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Located on the Florida Gulf Coast next door to Panama City Beach, Laguna Beach has the same beautiful stretches of sugar-white sand and emerald waters as its more well-known neighbor, but has a more low-key vibe. The laid-back panhandle beach town is made up of mostly low-slung residential houses flanked by sandy beach access roads.
People come here all year long to be on the water, whether in a kayak, boogie board, or the bow of a charter boat as you reel in red snapper and king mackerel offshore. There’s good fishing on the Laguna Beach pier, too, and you never have to travel far to find a plate of raw gulf oysters and a cold beverage. Should you seek to amp up your evenings a notch, the bars, clubs, and restaurants of Panama Beach are just two miles away.
Laguna Beach is about a two-hour drive east to Pensacola International Airport (PNS) and the same travel time west to Tallahassee International Airport (TLH). While it is possible to fly into these main hubs and drive, the closest major airport is the Northwest Florida Beaches (ECP), just a quick 20-minute drive away. Public transportation is not available from the airport, so a taxi or ride-sharing service is your best bet for getting to your Laguna Beach rental. Once in Laguna Beach, the town is quite small (only 2.5 miles long) and very pedestrian friendly. To check out other nearby towns on the Florida Gulf Coast, you can take advantage of the trolley running up and down the highway to Panama City and beyond.
The Florida Panhandle is known for its subtropical climate, which means it has two seasons a year. Summer and early fall are hot and humid, with a higher chance of hurricanes between early June and late November. Late fall and winter are less humid and cooler. Spring experiences comfortable and sometimes breezy weather.
While Laguna Beach is quieter as far as events go, nearby Panama City is filled with them all year long. If you want to experience the area at its peak, hit the town from late March to early April and join the spring break fun. For culture vultures, there are several music festivals in Panama City in spring and summer, as well as the Downtown Art Walk in April and a weekly Saturday farmers market. Jet skiing, fishing, boating, and exploring the many park wetlands and their wildlife are year-round activities.
Just outside of Panama City is Camp Helen State Park, whose history dates back at least 4,000 years. Surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, the park is a magnet for anglers. Take your rod and tackle box to Lake Powell, where freshwater and saltwater fish are usually biting, including bass, walleye, and channel catfish.
Laguna Beach stands out for its relaxed atmosphere — you’ll only be surrounded by white sands, turquoise waters, and a few hopeful anglers hoping to catch a nibble off Laguna Beach pier. With fewer crowds, the beach is perfect for newbie surfers, kayakers, and stand-up paddleboarders.
Conservation Park was built to protect and balance the natural resources while providing outdoor recreational opportunities in Panama City. This wetlands park is spread out over nearly 3,000 acres with 25 miles of trails that range from 10-minute strolls to half-day treks. If you’re into birding, sign up for a guided Audubon hike, where you’re likely to spot wrens, thrashers, and osprey.