Mostly travel but might be others too
This is my first post EVER so I'll go ahead and tell you a little about myself. I'm a single mom, living in the south. I have never known what I wanted to do for a living. My professional interests as a child ranged from ballerina to spy. As an adult I've dabbled in many things - French teaching, translation, distillery tour guide, legal assistant, QA tester, barista - and haven't quite nailed down a career that I'm in love with. Then while on vacation this past week in Florida, it hit me. All my childhood dreams revolved around one theme...travel. So I decided to start a completely new endeavor and bring my bizarre interests to others via this site.
This first post will be tame just to break you guys in ;). Like I said, this past week I went on vacation with family to Panama City Beach, Florida. It's my third time vacationing there and thought I'd share some of my experiences and favorites of the area.
WHERE I'VE STAYED
I'm an avid user of Airbnb, so instead of a list of hotels or condos I'm going to tell you the area of PCB that I prefer.
I'm kind of crowd shy so I like a beach that's not bustling with humans. I'm a normal tourist though, in that, I want to be as close to the beach as possible. I always look for Airbnbs that are within walking distance of the beach off Front Beach Road.
Below is a Google Maps screenshot of the area I stayed for this past trip. The condo I rented was lovely and within walking distance of the beach, Pier Park, and a delicious Thai place, Oishi. The only drawback for this location is that since it's located across from all the really big beachfront hotels this area of the beach was packed.
Just a sling shot Northwest of location #1 is the Summer Breeze area of PCB. This spot is still super close to Pier Park and the beach but the big difference is the beach crowd itself. While this area had plenty of people so you didn't feel like you were on a deserted island it wasn't so crowded that it was difficult to find a spot to set up your beach gear.
So by now you can guess the trend, the further NW you head up the PCB coast the less crowded the beaches tend to be which brings me to my favorite area that I've stayed so far. While the house I rented for this particular trip was a longer walk to the beach, the beach itself (Kiska Beach) was beautiful and uncrowded. No fighting for a good spot to relax for the day. And while it's not walking distance to Pier Park, it's still a short short drive.
WHERE I'VE GONE
PCB is jam packed with tourist-y attractions. I usually just go for the beach and spend the rest of my time eating but there are some fun and obligatory places that should be taken into consideration.
Pier Park is tourist to the max and will give you that feeling that you really did your duty as an obnoxious visitor. You can spend way too much money on souvenirs for loved ones that they'll just shove in the next garage sale and you can eat at the ever popular Margaritaville. The pier itself is impressively long but you do have to pay a fee to walk it which bums me out.
**I don't think I ate food at Margaritaville. I did have plenty of margaritas...obviously. If you want some good food near Pier Park, there is a good burrito joint called Diego's Burrito Factory.
When you've become sunburned and ready for a little bit of respite from the beach heat, you can check out Zoo World for the kids. It is not cheap to get in at roughly $20 for adult admission and $14 for children but my son LOVED it there and it was the only other activity we did so the expense, for me, was justified.
There's a petting zoo area where you can feed various types of farm animals but the real excitement is getting to feed the giraffes! They also have a pretty impressive habitat for the alligators. My son adores reptiles so we spent quite some time just looking at the gators chilling in the water. You also have the option to feed them for a fee. Below are some pics of some highlights for us at Zoo World.
Obviously this isn't a comprehensive list of places to go and things to do but just what I've done at PCB. I'm kind of a beach lounger so I mostly just sit around and relax on the beach. If you're an adventurer, then you can count on good-ole trust TripAdvisor to have your back on some fun activities.