A Ma­jes­tic Coast­line

2017 Travel Guide to Florida - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - BY STEVE WIN­STON

In Northwest Florida, lights are softer and cities are smaller and friend­lier. The at­trac­tions are as of­ten nat­u­ral as they are ar­ti­fi­cial and the beaches, golf cour­ses, shop­ping ar­eas, ho­tels, cul­tural ameni­ties and restau­rants aren’t quite as crowded as some of the state’s larger ur­ban ar­eas. This is the one part of Florida where you’ll still hear plenty of “ya’lls.”

ARTS AND CUL­TURE

In Franklin County, east­ern­most in the Pan­han­dle, Apalachicola is the best-known city. Once the third-largest port on the Gulf of Mex­ico, re­minders of those hal­cyon days of steam­ers and schooners, rail­roads and lum­ber mills re­main. The city’s his­toric dis­trict has nearly a thou­sand his­toric build­ings and sites from a by­gone era. Along the waterfront, struc­tures that once served as com­mer­cial fish­ing fac­to­ries and ware­houses have evolved into seafood houses and gal­leries, and old shrimp boats now re­side for eter­nity.

Nearby Cape St. Ge­orge Light­house had been light­ing the way for mariners since 1852, un­til it col­lapsed into the water in 2005. Now it’s been re­built with a new mu­seum. It’s no longer a work­ing light­house (blame GPS), but you can’t tell the story of this re­gion with­out re­lat­ing the his­tory of this struc­ture.

Panama City has four very in­ter­est­ing neigh­bor­hoods in which to roam. Down­town is filled with gal­leries and arts fa­cil­i­ties such as the Martin Theatre, the City Ma­rina, the Vis­ual Arts Cen­ter and the Ci­tyArts Co­op­er­a­tive. His­toric St. An­drews still re­sem­bles the quaint fish­ing vil­lage it was in the “old days.” Down­town North serves as the cul­tural hub of Panama City’s African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity and Mil­lville is named for its once-thriv­ing pa­per-man­u­fac­tur­ing and ship­build­ing in­dus­tries.

Holmes County has a pop­u­la­tion of only 20,000, how­ever it boasts two note­wor­thy his­toric res­i­dences. Built in the 1920s by lum­ber baron Ge­orge Orkney Waits, the Waits Man­sion is a Mediter­ranean Re­vival home, re­cently re­stored and open to visi­tors. At the other end of the hous­ing spec­trum is the Keith Cabin, an authen­tic 19th-cen­tury ru­ral home­stead on which Wil­liam Thomas Keith grew cot­ton and to­bacco . . . and ex­panded his land hold­ings from 10 acres to 190.

The Beaches of South Wal­ton are home to a vi­brant arts com­mu­nity, an­chored by the lo­cal Cul­tural Arts Al­liance, and en­hanced by the open­ing of the Fos­ter Gallery in 2016. Ev­ery month, the vi­brantly col­ored com­mu­nity of Sea­side holds the First Friday Ruskin Place Art Walk, fea­tur­ing live mu­sic, hors d’oeu­vres and wine in the largest col­lec­tion of art gal­leries on the Northwest Florida Gulf coast. Artists at Gulf Place is an art co­op­er­a­tive in­clud­ing pot­ters, sculp­tors, pain­ters, metal artists, can­dle­mak­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers, folk artists and fur­ni­ture­crafters, with work­shops for kids. South Wal­ton also boasts the Sea­side Reper­tory Theatre, one of Northwest Florida’s pre­mier pro­fes­sional theater com­pa­nies.

In Okaloosa County’s In­dian Tem­ple Mound Mu­seum, you can walk through 12,000 years of Na­tive Amer­i­can life and ad­mire one of the finest col­lec­tions of pre­his­toric ce­ram­ics in the south­east­ern US. A more re­cent pe­riod of his­tory comes alive

at the Air Force Ar­ma­ment Mu­seum, which takes you from the early bi­planes of World War I to the SR-71 Black­bird—the fastest air­craft ever built. If Broad­way shows and the Northwest Florida Sym­phony pique your in­ter­est, check the sched­ule at the Mat­tie Kelly Arts Cen­ter.

