Moving to Panama City Beach was mainly about being able to live by the beach for me. That’s an easy answer when people ask. I have learned in my time here that it has much more to offer. Panama City Beach is located in Bay County, Florida along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Panama City Beach might be best known for being one of the biggest destinations for Spring Breakers. It definitely gives a boost to the local economy. Typically 250,000 people crowd Panama City Beach yearly for Spring break, but a law created in recent years that banned drinking on the beach during the month of March has caused the number of college travelers to decline. That many people coming to a city with a population of just over 13,000 in matter of months helps the area, but even with a few less college students Panama City Beach still sees its fair share of vacationers because it is a great destination for families and offers more than just drinking on the beach. This year Panama City Beach officials voted to end the rental of scooters in the city, which was always a popular yet troublesome way for vacationers to get around. Panama City Beach remains a popular destination mainly because the beach is not going anywhere. PCB offers 27 miles of beautiful sandy beaches. That’s more than enough for a crowd. People that want to experience being out on the water can rent boats or jet skis. There are also tours that are offered that give you a guided look at the Gulf of Mexico. St. Andrews State Park is a popular outside destination that offers a place for campers. It has a pretty cool access to the beach with rocks that people can walk on to get a better look at the water and offers places to sit for fishing. This is also a popular spot for scuba divers. If you are lucky you might pull in and see a family of deer when you park or leave. There are also picnic tables for get-togethers. There is also a Conservation Park on the west end that has walking and biking trails with a great look at nature. Pier Park is a place that anyone on vacation must visit because it literally offers something for EVERYONE. Places to eat include Margaritaville, Pompano Joe’s, Longhorn Steakhouse as a few sit down options for a family, a group of friends, or a night out with a date or spouse. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs (which is the best hot dog ever), Red Robin, and Subway are options for people that might be on the move and just want to grab something or just want to spend a little cheaper. Pier Park is also a shopper’s paradise, with big brands like Nike, American Eagle, Hollister, and Old Navy having their own stores for shopping. Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, Marshalls and Dillard’s are other options to find some good deals. Pier Park North, which is located right across Hwy. 98 has Ulta, Shoe Department and Ross as a few options for shopping among others. Eateries include Chili’s, Texas Roadhouse, and there is a Fresh Market to pick up things for your fridge in your hotel, condo, or house rental. Shipwreck island waterpark (not open all year) is a fun option that the kids most likely will not turn down, and bars and clubs give the grown-ups a chance to enjoy some grown up drinks (if you have a driver or live within walking distance of course). Diego’s, which has two locations on different sides of the beach, is one of my favorite places. They offer the best burrito on Planet Earth (that you build how you want). Schooners and Pineapple Willy’s are two sit down places on the east end of the beach that are well worth a visit. There are so many places to eat that I live here and I have not visited all of them. Visiting Panama City Beach will not leave you disappointed. You will have a variety of choices, and you will be back. Check out visitpanamacitybeach.com to get a look at all options available to you in this beautiful city, and check out this video on my new Youtube channel that gives a short look at the city on Front Beach Road.
Falling Waters State Park - Chipley, Fl - September 5th 2020 As a Florida resident there are so many nice coastal places and state parks to visit and so many that I have not had the pleasure of visiting yet. This was not only my first time at this beautiful state park, but it was also my first time in Chipley. I reside in Panama City Beach so it's only a little over an hour away. That's awesome because I definitely plan on visiting again. You see a pretty good amount of land for a small fee of $5.00 per car. The main attraction is the waterfall. It is the highest waterfall in the state of Florida at 73 ft. One of the coolest things about this place is the walkways that are built into the land which give more than one view of the waterfall. It's great craftsmanship which offers a bit of a different walk through most of the trails due to the fact that you are not walking on the ground like most state park trails I have visited. That really isn't that big of a deal, but it's certainly a cool little luxury. There is also a pretty nice sized lake that not only offers more nice scenery but it has a small beach area for you to be able to relax or get in the lake if you choose to do so. I also thought the sinkholes were cool. We were able to spend a few hours there and really enjoyed our time. There aren't too many state parks that offer a legit waterfall, so if this is something you would be interested in seeing along with some forest and other things then I would recommend Falling Waters State Park. There was a sign that showed information about Black Bears and what to do if you were to come in contact with one. I wasn't lucky enough to see one. Yes, I wanted to see a Bear. A Black Bear is not a grizzly so it's not going to attack a human, but maybe next time i'll see one.
The First Amendment is for all Americans...including athletes
Athletes have been outspoken about social issues during this year of multiple unfortunate events. The NBA resumed its season in a bubble in Orlando, Florida, and has allowed players to wear messages on jerseys while every team has been sporting black warm-up shirts with the words “Black Lives Matter” on the front in white letters. Even the WNBA has allowed players to do the same, and multiple players in that league wear shirts with the message “Arrest the cops who killed Breona Taylor”. A lot of people have opinions on these situations involving Taylor, George Floyd, and most recently Jacob Blake. Much like the news anchor who once said Lebron James should “Shut up and dribble”, I find myself looking around the internet and seeing a lot of my fellow Americans who think these athletes should “stick to sports” and not speak on politics and social issues. My question is “Why do people feel like athletes should not give their opinions on the issues in this country?” They are seeing these things just like a teller at Regions Bank, or a garbage man from your local waste management company. They are citizens too. Do people feel like they should not speak about politics or things happening in the country and the world because they play a game for a living? I understand, sort of, because with me being an avid sports fan I just want to tune into ESPN and see sports but these days it feels like you turn on sports networks and it’s almost as if you are watching CNN. But people have to realize that if we normal 9 to 5 people get to have our opinions on the things that we as a society are facing then people in the spotlight should be able to have theirs as well. I understand that sometimes it can be overkill, but when situations like the one involving George Floyd happen you can’t expect athletes to really “Shut up and play” when everybody else gets their chance to say what they feel about it. The difference is that you are going to hear more about the opinion of Lebron James than you will of me because he is in the spotlight and me… I’m just not in the spotlight. His opinion makes for a news story, so we all get to hear about it. Also in today’s world where we have social media with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and so many opinions are out there you cannot expect to not hear about what the people who have millions of followers think. I don’t like this idea that people that play sports should not speak their minds. They are citizens just like you and me and they are human with families that are affected by the things that go on in this country. When laws are made they are affected and they have to abide just like the Average Joe. They are taxpayers. They are voters. They are people. Why do they need to “shut up and just play ball?” I think that most people are just fine with people speaking their minds as long as it isn’t something that is against their views. People have even gone as far as putting fake news out there just to try to make a point. There is a fake Larry Bird quote circulating right now which basically says that back in his day players just played basketball. Bird is a Boston Celtics and NBA legend, so someone felt the need to use a former NBA player to try to get their point across because the words of an All-Time NBA great speaking out against active players would speak volumes, but if you pay any attention to the NBA at all you know that Bird does not speak on his views publicly. He does not even speak publicly these days and hasn’t been in the public eye for a while. NFL players have been outspoken as well, and a lot of the animosity between some people in society and athletes began with Colin Kaepernick. People that have that type of platform are going to use it sometime. I think that people wanting to silence athletes goes against what this country is supposed to stand for. We are supposed to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. I think that message has become lost. We all have a right to the First Amendment. That does not mean you have to agree with everybody because that is not possible anyway, but why do people think that people should be silent just because they do not like what their point of view? Players are pushing for change, and that will come down to the people who can change laws and things of that nature, but this is not North Korea. Like it or not everyone here has a voice and the right to use that voice if they choose to do so.