While travelling, do you gravitate towards adrenaline-inducing activities? Or are you drawn to white-sand beaches and turquoise water? No need to compromise; you can experience the best of both worlds in northwest Florida, the Sunshine State! I had the chance to test out the incredible activities featured in the new episodes of Wanderlust: Florida. The series airs on The Weather Network starting February 20. While you wait, I’ll show you how to discover this surprising side of Florida for yourself. Prepare to be dazzled by the most pristine white sand beaches you’ve ever seen. There’s no Caribbean envy here. First stop: Panama City Beach.
What activities can you do in Panama City Beach, Florida?
Take an unforgettable helicopter ride
Nothing is more exciting than flying over the translucent waters of the Emerald Coast! Wait until you see the views in Wanderlust: Florida, or treat yourself to the in-person experience offered by Panhandle Helicopters. Make sure not to blink during your ride! You won’t want to miss a moment of it! As the owner JR Hott points out in the series, I even got to see a double layer of sunshine.
The water is so clear that there is a good chance of seeing dolphins below. Prepare to feel like a bonafide celebrity as you fly over one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Nomadic Tip: Look up the sunset time online and book your helicopter trip just before. Doing so will allow you to capture those magical last rays of sunlight by air.
Explore Shell Island
A few minutes by boat from Panama City Beach awaits a natural paradise known as Shell Island, a barrier island approximately 7 miles long. The island stretches between St. Andrew’s Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. As soon as you approach the island, you’ll begin to notice its calm waters and many dunes. If Panama City Beach has a festive feel, you’ll find quite the opposite here: a serene atmosphere reigns. If you love nature, you’ll appreciate the many birds and other creatures that inhabit the island. Go on an island adventure in explorer mode and bring your binoculars!
Nomadic Tip: There are no restaurants or trash cans on the island, so make sure to pack some snacks and be a responsible traveller who leaves no trace behind.
Rent a Jet-Ski
If you are looking for thrills, rent a Jet-Ski with Adventures at Sea. The stars of Wanderlust: Florida are not the only ones that can break waves at full speed. By following your experienced guide, you can learn to jump waves, do 360 degree turns and safely approach dolphins. Or you can simply putter at your own pace in the sun, admiring the coastal scenery and tropical water.
Watch the dolphins
Go into marine safari mode and take a boat trip with Adventures at Sea to admire the dolphins. Panama City Beach and its waters are home to several groups of bottlenose dolphins. These curious creatures are always fun to observe in the wild. Your captain will expertly guide your boat towards the dolphins, and you’ll be able to see them and even interact with them in their natural habitat. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a baby dolphin, the cutest thing in the world!
Nomadic Tip: If you’re feeling adventurous, put on a snorkel mask and jump into the water when dolphins are nearby.
If you love all-year-round warm weather and sand as white as sugar, you’ll want to add Panama City Beach and its adventure activities to your bucket list!
Want more inspiration from off-the-beaten-track destinations in Florida?
- This breathtaking four-part docuseries will blow your mind with stories of unique Northwest Florida destinations narrated by the people who live there. Don’t miss this new series on The Weather Network!
You can also plan your next trip via: