Everything's better at the ocean.
Why vacation at PCB (Panama City Beach, Florida)?
If you love sunshine, warm weather, an ocean breeze, and white sandy beaches, there’s no better place to be than PCB. Vacationing at PCB is a place for the active or inactive, the athlete or beach bum, the family or party of two...it’s a place that checks all the boxes whether it’s a getaway holiday weekend or a well-deserved, relaxing week’s vacation.
What’s there to do at PCB?
First of all, let’s think about that question. What’s there to do on 27 miles of the whitest sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. If you do nothing at all but go to the beach every day, sink your toes into the warm white sand, look out at the blue ocean, and let out a sigh of relief, that’s enough for many after a year of living in the shadow of COVID.
If sitting on a beautiful beach with over 100 access points to the ocean isn’t the only thing you want to do on vacation, there are many activities and opportunities to fill your week with a different adventure every day.
If you’re active, what’s there to do at PCB?
There are numerous outdoor adventures for vacationers with an active lifestyle. For those who want to continue their workouts and keep up the busy pace, your first stop is St. Andrews State Park. The park is on two miles of beach with biking and hiking trails designed to satisfy tourist that wanna move and not just cruise.
St. Andrews State Park has the Gulf of Mexico on one side and St. Andrews Bay on the other. Visitors that like to swim, snorkel, surf, or kayak are in luck. There are rentals for all watersports and opportunities to pay as you go.
There’s a boat ramp, fishing guides, and camp sites; a perfect place to enjoy the outdoors for those who enjoy 'roughing it.'
Another place to visit is Conservation Park. This 3,000-acre park has 12 different trails and eight boardwalks. It’s a place where you can prepare a backpack and hike for hours or jump on a bike and peddle the pounds away. If you’re going to spend time here, be sure and bring your binoculars. The wildlife in the wetlands is a sight to see. Pack a lunch, bring your canteen, and become one with nature. The park is open seven days a week and is at the intersection of Panama City Beach Pkwy and State Rd. 79.
What if you prefer taking it easy but want to experience PCB?
A ‘must see’ is the seven-mile-long-barrier island that runs east to west between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew’s Bay. Shell Island is miles of white sandy beaches with untouched vegetation and interesting sea creatures. You can catch a shuttle to the beautiful island from St. Andrew’s State Park. The shuttle offers day trips and rental equipment for those wanting to snorkel or paddleboat. You’ll see tropical fish, sea turtles, crabs, and even dolphins. In fact, you’re more likely to see dolphins in their natural habitat while on the island.
If you’re looking to collect shells, the early morning hours at low tide is the best time. Do you remember as a child finding the perfect shell? Maybe it’s more refined and shiny like a pearl. The conch shells are always fun too. Being able to hear the roar of the ocean in your ear from the perfectly-shaped shell built for marine life is an amazing experience.
If you’re an avid angler or a novice, there’s always chartering a boat for a day of fishing. There are at least 60 charter boats available in PCB. Prices will vary depending on how long you plan to be out and if you’re fishing or just enjoying the ride.
What’s there for the family to do in PCB?
If you’ve ever been to an aquarium or theme park like SeaWorld, PCB has Gulf World Marine Park. Of course, it’s smaller than SeaWorld, however, it’s just as much fun for the kids. If your children want to see a show with dolphins jumping through hoops, seals clapping their fins or maybe giving a smooch to one of your children, you’ll enjoy the park. Kids can pet the small rays in a pool area that’s kid-friendly. If you’re interested in swimming with the dolphins, there’s that too.
PCB has Shipwreck Island Waterpark. The park has been part of the fun at PCB for 38 years. There are wading pools and slides for the kids or more challenging slides for the teenagers. It’s money well spent. The park opens in late April.
Any recommendations for eating locally while at PCB?
For beachfront dining, there’s Pineapple Willy’s. You can’t go to PCB without going to this famous seaside restaurant. You can eat out on the deck that overlooks the ocean. They serve meals in little breadbaskets lined with red and white checkered paper. Their fried seafood is delicious. The restaurant serves a tasty tropical drink in Pineapple Willy’s special glassware. And, don’t forget to purchase a t-shirt...they’re too cute, lots of different colors especially the tie-dye option.
Sharkey’s Beachfront Restaurant is another local hangout. The restaurant sits beside the ocean and is reasonably priced. It’s casual dining much like Pineapple Willy’s. Sharkey’s has live entertainment that’s phenomenal. Rocking out while enjoying a delicious meal is pure vacation fun.
For more upscale dining you might check out Captain Anderson’s Restaurant on the waterfront. It’s a staple that’s been around for over 50 years. Their lump crabmeat and stuffed flounder is a meal to die for.
Captain Anderson’s has been named one of America’s top 50 seafood restaurants. It’s received accolades from Southern Living and Wine Spectator’s magazines. Get there early if you want to avoid the crowds.
What if you want to buy seafood to cook in the condo?
Such a good question and one many may ask while vacationing this spring and summer. COVID is still making headlines and safety is a top priority. There are many fresh seafood markets at PCB. What’s alluring is being able to cash in on the ‘catch of the day.’
If you like to cook, buying fresh seafood is the ticket to a wonderful, delicious meal. Let’s not forget money saved by cooking your own food rather than eating out. Choose from a selection of scampi, snapper, grouper, mahi-mahi, gulf shrimp, oysters, and crab legs. Seafood is easy to cook and prepare too.
If you want to boil your shrimp, bring a pot of water to a boil, throw in a seasoning bag, cook the shrimp for only minutes; once you take it out, simply chill and enjoy with some homemade cocktail sauce. That’s right, a little horseradish sauce, catchup, and lemon juice and you’re set.
Try a sauce and sauté your fish in butter, garlic, and parmesan. It’s really easy. Cook fish fast and in high heat. If you prefer to bake it, do so. Set the oven at 425 degrees and let it cook until flaky. You can place fish individually in aluminum foil with a few seasonings or let it crisp up in the oven with only a thin layer of aluminum foil placed loosely over the top of the fish. With the abundance of fresh seafood, it’s the best time to cook.
If you live in the Midwest, Panama City Beach is close in proximity and one of the most beautiful destinations on the Gulf. All that’s left is finding the perfect condominium. Check out Warren Beach Rentals. Beautiful condos. So many selections depending on your needs. They will never disappoint.
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