The coast of Northwest Florida is known as the Forgotten Coast, for the developments that have mushroomed throughout much of the southeast largely passed by this place. There are a few exceptions of course: Panama City Beach has a long strip of amusement parks, arcades, bars, and eateries, and it is a hot spot for many vacationers. Yet once travelers leave the heart of Panama City Beach, they find mile after mile of sandy beaches, lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation, and few crowds.
Panama City Beach offers a pleasant diversion for guests of Northwest Florida Bed and Breakfasts, and it is certainly worth a look. Yet folks seeking unspoiled beaches, quaint towns, and good surfing spots should also plan to spend some time in Mexico Beach.
Located about 10 miles west of Port St. Joe and 35 miles east of Panama City Beach, Mexico Beach is a small fishing village with a lovely beach, an inlet, and a fishing pier. It feels secluded from the rest of civilization, and in many respects it is. Travelers wishing to fish, surf, or dive would do well to come prepared.
There are several good spots to grab a bite to eat in Mexico Beach. The fare doesn’t venture much beyond seafood, burgers, and pizza, but the seafood is fresh, the burgers juicy, and the pizza hot and crusty.
Mexico Beach Attractions
The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef and other underwater attractions such as a WWII era oil tanker and the sunken Lumber Ship make for good diving. Visibility varies, so check with local dive shops for up-to-date conditions. A list of artificial reefs is available at MBARA.
Anglers should plan to drop a line from the Mexico Beach Fishing Pier at 37th Street. The jetties at Mexico Beach Canal Park are also good fishing spots. Several Charter Fishing companies operate out of Mexico Beach, for those seeking fish that dwell in deep waters.
The surfing conditions along Mexico Beach tend to be quite good when the swell is large enough to get past Crooked Island Pass. Both longboards and shortboards work here. The best conditions tend to be in the fall and winter. Novices will be able to tackle these swells, and experts will find them challenging enough to be interesting.
Mexico Beach makes a great day trip for folks staying in Port St. Joe, Cape San Blas, or Apalachicola Florida Bed and Breakfasts.