A point of pride for Florida’s Emerald Coast: the US oyster shucking champion (yes, this is really a thing), Honor Allen, hails from Panama City.
In fact, oyster love blooms eternal throughout the city, so much so that it spawned the new Panama City Oyster Trail, a foodie’s playground of 14 oyster lovin’ hot spots. Whether Cajun-baked at Captain’s Table Fish House or g. Foley’s fried oysters with smoked chili aioli, andouille sausage and red pepper, there’s bound to be something for all attendee tastes.
Groups can also eat their way through the waterfront district, and often do, for dockside “garbage grits” and papaya-marinated steak and eggs at Bayou Joe’s, grilled doughnuts on the Just the Cook floating restaurant and Italian maritime bites at Ferrucci Ristorante, stopping intermittently for antiquing, perusing local pottery and jewelry and for mini, 10-minute art lessons at the Floriopolis arts and cultural venue. The Betsy Ann Riverboat offers scenic dining cruises on a sternwheel paddleboat, the nautically-themed Wainwright Shipyard restaurant, a former WWII shipyard, offers a sense of history bite by bite and local staples like Los Antojitos offer a sense of community.
“We definitely veer toward the experiential side,” says Jennifer Vigil, president and CEO of Destination Panama City, adding that the city’s eclectic array of festivals ae also a lure to MICE groups. “Most attendees are looking for immersive activities that they can build on. We say Panama City is “where life sets sail” because whether it is playing a ukulele or sailing in a world-class regatta, it’s all possible here.”