Exploring Northwest Florida
Exploring Northwest Florida
After tanning, swimming, jet skiing and parasailing, shopping at the beach is a great way to cool down. You can find the latest in tropical fashions and Florida souvenirs along with beachy gift shops, art galleries and resort wear clothing stores. Options include everything from upscale boutiques to a major outlet mall, and big box stores to off-beat artists’ havens.
Silver Sands Factory Stores in Destin is the country’s largest designer outlet mall. With over 100 designer names including J. Crew, Liz Claiborne, Gap, Geoffrey Bean, Coach, Izod and Nautica, shoppers can spend hours visiting their favorite stores. There's also Restoration Hardware, Viking, Saks off Fifth Avenue, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren Polo outlets as the list goes on.
When it’s time for a snack, Mrs. Fields’ Cookies or Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory can fill the bill. Mall restaurants include Panera Bread Company, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Cheeseburger in Paradise. Silver Sands is located on U. S. Highway 98 between Destin and Sandestin.
Grand Boulevard Town Center on U. S. Highway 98 in Sandestin offers a myriad of dining and shopping. Stores include Chico’s, Orvis Company, Coldwater Creek and Victoria’s Secret. Restaurants run the gamut from Tommy Bahama’s Tropical Café & Emporium to P. F. Chang’s China Bistro to Mitchell’s Fish Market. Here too are Gallery NU Fine Arts, Fusion Art Glass Gallery and Fusion Spa Salon AVEDA.
Shopping at the beach takes on a literal meaning at Pier Park, which is directly across the street from - the beach. Located on U. S. Highway 98 in Panama City Beach it is the area’s newest shopping center. With colorful Caribbean architecture, Pier Park is anchored by Dillards, JC Penney, Target and Borders Books & Music. Other stores include Old Navy, Hollister Co., Ann Taylor Loft, Lane Bryant and Bath & Body Works and the Grand 16 Movie Theatre. Dining options include Panera Bread Company, Olive Garden, Guy Harvey's Island Grill and Rocky's South Philly Cheesesteaks.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin offers shopping, dining, and entertainment on the banks of the Choctawhatchee Bay. Located off U.S. Highway 98 on the north side of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Baytowne includes shops such as Fresh Produce, Island Clothiers, Coconut Kids, Trader Tom’s Shells and Gifts and Bark Avenue pet boutique.
Boardwalks skirt the bay offering views of the Baytowne Marina and kids will love climbing in the tree house. The newest activity is Baytowne Adventure Zone, the only zip line attraction on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast. The 650-foot zip line is anchored by two 60-foot towers that allow thrill-seekers to fly over the lagoon in the center of the Village.
Destin Commons on U.S. Highway 98 in Destin bills itself as the place “where Destin comes alive.” The Commons offers shopping in major retail stores as well as a variety of family activities. Anchored by Belk and Bass Pro Shops, other stores include Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Talbots, Jos. A. Bank, American Eagle Outfitters and White House/Black Market. For family fun, Rave Motion Pictures offers a 14-screen movie theater and little ones enjoy the nautical-themed play area with its 49-head pop fountain. Dining options include Hard Rock Café, Johnny Rockets, Sushi Siam and Zoe’s Kitchen.
Pensacola, Panama City, Destin, and Fort Walton Beach all offer indoor shopping malls and big-box stores as well as mom and pop shops and boutiques. Antiquing is as much a way of life in Apalachicola as oysters, with shops spread all over the historic district. So, from “cola to cola,” shopping at the Beach on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast is definitely a retail experience.