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Stunning Journey Through the Panhandle of Florida Cities and Towns

Over 30 Charming Towns in the Panhandle of Florida

panhandle of florida cities and towns
Scenes like this are common in the Panhandle of Florida. There are numerous springs in the middle of forests.

Stretching along the northwestern coastline of Florida, the Panhandle is renowned for its stunning beaches, clear emerald waters, and rich natural beauty. This region encompasses a diverse array of landscapes, from the white sandy beaches of Destin and Panama City Beach to the serene coastal dune lakes of South Walton.

Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the Panhandle of Florida cities and towns to enjoy activities like swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking in its untouched coastal waters, while nature lovers can explore the area’s lush forests, rolling hills, and protected wildlife habitats.

With its mild climate, scenic landscapes, and abundant recreational opportunities, the Panhandle offers a quintessential Gulf Coast experience for visitors seeking relaxation, adventure, and natural splendor.

In addition to its natural attractions, the Panhandle boasts a rich cultural heritage and vibrant communities that showcase the region’s history and traditions. Charming towns like Seaside and Apalachicola feature quaint downtown areas with boutique shops, art galleries, and locally-owned restaurants serving fresh seafood and Southern cuisine.

Historic landmarks such as Fort Pickens offer glimpses into the area’s past, while cultural events and festivals celebrate the diverse heritage of the Panhandle’s residents.

Whether exploring the scenic coastline, indulging in local cuisine, or discovering the area’s cultural treasures, visitors to the Panhandle are sure to find a wealth of experiences that capture the essence of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Florida Travel blog is presenting the Panhandle of Florida Cities and Towns in three parts:

  1. The Waterfront Coastal Cities and Towns of the Panhandle
  2. Other Well Know Cities and Towns of the Panhandle of Florida
  3. The County Seats of the Counties in the Panhandle

The history, southern culture, and natural beauty of the area are highlighted.

cities and towns in the panhandle of florida - fishing boats
Most towns along the eastern part of the Panhandle are known for small commercial fishing fleets that bring in grouper, snapper, stone crabs and blue crabs. You can tell the are commercial Florida boats by the big black numbers on the boats.

The Waterfront Coastal Towns of the Panhandle of Florida

The Panhandle region of Florida boasts a string of picturesque coastal cities and towns along the Gulf of Mexico, each offering its own unique charm and attractions.

We have listed the panhandle of Florida cities and towns in order from east to west in the order of potential travel.

