beach chairs and umbrella on a vacation in Florida

7 Ideas to Fill the Time on Your Next Vacation in Florida

The Florida Panhandle is any vacationer’s dream destination.


Northwest Florida is overflowing with pristine beaches, family-friendly attractions, stunning parks, diverse wildlife, hopping nightlife, fine dining, and unique shopping. Plan your next vacation in Florida in the Northern Gulf Coast and consider taking in one or more of these amazing destinations.

Spend Time at the Beach

You definitely don’t want to miss a day at the beach. Panhandle beaches are known for their fine white sands and clear, warm waters. Soak up some rays, search for shells, relax in the sand, throw out a line, or jump in the water at one of the Panhandle’s many beautiful beaches. A fantastic beach to try is uncrowded Navarre Beach. With its crystal-clear emerald waters and soft white sand, Navarre beach is the perfect place to relax, swim, and even shop the quaint nearby stores or check out the waterfront restaurants and bars.

Eat at Local Restaurants

The Florida Panhandle is every foodie’s dream. For seafood lovers, you get to go right to the source for the freshest shrimp, crab legs, and scallops around. One local favorite to try is the Old Bay Steamer in Fort Walton Beach. For another delicious option, check out Schooners in Panama City. If seafood isn’t your thing, you can still find the best burgers, pizza, and ethnic foods around. Try Up the Creek Raw Bar in Apalachicola for your local gator meat. Find a little taste of paradise at Papa Nalu Aloha Grill in Gulf Breeze. Drive down the gulf coast a bit and you can’t help but find a fantastic place to eat local!

Drive Down the Coast

After a busy day at the beach or the Everglades, you may want to wind down with a scenic drive down the Gulf Coast. One stunning option to try is Scenic Highway 30A, located in Walton County. This picturesque drive will delight your senses at every turn, with 24 miles of white-sand beaches, vast coastal dunes, and shimmering lakes. You might also enjoy seeing the quaint seaside communities dotting the highway. While driving the coast is a favorite activity, be sure to protect your car from sea salt, gusty winds, and steady sunshine. Many people choose wax to protect their car’s paint from the elements. However, you can prevent the need for waxing by applying ceramic coating. Ceramic coating is a fantastic, longer-term option to keep your car looking brand-new, no matter how many miles you put on it while traveling Florida’s scenic Gulf Coast.

Hit One of Florida’s Many State Parks

Florida is the perfect place to find diverse landscapes for nature lovers. Look up any state park and you are sure to find beautiful views, interesting hikes, pristine aquatics, and varied animal life. One adventure to try is a glass-bottom boat tour or River Boat Jungle Cruise at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park in Wakulla Springs. You are sure to spot all kinds of wildlife, including alligators, snakes, and myriads of aquatic and tropical birds. You will get to experience the largest and deepest freshwater spring in the world. You can also swim and hike. But any state park in Florida has so much to offer. You will leave any one of them refreshed and reinvigorated.

Check Out a Museum

Museums abound in Florida’s Panhandle. There are museums showcasing just about everything of interest, from lighthouse and maritime museums to Florida history museums, from Native American museums to war museums. One fascinating museum you might try is the Air Force Armament Museum of Eglin Air Force Base. This free museum showcases not only aircraft, but rockets and missiles from World War 1, World War 2, and the Vietnam and Korean Wars. If you are traveling on a budget, museums are the perfect hidden gems to find and explore.

Tour a Winery

Go bougie for a day and explore one or more of the five Florida Panhandle wineries. You might want to delve deep into the stunning vineyards on a guided tour. You will most certainly choose to sample the unique flavors of locally made wines. You can even bring lunch and enjoy your meal with the ambiance of a home-grown winery. This is a low-key way to spend a quieter afternoon in Florida.

Spend the Day at a Local Zoo or Aquarium

If you want to spend time with animals, Florida has it all. You could spend the day at a traditional zoo. Or maybe you would prefer to get up-close and personal with massive reptiles at an alligator park. You could go exotic and try a wild cat preserve. Or check out one of the many aquariums, both large and small. One idea is the Gulf World Marine Park, where you will find dolphins and sea lions, sharks and sea turtles, stingrays and penguins, and everything in-between. Many of these parks feature interactive exhibits, animal shows, and even lovely gardens to meander through. The whole family will enjoy spending a day with the animals!

As you can see, there is never a dull moment in Florida. There are more things to do than time to do them in, and more types of activities than virtually anywhere else in the country. Whether you are a nature lover or a city person, Florida has it all. Florida is a dream vacation destination, with something fun for everyone just about everywhere!

Did you enjoy reading this article? Here’s more to read: How to Get Around on Your Next Florida Vacation

Read this next: Best Beach Exercises – Staying Fit While On Vacation

Also check out: How to Take Full Advantage of What Florida Has to Offer


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