Florida Gulf Coast: Charming Beach Towns in the Panhandle

The Florida Panhandle is the unofficial name for a 200-mile stretch of northwest Florida. Dotted along the coast, visitors find several charming beach towns that offer beachfront views, things to do and local culture. Get ready to explore this section of the Florida Gulf coast and see them in person.

Florida Gulf Coast: Top Beach Towns in the Panhandle

Destin, Florida

Destin, Florida, ranks among the best known vacation destinations on the Gulf Coast. Gorgeous white-sand beaches, championship golf courses, some of the best sport fishing in the world and family-friendly activities have made this area one of America’s top vacation spots.

Nature lovers enjoy hanging out at Henderson Beach Park or area beaches during the day. At night, Emerald Coast Parkway comes alive with people as they visit area restaurants, clubs and bars. In between, find friendly locals, shops and lots of places to play.

Accolades: Top Summer Beach House Destinations for Families – TripAdvisor.com, Top 10 Best in the U.S. for 2017 – Lonely Planet, 10 Best Beaches for a Budget Vacation in 2016 – MSN.com

South Walton Beaches and 30a

Strung along Florida’s famed Highway 30A lay 16 beach communities, each with its own charm and vibrant ambience. Collectively known as the 30A Beaches, these hidden gems offer many of the same delights found in other cities but in a more relaxed setting. The 30A Beaches in South Walton also offer special attractions, including art galleries, concerts, movies under the stars, and state parks where visitors can bike, hike, fish, swim, kayak and observe local wildlife.

Connected by walking and biking paths, each South Walton beach community offers vacationers a distinctive experience. Sample the classic Old Florida charm of Santa Rosa Beach. Hang out on the greens and dig into the Mediterranean style of Alys Beach. Grayton Beach welcomes pets and owners to live shows and local galleries. Or explore the coastal dune lakes of Dune Allen to WaterColor’s innovative eco-friendly design. The only problem is deciding where to go first. Read about all South Walton-30a beaches.

Accolades: 17 of the Best Beaches in Florida – Trips to Discover, Top 10 Best Beaches – Dr. Beach: 2016, Top 10 vacation hot spots for rentals that sleep eight or more guests, FlipKey

Panama City Beach

Keep heading east down the Florida Gulf coast to find Panama City Beach. This longtime favorite has welcomed singles and families to enjoy sunshine, spacious beaches, shopping and nightlife. During the day, the area bustles with beach-goers playing in the water. At night, check out Front Beach Road and Panama City Beach Parkway. These two strips run adjacent to each other and offer access to the area’s top attractions.

From water parks and boating excursions to Pier Park entertainment district and St. Andrews State Park, vacationers will find plenty to see and do. Panama City Beach attracts all ages, so prepare for crowds and a couple of late nights.

Accolades: Top 25 Beaches in the U.S. – TripAdvisor, Top 10 Best Beaches – Dr. Beach: 2018

Ready to visit these Florida Gulf coast beach towns? Browse Destin vacation rentals, 30a Beaches vacation homes and rentals in Panama City Beach.