Spring Break or early summer is when we like to pack up the family and take a trip to the beach … before it gets too hot, or too crowded. This April we went to Panama City Beach (PCB), a six hour car ride from Atlanta (or one hour flight). We stayed in Laguna Beach – one of the numerous areas adjacent to PCB and which lays claim to some portion of the beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico. We have driven to several beaches from our home – but this has been our favorite!
The 27 miles of pure sugary white sand beach was easily accessible from a number of well posted boardwalks. While the modest emerald green waves could easily lull you to sleep, be watchful of your children who might try to bury you in sand (ours probably would given the chance). The beach has plenty of space to swim, splash and relax, although the riptide can be quite strong at certain times of the year – so please observe the flags and any warning signs prior to entering the water.
Restaurants and shopping options are diverse, as are options for outdoor activity and attractions. We found the Spring Break crowd kept the central shops and restaurants too crowded for our liking, but we were able to find quieter options nearby. Rather than fill our days with too much activity, this trip was about looking for some quiet relaxation … and ‘accidentally’ found some sub-tropical paradise on a gorgeous beach.
This was our Spring Break beach-on-a-budget trip because we were saving up for our big summer trip to New Zealand. We saved money by staying across the street from the beach instead of directly on the beach; and we prepared many of our meals in the comfortable 2 bedroom cabin instead of dining out all the time. We stayed at the family friendly Laguna Beach Christian Retreat, which had multiple swimming pools to provide a great diversion from spending endless days on the sand. We left the PCB area with the distinct feeling that we need to go back and explore some of the many things we discovered – we got a taste, and want some more.
The sunsets can be truly captivating, so take time to walk down to the beach and enjoy the sensation … make sure you take your shoes off. Consider renting a place with a kitchen and with a view of the beach … it makes for lovely mealtimes together as a family.