; Skip to Content

The 7 Best Beaches In The Panhandle Discover Coastal Gems In The Sunshine State

Are you in search of the ultimate beach getaway? Look no further than Florida’s Panhandle, home to some of the most pristine and picturesque beaches in the Sunshine State.

From the white sands of Pensacola Beach to the turquoise waters of St. George Island, you’ll find endless opportunities for relaxation and adventure.

With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which beaches to visit. That’s why we’ve curated a list of the 7 best beaches in the Panhandle.

Whether you’re a sun-worshipper, a water sports enthusiast, or a nature lover, there’s something for everyone on this list.

So pack your sunscreen and your sense of adventure, and get ready to discover the coastal gems of the Panhandle.

Gulf Islands National Seashore


Get ready to explore the pristine beauty of Gulf Islands National Seashore – it’s a must-visit spot for any beach lover!

This stunning stretch of coastline spans 160 miles and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. The area is also of ecological importance, with its diverse range of habitats supporting a wide variety of plant and animal life.

Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, take a dip in the clear waters, or simply marvel at the natural beauty of the area, Gulf Islands National Seashore has something to offer everyone.

One of the most exciting things about Gulf Islands National Seashore is the chance to encounter wildlife up close. From dolphins and sea turtles to exotic birds, the area is teeming with life.

Keep an eye out for playful dolphins as they swim and jump in the waves, or watch as sea turtles make their way up the sandy beaches to lay their eggs. And with over 300 species of birds in the area, birdwatchers will be in paradise.

Whether you’re an avid nature enthusiast or simply looking for a fun day out at the beach, Gulf Islands National Seashore is the perfect destination for your next adventure.

Pensacola Beach


Are you ready for a day of fun in the sun? Look no further than Pensacola Beach, where you can soak up the rays on pristine white sands.

Feeling adventurous? Try your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding in the sparkling waters.

And when you’re ready for a break, indulge in some mouthwatering fresh seafood at one of the many local restaurants.

Get ready for a day of excitement and relaxation in this coastal paradise.

Soak Up the Sun on White Sands

You’ll love hitting the beach and feeling the warmth of the sand under your feet on this section. Don’t forget your sunnies!

White Sands Beach is a perfect destination for beach activities such as surfing, kayaking, and snorkeling. With crystal-clear waters and a vibrant marine life, you’ll never run out of things to do. If you’re up for an adventure, you can rent a paddleboard and explore the coastline, or try your hand at parasailing for a bird’s eye view of the stunning scenery below.

The best time to visit White Sands Beach is during the summer months from June to August when the weather is warm and the water is perfect for swimming. But if you’re looking for a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons in spring or fall.

No matter when you go, you’ll be awed by the beauty of this hidden gem in the Sunshine State. So grab your sunscreen, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready to soak up the sun on White Sands Beach!

Try Water Sports like Kayaking and Paddleboarding

Ready to take on some water sports? Get your feet wet and try kayaking or paddleboarding on the crystal-clear waters at White Sands Beach!

This beach is one of the best for water sports in the Panhandle, and for good reason. Here are three reasons why you should give kayaking and paddleboarding a try:

1. The calm waters make it easy for beginners to get the hang of it. You won’t have to worry about battling strong waves or currents, so you can focus on improving your technique.

2. You’ll get to explore the beautiful coastline from a unique perspective. When you’re out on the water, you’ll be able to see the beach and the surrounding cliffs from a whole new angle.

3. It’s a great workout that doesn’t feel like exercise. Paddling through the water is a fun and rewarding way to get some exercise without feeling like you’re at the gym.

So grab a kayak or a paddleboard and get ready for a fun day on the water at White Sands Beach!

Enjoy Fresh Seafood at Local Restaurants

Savor the succulent seafood at nearby restaurants and satisfy your taste buds with the savory flavors of the sea. The Panhandle is known for its fresh seafood and you don’t want to miss out on trying some of the top seafood dishes.

From fish tacos to shrimp scampi, the restaurants in the area offer a variety of dishes that are sure to please any seafood lover. Some of the best seafood restaurants in the Panhandle include the Red Bar in Grayton Beach, which is known for its crab cakes, and the Crab Shack in Destin, which offers a variety of seafood dishes like lobster, crab, and shrimp.

Other notable restaurants include the Shrimp Basket in Pensacola and the Bayou Bill’s Crab House in Niceville. Don’t leave the Panhandle without experiencing the delectable seafood that the area has to offer.

Destin Beach


Take a stroll along Destin Beach and soak up the sun, sand, and stunning Gulf views. This beach is a true gem of the Panhandle, and one of the top activities to do in the area.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand or take a dip in the clear blue waters, Destin Beach has it all.

After a day of fun in the sun, head to one of the best restaurants in the area to refuel. Destin is known for its fresh seafood, and you won’t be disappointed with the selection. From juicy crab legs to perfectly cooked shrimp, there’s something for every seafood lover.

So, pack your sunscreen and towel and get ready for a day of freedom at Destin Beach.


Looking for a quiet stretch of beach to relax and unwind? Navarre Beach is the perfect spot for you.

