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Florida--Panhandle Scenic Drive


Date: Saturday, 27. May 2006

State map This 3.5-hour, 103-mile drive never strays far from the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and its string of white sandy beaches. The drive showcases rows of live oaks and the occasional tourist strip. Since this drive begins in Pensacola, home to a naval air station, stop by the Pensacola Historical Museum for an in-depth look at the town's colorful history. You're in for a taste of the real South, at Seville Square (between E. Government and S. Alcaniz), one of Pensacola's three historic districts.

Heading east, Main Street (U.S. 98) passes Pensacola Harbor and spans the three-mile long Pensacola Bay Bridge leading into Gulf Breeze. At this point, the road forks, and you can continue east on U.S. 98 through the Naval Live Oaks area, part of the 150-mile long Gulf Islands National Seashore. You can also pick up Rte. 399 to Santa Rosa Island, a barrier island, offering miles of unspoiled shoreline that is the natural habitat of live oaks, sea oats, and towering sand dunes. The two roads meet again in Navarre, the start of the thriving tourist industry which includes hotels, condos, restaurants, boardwalks, and beach life, stretching all the way to Panama City. Past Fort Walton Beach, U.S. 98 crosses back onto Santa Rosa Island, where the Choctawhatchee Bay Recreational Area offers swimming and boating.

As you cross the mouth of the bay the road heads into Destin, a haven for charter fishing boats. Continuing east beyond Sandestin is a detour onto Rte. 30A, which boasts a 20-mile jaunt past scenic lakes, pine forests and old Florida towns. Stop off along the way at the Grayton Beach State Recreation Area and Seaside, a planned resort village that features picturesque pastel cottages. Beyond Seaside, Rte. 30A rejoins U.S. 98 for the final stretch into Panama City, which is best known for its 27 miles of beaches.

Starting Point:
Pensacola, FL

Distance of Drive:
103 miles

Must Eat:
NOTE May '06: HOPKINS IS NOW CLOSED. See comment below and feel free to add suggestions ..

Hopkins Boarding House
900 N. Spring St., Pensacola, FL 32508
Phone: 850-438-3979
Call ahead to confirm hours of operation.

Best Time of Year for Drive:
All seasons

Points of Interest on Drive:
Gulf of Mexico
Pensacola Historical Museum
Seville Square
Pensacola Bay Bridge
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Santa Rosa Island
Grayton Beach State Recreation Area and Seaside

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Florida driver's book translated to Russian is available

Good Luck


trip from ftmyers fl to defuniak fl -any recommendations for an off major highway trip ?



Hopkins Boarding House
900 N. Spring St., Pensacola, FL 32508
Phone: 850-438-3979
Call ahead to confirm hours of operation.

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