Florida Beach Vacation Areas Of The PanhandleIve lived on the east coast of Florida for many years but it wasnt until recently that I spent a few daysin the Panhandle. I was so surprised at how different it was from all the other places I had been inFlorida, and I have been all over Florida. For one thing the water is a beautiful shade of emeraldgreen and the beaches are white sand where as the water along the east coast are a beautiful clearblue and the beaches are a lovely oatmeal color, quite a contrast. One of the other things I noticedwas how the area, especially around Destin, was so beautiful and peaceful. There were tree linedstreets, small pastel painted houses, outdoor malls that were cleverly disguised as quaint woodframed buildings which held all the designer brands and labels and at least a dozen well manicuredgolf courses. Im sure youve all heard of Florida Panhandle Beaches like Pensacola and PanamaCity Beach, but let me tell you about these great spots in between.Dotted along the road between Destin and Panama City Beach are the picturesque, beachfront townsof Seaside, Watercolor, Sandestin and Miramar. These towns are small and homey, with tree linedstreets and pastel painted houses; they look like something out of a movie. Hollywood thought so too,and so they decided to film the movie "The Truman Show", starring Jim Carey, in the town ofSeaside. If youve ever been to Hilton Head, South Carolina, Sandestin is a lot like it; veryunderstated and classy. Sandestin is known for its fabulous Golf courses and the Village of BaytowneWarf, which consists of 50 boutiques and specialty merchants which overlook Choctawhatchee Bay.Watercolor is small, approximately 500 acres, but packed with many resort and residential areas alljust waiting to be rented for your perfect Florida vacation. Miramar is the place shop. Home of theSilver Sands Factory Stores, it is called the largest designer outlet center in the U.S.; they have over100 designer outlet shops.Navarre Beach has soft white sand, emerald green water and is one more place to stretch out andjust relax. Its a great place to kayak along the shore or sail out and see what fish are biting today.Navarre Beach is the fastest growing community in Santa Rosa County, partly due to a new andscenic road that connects it to Pensacola Beach. While you can hit the greens for a round of golf atone of the many area courses, Navarre Beach is all about nature. Eight of the 12 miles of beach hereare part of the Gulf Islands Natural Seashore and are federally protected. You can hike, picnic, bikealong one of the trails, snorkel, fish and go boating. Try horseback riding or bird watching with thefamily; Navarre Beach is a great place to be still and get back to nature. They have many hotels,resorts and vacation rentals should you choose to vacation on the beach.Destin is also known to be a big resort town and one of the most spectacular examples is the newEmerald Grande at Harbor Walk Village; this 5-star resort is located oceanfront and is available forweekly rentals. Even with an estimated 4.5 million people visiting the area, there are people who livein Destin year round, and according to a 2004 census, that number was reported to be just over12,000 peopleThe East Pass, which is also called Destin Pass, is at the western tip of the peninsula and is the onlyoutlet of Choctawhatchee Bay into the Gulf of Mexico. The claim has been made that this pass was
dug by hand but it appears on early maps of the French, Spanish and English surveyors, so this islikely not true. The East Pass must be dredged on a regular basis in order for it to remain navigable,the first known map of the East Pass was drawn by Don Francisco Tapia, who was commissioned tosurvey the coast of Florida and draw the map.The community of Destin has existed for over one hundred and fifty years and started as a humblefishing village. The city of Destin, FL can trace its roots back to the 7th century A.D. When it isbelieved that the American Indians lived in the area. Destin is named for Captain Leonard Destin,who settled in Northwest Florida around 1845; he moved here from Connecticut and was a pioneer inthe fishing industry. Today Destin is touted as the "Worlds Luckiest Fishing Village" and claims thelargest, best equipped fishing fleet in Florida docks are in Destin Harbor. When you visit, you can playgolf, tennis and of course do anything you can think of on the water, including snorkeling and diving. Ifyoud like to charter a boat to do some fishing in the Gulf, youll appreciate the fact that the 100Fathom Curve is closer to Destin than any other spot in Florida, making it the fastest way to get to thedeep waters in the Gulf.No matter where you are in the Panhandle when the day is done, do yourself a favor pick a beachand make it a point to stop and just sit and watch the sunset, its a memory youll take with you andcherish for the rest of your life.