With its crystal-clear waters, this beach is also great for snorkeling and diving.

And if you’re interested in marine life, make sure to check out the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station for a fun and educational experience.

Relax on a Quiet Stretch of Beach

If you’re in need of some peace and quiet, kick back and relax on a secluded stretch of sand where the world is your oyster. Unwind on a secluded shore and bask in the tranquility of a hidden beach.

The Panhandle is home to some of the most beautiful and serene beaches in the world, and there’s no better way to experience them than by taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Whether you’re looking for a place to read a book, take a nap, or simply soak up the sun, a quiet stretch of beach is the perfect spot. With nothing but the sound of the waves and the occasional seagull to disturb you, you’ll feel like you’re in your own little world.

So why not take a break from the chaos and enjoy the peace and quiet of a hidden beach? You won’t regret it.

Snorkel and Dive in the Clear Waters

Dive into the crystal-clear waters and explore the underwater wonders in this secluded paradise.

The Panhandle is home to some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in Florida. With its clear waters and diverse marine life, you’ll be able to witness the beauty of this coastal gem up close.

If you’re new to snorkeling, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, make sure to wear fins to help you swim against any currents. Second, bring a waterproof camera to capture all the colorful fish and coral you’ll see. And finally, don’t touch or disturb any marine life you encounter.

Some of the best dive spots in the Panhandle include the USS Oriskany, a retired aircraft carrier that was intentionally sunk to create an artificial reef, and the Joe’s Bayou Reef, a shallow reef perfect for beginners.

So grab your gear and discover the magic of the Panhandle’s underwater world.

Visit the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station

You absolutely must check out the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station while you’re here. You can learn about the fascinating marine life and ecosystems that make this area so unique. The station is dedicated to marine life research and offers a variety of educational programs that are perfect for both children and adults.

With interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and knowledgeable staff, you’ll be able to learn about the local marine life in a fun and engaging way. The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station is also home to a sea turtle conservation center, where you can learn about the efforts being made to protect these endangered creatures.

You’ll have the opportunity to see rescued sea turtles up close and learn about the conservation work being done to protect their habitat. Whether you’re interested in marine biology or simply want to learn more about the fascinating creatures that call this area home, the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station is a must-visit destination while you’re in the area.

Grayton Beach


You’ll feel the soft white sand between your toes and the salty sea breeze in your hair as you explore the tranquil beauty of Grayton Beach.

This stunning beach is located in the heart of the Grayton Beach State Park, which is known for its pristine natural beauty.

Whether you’re looking to relax, swim, or participate in beach activities, Grayton Beach has everything you need to make the most of your day.

There are plenty of accommodation options available near Grayton Beach, ranging from cozy beachfront cottages to luxurious hotels.

If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat, you can rent a cottage and enjoy the quiet serenity of the beach.

For those who prefer a more luxurious experience, there are several hotels that offer top-notch amenities and services.

Whatever your preference, Grayton Beach is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast.

Panama City Beach


Are you ready to dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf Coast and soak up some sunshine? Look no further than Panama City Beach!

This stunning destination offers endless opportunities for swimming and sunbathing on some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Don’t miss out on exploring the Pier Park Shopping District for some retail therapy or visiting the Gulf World Marine Park for an unforgettable marine life experience.

Swim and Sunbathe on the Gulf Coast

Soak up the sun and take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Gulf Coast. This stretch of coastline boasts some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the world.

Here are three items to add to your beach bag to make the most of your time on the Gulf Coast:

1. Sunscreen: The Florida sun can be intense, so it’s crucial to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Make sure to choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply every two hours for maximum protection.

2. Beach Towel: A beach towel is essential for lounging on the sand, drying off after a swim, and providing a spot to sit for a picnic lunch. Opt for a large, absorbent towel that can double as a beach blanket.

3. Cooler: Keep your drinks and snacks cool and refreshing in a cooler. Look for one with wheels for easy transport and choose a size that can accommodate all of your beach essentials.

With the right gear, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the Gulf Coast’s crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and stunning sunsets. Remember to prioritize beach safety by swimming only in designated areas and paying attention to any warning flags.

Explore the Pier Park Shopping District

Now that you’ve had your fill of sun and sand, why not take a break from the beach and explore the Pier Park Shopping District?

This popular destination is the perfect place to indulge in some retail therapy or grab a bite to eat at one of the many beachfront cafes.

You’ll find everything from trendy clothing stores to charming local boutiques, offering unique souvenirs and gifts.

Stroll down the palm-lined streets and take in the vibrant energy of this bustling shopping district.

Whether you’re looking for a new swimsuit or a chic beach bag, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.

And when you’re ready for a break, grab a refreshing drink and a bite to eat at one of the many beachfront cafes.

With so much to see and do, the Pier Park Shopping District is the perfect way to spend a day away from the beach.

Visit the Gulf World Marine Park

You’ll want to add a visit to the Gulf World Marine Park to your itinerary if you’re interested in learning about marine life and conservation efforts. This park offers an exciting and educational experience for all ages.

