
Not to mention the shopping is fantastic! Whether you enjoy eclectic shops or entire strip malls– every shopaholic can easily be satisfied. A single day can easily be spent at the local outdoor mall, Pier Park. With a healthy mixture of mom-and-pop shops and well-known brands, a family can enjoy everything from laser tag to handmade jewelry boutiques. Or, if you're willing to drive, a visit to Downtown Panama City can satisfy those who want a little variation from the everyday stores.
[color=#CC66FF][size=15]So Why Wait?[/color][/size]
My family has been traveling to Panama City Beach for nearly 30 years– I've been going since I was 2 months old– so it's easy to understand why we love this city so much. Though PCB has become known as 'Party Cental', it is so much more than that. It's a community that you can feel at home in, it's a beautiful oasis you can escape to, and it's a place that you can create life-long memories at.
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