Are you thinking of visiting the Florida Panhandle but not sure what things to do to make this a trip to remember?
Well, I don’t want your beach plans to flip-flop!
Let The Florida Hipster Blog seas the day!
I’ve got 15 of the most amazing things to do in the Florida Panhandle so all you have to do is decide which will be first!
The Florida Panhandle is located in the northwest part of the Sunshine State running from Pensacola’s southeast all along to the gorgeous Cedar Key.
Famous for its miles of sugar white sand beaches and paradise emerald waters, it’s a playground of beach towns, natural beauty, history, and fun.
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Why We Love The Florida Panhandle
There are so many hidden gems within the Florida Panhandle! But some of my favorite things to do in Florida and places to visit for that much-needed escape are:
- Cape San Blas
- Fort Walton Beach
- Panama City Beach
- Wakulla Springs
- St. George’s Island
It’s bad manners to keep a vacation waiting, so let’s turn that vacation mode on!
1. Cape San Blas
Cape San Blas is located out on Florida’s Forgotten Coast and is the perfect destination to forget about the stresses of life.
It’s all about serenity and peace here with laid-back beach vibes and quiet nature.
Rent a bike and explore the Loggerhead Bike trail, wade out into the bay and catch some scallops, or have fun crabbing at night.
Why Cape San Blas is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
Take advantage of Cape San Blas being one of the few places where you can ride horses right on the beach.
Riding out on the white sand beaches with the unreal blue waters beside you is by far one of the best things to do in the Florida Panhandle. Especially if you head out at sunrise or sunset.
Home to Florida State University (FSU) and Florida’s State Capital, Tallahassee is a city bursting with passion and pride.
You can’t possibly visit Tallahassee and not catch a game at FSU. The energy and spirit are contagious.
And if you’re there during the week then find out if you have what it takes to be a Rattler (our Editor’s Alumni) and get a tour of the FAMU campus.
Why Tallahassee is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
Rolling hills, parks, and gardens, it isn’t just an urban getaway. Tour the 24 acres of Cascades Park.
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park is a place to soak up Florida’s natural beauty especially from January to April when the flowers are in full bloom.
You can also explore the John G. Riley Center & Museum for African American History & Culture.
Kayaking, miles of trails, perfect lakes for paddle-boarding, beautiful winding paths, it’s an oasis!
3. Fort Walton Beach
The emerald green and teal waters of Fort Walton Beach remind you exactly why it’s called Florida’s Emerald Coast. It is truly breathtaking!
Why Fort Walton Beach is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
Famous for its perfect sandy beach, there’s more to Fort Walton Beach than sunny days at the shore especially if you love a little history.
The Airforce Armament Museum is full of historic plane after plane, exhibits, missiles, and rockets, and it’s free! You will find it just a few miles outside of town.
Known as The City of Southern Charm, Mariana is home to the Florida Cavern State Park and its labyrinth of underground rooms.
It’s one of the top things to do in Florida as it’s the only state park of this kind in all of Florida!
Cavern tours aren’t available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but there is still plenty to do.
From astronomy nights, canoe rentals, swimming, biking, and hiking you can still enjoy the great Florida outdoors!
Why Marianna is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
The town lives up to its name with its quaint and charming vibes. Stop into Southern Craft Creamy for some southern hospitality.
Stay chill with a scoop of Tupelo Honey or if the season’s right a scoop of candied bacon!
If you are heading here in June then it’s time for The Panhandle Watermelon Festival in nearby Chipley, where everyone is losing their rind for the free music festival.
And of course, all things melons!
Make your way to the westernmost city in Florida’s Panhandle and visit the city coined the “Festival City of the South”.
Why Pensacola is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
One of the most loved things to do in Florida is the Blue Angels Air Shows when epic performances take place up in the sky above their home turf.
Not once but twice, with two different shows in the year.
Needless to say, set up your home base for the show early everyone loves to see the Blue Angels take to the skies.
Best Things to Do in Pensacola, Florida
- Mardi Gras in February
- Pensacola Crawfish Festival and Interstate Mullet Toss in April
- Bands on the Beach April through November
- Pensacola Seafood Festival in September
- Gulf Coast Summer Fest Jazz Edition and Pensacola Interstate Fair in October
- Foo Foo Festival in November
- Pensacola Winterfest in December
Welcome to “Florida’s friendliest small town“ just northwest of Tallahassee.
This one is pronounced a little bit differently than the Havana you are thinking of, it’s Hay-vana here.
Perfect for antique lovers and those with a spark for history, Havana is full of charming old homes, boutiques, and shops.
Why Havana is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
The Planters Exchange is an absolute must. An antique mall within a designated National Historic Landmark, even if you aren’t looking to shop it’s a fun outing through time.
Havana is known as “a very different Florida”.
A place to stroll down Main Street and unwind in the quaint vibes of small-town Florida with a little retail therapy and cozy café treats.
