Greenville University Blogs

Summer '19 Blog #4: The Pan Handle, Florida

I cannot believe it, but here we are at the fourth summer ‘19 blog from yours truly. I am stoked for you to read this one. So, you might be wondering if “The Pan Handle, Florida” is a place, which it is, but not technically. The Pan Handle includes Panama City Beach, Destin, Fort Walton, and others I’ve failed to visit. But those are the places I am going to be discussing in this post. If you are planning a vacation to Florida or are planning on planning one, keep reading! Or, if you are not planning to go anytime soon, you should. And here is why:


  • The food! This was the second time I’ve been in the Destin area, and I can honestly say that the food has never been a disappointment. My top places to get some good grub are Al’s Burger Bar and Fudpuckers. For dessert, please have a milkshake. Gulf Coast Burger Co. is in PCB and Destin, and their shakes come with a plastic souvenir cup! If you are in PCB, you could also try out The Yard, and for just $3 you can get a GLASS souvenir cup. Trust me; it’s worth it! While we are on the topic of worth it, Black Bear Bread Co. is a little drive down the road, on Grayton Beach but it is some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.


  • The shopping! We visited four shopping centers during our trip. Call us crazy, but each was different, and I find it interesting to see the various ways to experience retail therapy. One of PCB’s shopping centers, Pier Park, (which is where The Yard milkshakes are located) is aesthetically pleasing. Are bright colors and picture-perfect palm trees your thing? If so, you need to go here. Not to mention the excellent shops, including but not limited to Ron Jon surf shop! The other two shopping destinations I would recommend are Silver Sands Premium Outlets and Destin Commons. Both are huge and offer tons of stores! The Gulf Coast restaurant with the milkshakes is located in Destin Commons. Now shop till you drop!
  • The unique experiences! As a broke college kid, I wasn’t able to participate in the regular activities The Pan Handle offers, but I know they have plenty of places to paddle board, kayak, take a dolphin tour, etc. Last time I was in Destin, I visited Crab Island and would highly recommend it.
  • The beaches! This one can be tricky. Why? Well, if you are vacationing in Florida, you are more than likely going at the same time a lot of other vacationers are. You know what this means, CROWDS! Yuck. Here’s my secret to avoiding the people infested beaches: Drive to a park pr free public access beach! This time, we went to Henderson Beach State Park. It was $10 to get in, but they also have a hiking trail, campground, and playground for kids. 
  • The sea life! There is a pier on Okaloosa Island, which is between Destin and Fort Walton, and it is a must-go-to-attraction. We ventured out to the end of the dock and were fortunate enough to see tons of fish, dolphins, jellyfish, a stingray, and even a sea turtle! It sure was a once in a lifetime sight!

  • The pit stops! If you know me, you know that I am a go, go, go, don’t stop moving and doing type of gal. However, I never say no to an adventure (as long as I know I’ll be safe), especially when it has anything to do with nature. The best pit stop we made during our journey home was at Oak Mountain State Park. It wasn’t too far off interstate 65, and it had a plethora of things to do and see. We walked a nature trail with different bird exhibits and hiked to Peavine Falls. The fall wasn’t much of a waterfall, but it was a good way to get our exercise in.

Glad you stuck it out to the end of this post. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Florida. Until next time, take it easy!