A Traveler’s Guide to The Emerald Coast, Florida

The Emerald Coast of Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations for individuals, families, and retirees.

The Emerald Coast is used to refer to a stretch of the Gulf of Mexico that includes approximately 100 miles. It goes through Escambia County, Bay County, Walton County, Santa Rosa County, and Okaloosa County. Some of the most popular beaches in this area include Destin Beach, Fort Walton Beach, and Panama City Beach. 

Because the Emerald Coast is located on the panhandle of Florida, it provides travelers with access to the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico. If you are looking for a fun place to visit all year round, you should consider spending some time on the Emerald Coast.

A History of The Emerald Coast

The Emerald Coast has always been a popular beach destination for travelers, but the area surged in popularity after the end of World War II. 

Several local newspapers started referring to the area as the “Playground of the Gulf Coast,” which contributed to its popularity. In addition, there were several amusement parks in the area, including the Miracle Strip Amusement Park, which added even more attractions for people to enjoy during their visit to the area. 

The area was not referred to as the Emerald Coast until the 1980s. There was a competition to come up with a new name for the area, and the term “Emerald Coast” was the winner. Since that time, the stretch of Florida from Panama City Beach to Pensacola Beach has always been referred to as the Emerald Coast.

Popular Places To Visit During Your Visit to the Emerald Coast

If you are planning on visiting the Emerald Coast this summer, there are several amazing destinations you need to visit. They include:

1. St. Andrews State Park

Photo Credit: Rob Hainer

Without a doubt, one of the best places you need to visit during your time on the Emerald Coast is St. Andrews State Park. This is an absolutely gorgeous barrier island that has plenty of activities for nature enthusiasts. 

Some people have even dubbed this area the best beach in America. 

During your visit to St. Andrews State Park, you should consider going fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. In addition, this is a great location to go camping because there are plenty of overnight campsites available. Of course, do not forget to go for a dip in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico!

2. Navarre Beach

Photo Credit: Zeeonenonly

Navarre Beach is one of the largest beaches on the Emerald Coast. It stretches for more than 12 miles, and it is known for its beautiful white sand. It is a bit underrated regarding the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and you will certainly not be disappointed.

There are beautiful emerald waters in which you can swim, there are plenty of opportunities to fish on one of the longest beach piers in the area, and don’t hesitate to go for a bike ride on one of the bike paths in the area. You might even be able to find some fresh seafood if you swing by the local pier.

3. Shell Island

Photo Credit: J.K.Photography.FL

Shell Island is a perfect location for people who are looking for an undeveloped stretch of beach to explore. As you relax at the seaside, take in the lush vegetation that goes on for miles. This paradise also provides you with access to a shuttle that will take you to a local state park. 

This is a great location to go snorkeling and sunbathing, and of course, you should take advantage of the opportunity to hunt for some amazing seashells on the sand. The water is always warm, so don’t hesitate to wade out into the ocean a bit. There is nothing like a bit of salt water to help you relax during your vacation.

4. Perdido Key

Photo Credit: Cheri Alguire

If you go all the way to the northwestern edge of Florida, you will find Perdido Key. It is one of the smallest beaches in the area, but it is definitely worth exploring. You will see lots of white sand dunes, an endless expanse of Gulf water, and stunning views that you simply cannot find anywhere else. 

If you are looking for a location that will absolutely melt your stress away, this is the place for you.

 You can explore the shoreline a bit, go crabbing, and try your hand at fishing. Don’t forget to kick back and relax on the sand, as this is one of the best locations to go sunbathing as well. If you are looking for a bit of privacy, you should consider checking out this beach.

5. Santa Rosa Beach

Photo Credit: Rotorhead 30A Productions

If you are looking for a beach that has a lot of clear blue water, which appears to blur in with the background of the blue sky, you should swing by Santa Rosa Beach. 

This is the perfect place for you to explore the summer. You can find it between Panama City and Pensacola. 

There are people who come to this beach from all over the world, and you can sit back and watch the sunset in the evening. You don’t have to worry about being surrounded by a bunch of other tourists, and you can take advantage of everything the local area has to offer.

6. Grayton Beach State Park

Photo Credit: Joy Jahandar

If you are looking for a beach that provides a bit more privacy, you may want to check out Grayton Beach State Park. This is a beautiful beach that is known for its green waters, which is why a lot of people call this area the Emerald Coast.

 There are also lots of outdoor adventures available. If you leave the coastal area, you can check out some dune lakes, go kayaking, check out some of the hiking trails, and go biking. In addition, there are a lot of old homes in the area, so don’t hesitate to check out some of the side streets, where a lot of the art galleries tend to hide.

7. Miramar Beach

Photo Credit: Norm Lane

Miramar Beach is known for its peace and quiet. You can enjoy some beautiful beach views along with some charming seafood restaurants that are hidden and tucked away in some of the coastal villages. During the summer, you may get to enjoy some live music as well. 

If you visit Miramar Beach, you can rent a jet ski, go parasailing, and try your hand at paddle boarding. If you get to know some of the local fishermen, you might get to enjoy some fresh seafood as well!

8. Camp Helen State Park

Photo Credit: LiliePhoto

Along with Henderson Beach State Park, camp Helen state park is one of the most popular parks in the area. It is a very popular weekend excursion, and there is plenty to do. It is situated near one of the largest coastal dune lakes in the state, and it borders the Gulf of Mexico. 

You can comb the beaches, go for a hike, and try some fishing. There is always something to do in the local park, but don’t forget to bring some sunscreen with you as well!

Get Ready for a Fun Summer Vacation on Florida’s Emerald Coast

These are a few of the top places to explore during your visit to The Emerald Coast on Florida’s panhandle. There is nothing quite like the white sand beaches of northwest Florida, and you can always go for a dip in the clear waters in this part of Florida. Go ahead and plan your next getaway today, we’re sure you’re going to love it here!

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