The Beach of Northwest Florida

THE Beach on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast
Group Markets Florida Beach Vacations from Pensacola to Apalachicola
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Dec 6, 2008 Pamela Watson

For years visitors driving to Northwest Florida beaches have made Destin, Fort Walton, Panama City, Pensacola and other Gulf Coast towns their summer vacation destination

Now with a new name and regional marketing, these Florida beach communities hope to bring in even more tourists from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe to a regional brand called simply “THE Beach.�

The group, Coastal Vision 3000, is a non-profit organization made up of business people in the hospitality and tourism industry as well as retailers, Realtors, and anyone interested in marketing the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast. Along with the “THE Beach� brand is the slogan, “A way of life that will change yours.�

Seven coastal counties from Pensacola to Apalachicola offer a total of 227 miles of white sand beaches hugging the blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Because Orlando and Disney World act as the “anchor� for Florida tourism, Coastal Vision 3000 promoters say that, although among the best in the world, Northwest Florida beaches are relatively unknown outside the region.

Attractions and Things to Do on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast
Besides beaches of sugar-white quartz-sand, communities of THE Beach offer a variety of opportunities. Visitors can play golf, go shopping, dine in four-star restaurants (or well loved oyster shacks), go deep sea fishing, explore museums, galleries, historic sites and popular family attractions.

From Pensacola to Apalachicola, some of the many attractions include:

The National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola
Historic Pensacola Village in Pensacola
The Zoo in Navarre
The Emerald Coast Science Center in Fort Walton Beach
The Heritage Cultural Center and Museum in Fort Walton Beach
Florida’s Gulfarium on Okaloosa Island
The Destin History and Fishing Museum in Destin
Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park in Destin
Silver Sands Outlet Mall (the largest in the country) in Miramar Beach
Eden State Gardens in the Beaches of South Walton
Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum and Motion Picture Theater in Panama City Beach
Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City
Apalachicola Historic District
Outdoor Recreation and Gulf Coast Ecotourism
With over a million acres of national, state and local parks and preserves, outdoor recreation and ecotourism are popular. Rare coastal dune lakes and miles of undeveloped coastline offer unlimited opportunities for hiking, bicycling, kayaking, birding and canoeing.

Watersports abound as well, from Parasailing to Yolo board. The Gulf Islands National Seashore offers miles of unspoiled beaches for swimming picnicking, fishing, boating or just sunning and snoozing. Known as the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village, Destin has a fleet of professional charter boat captains ready to take anglers into the Gulf to catch “the big one,� and celebrates the catch annually at the Destin Seafood Festival.

Traveling to THE Beach
Three airports serve the region, Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport, Northwest Florida Regional Airport and Panama City-Bay County International Airport, which will move in 2010 to a new larger facility currently under construction, the first “green� airport in the country. Southwest Airlines has announced plans to begin service when this new airp ort, named the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, opens in May 2010.

Driving is still the most popular way to reach THE Beach, with Interstate 10 passing though the heart of Northwest Florida and U. S. Highway 331 coming into the state from Montgomery, Alabama.

As marketing efforts gear up for the new regional brand, THE Beach hopes to see more unity from the individual beach communities, CVB’s, Chambers of Commerce and Tourist Development Councils. Coastal Vision 3000 plans to introduce more visitors than ever to the “sweet tea� Southern hospitality of Northwest Florida.

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