No oil – No Crowds – Just lots of fun.
I just returned from a few days of vacation at Panama City Beach, Florida. There were no crowds, no lines, no waiting and no oil.
Panama City and the Northwest Florida area has a brand new airport with several flights daily being serviced by both Southwest and Delta Airlines. So forget those long drives… I was there in about an hour from Nashville.
Floridians going above and beyond…
The people of the Florida Panhandle are really friendly and are going out of their way to provide you with a pleasant experience from the airports to the accommodations. A good example was my return flight…
I forgot that I had my dive tool kit in my carry-on since I checked that bag at Nashville and realized it right before the bag got x-rayed. The TSA let me out to go check it. The attendant at Southwest called security and got my previously checked dive bag back and let me put the kit into it. All this to save me the $50 charge for a 3rd checked bag. Additionally we talked a minute about diving in the area and I showed her my fish pictures.
High Security, Nice folks…
After I got back to the TSA screening I had my liquids in the poly bag as I was supposed to. When clearing the x-ray the TSA agent told me there was a tube of toothpaste in my shave kit and next time include it in the poly bag. So technology is improving since this is a new airport they apparently have the latest stuff. All in all the TSA and agents were very nice and went above and beyond the call of duty to make for a good passenger experience while maintaining a high degree of integrity and security.
Taking care of (beach) business
Panama City Beach as well as many other beaches in the Panhandle area is snow white with those famous emerald green waters. I have been traveling to the Gulf since a child and cannot remember the gulf waters being any clearer than they are now. The area has been blessed with east winds which have kept the oil away. Unfortunately many vacationers did not get the message and so lots of cancellations.
There are beach patrols by the Army Reserve, the state and the locals as well as a large fleet of boats constantly surveying and testing the water quality and marine life. I spoke to the soldiers pictured above who stopped to pose with my grandson. It is a good illustration of why these men and women serve our great country “To preserve, protect and defend our liberties”. Panama City Beach is a good reminder of a way of life we often take for granted.
I don’t work for the state of Florida, Bay County or Panama City Beach, but I do have customers in the area and they are ready and waiting for your vacation business. The seafood is fresh; shrimp, oysters, grouper, flounder and Amberjack are still being served at those favorite local places. If you have not planned your vacation, then give this area another look!
PS: I write this post because as a member of a large business community we need to share our experiences to help each other in face of this economy and tragedies like the Gulf oil spill. We also very much need to support those who are dramatically affected by the spill and to do so for years to come.