An ocean breeze puts a mind at ease
We all need breaks from time to time. Even if it’s a long weekend escape, vacations and breaks from work are super important. Unfortunately, the US has this “if you aren’t working yourself to death, you aren’t working” mindset that my generation has suffered from. I used to be like that, then my mental health took a nosedive. I was determined after that to never not take breaks and vacations.
That’s how we ended up in Panama City Beach last weekend. I wasn’t able to get away for my birthday in February so we decided to go sometime in March. Well, working in hospitality, March is also Spring Break in the south so it was super important to get out early before we got slammed with Spring Breakers. Both at work and at the beach.
I had never actually been to Panama City Beach. Neither of us are huge beach people, but I won’t say no to a beach trip. I really needed a tan though, so to PCB we went. And it was actually a lot of fun. Granted, dodging the unmasked losers that took over the beach wasn’t easy, but we made it work.
Our first night we stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites right on the beach. While the hotel was nice, the general manager was unmasked and rude. The hotel was clean and they offered a free breakfast, but I’ll stick to my Airbnbs. We ended up with an incredible condo over at the Tidewater on Front Beach Road. I typically only book with Superhosts and never new Airbnbs but I decided to chance it with this one since it was professionally managed. Y’all I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a cleaner Airbnb and y’all know we’ve stayed in some nice places. The views were incredible, the condo was beautiful, I’d definitely stay there again. There was one morning we woke up to thick fog, but we were so high up that we felt like we were waking up in the clouds. I loved it.
So of course, while there we had to partake in local restaurants and I HAD to have fresh seafood. Our first night we ended up at Shuckums, which was conveniently located across the road from the hotel. While we’re mentioning walking, why does PCB NOT HAVE SIDEWALKS??? As someone who spent many years in the very walkable VA Beach area, the lack of sidewalks drove me nuts.
Anyway, Shuckums has to areas to their location: A bar with karaoke and live music and then the restaurant itself. Maybe once I’m fully vaccinated, I’ll feel better about being in a bar, but man did it almost give me an anxiety attack waiting on my Tipsy Mermaid. Yeah that was the drink name and I loved it.
The wait was an hour, so we hung out outside on the patio and listened to some god awful karaoke, but hey they have more courage than I do! Once inside, look up. The ceiling is COVERED in one dollar bills. I love places like this, there’s always cool stories and even cooler people. But on to the food, I ordered baked oysters three different ways: Rockefeller, Bacon and Cheddar, and Garlic and Parm with Crab. Y’all they were soooo good.
It was also a full dozen so I wasn’t able to finish them. I don’t do raw oysters but bake them and cover them in cheese, I’ll devour them. Also the little cup had like a wasabi or horseradish spread in it. I was obsessed. I emptied that cup. It was delicious. 10/10 recommend.
The next night we stumbled upon a little hole in the wall place called The British Eatery. It opened up last year and guys, this place deserves ALLLLLL the love. The staff was great, the food was phenomenal and it’s just a really wonderful hidden gem. They had a decently sized menu and we all ordered something different. I ordered the Admiral’s Pie which was a fun take on a Shepherd’s Pie. It was made with seafood instead of the traditional lamb or beef. I’m not even kidding when I say it was baked to perfection.
Whenever we go back to PCB, we’ll definitely be stopping in again because they had incredible looking burgers and gluten free buns! Something that was difficult to find in PCB. Do not expect a fussy, posh place when going to The British Eatery. It’s laid back with wine served in plastic cups. Please, please, please give them business if you’re in the area.
The last night there, we went to Sharky’s which is a PCB legend. It was about an hour wait (which seems to be a trend for the popular places) and they were super packed, but the food was really really good. They also serve their drinks in these massive souvenir cups so if you’re going to order a daiquiri, be prepared to feel it.
I ended up ordering the Redfish Antigua, which was amazing. The fish was cooked to perfection, the sauce was delicious, and the presentation was impressive. It was a massive piece of fish and I did not finish it, but I would definitely go back to Sharky’s in a slower season. It was really obvious that the servers were overwhelmed with the amount of people.
Let’s get into things to do while in PCB. Obviously, there’s the beach. White sugar sand, clear warm water, and that gulf breeze made for a wonderful weekend. We spent our Sunday on the beach and even rented beach chairs. A pair for the day at the Tidewater for guests is $40. Alex does not like the beach, but having these cushioned chairs with a cabana like covering made it more acceptable for him. We got ours early in the day so we got an unobstructed view of the water for the entire day.
Saturday was probably my favorite day there though. We decided to take a Dolphin Watching and Shell Island tour though Captain Anderson’s. It was about a three and a half hour tour and totally worth every penny. We got to spend an hour out on Shell Island which is now my favorite place in PCB. It’s part of St. Andrews State Park and only accessible by boat. The sand was pure white and there were so many shells everywhere! But that’s not a surprise, considering the name of the island.
The second half of the tour was Dolphin Watching and we got so close to a HUGE pod. It was so cool. There was even a mom and baby hanging out.
If you get the chance, definitely take a tour out to Shell Island. The one we did was only $30 a person. So quite the deal considering some of the others got up to $60+ for their tours.
All in all, I really enjoyed PCB. It was a fun place with plenty to do for all ages. The views we had from our condo were incredible and I loved waking up to the sun hitting the water while I enjoyed a cup of coffee on the balcony. The sunsets were also spectacular! We had a corner condo and got the prettiest sunsets the entire time we were there. We’ll definitely be back!
Do you have a favorite beach that you always go back to? Tell me in the comments or on our FB page under this post! As usual, travel safe.