Exploring Northwest Florida

The Complete Northwest Florida Travel Guide to Beaches, Shopping, Attractions, Hotels, Museums, Nature and more

Some call it Florida's last frontier, the Forgotten Coast, or just plain Paradise. No matter how you describe it, this gulf coast region, traditionally known as the Panhandle, is rich in history and loaded with outdoor activities, shopping, dining, museums, and attractions.

Hi, I’m Pamela Watson, your tour guide for this out of the way part of Florida that is quickly becoming the new must-see destination of the Southeast. From Tallahassee to Pensacola, I've traveled the beach roads, the back roads, and the Interstate looking for fun things to do in the region.

I particularly enjoy Exploring the many places that make this area so different from the rest of the state. For instance, you won’t find acres of theme parks, packed beaches, or urban sprawl here. What you will find are hundreds of thousands of square miles of native forests, state parks, crystal clear waterways, and magnificent white-sand beaches that rival those in the Caribbean, like this one at Deer Lake State Park.

Traditionally a drive-to destination from places like Montgomery, Birmingham and Atlanta, the region boasts four commercial airports, including the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City Beach. Daily flights into and out of these airports include such destinations as Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Charlotte, and Orlando to name a few.

Shrimp boats are a slower way to travel.

Whether you’re looking for vacation information on quaint or historic bed and breakfast inns, beachfront hotel, resort, or condo lodging, great seafood, barbecue, Cajun restaurants, or Apalachicola oyster bars, historic sites, museums, art galleries, fabulous shopping, or great golf, you’ll find it here. You’ll also find some of the best hiking and biking trails in the state, and miles of creeks and streams for paddling, boating, and diving.

Sorting oysters in Apalachicola

Then, of course, there’s the beach. Over the years, Dr. Beach has named three of our stunning beaches as America’s Best Beaches, and there are plenty more here just like them.

Sunsets over the gulf are also spectacular and it’s always a contest to see who can snap the best photo. We usually have a lot of them shared by our Friends on Facebook. Sunset clubs all along the beach look to the horizon each evening hoping to see the famous flash as the sun sinks into the gulf waters.

Did you see the Flash?

Speaking of sunsets, here are my picks for …

Best Places to Watch the Sun Set in Northwest Florida

1.  St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

2.  Pensacola Lighthouse

3.  Dan Russell Municipal Pier in Panama City Beach

4.  The Harbor in Destin

5.  Any beach walk-over in South Walton

Yes, Northwest Florida is an amazing place, still largely undiscovered even by the rest of the state. Adventures are plentiful and varied. For instance, you can paddle a pristine creek in the morning, find bargains in some of the country's best retail stores during the day, and dine on fresh seafood overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at night. Go hiking, fishing, and boating, or enjoy the arts scene filled with concerts and live theatre, eclectic art galleries, and plenty of museums.

Indian Temple Mound Museum

If you want to do some armchair traveling and read up on the history and things to do in the region, check out my virtual book club of Northwest Florida travel books. Wine lovers will appreciate my travel guide, the Northwest Florida Wine Tour.

The beach is fun all year round.

So come on down, y’all, or come on up depending on your present location. We’re always looking for more Explorers like you. Join me as we discover the things to do, places to stay, and where to find the yummiest eats in this fascinating region.

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It's a beautiful day in Northwest Florida. Come on down.