The emerald green waters of the Panhandle of Florida beckon visitors year round. But there is more to this area than just playing in the surf and lying on the beach. Get out from under your umbrella and embrace these 14 awesome escapes along the Panhandle of Florida and Alabama.
The Alabama and Florida Panhandle are so much more than mere beaches. Brush the sand from your feet, grab your cover up and flip-flops and head out for these 14 adventures along the Panhandle of Florida and Alabama.
Things to do on the Panhandle of Florida
1. Dive for Scallops
August is scallop season along the gulf, and Cape San Blas, Florida is a great place to hunt for them. We found a few during our visit, plus lots of other sea life in the clear, blue-green waters. Our host, Gary Heist of Seahorse Water Safari, explained everything we brought up and let us touch it before returning it to the sea.
2. Take the Dog for a Walk
Cape San Blas is one of several dog friendly beaches in the Florida panhandle. So go ahead and bring fido. Many of the Cap San Blas Florida rentals allow dogs as well.
3. Trot Along the Beach
Rockin’ M Ranch and Broke-a-Toe Ranch are two horseback riding companies in Gulf County Florida that offer beach rides. Strolling the gorgeous gulf coast beaches on horseback is definitely a treat that even my tween and teen enjoyed.
4. Watch the Sunset on the Water
Seahorse Water Safari in Port St. Joe Florida offers inexpensive sunset cruises. During our trip, we had a sweet dolphin following the boat, too.
5. Visit the Dead Lakes
A short drive from Cape San Blas is We Wa and the Dead Lakes area. Matt Godwin of Off the Map Expeditions takes groups through this eerily beautiful area by kayak or if you’d prefer, pontoon boat. Warning: if you go by pontoon, you might miss some of the tranquil and tighter spaces.
6 .Celebrate New Years Twice
In Mexico Beach, Florida you can celebrate New Year’s twice. That’s because Mexico Beach is located in both the Eastern and Central time zone.
7. Find a Lost Fort
Within the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, you’ll find four different forts hidden among the trees. Of these, two are located on the remote Jolee Island, while one is on the path between the marina and Baytowne Wharf entertainment district. The last is in the Davidson Nature Preserve.
8. Wake Up with Sunrise Yoga.
The Hilton Sandestin has a fitness center with the usual free weights, machines and fitness classes. However, if you have four or more people in your group, you can request your own class – like sunrise yoga on the deck or right on the beach.
9. Bike the Timpoochee Trail
This 19 mile paved bike trail goes through 16 different beach communities along 30A (the trail is also called he 30A trail). Along the route you’ll pass dune lakes, state parks, shops, restaurants, and of course, the beach.
10. Create Art from Glass
Shard Art in Grayton Beach is a do it yourself craft experience that uses broken glass to create art, similar to Mary Hong, 2014 Artist of the Year for Walton County. In fact, Mary’s studio is right next-door, so you can view her pieces for inspiration. I was so excited about my piece I couldn’t wait to get it back the next day.
Things to do along the Panhandle in Alabama
11. Hold a Baby Alligator
Families love alligators! The fear, the excitement, the unknown. Alligator Alley in Gulf Shores, Alabama has gators ranging from hatchlings to adults. Stroll along the boardwalk for a look at gators (and other animal friends) in their natural habitat. You can even hold a baby alligator here.
12. Become a Soldier
Fort Morgan Peninsula in Gulf Shores Alabama is home to more than amazing resorts and championship golf courses. It is also the site of Fort Morgan, a masonry fort built between 1819 and 1833. The fort’s main fame and recognition came in the August 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay because of its location where the bay and Gulf of Mexico meet. If your stay is on Fort Morgan, you have access to all kinds of water recreation, a boat launch and beautiful beaches.
13. Join a Pirate Adventure
Orange Beach Pirate Ship in Orange Beach Alabama gives families a chance to relax and become pirates for a time!! Board the American Star ship for adventure on Terry Cove. Help defend the ship in an epic gun battle, but also be prepared for all-out family fun! There will be face painting, pirate stories, games, songs and treasure!
14. Get a Birds Eye View of the Beach.
Orange Beach Helicopters is an adrenaline-filled adventure that also grants a birds-eye view of the area. Choose from several different types and lengths of tours. Do you love sea life? Choose the Sea Life Tour that zeros in on sea creatures and fish specifically!