Destination: Florida Panhandle Meeting & Event Planning City Guide

  • Florida Panhandle

Destination Articles

  • Florida off the Beaten Track

    By Steve Winston

    February 26, 2014

    Has your group had enough of bright lights, big cities? Is it fed up with trendy meeting destinations? Are your attendees weary of the crowds, and is your meeting just one of a dozen (or more) going on at the same time? Is your group sick of the same old places?

  • The Panhandle Has A Southern Accent

    By Steve Winston

    January 29, 2013

    There's a place in Florida where you can find famed white-sand beaches and Southern style; resorts with an infusion of Southern hospitality; nouvelle cuisine and shrimp 'n' grits; and plenty of modern meeting facilities and smalltown charm.

  • The Call of The Wild

    By Jessie Fetterling

    November 20, 2012

    Florida is full of excitement, from Miami’s Latin-inspired festivities to Orlando’s never-ending theme-park rides. But it also offers a bounty of natural wonders to discover: The third largest coral reef barrier system in the world off the coast of Miami. The Everglades in the south. The nation's largest urban park system in Jacksonville. And several national and state parks in between.

  • The Other Florida

    By Christine Loomis

    January 31, 2012

    More akin to the Deep South than to the rest of its own state, the Florida Panhandle is an anomaly. You’re likely to hear a drawl when locals and visitors speak, the unmistakable friendliness of Southern folks is readily apparent—give them a minute and you’re practically family—and the high and low seasons are the opposite of those in south Florida’s more famous destinations.

  • Way Up North, By Way Out West

    By Maxine Cass

    January 28, 2011

    “The beaches of Northwest Florida are a national treasure,” says Dan Rowe, president and CEO of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. Even the White House agrees: On October 5, 2010, a Presidential Executive Order established a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force to preserve the beauty and integrity of the Gulf Coast. “Like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and the Everglades, you come to see it just to see it—pure sugar-white sandy beaches and emerald waters. Here, you’re meeting in the South.”

  • Florida's Northern Exposure

    By Maxine Cass

    October 28, 2010

    Orlando is the big kid on the block for Florida meetings with the most meeting space in the state, while three Sunshine State destinations in the north offer small- and medium-size meetings a taste of history and nature in a relaxed setting. St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches combine the country’s oldest city, golf and Atlantic beaches. Tallahassee, Florida’s capital, is a mecca for nature lovers, surrounded by natural attractions such as freshwater springs, a wildlife refuge and arched trees over canopy roads. On Florida’s Panhandle, the emerald waters and white-sand beaches of Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island nurture conferences in a laid-back atmosphere.

Learn about Florida Panhandle for Event Venues, Services & Meeting Destinations

Destination Description

Smart Stats:

Number of Meetings Hotels: 47
Total Hotel Rooms: 14,800
Number of Special Events Venues: 16
Local Convention Centers: Emerald Coast Convention Center
Local Airports: Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS)
Local CVB: Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, Emerald Coast CVB, Panama City Beach CVB

Smart Snapshot:

“The beaches of Northwest Florida are a national treasure,” says Dan Rowe, president and CEO of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. The White House agrees: On Oct. 5, 2010, a presidential executive order established an Ecosystem Restoration Task Force to preserve the beauty and integrity of the Gulf Coast. “Like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and the Everglades,” Rowe says, “you visit just to see it—pure sugar-white sandy beaches and emerald waters. Here, you’re meeting in the South.”

A roughly 200-mile strip along the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida panhandle is an informal Riviera with four principal destination areas. Pensacola is at the western edge, at the Alabama border. In the center, along the west side of Choctawhatchee Bay, are Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island, aka the Emerald Coast. At the bay’s east end, the 15 “beaches of South Walton” communities include Miramar Beach, Seaside, Rosemary Beach and Watercolor. Panama City Beach is at the far eastern end.

The value season is winter, when temperatures hover around a comfortable 65 degrees. Add multiple airports, drive-market access, and “some of the world’s best beaches,” reminds Rowe, and it’s clear why Northwest Florida beckons as a relaxed, resort-style meeting place.