Mex­ico Beach: A slice of par­adise

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

Imag­ine a place where the warm sun lifts your spir­its and the set­ting sun drops into a wa­tery hori­zon ac­com­pa­nied by rain­bow col­ors. Where beaches are of­ten all your own. Where the sand is soft and sug­ar­white and the wa­ters are emer­ald-green. Where there are no stop­lights, traf­fic or crowds. Where build­ings are never higher than four sto­ries. And where hos­pi­tal­ity and res­i­dents’ ac­cents are pure South­ern. This is Mex­ico Beach.

SEE AND DO

Not only do one-of-a-kind white beaches have soft sand, they’re filled with beau­ti­ful seashells. And since they’re un­crowded, you may very well be the only one search­ing for them.

Lo­cal folks of­ten say they live in par­adise. And you’ll agree. Peo­ple come here to bird­watch. In fact, pel­i­cans will of­ten walk right up to you on lo­cal docks. In the skies above, there are soar­ing bald ea­gles and ospreys. If you look out at the wa­ter, you might see dol­phins per­form­ing their ac­ro­bat­ics, or per­haps giant sea tur­tles or man­a­tees. And you may even come across some deer tracks on the beach. Na­ture sur­rounds you.

DINE AND PLAY

When it comes to din­ing, fresh fish is the name of the game in Mex­ico Beach. So fresh, in fact, it prob­a­bly was swim­ming in the sea just be­fore you ar­rived at the restau- rant. Lo­cal chefs have imag­i­na­tive ways of cook­ing it, too. Tou­can’s Restau­rant—right on the wa­ter—of­fers not only great seafood, but also ma­jes­tic views of the Gulf of Mex­ico.

If you pre­fer a lit­tle dose of cul­ture thrown in for good mea­sure, the state cap­i­tal of Tallahassee is only a cou­ple of hours away. Here, the Mu­seum of Florida His­tory takes you on a color­ful ride through the state’s fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory, from an­cient Semi­nole tribal tra­di­tions and present-day space launches to the Knott House Mu­seum (c. 1843), which served as a res­i­dence to Tallahassee roy­alty un­til it was ap­pro­pri­ated by the Union Army dur­ing the Civil War.

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