Panama City Beach
This area, including Panama City, Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach, has a beach persona that coaxes out the carefree in all of us. Panama City Beach attractions combine the stuff childhood is made of: go-karts, water slides and miniature golf (kitsch is alive and well at the circa-1959 Goofy Golf), while Gulf World Marine Park and ZooWorld are educational. The area boasts 27 miles of sugar-white sand bordering the clear, emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay. St. Andrews State Park was once an America's Best Beach pick, and it features diving, snorkeling, surfing and fishing. Underwater, an intricate system of artificial reefs and shipwrecks once earned the area the nickname "Wreck Capital of the South." And the self-styled "Seafood Capital of the World" offers a mind-boggling array of restaurants. Seafood shacks and oyster bars serve up fresh eats almost everywhere you look. Just 20 miles east of Panama City, Mexico Beach represents sun, sand and surf on an intimate scale. Cast from the Mexico Beach Fishing Pier or Mexico Beach Canal Park. There are plenty of charters in town, too, and area waters conceal fish-filled reefs to the satisfaction of both divers and anglers. The seafood is as fresh as you'd expect. Sample it, with a glass of wine in hand and artwork all around, at the annual Mexico Beach Art and Wine Festival. Other area events include food and jazz festivals, fishing tournaments and more.