The town of Mil­ton is filled with his­toric homes and store­fronts lead­ing to the Black­wa­ter River waterfront, once the epi­cen­ter of thriv­ing tim­ber and ship­build­ing in­dus­tries here. At the old post of­fice, you can ogle the an­tiques while eat­ing lunch. And you can step back into the 19th cen­tury at the ren­o­vated rail­road de­pot at the West Florida Rail­road Mu­seum.

At the western end of the Pan­han­dle, the city of Pen­sacola boasts two sig­nif­i­cant dis­tinc­tions. It was the first set­tle­ment founded by em­i­grants to Amer­ica (al­though later de­serted for a few years, thereby ced­ing to St. Au­gus­tine the ti­tle of first per­ma­nent set­tle­ment). And this city of only 52,000 is one of the few in the US with five pro­fes­sional per­form­ing arts com­pa­nies. Pen­sacola’s iconic Saenger Theatre first opened its doors in 1925, and is now re­stored to her orig­i­nal glory, host­ing dance and mu­si­cal com­pa­nies, theater and a Classic Movie Se­ries.

AT­TRAC­TIONS

Franklin County’s at­trac­tions high­light its nat­u­ral beauty, such as the Apalachicola Na­tional For­est and the Apalachicola Na­tional Es­tu­ar­ine Re­search Re­serve, com­plete with fish tanks and in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays.

A long time ago, a Lib­erty County res­i­dent named E.E. Call­away claimed he had found the Gar­den of Eden in Lib­erty County. Maybe, maybe not. But the county does have a part of par­adise in its share of the Apalachicola Na­tional For­est. It also has the Vet­er­ans Memo­rial Rail­road’s three his­toric trains— one of them with a coal-fired steam en­gine. And at the Pan­han­dle Pi­o­neer Set­tle­ment, in neigh­bor­ing Cal­houn County, the way it was, is the way it is.

No visit to Northwest Florida should end with­out a horse­back ride on the beach, par­tic­u­larly in dream-like spots such as Cape San Blas. If you pre­fer your water in­land (with oars or on a tour boat), head for the Dead Lakes, a unique ecosys­tem that’s part-swamp, par­triver, part-lake, and all pris­tine wilder­ness.

In Panama City Beach, the Man in the Sea Mu­seum cov­ers the his­tory of div­ing and the Navy’s “Man in the Sea Pro­gram,” which show­cases SEALAB I, the Navy’s first-ever un­der­wa­ter habi­tat.

Panama City, too, lives on the water. Ash­ley Gor­man Shell Is­land Cruises take you out to snorkel with the dol­phins. And the Betsy Ann River­boat, one of Amer­ica’s last re­main­ing stern­wheel pad­dlers, will take you for a trip back in time with a crew in pe­riod cos­tumes and themed din­ners such as Mur­der Mys­tery and Live Blues.

The Beaches of South Wal­ton have fam­ily fun spots like the Seacrest Wolf Pre­serve, where you can in­ter­act not only with wolves, but also with foxes, rac­coons, skunks and Pe­cos the Coy­ote. At the E.O. Wil­son Bio­philia Cen­ter, there’s a work­ing bee­hive, a birdwatching sta­tion, a res­cued snap­ping tur­tle, and sev­eral species of snakes and frogs.

The Destin/Fort Wal­ton Beach/Okaloosa Is­land area, also known as the Emer­ald Coast, of­fers at­trac­tions such as the Gul­far­ium, where you can frolic in the water with rays and dol­phins. If your kids love dinosaurs, head for Wild Wil­lie’s Ad­ven­ture Zone, with mini-golf, ham­ster ball pool, a tram­po­line, 30-foot rock-climb­ing wall, laser maze, ar­cade, in­cred­i­ble 4-D movie theater, and, yes, dinosaurs.