Heroes & Villains Sweets & Treats is a fun-themed sweets shop with cotton candy burritos, root beer floats, and tonnes of delish treats.
7. DeFuniak Springs
DeFuniak Springs is a small town but with big character taking you back to the feels of Old Florida.
Why DeFuniak is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
Chautauqua Vineyards & Winery is the ultimate place to wine down your days with their wine tastings and vineyard. And the best part is the free wine samples daily!
As they say…it’s wine o’clock somewhere!
There’s also a little oasis of peace amongst the village at Lake Stanley Park and a great place to picnic and cool off in the clear waters.
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8. Panama City Beach
If you are looking for picture-perfect days at the beach, then Panama City Beach it is!
Why Panama City Beach is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
This resort vacation town is centered around the water and all things fun to keep your spirit young.
Be sure to get plenty of sleep before this trip because Panama City Beach has some of the best things to do in the Florida Panhandle!
Best Things to Do in Panama City Beach, Florida
- Stroll through Pier Park to eat, shop, hop on some rides, or catch an IMAX
- Wander out onto the long Russell-Fields Pier to search for dolphins or watch the sunset
- Get a wine slushie to go at Panama City Beach Winery (it’s right across from the beach)!!
Turn back time and fall back into the days of yesteryear in Quincy. If you love the North Florida Arts Trail, then add Quincy to your list of things to do in Florida.
Why Quincy is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
Victorian homes make you feel like you are in a different era in the Florida Panhandle. And downtown square and the olden drugstore add just the right touch!
Gadsden Arts Center & Museum has traveling exhibits and is full of Southern Vernacular Art. Feeling creative? Then drop into the free art zone, and discover your inner artist within their studio.
Don’t worry beach happy are the vibes in Destin.
Henderson Beach State Park is a must with its sand dunes and clear waters. But get there early it is one of the favorite and famous beaches of Destin.
Why Destin is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
How often can you go for something to eat and go gator-watching?
Well, if you eat at Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar & Grill, you can for free. Gator Beach is part of the restaurant!
Want to up your beach skills, try your hand at some sandcastle-building lessons. But some of the best fun is off the beach, and on the water…on a tiki bar.
It’s party time on this tiki sunset cruise and you may even get to see some dolphins.
11. Wakulla Springs
South of Tallahassee about 14 miles is Wakulla Springs, with unspoiled land it’s a great place for those wanting to get away and into nature.
Why Wakulla Springs is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
The freshwater springs of Wakulla Springs State Park are known to be some of the deepest and largest and full of wildlife.
Glass bottom boat tours are one of the best ways to get up close and personal with the beauty of it all.
If you are a fan of the early Tarzan movies, then you may just recognize the place. Some of the filming took place right here!
12. Port Saint Joe
Quoted as the “small town with a big heart” out on the Forgotten Coast, Port Saint Joe is a retreat for some relaxation.
Why Port Saint Joe is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
Port Saint Joe lets you unplug from the hustle and bustle and is a break from the busy beach towns.
Kayaking into the bay or out paddle-boarding, biking the trails, and bonfires at the beach. Kick back and unwind with some beer and oysters at Indian Pass Raw Bar or catch some karaoke and live music.
13. St. George’s Island
For those that love quiet beaches and retreating into nature, St. George’s Island is the getaway for you.
With sea breezes and serenity, it is a Florida Panhandle hidden secret that is worth the trip! Bring all your besties and your pets, they are invited too!
Why St. George’s Island is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
Set aside time for St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, there are thousands of acres to explore in its untouched sanctuary of birds and wildlife.
If you still have energy, then make your way to the top of the lighthouse for some epic 360 views.
Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park is another unspoiled escape to recharge in nature and find your Zen.
14. St. Marks
This tiny town is one of Florida’s most historic towns so if you love history make your way to the end of Woodville Highway.
Why St. Marks is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
The second oldest lighthouse station in Florida is here in St. Marks and is picture-perfect to capture some amazing waterfront photos.
San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park museum is great for history buffs where you can see some ancient archeological finds.
The park has no entrance free and the museum is only $2 to enter!
Why Apalachicola is One of the Most Amazing Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
I love the waterfront restaurants with freshly caught seafood and all the sweet treats at Apalachicola Chocolate & Coffee Company.
Especially the popping chocolate!Vintage treasure hunting in the antique shop and traveling back through time at John Gorrie Museum.
It is a getaway fit for those that want to take things a bit slower and fall in love with the simple things in life again.
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My Final Thoughts on the Best Things to Do in the Florida Panhandle
Wow! What a list!!!
There you have it. You officially know some of the best things to do in the Florida Panhandle for every type of visitor. Now it’s your turn…
What’s one of your favorite things to do in this historic Florida town? Let me know on my Instagram Page!
Until next time, Happy Florida Travels!
Some Photos Courtesy of Canva.com