4 Places to Visit in Florida’s Panhandle


For Christmas 2017, Al & I went to Florida to visit family. Most of our time was spent in Florida’s northwest in the area known as the Panhandle. The weather wasn’t exactly toasty warm but it was definitely warmer than Ontario in December. Some nights the temperature went down close to 0C/32F and the days varied but I could wear capris and mostly go without sweaters or jackets.

4 spots that we really enjoyed were Santa Rosa Beach, Destin, Seaside and Apalachicola.

Santa Rosa Beach

Most of our time was spent at Santa Rosa Beach where my sister and her husband had rented a very nice 4 bedroom townhouse just a block from beach.

Christmas Eve Sunset from Santa Rosa Beach

Just down the street was a little shopping/restaurant area. Our two favourite spots were the Growler Garage and Pecan Jacks. The Growler Garage had a large variety of beers for Al to try. Pecan Jacks makes their own candy and ice cream. The day we were there the owner was very generious with the ice cream samples. I think we liked them all but of particular interest were the “adult flavours” which you have to be over 21 to buy. My favourite was the Bailey’s and sea salted caramel mix – yummy!

Outdoor View of the Growler Garage

There is also a very nice seafood store called Goatfeathers. We didn’t buy any seafood but we did go in and look around. Everything looked very fresh and the store didn’t have a fishy smell.  Quite busy just before sunset.

We did have a great lunch at the Local Catch. I ordered the fried fish tacos and my sister ordered the grilled ones; then we traded so we each had one taco of each kind since each order came with 2 tacos. The grilled ones were good but the fried ones were fabulous.


On Christmas day, we went to Destin to explore the Harborwalk Village. Only a few restaurants were open and all the stores were closed. There were some other people doing the same thing as us but it was pretty quiet and we were able to amble along and not worry about crowds. We stopped at Margaritaville for a drink and a photo op since I’m a Jimmy Buffett fan.

Destin’s Harborwalk Village
Another View of the Harborwalk Village
View from Destin’s Harborwalk Village
Me & Jimmy

We went into Destin another day to do some shopping. Destin has an outlet mall and lots of other shopping as well. There is also an outdoor market on Saturdays where food and artisan items can be purchased. We bought some great shrimp and tuna dips as well as some crabcake makings.


One of our day jaunts was into Seaside for a wander around the little shopping and restaurant area at Central Square. It’s very picturesque. It’s not a large area so it didn’t take a lot of time; but very enjoyable. Some very nice shops and food trucks.

Seaside Central Square



We stopped in Apalachicola on our way to St. Petersburg to see Al’s mom. I really wish we had more time to spend in this cute little town. We did spend a little time in the downtown area which had some nice gift and antique shops. Their ocean side Christmas tree was quite inventive.

One of the Quaint Stores in Apalachicola
Christmas Tree at Apalachicola

I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts about Florida’s Pandhandle.  Enjoy your travels!

Our Last Sunset in Florida


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