Pensacola vs. Panama Beach, Florida

Old Apr 7th, 2010, 02:31 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 38
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pensacola vs. Panama Beach, Florida

DH and I are doing a road trip from Calif. to Fla. and back in September...after Labor Day. Will have a 2 or 3 days to enjoy the beach and do a little sightseeing in the Pan Handle of Fla. Anyone recommend Pensacola over Panama Beach or vise versa? Or is there a better idea?
We are active 60's...like walking, history, water, good food, pubs, nature.. Any suggestions on best way to use our time? And.....reasonable but decent accomodations not far or on the beach.
Thanks!
Bpries is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2010, 02:40 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,965
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We were in Pensacola Beach recently. We found it much more pleasing than Panama Beach, which is more like Myrtle Beach.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn, with a balcony right on the beach. It was very nice--cheerful breakfast room, two pools, etc. For dinner we preferred nearby Flounder's Chowder House to the less convenient Peg Leg Pete's, which, for some reason we couldn't figure out, is a big local favorite.

We also liked Water Street Inn in Apalachicola.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2010, 03:14 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 38
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Happy Trails. Have made note of that. Thought maybe Pensacola was less "commercial" than Panama Beach. Is Water Street Inn a restaurant or place to stay?
Bpries is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2010, 03:59 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 83,029
Received 46 Likes on 17 Posts
Pensacola is much less commercial than PCB. Book something for Pensacola Beach (vs Pensacola).

If the Water Street Inn is in Apalachicola, then it's a long way from Pensacola. But, IF you stay there, be sure to eat at www.indianpassrawbar.com
starrs is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2010, 05:14 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,965
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Water Street Inn is a place to stay. We had a beautiful two-bedroom, two-bath unit with on the water for a very reasonable rate. Loved the place. Went to the local grocery store for wine, roast chicken, etc. and had a delightful dinner on our beautiful screened porch. Enjoy.

HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2010, 05:30 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 83,029
Received 46 Likes on 17 Posts
HTTY, are you talking about the Water Street Hotel in Apalachicola -
http://www.waterstreethotel.com/

or is there a Water Street Inn in Pensacola?

Apalachicola is 159 miles from Pensacola.
The Indian Pass Raw Bar is 18 miles from Apalachicola.
starrs is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2010, 07:38 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,666
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
HTTY is talking about Apalachicola (see first post above). Bpries, I would also recommend Pensacola Beach over Panama City. Is that as far into Florida as you will go, or are you making this a stop on your way home from somewhere else?
Barbara_in_FL is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2010, 07:54 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,535
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You desire to see historic things is another reason to choose Pensacola Beach. You can visit Fort Pickens, which dates from 1834 and is on the far western end of Santa Rosa Island. A Civil War skirmish took place there in 1861, and Geronimo was held prisoner there in 1886.

Downtown Pensacola (on the mainland) has several interesting museums related to the history of the area as well as a couple of districts with historic houses and Saint Michael's Cemetery, with graves dating back to the late 1700's. You might want to spend at least part of a day "in town".
Cranachin is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2010, 07:44 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,965
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I should add that using information we got from Cranachin, we enjoyed a scenic drive along the Gulf: http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-of-mexico.cfm

HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2010, 07:59 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,477
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You might also consider staying at the beaches between Pensacola and Panama City--east of Destin. They are referred to as the Beaches of 30A--Grayton, Seaside, Seagrove--beautiful beaches, great bike trail. They are probably our favorite beaches in the continental US. September is a great time to visit unless there is a hurricane. We have visited several times in October.
LindainOhio is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2010, 08:57 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 720
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Let me begin by saying I live at Pensacola Beach so my opinion is biased. But for what you like, I'd pick P'cola Bch over Panama City Bch even if I didn't live here.

As others have already mentioned, we have a lot of history for you to enjoy. Pensacola proudly calls itself "America's First Place City" because it was settled by Don Tristan de Luna 6 years before St. Augustine. Unfortunately for him and the hundreds of people who came with him in 11 ships, a hurricane blew through the area within months of their arrival. With 7 of his ships on the bottom of the Bay, and the local natives not being overly welcoming, de Luna limped back to Spain leaving behind a settlement which disappeared within 3 years. Just west of the core area of the beach, heading toward Ft. Pickens, is a white cross atop what's left of a once massive dune. It commemorates de Luna's landing.

In addition to the fort at Ft. Pickens there are old gun batteries and nature trails to walk.

If you're here on a Tuesday night, there's a free concert at the Gulfside pavilion in the core area. The core is very walker friendly, especially in September when it's not so hot.

I'm with HTTY regarding Peg Legs and I live within a block and a half of the place. Frequently during the summer the cars for his customers are parked all the way down past my house. His grouper nuggets lunch basket is quite tasty but not worth waiting an hour or more for. The same guy owns Sidelines and, IMHO, the food is better - especially the burgers and nachos.

