Great Article and Video for PCB...
So we’ve got this map on our wall.
You know, that map. The map of the world that you hang up and put the little red pins on all the places you’ve visited. Might be a little corny but we freakin’ love it. It’s awesome. Every time we walk past it it makes us think two things: how incredibly lucky we are to live a life of travel; and just how much more of this great big world we have yet to see.
We’ve pretty much got the US covered, which again is awesome. There’s not much left of our great land that we have yet to see. We’ve never made it to Alaska (believe it or not). We’ve never hit the upper Midwest (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin: we’re looking at you). And for some goofy reason there’s a large empty spot on the map around the Florida Panhandle. Or actually, now, we should say there was a large empty spot on the map around the Florida Panhandle.
A couple months back we had the chance to make our first-ever visit to lovely Panama City Beach, and the gang at Tripfilms.com (the world’s largest travel video website) asked if we’d pick up a little video while we were there. Of course! we said. Although you know us – we can never shoot just a little video.We just get too excited.
So here it is! Part one of our very groovy four-video series from PCB, in which we’ll make our introductions to this groovy little town, check out the beach, get us some grub, and take in one of the most amazing sunsets you’ll ever see. Enjoy! And read on below for more of our thoughts, and lots of great photos.
Incredible sunset, no?
Okay, so we’ve gotta be completely honest. It’s possible one of the reasons it took us so long to visit Panama City Beach and the Emerald Coast is that we always had a certain perception about that area. Actually, a couple of perceptions. First that the beaches couldn’t be that great. It’s the Gulf, for cryin’ out loud. We’ve been to lots of the beaches here in Texas and while a lot of them are great and we love to visit, they don’t exactly give the Riviera Maya a run for its money. Second was that whole “Redneck Riviera” thing. Not that we have a thing against rednecks. Not at all. We’re from small-town Texas and we like to claim a little redneck heritage ourselves after all. And really, few people on the planet (short of Australians) know how to have a helluva good time more than rednecks. But we can always hang on the beach here in Texas and have a good ol’ redneck time whenever we want. So why go anywhere else?
So in that sense we went to PCB with tempered expectations. Excited, to be sure. But with tempered expectations. And we’re quite happy to report that we had an amazing time. AMAZING. The place just blew our perceptions out of the water.
So, About the Beaches…
Pardon our French, but the beaches really are – no shit – just incredible. Not only do the beaches in and around PCB put our poor beaches in Texas to shame, they really are some of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever laid our towels on. And we’ve been to a bunch. The sand is bright white, sugary fine, it doesn’t get hot on your feet (incredibly), and it even makes a little squeaky sound when you walk across it. Kinda freaked us both out when we heard it. So yes, you could say the beaches are quite literally squeaky clean.
Just about anywhere you go in this area the beaches are wide, white and just flat-out beautiful. They do actually claim to have the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches” here and it really would be tough to argue. The only disappointing thing was that in the weeks prior to our visit the area had seen a TON of rain. Like, more rain than they would typically see from a hurricane. The place had gotten drenchedand as a result the waters on the coast and in the bays were tinted a dark, green color while we were there. Which, by the way, is something important to note as you watch our videos. You can certainly see the tint. But those waters we’re told are typically clear and absolutely gorgeous.
Touristy? If That’s What You’re In To…
We were very surprised at the lack of big-name development in Panama City Beach, especially given the quality of the beaches themselves. But again we loved it. A lot of folks, we’re sure, simply write off PCB as “touristy,” but we think that’s a lazy way to look at it. Sure there are lots of “touristy” type places you’d expect to find in most any beach town. Heck, you could probably spend a whole week here and never leave the miniature golf course if you wanted. But we found that PCB is only as touristy as you make it. As we’ve mentioned many, many times in the past we tend to run from touristy places and never look back, but we kicked around PCB for almost a week and never got that touristy vibe. It was always very laid back and very cool. And yes, there always was a spot to park by the beach which was groovy. Different folks have different experiences for sure. But that was ours. And there are lots of cool things to see and do, obviously. But we’ll explore that more as the series goes on.
You’ve gotta hit both Andy’s Flour Power and Dusty’s. For real. So glad that we walked through the doors of each. (We actually hit up Andy’s twice while we were there.) The breakfast at Andy’s was just incredible, and the oysters and cold beer at Dusty’s were seriously so good. (And cheap! We had a dozen oysters and a couple of beers each and got out of there for like, $16 bucks. Giddyup!) We also spent a couple of afternoons drinkin’ beer and chowing on appetizers at Hook’d, right there on the beach by Pier Park. Really cool spot. On the flip side, we did try to hit up Schooners for dinner one night and watch the traditional cannon blast (which they fire off at sunset) but the place was absolutely jammed, and when we did actually get a table we sat there for a good half-hour and never got even a nod of recognition from the wait staff. So we left. Can’t win ‘em all.
Our Room by the Water
Notice we said “by the water,” and not “on the beach.” Going in we were a tad disappointed that we wouldn’t be staying on the beach during our visit. But who wouldn’t be? Especially considering that there are tons and tons of hotel rooms and condos available right there on the beautiful sandy shores. But ours was a very last-minute trip, and the awesome folks at the Panama City Beach CVB were good enough to help find us a room at the Bay Point Wyndham, which as the name implies is located on the bay rather than the beach. And as it turns out, it was perfect.
No, it’s not “on the beach,” but it’s got its own private beach on a point facing the bay and it’s really pretty awesome. And quiet. Not only that, but you can enjoy happy hour on the water at Lime’s Bar and Grill, which is located out on the pier. It’s an excellent place to watch for wildlife, to watch the sunset, or just to chill with a cold beverage and do a bunch of nothin’. They’ve also got a golf course, a couple of great pools, a spa, and even a shuttle that will take you over to Shell Island. The true test is: would we stay there again? Most definitely.
All in all, as mentioned, we were very, very pleasantly surprised with everything about Panama City Beach. Good folks. Good times. Great beaches. While we typically don’t like to travel to the same places over and over, we’ll gladly make an exception to return to PCB anytime we get the chance.
So certainly stay tuned in coming weeks for more about our visit, including videos from Gulf World, Shell Island and Panhandle Helicopter. And as always, holler if you have any questions, comments or experiences of your own in PCB that you wouldn’t mind sharing.