You can watch marine life shows and exhibits that showcase dolphins, sea lions, and tropical birds. The park also provides an opportunity for you to swim with dolphins and interact with them up close.

If you’re interested in learning about conservation efforts and marine life preservation, the Gulf World Marine Park is an excellent place to start. The park has a team of professionals dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating marine life.

They also educate the public on the importance of conservation efforts and how we can all do our part in protecting the environment. When you visit the Gulf World Marine Park, you’ll leave with a greater appreciation for marine life and a deeper understanding of how we can help preserve it.

* Dive into the world of marine life and get up close and personal with dolphins.
* Learn about conservation efforts and how we can all do our part to protect the environment.
* Leave with a deeper appreciation for marine life and a greater understanding of how we can help preserve it.

St. George Island


If you’re looking for a tranquil escape where the only sound you’ll hear is the gentle lapping of waves on the shore, St. George Island is the spot for you. This pristine barrier island offers miles of unspoiled beaches, crystal clear waters, and breathtaking sunsets. It’s the perfect place to unwind, relax, and recharge your batteries.

St. George Island has some of the top-rated accommodations in the Panhandle, from cozy beach cottages to luxurious waterfront villas. Whether you’re traveling solo, with your significant other, or with your family, you’ll find the perfect place to stay.

The best time to visit St. George Island is from March to May, when the weather is warm but not too hot, and the crowds are manageable. However, if you want to avoid the crowds altogether, you can also visit in the fall or winter, when the island is quieter but still beautiful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any dog-friendly beaches in the Panhandle region?

Looking for dog-friendly beaches in the Panhandle region? You’re in luck!

There are several beaches that welcome furry friends, but be sure to check each beach’s pet policies before you go. Some beaches require dogs to be on a leash at all times, while others have designated off-leash areas.

In addition to accommodating pets, many of these beaches offer a variety of amenities such as rental equipment, food options, and nearby attractions.

So pack up your pup and head to the beach for a day of fun in the sun!

What is the best time of year to visit the Panhandle’s beaches?

The best time to visit the Panhandle’s beaches is during the spring or fall, when the weather conditions are mild and the crowds are smaller.

Peak season, which falls during the summer months, can be quite crowded and hot, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere, it’s best to plan your trip outside of these months.

Additionally, by visiting during the off-season, you may be able to snag some great deals on accommodations and activities.

So whether you’re looking to soak up the sun or simply escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Panhandle’s beaches are the perfect destination for those seeking a little bit of freedom and relaxation.

Are there any hidden gem beaches that aren’t as popular as the ones mentioned in the article?

Looking for offbeat beaches and secret coves in the Panhandle? There are a few hidden gem beaches that aren’t as popular as the ones mentioned in the article.

If you’re looking for a quieter beach experience, check out Grayton Beach State Park. This secluded beach is perfect for those who want a more peaceful atmosphere and a chance to enjoy nature.

Another great option is St. George Island State Park. This beach has miles of undeveloped shoreline where you can find your own private spot.

For a truly unique experience, head to Shell Island. This uninhabited island is only accessible by boat, but it’s worth the trip for the crystal-clear water and untouched beaches.

These offbeat beaches and secret coves offer a chance to escape the crowds and enjoy the freedom of the open water.

Can you camp on any of the beaches in the Panhandle?

Imagine waking up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore, the sun rising over the horizon, and a gentle ocean breeze rustling through your hair.

Now, imagine experiencing all of this while camping on the beach in the Panhandle. Beach camping is a unique and thrilling way to immerse yourself in nature, and luckily, it’s allowed on some of the beaches in the Panhandle.

However, it’s important to note that permits are required for beach camping. The good news is that the process is straightforward, and the experience is well worth it.

So, pack your tent, grab your gear, and get ready to embark on a beach camping adventure that’ll leave you feeling free and connected to the natural world.

Are there any restrictions or rules regarding beach activities, such as bonfires or alcohol consumption?

When visiting the breathtaking beaches in the Panhandle, it’s important to keep beach safety and local ordinances in mind.

Many beaches have restrictions on activities such as bonfires and alcohol consumption, so be sure to check the local rules before planning your beach day.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the environmental impact and beach preservation.

Remember to properly dispose of trash, avoid disturbing wildlife, and follow all posted rules and regulations.

By being mindful of these factors, you can enjoy the beauty of the Panhandle’s beaches while also preserving them for future generations to come.


Now that you’ve discovered the seven best beaches in the panhandle, it’s time to pack your bags and hit the sand. Each of these coastal gems offers a unique experience. From the pristine sands of Gulf Islands National Seashore to the bustling boardwalk of Panama City Beach.

But did you know that Florida’s beaches are under threat? According to a recent study by the Environmental Working Group, Florida has the third-highest number of beaches with unsafe levels of pollution in the United States. This statistic is alarming and should serve as a wake-up call to take action to protect our beaches and oceans.

So, as you plan your trip to the panhandle, consider taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint and minimize your impact on the environment. And remember, the beauty of these beaches is not just in their stunning scenery, but also in their importance to the ecosystem and the creatures that call them home.

Let’s work together to preserve these natural wonders for generations to come.