USA Flag  Attractions of the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast - Emerald Coast - 4




   Panama City Beach    Panama City    St. Andrews State Park


It is not known how long civilized populations have been living in the Panama City area of the Emerald Coast but there are accounts from early Spanish explorers of having seen Indians in thatched huts when they reached these shores several hundred years ago. In the early 1800's many began to recognize the advantages of this deep water, protected port and came to live. While these early settlers came for the commercial opportunities, today's visitors come for the attractions of the beautiful beaches and extended waterways for which this area is so well known.


Vacationers in the area can take advantage of many attractions and activities. The soft, white sandy beaches of Panama City Beach contrast sharply with the emerald green waters which lap the shores and invite beachgoers of all ages to enjoy the sun, sand and sea. Numerous public parks and fishing piers exist along the shores here. The largest in the area, St. Andrews State Park is just east of Panama City Beach and south of Panama City. Here one can get an idea of what the area looked like before condos, houses and bulldozers. A trip from the mainland park to Shell Island reveals a primitive, natural setting probably most similar to that which the first European explorers encountered long ago.


The entire area included for the cities and state park on this page is quite small and a traveler going from one end to the other by car would traverse the distance in less than 15 minutes. This area is also a fine base area from which to tour the entire Panhandle west and into the Big Bend area to the east.


Click on each picture to get a larger view and use your browser's BACK button to return to this page. Bookmark this page ("Cntrl" key + "D" key) so that you can return to review it and look for updates. For additional information, most of the cities or attractions on the page have embedded links to the website or the area's Chamber of Commerce.


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Panama City Beach

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Panama City Beach skyline. Beach activities. Panama City Beach condos. Panama City Beach looking west.
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Panama City Beach Pier View east from pier. Panama City Beach street views.
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Panama City Beach houses off Thomas Dive.
Panama City Beach lies west of Panama City. It is another of the older Panhandle beach areas that have been attracting vacationers for many years, well before the building blitz along the coast. Strung out along the mainland in a glitz of high rise buildings, neon signs and street lights, its beaches along the Gulf of Mexico are beautiful. The city is a favorite of "spring breakers" as well as the local military and the pace can get frenetic at times. Useful to residents and visitors alike are the many beach access points throughout the area and the public parks. 

Panama City

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Pictures of the restored historical downtown of Panama City.


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Oaks by the Bay Park downtown.


Marina downtown.


St. Andrews Bay Saltworks

Visual Arts Center downtown


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Street pictures in old residential area downtown.


Houses near St. Andrews Bay downtown in historic area..


Panama City sits almost surrounded by waters of the East Bay, North Bay and St. Andrews Bay. The residential and commercial downtown area, including the former town of St. Andrews, has undergone a restoration for its historic city buildings.  The nearby Tyndall Air Force Base is the city's largest employer but Panama City's military roots trace back into the early 1800's. Well known for its cultural attractions and activities, Panama City has received accolades from patrons of the arts. The downtown area is easy to walk for sightseeing and shopping. A quiet rest in a local bayside park, Oaks by the Bay Park, can refresh you as well as the many waterside restaurants.

St. Andrews State Park

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St. Andrews State Park Jetty.


Sand dunes and concession. One of many boardwalks. Dunes, beach and sea.
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Dunes and facilities.


Panama City Beach Condos.


View of the park pier (Panama City Beach in background).


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Dunes and vegetation.


Beach and jetty.


Navy ship and Hovercraft in and out of jetty.


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St. Andrews State Park has great views of sand dunes.


View of Shell Island.


Panama City Beach skyline..


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A pictorial of St. Andrews wouldn't be complete without the birds! L to R: Black Skimmers; Least Tern; Royal Tern & Laughing Gull; Sanderling.


Some of  St. Andrews State Park history is evident in the displays of the cannon platforms on the beach. A former military reservation during WW II, it was opened as a state park in 1951. The park has piers, jetties, abundant gulf side and bay side beaches, a tour boat operator for visits to Shell Island (another part of the park), hiking/biking trails and camping facilities. It also has some good shore bird populations for the avid birders. The ocean beaches are typically similar to others on the Emerald Coast and throughout the sand dunes there are many picturesque vistas within the park.


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