  1. St. Marks:. St. Marks is known for its wildlife refuge and historic lighthouse, while it provides a quiet coastal retreat with opportunities for fishing, birdwatching, and exploring the nearby marshes.
  2. Panacea: Tucked away along the Big Bend Scenic Highway, a hidden gem known for its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and tranquil atmosphere. Visitors can explore nearby St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, go birdwatching at Bald Point State Park, or enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants overlooking Ochlockonee Bay.
  3. Carrabelle: Located along
    cities in the panhandle - carrabelle Harrys Bar
    No trip through Carrabelle would be complete without stopping at Harry’s Bar. We believe it is the best dive bar in Florida!
    the scenic Forgotten Coast, Carrabelle is a quaint coastal community known for its unspoiled beaches, laid-back vibe, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Visitors can fish off the Carrabelle River Bridge, explore the nearby James Island State Park, or learn about local history at the Camp Gordon Johnston WWII Museum.
  4. Eastpoint: Located on the eastern end of Apalachicola Bay, Eastpoint is a small fishing community known for its oyster industry. Visitors can enjoy fresh seafood, explore the George Island State Park, or take a boat tour to discover the bay’s aquatic ecosystems.
  5. St. George Island: St. George Island, located off Florida’s Panhandle is a serene barrier island renowned for its untouched beauty, pure white sand beaches, and abundant wildlife. Visitors can enjoy activities like swimming, fishing, birdwatching, and shell collecting, while its laid-back atmosphere and stunning sunsets make it an ideal retreat for relaxation and outdoor adventures. This is one of our favorite places to go of all the Panhandle of Florida cities and towns.
  6. Apalachicola: This historic fishing town is
    cities and towns in the panhandle of Florida
    The lighthouse at St. George Island is an attraction but the beaches are impeccable – uncrowded and clear water.
    renowned for its charming waterfront, fresh seafood, and rich maritime heritage. Visitors can explore the historic downtown district, take a scenic boat tour of the Apalachicola River, or visit the Apalachicola Maritime Museum to learn about the area’s fishing and oystering traditions. Apalachicola is one of our favorite towns in the Florida Panhandle.
  7. Cape San Blas: Cape San Blas, Florida, is a pristine barrier peninsula along the Gulf of Mexico known for its sugar-white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and natural beauty. It offers a serene escape with opportunities for swimming, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing in its unspoiled coastal environment, making it a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts.
  8. Port St. Joe: Located on Joseph Bay, Port St. Joe is a charming coastal town known for its scenic beauty, historic architecture, and outdoor adventures. Visitors can explore the downtown area’s shops and galleries, relax at Frank Pate Park overlooking the bay, or take a boat tour to explore the area’s coastal ecosystems and wildlife.
  9. Mexico Beach: This quiet beach town offers pristine white sand beaches, clear blue waters, and a relaxed atmosphere. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, or go fishing along the Gulf Coast, explore the nearby Mexico Beach Artificial Reef, or enjoy fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants overlooking the Gulf.
  10. Panama City: Panama City, Florida, is a vibrant coastal city along the Gulf of Mexico known for its beautiful beaches, bustling waterfront, and family-friendly attractions. Visitors can enjoy activities like sunbathing, shopping, and dining along Front Beach Road, while nearby attractions include Gulf World Marine Park and Andrews State Park.
  11. Panama City Beach –
    florida panhandle cities - panama city beach pier park
    Panama City Beach is a family fun city after spring break is over.
    often referred to as the “Spring Break Capital of the World,” is known for its vibrant nightlife, sugar-white beaches, and abundance of family-friendly attractions. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, or engage in water sports along the city’s 27 miles of shoreline, visit amusement parks like Shipwreck Island Waterpark, or explore nearby natural wonders like St. Andrews State Park and Shell Island.
  12. Rosemary Beach: Rosemary Beach, Florida, is a charming seaside community nestled along the scenic 30A corridor of the Gulf Coast. Known for its New Urbanist design, cobblestone streets, and elegant architecture, it offers a tranquil retreat with upscale boutiques, fine dining options, and uncluttered beaches, perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation.
  13. Seaside, made famous as the filming location for “The Truman Show,” is a charming coastal community known for its pastel-colored cottages, cobblestone streets, and idyllic town square. Visitors can browse boutique shops, dine at gourmet restaurants, or attend outdoor concerts and events in the picturesque amphitheater overlooking the Gulf. Our favorite town along this beautiful stretch of Route 30A.
    Florida panhandle towns - seaside
    The beaches around the Florida panhandle towns of Seaside, Grayton Beach and Rosemary Beach are magnificent!
  14. Grayton Beach: Grayton Beach, Florida, is a picturesque coastal village known for its laid-back atmosphere and natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy sandy white sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, and scenic coastal dune lakes. The town offers opportunities for outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, kayaking, and hiking, creating an idyllic beach getaway.
  15. Miramar Beach: Miramar Beach, located along the stunning Emerald Coast of Florida’s Panhandle, offers visitors a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Known for its sugar-white sandy beaches and emerald-green waters, Miramar Beach provides ample opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The area also boasts world-class golf courses, upscale shopping centers, and delectable dining options, ensuring a memorable coastal getaway for visitors of all ages.
  16. Destin is renowned for its stunning emerald waters and world-class fishing. Known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin offers ample opportunities for anglers to reel in a big catch. Visitors can also enjoy water sports like snorkeling, parasailing, and jet skiing, or simply relax on the sugar-white sands of Henderson Beach State Park.
    cities in Fl panhandle - destin harborwalk
    The Destin HarborWalk is a must visit in the Panhandle. Half mile of waterfront shopping, attractions and boat tours.
  17. Fort Walton Beach: Fort Walton Beach, situated on Florida’s Emerald Coast, is renowned for its untouched beaches, azure waters, and family-friendly attractions. Visitors can explore historic sites like the Indian Temple Mound Museum, relax on the soft sands of Okaloosa Island, or indulge in water sports like snorkeling and paddleboarding. With its vibrant atmosphere and abundant outdoor activities, Fort Walton Beach offers a quintessential Gulf Coast vacation experience.
  18. Navarre: Navarre, Florida, nestled between Pensacola and Destin along the Emerald Coast, offers a tranquil escape with its uncrowded beaches and natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy miles of pristine shoreline, explore Navarre Beach Marine Park, or hike through the scenic Navarre Beach Nature Walk. With its relaxed atmosphere and stunning sunsets, Navarre is the perfect destination for a peaceful coastal retreat.
  19. Gulf Breeze: Gulf Breeze, Florida, is a charming waterfront community located on the Fairpoint Peninsula along the Gulf Coast. Known for its picturesque views of Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound, Gulf Breeze offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and water sports. Visitors can explore Gulf Islands National Seashore, relax at Quietwater Beach, or discover local attractions like Gulf Breeze Zoo and Gulf Breeze Arts, ensuring a delightful coastal experience.
    cities in the fl panhandle - Pensacola beaches
    The beaches of Pensacola and Gulf Breeze are long white sand and clear azure waters.
  20. Pensacola, often referred to as the “City of Five Flags,” is steeped in history and boasts beautiful white sand beaches. Visitors can explore historic sites like Fort Pickens and the Pensacola Lighthouse, stroll along the scenic Pensacola Beach Boardwalk, or visit the National Naval Aviation Museum, one of the largest aviation museums in the world – this is a must-see museum and one of the best museums in Florida.

These coastal cities and towns in the Panhandle of Florida offer a glimpse into the region’s diverse landscapes, rich history, and laid-back lifestyle, making them perfect destinations for a relaxing getaway along the Gulf Coast.

