The Panhandle Travel Guide

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Santa Rosa Sound

Santa Rosa Sound

Arkydee

Anchored by the towns of Pensacola and Panama City, the Panhandle is perhaps the most Northern part of Florida. Residents occasionally refer to the area as LA, for Lower Alabama (don't try this yourself, though), while others have called it the "Redneck Riviera," for the high proportion of Southerners who vacation there (I wouldn't use that phrase, either).

The Panhandle boasts the state's finest beaches - and often the least crowded ones, as well. Worthy of special mention are Grayton Beach State Park and St. George Island, which features a state park on the eastern end.  The water is calm, with one or two foot surf being the highest you'll see under normal circumstances. The bright white sand is so fine and soft that you almost don't need a towel - almost. You will need sunscreen - the white sand reflects more rays than the sand on most Atlantic and European beaches. Bring a mask and snorkel if you have them, because the water is clearer here than anywhere else except in the Keys.

Pensacola, primarily a military town, has some interesting history to explore. Panama City is a major Spring Break destination (MTV spends the spring in Panama City Beach these days) with plenty of opportunities for some rather mindless fun. Farther along the coast beyond Panama City lies Apalachicola, heart of the oyster industry and a major antiques center.

Inland, where small agricultural towns dot the landscape, tourist opportunities are more scarce. The only caverns in Florida are near Crestview, as is the state's highest point, a whopping 345 feet above sea level. Several springs provide opportunities for swimming and canoeing, and the area's rivers are great for boating and fishing trips.

Roughly in the middle of the panhandle lies Tallahassee, the state capitol and panhandle's largest city.

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February 10, 2006 change by giorgio

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