When I first checked into my accommodations at Tidewater Beach Resort, I was thrilled to see the lovely vista of ocean and beach stretching before my balcony view. No wonder Panama City Beach has been voted as having the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.”
I figured, however, that the beach might get a little rowdy and cluttered during sunny days but it never did. With 27 miles of beaches, Panama City Beach has plenty of room for folks to find a place to frolic or to enjoy some peace and quiet.
“We have people who have been coming here for generations,” said David Demarest of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They have their own favorite spots on the beach.”
The sand in Panama City Beach is so sugar white and soft because it comes primarily from the massive amounts of quartz crystals that were washed down from the Appalachian Mountain to the Gulf of Mexico. The crystals were ground down and bleached by the sun for one of Florida’s most popular beaches.
I’ve never spent an entire year in Panama City Beach but the local tourism folks say that the area has 320 days of sunshine per year. “ A cold front for us,” Demarest said with a laugh, “is that it’s only going to get up to 65 during the day.”
That means beach time almost every day. Plus Panama City Beach offers about 100 beach access points so it’s easy to find a spot to walk to a favorite beach section. And I salute Panama City beach for having a separate doggie beach. My Pepper isn’t with me but traveling with pets has become increasingly common over the years. For good reason, there is a Florida state law that mandates that pets are not allowed on the beaches.
However, certain Florida counties do allows parts of a beach to be designated for our canine friends. The Panama City Beach spot for dogs is west of the Russell-Fields Pier at the southern base of Pier park shopping center. Pier Park is also dog friendly as well as the adjacent Aaron Bessant Park. Spanning 400 feet, the dog area has plenty of room for each dog to have private space.
When I was savoring my first beach lunch at Hook’d on Front Beach Road, I could see several doggies cavorting on the beach with their people buddies. Just be sure to keep Fido on a leash.
Even from my resort balcony, I noticed that the beaches are exceptionally clean – no litter or dilapidated chairs or coolers. Part of that, I learned, when I stopped by the Panama City Beach Visitors Center was the Leave No Trace Ordinance that went into effect in July 2012.
“People are still learning about the ordinance and we have signs posted everywhere,” said Carolyn Camden at the Visitors Center. “Basically, it means that anything you brought to the beach with you should also leave the beach with you.”
Anything left on the beach overnight could be cleared off the beach by the time the person who left it returns in the morning. “We have people who clean the beach and patrol it so this helps keep the beaches clean,” Camden said.
The Leave No Trace ordinance states that all personal items will be removed and disposed of if left on the beach between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. CST. These items include, but are not limited to: tents, chairs, toys, umbrellas and coolers.
For more information: Visit www.panamacitybeach.com