Driving along Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach, Florida, you can’t help but think “Zoning officials and developers have made a bundle of money here”. And “Hurray for Oregon and it’s publically owned beaches”.
As we had heard before visiting the Florida panhandle, the white “sugar sand” beaches are gorgeous. Even though the weather was cold and windblown while we were there, the white sand and variegated blue water made a beautiful combination. When you could see it.
Along the beaches of Panama City Beach, except in those spots protected by the state parks (and perhaps a city or country park that we missed), the entire beachfront is lined with buildings. I took this photo standing on a pier in the state park – the buildings begin at the edge of the park.
Some of the buildings are just two stories, most are higher, and many are giant, towering condominium complexes with their attendant multi-story parking garages. What isn’t given over to homes and resorts is crammed with the services necessary for the visitors who flock here: restaurants, bars, nightclubs, water parks, t-shirt shops. And, because we visited during Spring Break, cars, cars, cars and more cars. The traffic was insane.
With guidance from JoAnn and Doug, we were able to find and enjoy those places where the coastline was in its more natural state, and we spent several hours walking along the beautiful beach during our time in the area. We also – as always - spent several hours enjoying our food in the company of our friends. Can you believe I don’t have any food photos for you? True! It was so nice to visit with JoAnn and Doug that I decided to leave the camera in my bag and simply be there, having a meal, visiting. Relaxing.
But I will mention a new-to-me dish: Fried pickles! We had some during our first dinner out in PCB (Panama City Beach) - sliced dill pickles, battered and fried. Darn good.
The next day, we did something very unusual for us – went to a buffet! It is a favorite of Doug and JoAnn’s, and we can see why – the food was delicious, all southern specialties (another new-to-me food that I really liked was Speckled Butter Beans). Fried pickles could be ordered on the side (extra charge), and I ordered them. Even better than our first sampling: these had a thinner, crispier coating, with more spice. A good batter and a crispy dill pickle – a great combination!
After three nights at pleasant Pineglen RV Park (this photo – click HERE to read our review and see more photos), yesterday was our travel day. Rolling out of PCB, I commented to Odel that I wasn’t too impressed with Florida so far (after our massive traffic jam experience and the highly developed clutter of PCB). That all changed as we continued east… but that is for the next blog!