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.
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.
The climate is humid subtropical, with hot, muggy and rainy summers, and cool, dry winters. Spring and fall are very mild, with temperatures of usually around 71F.
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.