The Florida Panhandle is a region of Florida, in the north west of the state. It has long been popular for its beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. It also includes the inland city of Tallahassee, the state capital and home of Florida State and Florida A&M Universities.
- Emerald Coast - Also called the Miracle Strip.
- Forgotten Coast - This region is comprised of some of the most rural of Florida's coastal counties.
- West Florida - This region was once part of the Spanish and British colonies of West Florida (which included parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana as far west as the Mississippi). Its capital was Pensacola.
- Middle Florida - This is the region of North Florida between the Apalachicola and Suwannee Rivers. It was once the core of antebellum Florida's slave-based cotton plantation economy. Only the western half of the Middle Florida region is actually in the Panhandle.
- Tallahassee - The State Capital
- Fort Walton Beach
- Panama City
- Panama City Beach
- Perdido Key
- Apalachicola National Forest
- Choctawhatchee National Forest
- Gulf Islands National Seashore
- Saint Marks National Wildlife Refuge
- St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge
The Florida Panhandle has hung onto its Southern culture better than probably any other region in Florida, so expect traditional Southern hospitality and more conservative values.
An exception to this general trend is Tallahassee, which, while retaining a great deal of that Southern charm, also contains pockets of the progressive, creative atmosphere typical of college towns.
- Pensacola Regional Airport - located in Pensacola and is the gateway to the western Florida Panhandle. Pensacola Regional has many flights on many carriers to destinations across the eastern United States and within the state of Florida.
- Interstate 10 and its scenic byways slice across the Panhandle parallel to, but several miles inland from, the coast. I-10 follows the route of the older Highway 90. Closer to the coast, Highway 98 is the most important route. Like much of the US a car is really a requirement to see this area. There is local bus service in most cities, and biking is popular both for getting around town or for longer tours of the coast.
- Blackwater River State Park near Milton
- Constitution Convention Museum State Park in Port St. Joe
- Eden Gardens State Park between Destin and Panama City
- Falling Waters State Park in Washington County.
- Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna.
- John Gorrie Museum and the Orman House, in Apalachicola
- Ponce de Leon Springs State Park in Ponce de Leon
- St. George Island State Park in Franklin County.
- St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, in Wakulla County.
- St. Andrews State Park near Panama City
- St. Joseph Peninsula State Park near Apalachicola
- Three Rivers State Park in Jackson County
- Torreya State Park in Liberty County.
- Wakulla Springs south of Tallahassee.
- Florida Lighthouses are numerous and beautiful in the Panhandle, take some time to visit these iconic images of the coast.
Tallahassee is home to the Seminoles of Florida State University, and college football is a religion for many Panhandle residents, with Saturdays in the fall being the holy day. Pensacola is home to the semi-professional ice hockey team, the Pensacola Ice Pilots.
Major holidays in Pensacola include Mardi Gras and the Fiesta of Five Flags. Celebrations of note in Pensacola are the Greater Gulf Coast Arts Festival, the Seafood Festival, the Bushwhacker Festival, the Bill Fishing Tournament, and the Gay and Lesbian Memorial Day Festival. Fort Walton Beach is known for the Billy Bowlegs Festival, and Panama City for Spring Break. Niceville is know for its Mullet Festival.
In the Panama City and Panama City Beach area there are many great places for local fare. The most recognized restaurant is Captain Anderson's on Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach. It's located on the lagoon and get there early to see the fishing fleet arrive and unload the day's catch.
Other restaurants of note include Pompano's on Front Beach Road, Saltwater Grill on Middle Beach (Hutchison Road) and Canopies. Canopies is a "fine dining" establishment overlooking St. Andrew's Bay in Panama City.
The Panhandle is home to two of Florida's four dry counties, where the sale of alcohol is prohibited (Washington and Liberty). However, alcohol of any variety can be found in abundance in the college town of Tallahassee and the Spring Break destination of Panama City Beach.