I also agree with taking a day to cross the bridges and check-out Pensacola. In addition to the things Cranachin mentioned, there's the Museum of Naval Aviation on the base west of town. It's free - although there's a charge for the IMAX if you want to do that. There's also a great old lighthouse on the base. It's still functional and is open for tours. Including night tours at the full moon and on other "random" occasions.

As for food, in addition to what's already been mentioned - if you're willing to cross back into Gulf Breeze (little town between the Island and Pensacola) there's a great Greek restaurant called Aegean Breeze. Some of the freshest seafood around, and you don't have to get it "Greek-style" if you want it some other way. Stavros and Tina, the owners, are very accommodating.

Also in Gulf Breeze, in the Sea Shell shopping center (Publix complex), is a great place called Shan Kishi. My sushi loving husband swears it's some of the best he's ever had. They also have hibachi table items you can order without actually sitting at the hibachi tables, as well as other great Japanese dishes. Since I don't care for sushi, I always order from one of the other menus have never been disappointed. Looks like a little hole-in-the-wall place from the outside. But it's much bigger than one expects and very nicely done inside.

September is usually a great time here. The majority of the tourists have gone because school has started. The water is still really warm. The sun is heading back southward so we get some beautiful sunsets over the Gulf. A good place to sit and have a drink overlooking the Gulf and watch the sunset is Crabs Restaurant on the core boardwalk. Just don't, IMHO and that of everyone I know and trust, eat there. Over-priced, mediocre food is the general consensus.

If you do go into Pensacola for the day, there are some good places to eat, but since this has already become a novelette, I'll leave those for a later post if you're interested.

Hope you do check us out. I love it here. (Can you tell?) 8-)

Fran
Floridafran is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2010, 09:01 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 454
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with the recommendations of Pensacola Beach. We vacationed there in 2006 and loved it. Not a lot of traffic compared to Panama Beach/Destin/Fort Walton Beach areas. Just a much calmer, more restful feel to it. I want to go back sometime...
kansasmom is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2010, 11:33 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 38
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
WOW! thanks so much....lots of good info. Think you all made up my mind for me. Pensacola it is!
That will be our last stop, going East, before we head back west to Calif.. So, No. We won't be headed any further into Fla. this time.
Florida Fran: Always good to hear what "locals" have to say...though bias (maybe) but great source of what's be be seen, done, eaten and looked at. Always interested in good food and drink places, as well as reasonable/nice accomodations.
Thanks again to all for great input. Will let you know how it goes.
Bpries is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2010, 08:32 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,535
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
HTTY--Glad you had a good time on your trip!

BPries--Hope you have a wonderful trip as well. As has been said, you are going at a great time to visit.
Cranachin is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 07:02 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You are planning on the Florida panhandle but if you are in the area of Orange Beach Alabama there are great hotels on the beach. It is an area where you drive for 5 or 10 minutes and there are numberous restaurants, stores etc. We stayed there last year and really liked that area.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 10:52 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 38
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Is Orange Beach less "built up" than Pensacola Beach? What would you say it's attraction over Pensacola Beach would be.
Looks doable, since we will be coming generally from the New Orleans area.
Bpries is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 04:10 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 720
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wasn't going to comment about Orange Beach vs. Pensacola Beach, but since you asked... The answer to your question is a resounding "No.". Just the opposite. Every time a new condo or hotel is approved out here on the Island locals say, "If this keeps up one day we're going to look just like Orange Beach." and they don't mean that as a good thing.

I think B&B's comment that you can drive for 5 or 10 minutes and there are numerous restaurants, stores, etc. pretty well sums up the major difference.

Yes, at Orange Bch you'll have a lot more choices. At P'cola Bch you'll have more open, accessible beach areas. Try as they will the Santa Rosa Island Authority and the County haven't managed to block the view of the Gulf completely. Yet. Give them a few more years and the core areas will be wall-to-wall. Thank heavens we have miles of protected National Seashore at both ends.

Based on your original post and your desire for a "less commercial" area, I think you'll find Pensacola Beach will fit that better than Orange Beach would.

There's a beautiful drive between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach (to the East). After you get out of the core and residential area heading east, you have several (12 or so) miles of road that parallels the Gulf, through protected land, until you reach Navarre Beach. Heading West, toward Ft. Pickens, you do the same for about 9 miles.
Floridafran is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
DawnandPeter
United States
5
Sep 9th, 2013 02:57 AM
JES
United States
16
Mar 5th, 2012 07:31 AM
2kb
United States
8
Nov 28th, 2009 08:30 AM
John_Paul
United States
6
Aug 28th, 2009 03:44 PM
mscarls
United States
9
Jun 14th, 2006 01:14 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -