50, for Starters

We count a few reasons people fall for NW Florida beaches
Photo by Kansas Pitts Photography

The best thing about the list that follows is that it is not definitive — far from it. It is merely a sampler of the many Northwest Florida experiences, fixtures and creatures great and small that keep people here and keep people coming here. Many of the items on the list are timeless. Others are relatively new developments but are in keeping certainly with the traditions and the character and the nature of our region. Every one of them could figure in a postcard, and most of them have.  

  1. The Gulf horizon
  2. The surf in all of its moods
  3. Flights of pelicans
  4. The blennies at the jetties at St. Andrews State Recreation area
  5. Poring over scorecards at the “19th hole”
  6. Redfish blowing up on blue crabs
  7. The curious overlap of the Snowbird and Spring Break seasons
  8. A bloody mary and a plate of tuna dip at Bud & Alley’s
  9. Hunt’s Oyster Bar in St. Andrews
  10. Majestic herons and egrets
  11. Sand dollars strewn on the Gulf’s white-sand floor
  12. Blue-eyed scallops in a seagrass bed
  13. Apalachicola’s Gibson Inn
  14. Pensacola’s Blue Wahoos and Ice Pilots
  15. Fresh shrimp
  16. People-watching on the sand
  17. Bottlenose dolphins
  18. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center
  19. Revived, reimagined downtown Pensacola
  20. Craft breweries
  21. Seaside’s insistence on locally owned businesses
  22. Speckled sea trout
  23. The grouper sandwich at Dewey Destin’s

    Photo by Jacqueline Ward Images

  24. The grilled scamp at Capt. Anderson’s
  25. Jack Rudloe’s aquarium
  26. Wine festivals
  27. Joe Patti’s Seafood
  28. The Southern Craft Creamery
  29. The Digital Graffiti projection art festival
  30. The Florida Chautauqua Assembly at DeFuniak Springs
  31. A bar of Bay Rum soap from St. Joe Soaps & Essentials
  32. The reflecting pool at Eden State Garden
  33. The Pensacola Naval Air Museum 

    Photo by Colin Hackley / Visit Florida

  34. Real tomatoes at farmers markets
  35. Gulf Islands National Seashore
  36. The 30A Songwriters Festival
  37. Shovelnose lobster and drawn butter
  38. Cabbage palms
  39. The irresistible homeliness of manatees
  40. Florida whiskey from the Timber Creek Distillery
  41. A hand-rolled cigar at sunset
  42. An osprey’s whistle
  43. Marinas at night
  44. Red snapper season
  45. Sea oats
  46. Northwest Florida hospitality
  47. Howell Tackle Supply
  48. Sea turtles
  49. Live bait
  50. Yesterday, today and tomorrow        
Categories: The Beach