Santa Rosa County’s Gulf Breeze Zoo show­cases over 50 acres of an­i­mals from around the world, and the Navarre Beach Ma­rine Sci­ence Sta­tion com­bines hands-on learn­ing and en­ter­tain­ment.

His­tor­i­cal Pen­sacola Vil­lage is the site of the orig­i­nal Span­ish and Bri­tish forts in a city over which five flags have flown. In the Pen­sacola Light­house, built in 1859, climb the 177 steps for a dra­matic panoramic view of the Gulf coast.

BEACHES AND OUT­DOOR GEMS

Florida Pan­han­dle beaches are worl­drenowned. You can play on more than 227 miles of them. White, fine-grained, sug­arsand beaches stretch from Apalachicola in the east to Pen­sacola in the west. And of­ten, they’re so un­crowded that you may come to think of them as your own pri­vate beaches!

The Apalachicola Na­tional For­est prof­fers 564,000 acres of camp­ing, pic­nick­ing, hik­ing, bik­ing, boat­ing, hunt­ing and fish­ing. In­side this silent green won­der­land lies the Fort Gads­den His­toric Site, in­ter­pret­ing the his­tory of Na­tive and African Amer­i­cans in this re­gion dur­ing the early 1800s. Off­shore, St. Vin­cent Na­tional Wildlife Refuge is a 12,492-acre bar­rier is­land ac­ces­si­ble only by boat; the only res­i­dents you’ll see are nest­ing bald eagles and log­ger­head sea tur­tles, and, if you’re lucky, a red wolf.

Tor­reya State Park is sit­u­ated on the bluffs over­look­ing the Apalachicola River, with ex­cel­lent hik­ing and camp­ing fa­cil­i­ties. In ad­di­tion, the Ochlock­onee and Chipola Rivers are ideal for kayak­ing and fish­ing.

If you’re look­ing for the most spec­tac­u­lar sun­sets you’ve ever seen, head for St. Joe Beach and Bea­con Hill. Here, a shore­line lead­ing to the hori­zon of­fers mil­lion-dol­lar views of the Gulf sun, blaz­ing with color as it sets be­hind the sil­hou­ette of St. Joseph Penin­sula.

From there, it’s a short drive to Panama City Beach where out­door en­thu­si­asts can hike and bird­watch along scenic trails, camp along the shore, en­joy un­par­al­leled boat­ing, fish­ing and div­ing, take kayak­ing tours, go off-road cycling, try stand-up pad­dle­board­ing and more. And, with ev­ery­thing from air­boat ad­ven­tures to glass-bot­tom boat tours and ma­rine res­cue pro­grams, there are many ways to ex­pe­ri­ence and ob­serve the sur­round­ing wildlife. At the newly opened 2,900-acre Panama City Beach Con­ser­va­tion Park, visi­tors en­joy board­walks and 24 miles of un­paved trails, which are con­nected with other trail sys­tems known as Gayle’s Trails through the beach area. On the eastern edge of Panama City Beach, St. An­drews State Park is ranked among the top 10 beaches in the US and is one of the most pop­u­lar out­door re­cre­ation spots in Florida. Across from the main­land, Shell Is­land is a peace­ful spot to re­lax or snorkel and the area sur­round­ing the is­land is home to one of the largest con­cen­tra­tions of bot­tlenose dol­phins in the coun­try. Shut­tle boat ser­vice to the is­land is avail­able dur­ing the spring and sum­mer months. Other lo­ca­tions worth check­ing out in­clude Pine Log & Point Washing State Forests, Camp He­len State Park and the Florida Trail at Econ­fina Creek.

Gulf Is­lands Na­tional Seashore is one gi­gan­tic play­ground, which in­cludes the bar­rier is­lands of Pen­sacola Beach and Per­dido Key.

Among the best beaches in Northwest Florida is the pris­tine five-mile stretch along the charm­ing lit­tle town of Mex­ico Beach, where the beach con­sists of fine, white quartz crys­tals, which give the water its gem­like color. Then there’s the Emer­ald Coast, voted “No. 1 Beach in the South” for 14 con­sec­u­tive years.

