Florida beach family vacation

Discussion in 'On The Road Again' started by russwm, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. russwm

    russwm 25+ Posts

    I am for suggestions for a Florida beach vacation this summer. It will be me, the wife and 16 year old son. I have heard a lot of good things about Destin, but have never been to any part of the Florida coast, so I am very open minded. Basically looking for nice beaches, clear water, maybe some good snorkeling. I would appreciate any suggestions.
  2. HornHuskerDad

    HornHuskerDad 5,000+ Posts

    The Florida panhandle has excellent beaches - anywhere from Fort Walton to Panama City. Panama City Beach has become a standard tourist trap, but the beaches are outstanding. PC Beach is very crowded during Spring Break, but they're past that point for this year. Destin and Fort Walton are a bit less commercialized.

    HHD [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. hornyhoosier

    hornyhoosier 500+ Posts

    When I was a teenager we stayed a week in Ft. Walton Beach, right across the bridge from Destin. We really liked it.

    The and and water are gorgeous. We rented a jet ski and did the parasail thing. Was a good trip.
  4. bradford702

    bradford702 100+ Posts

    Any place that won't be hit with oil currently being leaked into the Gulf of Mexico!
  5. NoleHorn

    NoleHorn 25+ Posts

    It comes to down to....

    Do you want a overdeveloped place like Destin or Panama City with shopping, golf, and tons of people on the beach?

    Or do you want a less commercialized place with just houses, limited shopping and fine dinning? The beach will be less crowded and you won't have the riff-raff.
  6. russwm

    russwm 25+ Posts

    NoleHorn, what are some options for less commercialized places with less riff-raff?
  7. Basketball Jones

    Basketball Jones 500+ Posts

    Stayed in Destin and in Gulf Shores. Destin is a lot more crowded, but nicer. The beaches are better in Destin, but Gulf Shores beaches are nice. If I went back, probably would go back to Destin, but you should consider Gulf Shores as welll.
    FYI -- the oil slick is heading that way, so be careful befor eyou book. They are already talking about having problems all along the Miss/ALa/Fla coastline. Some friends that have a place booked in Orange Beach in about a minth are looking elsewhere

    MAROON 250+ Posts

    Go to Seaside or Seagrove Beach - great area.

    Or try Rosemary Beach or Alyce Beach - not crowded at all, but pretty expensive.
  9. NoleHorn

    NoleHorn 25+ Posts

    The best low key beach on the panhandle is Cape San Blas or St Georges Island. Both consist of just houses with limited places to eat.

    If you want shopping, nice places to eat, and putt putt then they aren't they place to go.
  10. camarojoe98

    camarojoe98 100+ Posts

    Ive been to St George Island. Nice houses in the plantation community but beaches werent the best. We stopped by St Josephs Peninsula State Park the last day of our vacation and the beaches were awesome. I know they have cabins there but I dont have any info on em.
  11. KazooMan

    KazooMan 250+ Posts

    The comments on Destin getting commercialized are pretty accurate (I pretty much live there during the summer). But there are places only 10 miles or so up the road (east of Destin) that aren't too bad (Blue Mountain Beach, etc.). And then you can go back into Destin and hit the Back Porch and other fantastic seafood places for dinner - but expect big crowds unless you go at off times.

    The St. Joe Peninsula is the place to go if you don't want crowds - but take everything you need with you (not even much in the way of grocery stores). The state park there is one of the neatest places in the state. On one side you have the Gulf, with clear, emerald green water, and gorgeous beaches. On the other side of the peninsula (about 200 yards wide in most places) is a bay with great scalloping (you will need to rent a boat). The cabins at the state park rent usually about a year in advance, but you can always check with the park about cancellations (they do keep a waiting list). The best bet is to rent a home on the peninsula, going through one of the real estate agencies that handle rentals for that area. You can get anything from a 2 BR shack to an 8 or 10 BR mansion, depending on your pocketbook and how many people are coming with you. There have been a lot of cancellations this last couple of weeks due to people being worried about the oil slick, so you might be able to get a good deal right now.

    If you want a compromise between Destin and St. Joe, try Panama City Beach. The Moonspinner Condo is right next door to the Panama City Beach state park, and you can easily walk to the state park from your room. The Moonspinner is away from the crowded/commercialized part of Panama City Beach, where you have all the condos, bars, gift shops, etc. - the Moonspinner is at the end of the island (with the exception of the state park). The Moonspinner is a great place so that you can come in out of the heat, take a shower, etc., and then go do something else. This state park has good fishing, great beaches, a shallow lagoon for swimming with small kids, and even a shuttle that takes you out to another island on the other side of the sound. You will even see a lot of deer in this park! This park does have camping (reservations needed!), but no cabins. If you want to go deep sea fishing, go to Destin. If you want high class restaurants to eat at, go to Destin. Otherwise I would suggest Panama City Beach, or drive all the way to Port St. Joe.

    And one more thing - the new Panama City airport is opening this week, and you might check out flights going directly there (ECP is the airstop code). That would be quicker than either driving I-10 or flying into Ft. Walton or Pensacola.

    Enjoy the beach!

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