The picturesque village of Seaside -- www.seasidefl.com/ -- is located on the Gulf of Mexico between Destin and Panama City and includes some of the priciest beach homes in the region. Developed in 1981 as a planned resort community, Seaside was the setting of the 1998 film "The Truman Show," starring Jim Carrey.
Seaside is known for its pastel-colored beach bungalows built in the old Florida tradition and for its beautifully landscaped walkways and public areas. The town has a selection of upscale boutiques and restaurants, but there is lots of fun to be had in Seaside without spending any money. Seaside often has live concerts during the evenings in its outdoor amphitheater. Visitors are encouraged to pack a picnic and enjoy the music; details at www.seasidefl.com/highlights/events-calendar/.
Wentworth Museum and Historic Pensacola
A collection of historic homes, museums and other sites -- www.historicpensacola.org/default.cfm -- highlights Pensacola's history dating to the mid-1500s under Spanish, French, British, Confederate and American control. Admission to the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum -- www.historicpensacola.org/photo_gallery_images6fec.cfm -- is free. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
For a look inside the historic homes in Historic Pensacola Village, you can take a tour for $6. The University of West Florida Archaeology department often conducts digs in the area and visitors can get a close-up look at a dig in progress.
The Destin Docks
The sign welcoming visitors to the well-known Panhandle resort city of Destin calls Destin "The World's Luckiest Fishing Village." The sign is an homage to a time when the area was known for its fine snapper fishing and shrimping rather than high-rise condos, but fishing remains a huge part of local culture.
Destin has a large charter boat fleet and visitors can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars searching for marlin and mahi-mahi on a deep-sea fishing expedition. For visitors who don't have their sea legs or who don't want to spend serious money trying their luck at offshore fishing, Destin's fishing docks still offer an entertaining stroll. Fishermen unload and clean their catch and display the fish for passers-by to view, and the large grouper, snapper and other fish are usually an impressive sight.
Harborwalk Village and the Emerald Grand resort -- www.emeraldgrande.com/harborwalk-village.aspx -- located on the west end of Destin, have a variety of seasonal events year-round and make a fun place for visitors to stroll before or after checking out the day's catch.