Head­ing in­land, Florida Cav­erns State Park is home to the only guided cave tours in the state. Nearby is the Bel­lamy Bridge, said to be haunted by—who else?—the Ghost of Bel­lamy Bridge. Visi­tors in this area en­joy pad­dling, birdwatching, hik­ing, horse­back rid­ing, and some of the best bass fish­ing in the state. For an in­cred­i­ble cave­div­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, check out Cave Ad­ven­tur­ers to book dive lessons or trips at Mer­ritt's Mill Pond.

EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

If you’re talkin’ Florida Pan­han­dle cookin’, you’re talkin’ fresh seafood. One of the best places to find it is in the town of East­point, across the bay from Apalachicola and St. Ge­orge Is­land. East­point is lined with rus­tic seafood houses, serv­ing freshly har­vested Apalachicola Bay oys­ters just hauled in by the weath­ered skiffs out­side. And the oys­ters come with an ex­tra dose of friend­li­ness as many of these restau­rants are now into the fourth gen­er­a­tion of fam­ily own­er­ship.

Panama City of­fers a va­ri­ety of nightlife op­tions, among them the multi-venue mu­si­cal jam called “Mu­sic Mat­ters.” Cor­ner Pocket is a bil­liards hall that serves the largest va­ri­ety of craft beers and wines in Panama City as well as some great karaoke to go along with it. You can boo­gie all night at Dance Life Dance Stu­dio. And if you pre­fer to hear your mu­sic sit­ting down, you can lis­ten to it at con­certs per­formed around town by the 200per­son Ukulele Orches­tra of St. An­drews.

Neigh­bor­ing Panama City Beach is a flipflops town dur­ing the day how­ever, when the sun goes down, its par­ty­ing side comes out. Toot­sie’s Orchid Lounge is a branch of Nashville’s world-fa­mous honky-tonk, and Club La Vela is ac­tu­ally the largest night­club in Amer­ica. You can hear live mu­sic at places like Spin­naker Beach Club and Pineap­ple Wil­lie’s. And keep your throat moist, be­cause in this town, there’s a good chance you’ll be us­ing it for karaoke at night.

In the town of Boni­fay, you can find good food and sports at Sam’s Place, and pool ta­bles and ca­ma­raderie at La Cue Bil­liards. Come fall, Ham­mack Farms & Corn Maze is the per­fect fam­ily evening out. There’s a five-acre corn maze, a mini-hay-bale maze for the kids, hayrides, pump­kin patch, pet­ting zoo, a play­ground, and a down­home-fun at­mos­phere.

The pic­turesque sea­side town of Destin may bring back mem­o­ries of that fa­mous ’50s song, Har­bor Lights. Har­borWalk Vil­lage and the Har­bor Board­walk are the most ro­man­tic strolling spots in town, with great shop­ping and cool bou­tiques, gal­leries, restau­rants, bars and clubs, pub crawls, live mu­sic, and danc­ing amid those har­bor lights and lap­ping wa­ters.

In Pen­sacola, nightlife of­ten re­volves around per­form­ing arts com­pa­nies like the Pen­sacola Sym­phony Orches­tra, Pen­sacola Opera, Pen­sacola Bal­let and the Pen­sacola Lit­tle Theatre, the old­est con­tin­u­ously op­er­at­ing com­mu­nity theater in the south­east­ern US. The Seville Quar­ter is a huge venue of­fer­ing seven rooms of night­time en­ter­tain­ment, with DJs, pool ta­bles, dance club, restau­rants, live mu­sic and du­el­ing pi­anos. And down­town’s Palafox Street is an ex­cit­ing strip lined with restau­rants, bars and clubs.

