Destinations

The Florida Panhandle

Panhandle_FloridaWhen people think of traveling to Florida, usually places like Miami or Orlando come to mind. I’ll admit myself that I hadn’t ever really given much thought to the Northwestern region of the state. However, since a good friend of mine moved there over a year ago, I had been wanting to go for a visit. Last weekend I did just that.

I’ll tell you right now that this region is a vastly underrated travel destination. I spent most of my time in the towns of Destin and Fort Walton Beach. The beaches were covered in gorgeous, soft, powder white sand. The water was that gorgeous tropical teal color, and it was warm and crystal clear to boot. There were fun water sports to partake in such as boat rides, jet skis, parasailing, and2016-05-18_0833_001 kayaking. There were fun bars with live music, tasty restaurants, and plenty of places to shop if you’re into that sort of thing. If you have kids, there were countless water parks and interesting places with things like miniature golf, zip lines, and play areas to keep them entertained.

As for me, I was unfortunately only in town for the weekend. I flew in on a Friday so I had Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday to enjoy the area before flying home on a Monday. It was a whirlwind tour to be sure, but I still had an amazing time.

When I arrived on Friday, we went straight to an awesome place called the Popcorn Jungle, where we bought many flavors of popcorn to snack on, and then at night we went out to a bar called Helen Back where I had some delicious drinks and the largest plate of nachos I’ve ever seen in my entire life. My friends there and some of their friends had some delicious looking pizzas. There was a band playing and they were quite good. I enjoyed rocking out to their covers of many popular classic rock, country, and pop songs.

Saturday was spent at the beach, relaxing in the sand and swimming in that amazingly warm water. In the afternoon we went parasailing and then on a glass bottom boat dolphin cruise, both with Boogies Watersports. Then parasailing was one of those things that sort of “just happened” and when I realized what I had gotten myself into, I was a little frightened, but I ended up having an amazing time. The boat tour was great fun as well, as we cruised around the harbor and out to sea looking for dolphins and generally enjoying being out on the water.

On Sunday, we had planned to go on a fan boat ride but I was exhausted from my epic Saturday of fun, so we ended up just relaxing on the beach for most of the day, which was a great way to spend my last day in Florida. We went to lunch at a place called Fudpuckers which seemed like a touristy place but had surprisingly good food, delicious cocktails, and a view of the water. After Fudpuckers it was back to the beach for the rest of the afternoon.

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My trip to Northwestern Florida was too short and I definitely want to go back again sometime. For now, I’ll just say that it’s one of the most underrated places I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. If you get the chance, definitely go there. You’ll love it.

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