The Florida Panhandle is a region of Florida, in the north west of the state. It has long been popular for its beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. It also includes the inland city of Tallahassee, the state capital and home of Florida State and Florida A&M Universities.
Spring in the Florida Panhandle lasts from Mid-February to Early May and is characterized by moderate rainfall and mild to warm daytime temperatures. Average daytime temperatures range from the mid 60s to the low 80s and nighttime temperatures ranging from the low 40s to the low 60s.
Summer lasts from Early May to Early October and is hot, humid, and rainy. Rainfall averages more than 6 inches in June, July, and August. Average daytime temperatures range from the low 80s to the low 90s and nighttime temperatures range from the low 60s to the mid 70s.
Autumn or Fall lasts from Early October to Early December and feature warm days and mild to cool nights. Rainfall sharply declines as it gets closer to Winter. Average daytime temperatures range from the low 80s to the mid 60s and nighttime temperatures range from the low 60s to the low 40s. Deciduous trees in this region typically have peak autumn color around Early December but will vary based on sunlight and distance from the Coast.
The Winter season lasts from Early December to Mid-February and is more similar to winters in the lower south than to winters in the rest of Florida. Frosts are fairly common and occur on average up to 40 times a year. Average daytime temperatures range from the mid 60s to the upper 50s and nighttime temperatures range from the low 40s to the mid 30s. Snowfall is very light and does not occur every year. However, snow can be seen up to several times a decade and can be very unsettling to people in this region due to most people not having experience with how to handle snow.
The Florida Panhandle has hung onto its Southern culture better than probably any other region in Florida, so expect traditional Southern hospitality and more conservative values. An exception to this general trend is Tallahassee, which, while retaining a great deal of that Southern charm, also contains pockets of the progressive, creative atmosphere typical of college towns.
Tallahassee is home to the Seminoles of Florida State University, and college football is a religion for many Panhandle residents, with Saturdays in the fall being the holy day. Pensacola is home to the semi-professional ice hockey team, the Pensacola Ice Pilots.
Major holidays in Pensacola include Mardi Gras and the Fiesta of Five Flags. Celebrations of note in Pensacola are the Greater Gulf Coast Arts Festival, the Seafood Festival, the Bushwhacker Festival, the Bill Fishing Tournament, and the Gay and Lesbian Memorial Day Festival. Fort Walton Beach is known for the Billy Bowlegs Festival, and Panama City for Spring Break. Niceville is know for its Mullet Festival.
In the Panama City and Panama City Beach area there are many great places for local fare. The most recognized restaurant is Captain Anderson's on Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach. It's located on the lagoon and get there early to see the fishing fleet arrive and unload the day's catch.
Other restaurants of note include Pompano's on Front Beach Road, Saltwater Grill on Middle Beach (Hutchison Road) and Canopies. Canopies is a "fine dining" establishment overlooking St. Andrew's Bay in Panama City.
The Panhandle is home to two of Florida's four dry counties, where the sale of alcohol is prohibited (Washington and Liberty). However, alcohol of any variety can be found in abundance in the college town of Tallahassee and the Spring Break destination of Panama City Beach.