LGBT SCENE

While the Florida Pan­han­dle doesn’t have the pop­u­la­tion base to be in the van­guard of so­cial change, there is cer­tainly an evolv­ing—and grow­ing—LGBT scene here. And there are more events on the cal­en­dar and LGBT-friendly busi­nesses, it seems, with each pass­ing year.

It’s now es­ti­mated, for ex­am­ple, that LGBT visi­tors pump more than US$25 mil­lion an­nu­ally into the Pen­sacola econ­omy. In 2012, the city staged its first “STAMPED: Pen­sacola LGBT Film Fest.” (STAMPED” notes a re­cent pe­riod in which LGBT visi­tors to the area stamped their dol­lars to show how much they con­trib­uted to the lo­cal econ­omy.) That event is now a fix­ture on the fall cal­en­dar. Gay Memo­rial Day Week­end in Pen­sacola, on the other hand, has been around for a while. It started in­for­mally in the 1980s, and is now an an­nual event draw­ing thou­sands to the beach for a hol­i­day week­end of par­ties and fun. The week­end at­tracts big crowds to latenight cir­cuit par­ties with well-known DJs and to in­for­mal tent par­ties right on the beach. The friendli­est beach, Pen­sacola Beach, is on County Road 399, two miles past the Gulf Is­lands Na­tional Seashore sign.

The LGBT com­mu­nity is also ac­tive in Panama City. In fact, this com­mu­nity has the only PFLAG chap­ter (Par­ents of Fam­ily/Friends of Les­bians and Gays) in its area. PFLAGPanama City held its first LGBTQ Film Fes­ti­val in Oc­to­ber 2016, and it will be­come an an­nual two-night event on the cal­en­dar ev­ery au­tumn. There’s a for­mal re­cep­tion on open­ing night, and the fes­ti­val is ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing cin­e­matic ex­pe­ri­ences that pro­mote deeper un­der­stand­ing and good film­mak­ing. Screen­ings take place at a few dif­fer­ent venues, and all are catered.

In Panama City Beach, LGBT so­cial life re­volves around the Splash Bar, an apt­ly­named—and very splashy—spot where this com­mu­nity comes to­gether to party.

ROAD TRIPS

The town of Mex­ico Beach boasts some of the best side trips in Northwest Florida. The Dead Lakes State Re­cre­ation Area, 23 miles away, of­fers per­haps the best fresh­wa­ter fish­ing in the state, along with un­usual vis­tas due to the stumps and dead tree trunks stick­ing out of the water. An­other “nat­u­ral” day trip from Mex­ico Beach is St. Vin­cent Na­tional Wildlife Refuge, ac­ces­si­ble only by water. Here, you’ll see an in­cred­i­ble va­ri­ety of wildlife, among them many species of birds, Sam­bar deer and the en­dan­gered red wolf. A good start­ing point is In­dian Pass, an his­toric trad­ing post and, sup­pos­edly, the site of Span­ish buried trea­sure.

The Wash­ing­ton County town of Chip­ley has its fair share of in­ter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal build­ings in the South Third Street His­toric Dis­trict, such as the im­pos­ing County Court­house. And you can take an ex­tra­or­di­nary look at early life here at the Wash­ing­ton County His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum.

South Wal­ton has 16 beach neigh­bor­hoods that make for a beau­ti­ful drive along the coast. You’ll drive along Scenic 30A through a va­ri­ety of dis­tinct neigh­bor­hood styles—so dis­tinct, in fact, that you’ll know when you’re go­ing from one town into an­other. The area’s up­scale aura is ev­i­denced by its many artists and gal­leries, funky lo­cal bou­tiques, and farm-to-ta­ble din­ing phi­los­o­phy. This route also of­fers nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties to kayak on coastal dune lakes, play golf at a PGAqual­ity course, and bike along the 18mile Tim­poochee Trail.

The Chau­taqua Vine­yards & Win­ery is a nice day trip from the Emer­ald Coast. You can tour the win­ery and learn the ABCs of grape-grow­ing, prun­ing, har­vest­ing, crush­ing and bot­tling. You’ll be able to taste some of the wines that have earned Chau­tauqua over 140 awards, from dry wines and south­ern fa­vorites to sweet mus­ca­dine and blue­berry.

