16 Interesting facts You must know about the Florida Emerald Coast Panhandle!

Emerald Coast

1. The Panhandle Is The Deep South, And It Could Be The 51st State If It Really Wanted

It’s a paradox, but in Florida, the farther north you travel the more Southern it becomes. And when you get to the Panhandle, you’ve reached the Deep South. It’s not the place you see on the news that makes you scared of neighborhood watchmen, texting in the movie theater and the earth suddenly opening up and swallowing you whole. It’s more like Alabama and Georgia, but there’s still something inexplicably Florida about it.

2. Think Twice Before Criticizing The Seminoles

Tallahassee is home to the Florida State Seminoles, the college football team of choice in the Panhandle. “Go Noles!” is a common battle cry heard in the region, but “War Eagle,” “Roll Tide” and “Go Dawgs” are also heard from the Alabama and Georgia tourists and transplants.

3. It’s Home To The Best Beaches In America.

Grayton Beach is called as one of the best Panhandle beaches!

4. The Best Songwriters In The World Come To Town Each January

Every MLK weekend, famous and up-and-coming singer/songwriters converge on the Panhandle for the 30A Songwriters Festival. The fest takes place at multiple intimate and larger venues along Scenic Highway 30A, allowing fans an up close encounter with their favorite artists. Past performers have included Suzanna Hoffs of the Bangles, Indigo Girls, Matthew Sweet and John Oates of Hall and Oates fame.

6. People Come From All Over For The Florida Seafood Festival

In October, Panhandle hosts the Florida Seafood Festival. It’s Florida’s oldest maritime event and draws upwards hundreds of thousands of people from around the nation and the globe each year. The area is famous for its oysters, a focal point of this lively fest right on the water near downtown.

7. There Are Two Coasts, And They’re As Different As Night And Day

Panama City Beach and points west are generally referred to as the Emerald Coast. Everything east of PCB is called the Forgotten Coast. The only thing they have in common are the sugar-white sand beaches. The Emerald Coast sports high rise condos fronting crowded beaches, gated and non-gated master-planned communities and a pulsating nightlife. The Forgotten Coast has a much more laid back vibe where the focus is on nature and local culture

8. Yes, It’s Going To Rain

This is still Florida. Always plan on encountering a fast rain shower. It rains quickly and unexpectedly here, even when it’s sunny out. Keep a rain slicker or umbrella handy, or wear a swimsuit as underwear.

9. Y’alls Is A Word Here

As in, “Where is y’alls beach house at?”

10. Let’s Not Forget The Gators

Gator sightings are rare, but there are still plenty of them in the lakes, swamps and waterways of the Panhandle. South Florida has millions of alligators, but the Panhandle only has thousands. They aren’t considered a nuisance animal here like further south, so no worries about an alligator welcome wagon on your back patio.

11. The Panhandle’s Gone From The Redneck Riviera To The Birthplace Of New Urbanism

The beaches of the Emerald Coast have been called the Redneck Riviera for decades, and there’s still an element of that in spots, but the area has blossomed culturally in a major way. The master-planned community of Seaside made its successful debut in the early 1980s, and lots imitators have followed, mostly along county highway 30A. FYI: “30A” is a tag that’s also an indicator of the lifestyle there.

12. There’s More Forestland And Farmland Than Beach

The Panhandle is a mostly rural area where you’ll encounter plenty of good ol’ boys and girls. At the marina docks, they’re ready to take you out in the Gulf on a charter cruise. Further inland, they harvest timber and cotton and Tupelo honey, among other things.

13. People From The Panhandle Are Serious About Protecting Sea Turtles

Local, state and federal authorities are adamant about protecting sea turtles and their nests on the beaches. Learn turtle etiquette when you’re at the beach, or you might wind up paying a hefty fine. Between May and October—the nesting season—local non-profit sea turtle organizations such as the South Walton Turtle Watch and the Gulf County Turtle Patrol need volunteers to help monitor the beaches and protect the nests. It’s exciting as you patrol the beach early in the morning, marking off nests and reporting any activity such as the awesome sight of fresh hatchling tracks heading into the surf.

14.The World’s Greatest Precision Flight Squadron Is Stationed Here

That would be the Blue Angels, who are based out of the naval air station (NAS) in Pensacola. It’s free to watch their practice shows, which only occur a few times a year because the squad keeps a busy touring schedule. Locals know the best place to see the practice shows is from a boat on the bay near the NAS.

15. The Coastal Dune Lakes In The Panhandle Are A Gorgeous Phenomenon

Along 30A there are a series of small lakes called coastal dune lakes. These types of lakes occasionally cut channels through the beach to connect with the sea, only to close themselves off again. This phenomenon only happens in a few places on earth.

16. The Panhandle Has The Most Beautiful Part Of The National Seashore

Pensacola is home to the easternmost sections of the Gulf Islands National Seashore that stretches from Mississippi to the Panhandle in a string of barrier islands. If you want to be all alone on pristine stretch of sand head to the Perdido Key and Santa Rosa Island units of the national seashore.

Some information was taken from movingtofloridapanhandle.com
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