Hotel at a Glance: Origin Beach Resort by Emerald View Resorts
Origin Beach Resort by Emerald View Resorts is near the heart of Panama City Beach, one of Florida’s liveliest swaths of sand. The shops of Pier Park, Jimmy Buffet’s iconic Margaritaville, and Ron Jon Surf Shop are all within a short walk. The luxury condominiums overlook the Gulf and offer ocean views from many of the guest rooms.
- Distance from the beach: It’s just across the street.
- In-room amenities: Guest rooms come with a DVD player and Internet access.
- Go for a swim on the 4th-floor pool or soak in the hot tub, which overlooks the beach.
- Now that’s entertainment: Head to the onsite movie theater to catch a flick, or challenge your buddies to a friendly competition in the game room.
- Grab a bite at Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar, across the street. The eatery specializes in fresh seafood, such as mahi mahi, snow crab legs, and shrimp and grits.
Panama City Beach, Florida: Sugar-White Beaches, Spring Breakers, and Scuba-Diving Spots
Panama City Beach’s slogan—“The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches”—may seem boastful. But TripAdvisor helped back up this claim in 2013, naming the local St. Andrews State Park as having 1 of the top 25 beaches in the United States. The park also has two fishing piers, a jetty, and a boat ramp, plus nature trails for bird watching. Elsewhere in town, you can arrange a scuba-diving trip to explore the area’s dozens of natural and artificial reefs.
Every March and April, spring breakers descend on the white-sand beaches and fill the streets outside dance clubs. The rest of the year, however, the atmosphere is more relaxed and geared toward families. There are numerous amusement parks along the 20-plus miles of shoreline. Many of the popular seafood restaurants and bars here overlook the Gulf of Mexico.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, take the ferry to Shell Island, an uninhabited, 7-mile-long barrier island. On the ride over, you might see some of the bottlenose dolphins that frequent these warm waters. Once there, you can soak in the sun on the empty beaches and go snorkeling. It’s also worth it to visit the nature preserve at Conservation Park, which has 24 miles of trails. One 11-mile trek goes past wooden boardwalks and wetlands; keep your eyes peeled and you might see woodpeckers in the trees and alligators lurking beside cypresses.