SHOP­PING

In the tiny Jack­son County town of Graceville, you’ll find the Ser­vice Drug­store, the old­est con­tin­u­ously op­er­ated phar­macy in Florida. There’s a cap­ti­vat­ing old-time am­bi­ence here, with orig­i­nal apothe­cary cab­i­netry, hardwood floors and pressed-tin ceil­ing, not to men­tion the old-fash­ioned milk­shakes, ice-cream floats and hand­dipped ice-cream cones whipped up at the 1950s soda foun­tain.

Reid Av­enue in Port St. Joe is a half-mile­long stroll back into the Old South. Out­door gear? Books? Jew­elry? Lo­cal pot­tery or art­work? Luxury spa treat­ment? It’s all here, along with restau­rants run­ning the gamut from Ital­ian and South­ern to Chi­nese and Mex­i­can. At the Salt Air Farm­ers’ Mar­ket, on the first and third Satur­days from April through Novem­ber, you can find cloth­ing, an­tiques and timeless trea­sures along with the fresh pro­duce.

As you drive through the charm­ing lit­tle town of Mex­ico Beach, you’ll come to Frost Pot­tery Gar­den, with im­ported pot­tery, great kites for the beach, wind chimes, jew­elry and lo­cal art­work. The Shell Shack of­fers gifts plucked from one of Florida’s most beau­ti­ful beaches, and Tou­can’s gift shop fea­tures great gifts for the folks back home.

The Lit­tle Vil­lage in Panama City has an off­beat col­lec­tion of out­door shops. At The Lit­tle Mus­tard Seed, wan­der through three sto­ries over­flow­ing with cus­tom furniture, hand­made soaps and lo­tions, jew­elry, and a thou­sand items that have been re­vived, re­newed and re­stored. The town’s his­toric St. An­drews neigh­bor­hood has shops that have been fea­tured on PBS’s An­tiques Road­show.

Across the water in Panama City Beach, Pier Park is an “out­door shop­ping and life­style cen­ter” with a wide va­ri­ety of items to buy, eat or ogle. The Mar­ket Shops, on the Beaches of South Wal­ton, of­fer out­door shop­ping ac­com­pa­nied by mu­si­cians and artists. In Rose­mary Beach, a planned town built in the mid-90s on the prin­ci­ple of “New Ur­ban­ism” (much like its neigh­bor Sea­side, which pre­ceded it by 15 years), the French Quar­ter, with its bal­conies and vividly col­ored build­ings and curl­ing wrought-iron rail­ings, is a de­light­ful place to while away an af­ter­noon shop­ping and din­ing.

In Destin, Har­borWalk Vil­lage has an old­time feel, with ven­dors, artists and street per­form­ers out­side, and stun­ning views of the Gulf of Mex­ico and Choctawhatchee Bay. On The Board­walk on Okaloosa Is­land, you’ll find five restau­rants and some shops. Nearby Fort Wal­ton Beach is filled with bou­tiques, restau­rants and gal­leries—even a brew­ery. Hunt for bar­gains at Sil­ver Sands Pre­mium Out­lets in Mi­ra­mar Beach, and the Fort Wal­ton Beach An­tique/Flea Mar­ket Dis­trict has trea­sures you never knew you needed un­til now.

And if you have a yen to bring home some­thing new from Pen­sacola, head for the shops on Palafox Street.

SPAS

The quiet Jack­son County town of Mar­i­anna has some ex­cel­lent day spas. At Sim­ply You Med Spa, there are med­i­cal and health­boost­ing treat­ments in ad­di­tion to aes­thetic and massage reg­i­mens. And if you’d like to come home from your Northwest Florida va­ca­tion look­ing a lit­tle bet­ter or a lit­tle slim­mer, Chipola MedSpa of­fers med­i­cal spa ser­vices rang­ing from med­i­cal skin care and laser ser­vices to weight man­age­ment and nu­tri­tion coun­sel­ing.

