It’s hard to get away, really get away. Work obligations, family responsibilities and just about everything in between can get in the way of getting away. And few things can compare to going on a beach vacation with a girlfriend. Panama City Beach proved to be the perfect combination of great weather, delicious food, with ample outdoor activities to cancel out any calorie intake and enough downtime for good conversation and plenty of laughs with my BFF Lucille.
When I’m not traveling for work with Rick, one of my favorite people to travel with is Lucille. She is the Thelma to my Louise, the Shirley to my Laverne and the Ethel to my Lucy (although she will vehemently argue she is the Lucy of our dynamic duo.) I can say with absolute certainty we always have an amazing time, that is when we’re not bickering over which one of us has to be Ethel.
Ethel never came up in Panama City Beach. In fact, we both felt it was one of the nicest getaways we had had in quite some time. Balmy breezes, plenty of sunshine, blue-green crystal clear gulf water, white sandy beaches and moderate fall temperatures made for a perfect escape.
Located on the west end of Panama City Beach, just minutes from 30-A, is Carillon Beach, a neo-urban village designed where everything is within an easy stroll. We stayed in Sandy Joy, a charming, storybook pink 3-bedroom 3-bath rental home in Carillon. A brick walkway called The Promenade takes you by immaculately manicured homes with names like Sittin’ Purdy, Déjà vu, and Sweet Carillon and runs from the Belleview Park Pool to the Meeting House. There is a village green, shops and restaurants. It’s quaint, quiet and paradisiacal.
Every great girl’s getaway should start with a massage, and ours was no exception. The Salon Baliage and Spa were within walking distance of the SandyJoy.
It was an effortless stroll, and we admired the landscaping and exterior décor of the homes we passed along the way. The Salon was welcoming and beautifully appointed with a faint scent of lemongrass. Offering an array of tropical inspired treatments, Lucille and I each opted for the Lomi Lomi, a Hawaiian massage using long gliding, rhythmic movements to ease tension, relax muscles, and stimulate blood flow and lymphatic system. I walked in as a human ball of tension and knots and floated out stress-free and on cloud nine. This experience set the tone for our ‘no worries’ girls trip.
It was a casual, easy walk from the h
It was a casual, easy walk from the house to Carillon’s private beach. As we stepped up onto the dune walkover, the view emerged, and it was spectacular. No crowds, no crazy, simply sand and shoreline. Carillon Beach was a splendid location to collect our thoughts and to unplug for an uninterrupted and long overdue tête-à-tête.
With the turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico as a backdrop, the wind and the birds as our soundtrack and the pristine white sand as our beach settee, we savored every warm, sunny minute of the balmy autumn days during our stay. From morning coffee on the front porch of the SandyJoy, to picturesque sunsets on the beach, Carillon Beach is utopia. Ideal for a BFF’ getaway but both Lucille and I said we’d love to bring our families back. Parks, swimming pools, restaurants, yoga classes, paddleboard and bike rentals make for a laudable family vacation, the perfect way to spend quality time and reconnect from our busy day to day.