The Other Panhandle of Florida Cities

While beachside towns and cities in the Panhandle get a lot of notoriety, there are numerous other cities and towns that have the charm, southern heritage, and attractions that Florida is known for.

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Here are a few more major towns and cities in the Florida Panhandle that aren’t on the coast, but are considered major cities in the Panhandle of Florida.

  • Tallahassee: As the
    towns in the panhandle of Florida - Tallahassee Capital Building
    The Florida capital building is a sight to see second only to the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee.
    capital of Florida, Tallahassee is the largest city in the Panhandle region. It’s known for its rich history, vibrant arts scene, and bustling downtown area. Visitors can explore historic landmarks like the Old Capitol Building and the Museum of Florida History, enjoy outdoor activities at parks like Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park, and visit the sprawling campus of Florida State University.
  • Marianna: Located in the northern part of the Panhandle, Marianna is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. Visitors can explore Florida Caverns State Park, home to impressive limestone caves and scenic hiking trails, or learn about local history at the Marianna Historic District and the Chipola College Cultural Center.
  • Crestview: Located in Okaloosa County, Crestview is one of the largest cities in the Panhandle. It serves as a commercial hub for the surrounding area and offers amenities such as shopping centers, restaurants, and parks. Visitors can explore local attractions like the Crestview Historic Commercial District and Twin Hills Park.
    cities on the panhandle of florida - De Funiak Springs
    De Funiak Springs is the city with the perfectly round lake in the center of this town in the Panhandle of Florida.
  • DeFuniak Springs: Known for its unique circular spring-fed lake, DeFuniak Springs is a charming town in Walton County. Visitors can stroll around the picturesque Lake DeFuniak and explore the historic downtown area, which features well-preserved Victorian-era architecture and the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood.
  • Chipley: Situated in Washington County, Chipley is a small town with a rich history. Visitors can learn about the area’s heritage at the Washington County Historical Society Museum, explore local parks like Falling Waters State Park with its impressive waterfall, and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.
  • Quincy: Quincy is a historic town in Gadsden County known for its well-preserved antebellum architecture and Southern charm. Visitors can take a stroll through the Quincy Historic District, visit the Gadsden Arts Center & Museum, or explore natural attractions like Lake Talquin State Park.
  • Monticello: Located in
    panhandle of Florida cities and towns - Monticello
    The Jefferson County Courthouse in Monticello is modeled after Thomas Jeffersons estate in Virginia.
    Jefferson County, Monticello is another historic town known for its beautiful architecture and quaint downtown area. Visitors can tour historic homes like the Wirick-Simmons House, browse antique shops and art galleries, or enjoy outdoor activities at Lloyd Park and Wacissa Springs.

These additional towns and cities in the Florida Panhandle offer a glimpse into the region’s history, culture, and natural beauty, providing plenty of opportunities for exploration and discovery beyond the coastal areas.

The County Seats of the Panhandle of Florida

The Florida Panhandle boasts beautiful beaches, historic sites, and diverse natural landscapes, all within easy reach of these county seats:

  • Escambia County: Pensacola
  • Santa Rosa County: Milton
  • Okaloosa County: Fort Walton Beach
  • Walton County: DeFuniak Springs
  • Washington County: Chipley
  • Bay County: Panama City
  • Gulf County: Port St. Joe
  • Franklin County: Apalachicola
    florida panhandle cities and towns - Apalachicola
    One of the best places to stay in the Panhandle is the Gibson Inn located in Apalachicola – if you don’t mind haunted hotels! Reserve and see rates here.
  • Liberty County: Bristol
  • Gadsden County: Quincy
  • Leon County: Tallahassee (also the state capital of Florida)
  • Wakulla County: Crawfordville

Top Attractions in The Florida Panhandle

The Florida Panhandle boasts an array of attractions that draw visitors from far and wide. Its stunning beaches, with powdery white sands and crystal-clear emerald waters, are perhaps the biggest draw, offering opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

One of the top things to do and see are the many springs in the panhandle. Nature lovers can explore the region’s diverse ecosystems, from coastal dune lakes and lush forests to spring-fed rivers and wetlands, teeming with wildlife. 

Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in activities like fishing, kayaking, hiking, and birdwatching, while adventure seekers can tackle thrilling experiences like zip-lining, parasailing, and scuba diving.

Beyond its natural beauty, the Panhandle is rich in history and culture, with charming towns boasting historic landmarks, museums, art galleries, and vibrant culinary scenes showcasing fresh seafood and Southern cuisine. Whether seeking relaxation on the beach, adventure in the great outdoors, or cultural exploration, the Florida Panhandle offers something for every traveler to enjoy.

Travel Notes: The Panhandle of Florida Cities and Towns

Your journey through the Panhandle is one of historical charm, tourism at its best and the natural bounty of the state of Florida. Nothing compares to the contrasts of the Panhandle of Florida.

From the luscious beaches of the southern part to the towns of the historically rich northern counties, the best of Florida is showcased in this journey through the cities and towns of the Panhandle of Florida.

Florida Panhandle Map
Map of the Florida Panhandle Cities and Towns
Map Panhandle of Florida Cities and Towns

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