Port St. Joe’s SpaPur of­fers a spe­cial com­bi­na­tion of treat­ments for both the body and the mind.

Panama City’s Bliss Pedi­cure Spa and Nail Ser­vice lists sev­eral in­no­va­tive ser­vices, such as a hot-stone pedi­cure or an Ice Cream Pedi­cure (with a sher­bet-fla­vored sugar scrub), along with man­i­cures, fa­cials and mas­sages. And the am­bi­ence at Indigo Earth Spa is in­spired by the beauty and the seren­ity of na­ture, with cus­tom, nat­u­ral apothe­cary­based ser­vices such as or­ganic fa­cials and hy­drother­apy soaks us­ing botan­i­cals, salts, muds and es­sen­tial oils.

Michael and Erin Jor­dan own Vivo Spa Salon in Rose­mary Beach, known for lux­u­ri­ous high-end treat­ments that leave you feel­ing re­freshed and re­vi­tal­ized. Just down the road in Panama City Beach, Pure Massage, which spe­cial­izes in in­vig­o­rat­ing deep-tis­sue treat­ments, garn­ers raves from clients. And Dream Day Spa of­fers good­ies such as the Hot Stone Massage, the Cou­ples Massage, and— even bet­ter—the Cham­pagne Lunch and Cho­co­late DREAM Cou­ples Massage.

Bella Day Spa & Hair Stu­dio, in Fort Wal­ton Beach, is a lo­cal fa­vorite for hair, makeup, wax­ing, massage, nails, skin care and beauty prod­ucts while It’s All About You Massage & Day Spa of­fers re­lax­ing massage and spa treat­ments, along with fa­cials, man­i­cures and more. In Destin’s Float Broth­ers Float Spa, you’ll have the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence sus­pen­sion in per­fect tran­quil­ity in a floata­tion pod, con­tain­ing ep­som salt water the same tem­per­a­ture as your skin, with­out feel­ing the pull of grav­ity, and with­out sight, sound or touch dis­trac­tions. This process is proven to pro­duce health ben­e­fits, and you’ll walk out feel­ing like a mil­lion dol­lars.

Af­ter en­joy­ing the at­trac­tions of Pen­sacola, you may want to head for Still Wa­ters Day & Med­i­cal Spa, where you can get tra­di­tional mas­sages and fa­cials as well as med­i­cal aes­thetic treat­ments such as botox or laser.

OP­PO­SITE: Mardi Gras cel­e­bra­tions in Pen­sacola. BOT­TOM: A her­itage wooden villa in Apalachicola. SIDE­BAR: Pen­sacola Light­house.

OP­PO­SITE TOP LEFT: Sail­ing along the Emer­ald Coast.

OP­PO­SITE TOP RIGHT: Okaloosa Is­land fish­ing pier.

OP­PO­SITE LEFT CEN­TER: Na­tional Naval Avi­a­tion Mu­seum, Pen­sacola. TOP: Beach time with dad in Panama City Beach. ABOVE LEFT: Mi­ra­mar Beach in Destin.

ABOVE RIGHT: Re­lax­ing on the Emer­ald Coast.

OP­PO­SITE: En­joy a sun­set cruise along the Emer­ald Coast. ABOVE: Surfer walk­ing along Pen­sacola Beach..

OP­PO­SITE LEFT TOP: A beau­ti­ful view of the Emer­ald Coast. OP­PO­SITE LEFT CEN­TER: In­dian Pass Trad­ing Post is fa­mous for its oys­ters. OP­PO­SITE LEFT BOT­TOM: Drive along the Gulf of Mex­ico. TOP: Din­ing in Panama City Beach. RIGHT CEN­TER: Shop­ping in South Wal­ton. ABOVE: Jacuzzi at Seren­ity by the Sea in the Hil­ton San­des­tin Beach Golf Re­sort & Spa in Mi­ra­mar Beach near Destin.

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