PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA

Florida is at once a continuation of the Deep South and the beginning of a new realm.
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PANAMA CITY BEACH is a bathing and fishing resort. Gay-colored summer cottages line the dunes west of Panama Beach; hard-surfaced parking places enable motorists to stop at intervals for a swim or picnic along the smooth beach. Salt marshes, with clusters of cabbage palms, border quiet bayous; sand dunes are cloaked with wild myrtle, dwarf magnolia, and rosemary. Tradition has it that the rosemary was brought here by the English during their occupation of the region in 1763-83. English soldiers were given grants of land in St. Andrews Bay territory; the open fields along the shore, sites of old plantations, are now overgrown with rosemary.
—Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (WPA, 1939)

Guide Note: My wife and I spent a week in Panama City Beach, Florida, fondly introduced to us as the “Redneck Riviera.” I couldn’t have dreamt of a more beautiful place to people watch.
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Raised in a military family, Midwest Guide Rob Walters has lived in South Carolina, Georgia, California, New York, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Illinois. Always looking for an excuse to hit the road, he spends most of his creative energy on long drives, exploring the Midwest and beyond. He lives with his wife and soon to arrive son in Omaha, Nebraska, and chairs the Art Department at Iowa Western Community College across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow on Tumblr at fromthemiddle.tumblr.com.
This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA

Florida is at once a continuation of the Deep South and the beginning of a new realm.

* * *

PANAMA CITY BEACH is a bathing and fishing resort. Gay-colored summer cottages line the dunes west of Panama Beach; hard-surfaced parking places enable motorists to stop at intervals for a swim or picnic along the smooth beach. Salt marshes, with clusters of cabbage palms, border quiet bayous; sand dunes are cloaked with wild myrtle, dwarf magnolia, and rosemary. Tradition has it that the rosemary was brought here by the English during their occupation of the region in 1763-83. English soldiers were given grants of land in St. Andrews Bay territory; the open fields along the shore, sites of old plantations, are now overgrown with rosemary.

Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (WPA, 1939)

Guide Note: My wife and I spent a week in Panama City Beach, Florida, fondly introduced to us as the “Redneck Riviera.” I couldn’t have dreamt of a more beautiful place to people watch.

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Raised in a military family, Midwest Guide Rob Walters has lived in South Carolina, Georgia, California, New York, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Illinois. Always looking for an excuse to hit the road, he spends most of his creative energy on long drives, exploring the Midwest and beyond. He lives with his wife and soon to arrive son in Omaha, Nebraska, and chairs the Art Department at Iowa Western Community College across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow on Tumblr at fromthemiddle.tumblr.com.

This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.

NEW GULF WILDS

Along Mississippi’s coastal highway 90, where over seven years ago the Gulf of Mexico rose up and wrecked almost everything in its path, there are pockets where nature is making a bigger comeback than civilization. Gardens have reseeded themselves in the foundations of home sites. Crepe myrtles, palms, lilies, vines and wildflowers volunteer among the ruins of once thriving neighborhoods. Marsh flora colonizes abandoned swimming pools. Thickets envelop tennis and basketball courts. It is a beautiful display of nature running wild, despite the bleakness of slow recovery.  

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Missy Prince is a Guide to the states of Mississippi and Oregon. She grew up in Mississippi but now calls Oregon home. She loves her Oregon, Washington, and Mississippi Gazetteer atlases and aims to visit every square mile they chart. When she is not out exploring with a camera she is dreaming of the highways, roads, and trails in her future. Follow her on Flickr and Tumblr at Sea of Empties.