So, we decided to hit Panama City and Destin in Florida. Many of my southern friends say it is where they went for beach stop-overs growing up. Well, let me tell you, this place is amazing! I am totally shocked that we do not hear more about this area, but perhaps Mickey takes over a lot of talk in that state. What we found were the most beautiful white-powder sand beaches on which you can enjoy walking on barefoot. The sand can feels the closest to talc powder I have seen in a very long time. Miles and miles of white sand!
As for the locals, well they are oozing with southern charm. The people were very friendly and the food prices are reasonable. A few of the little restaurant bars boast beautiful sunset views, fantastic food, and in one in particular (Sharkys on Panama City Beach) we found a very talented one-man singer who serenaded us with some of the popular beach beats with a little country thrown in. There is plenty to do for the kids with quite a few outdoor putting amusement parks and a fantastic place called Wonderworks that can keep them entertained for hours on end. It is sort of a science museum meets amusement park. You have to see this place even if you do not bring the kids.
The difference I found between Panama City Beach and Destin is that Destin is a bit more upscale and has more shops and restaurants. Both have their own charm. Make sure to get a room with a beach view since it is really worth the extra money.
Just a heads up... Unless you are looking for a crazy party, do not go during spring break or bikers week. These guys are just looking to have fun but the prices go way up and the streets become a party zone.