Holiday Inn Club Vacations Panama City Beach Resort is a location I really look forward to going back to. I have not stayed at this resort but I have stayed at Panama City Beach before several times. It has what I would call old-school cool.
Video by Danny & Danna Escapes
The area boasts one of the few real arcades left in a beach community in the United States. I think this location and one in Myrtle Beach are two that come to mind. The Funland Arcade and Snackbar are the nicer of the two, I believe. It is also one of the oldest, having opened its doors in 1953. Now 3 and even the 4th generation is visiting this location for good old fun. I love the skeet ball and you will hear me share my visit (s) on my trip back to Panama City Beach.
Day One Travel & Arrival at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Panama City Beach Resort
Driving to Panama City Beach was my method of transportation today. I am actually leaving another resort in Orlando and going to this resort. Hey, it is not bragging if it is true. If you have dreamed about getting paid to report on your great travel experiences but are not a writer, there is an opportunity coming up (actually two opportunities) with Tzort. They will soon launch an Ambassador program and an Influencer program. These are free and neat ways that people can earn money while they travel to the finest resorts in the country.
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A drive to Panama City Beach for me is about the same distance as a drive to Miami because instead of driving down the state, you cross the state of East to West at its widest part.
Once my driving was done and I arrived at the resort, I was relieved to find it has an amazing poolside view of the beach. I was a little early for check-in, so instead of causing an issue, I just asked for permission to chill by the pool and wait there. They approved which was kind of them; the manager did not have to.
After a little nap and a modest sunburn, I woke to the news my room was ready. Maybe I snored a little, not sure, but whatever the magic was, I liked it.
The rooms here are ones I would move into if they let me. My room had a balcony view of the beach and talk about location. My room had a jetted tub and a walk-in shower that was a nice size. That is something you pay attention to as a large person. A nice-sized shower means a sense of comfort that is hard to explain. The feeling is like being 6’4” and dropping the top on the convertible to not feel like you will hit your head when you drive. It is very freeing.
Even the tile in the bathrooms and villa was almost ocean color so it just felt right and very relaxing. The kitchen was a nice size too with a full-size oven. Sometimes you get the mini oven deals, which are odd, but this was an older but well-maintained electric oven. Perfect for family cooking meals if you like to.
I think everyone has had those years when you want to give the family cook a break, but saving the money for at least a few meals in the room saves a ton on the trip. With a family of 4 or more meals out, add up fast. For me going solo, I make out like a bandit.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
- In-Room Safe
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Free WiFi
- Outdoor Pools
- Business Center
- On-Site Restaurants
- Fitness Center
- Concierge Services
As far as meals out go, Panama City Beach is very affordable compared to many other cities, and certainly other beach communities. After getting checked in and put away my things, I headed for dinner and drinks out.
Not far from the resort is Harpoon Harry’s I do not know why, but I like going to check out restaurants with my name on them. Since my first name is Harry, I had to check it out.
This is a spot on the beach that has good food and drinks and is not too hard on the wallet. I started with a frozen margarita that was banana flavored (just because I do not remember having one). I like banana as a flavor, I even still enjoy the fake flavoring from my childhood milk. So, this was refreshing and fun as a drink. After a long drive and the sun earlier, the frozen drink was what the Doctor ordered.
The place is so large that on Wed-Sun they have live entertainment here during the summer. The entertainment this year was a magician and ventriloquist. That was neat and more than I expected. A few cocktails and a full dinner later, I enjoyed his entire show. Great stuff and again, not something I expected when I went for a drink and dinner. It was a welcomed surprise.
Day Two Beach Time here at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Panama City Beach Resort
When you are on a perfect beach, with direct ocean views, how can you not go to the water?
I love all things touristy but the sound of the ocean waves, the smell of the sea air, and the view of the waves rolling in soothe my soul. I do not know what it is about the ocean that calms me completely, but it just works. Even the fake sound machine waves seem to help somehow, but nothing like the real thing.
I like Panama City Beach too because it is not as crowded as many other beaches. You see more young families and couples here than you do a powerful singles scene,, and that is more my speed now. Sure, some beaches with party reputations are fun when you are younger and well a little crazier. But once you hit adulthood, this kind of beach fun is where it is at.
May 11th and the high is going to be about 85 today with a decent wind to keep you cool on the beach. I just invested in a tube of sunscreen and a beach umbrella. I wanted to feel the warmth but not be cooked by the sun.
Then all a sudden I was a bit startled I saw something that simply could not be. A girl I knew when I was in my late 20s. She looked like she had not aged at all. I wondered, was this a doppelgänger (you know a twin we supposedly all have)? I then had to figure this out so I almost sprang to my feet, and I heard her voice. OK, I must have just lost it. This is what it is like to go crazy. Wow, who would have guessed things felt so lucid when it happens? Heck, I had only been on the beach an hour and a half. I had not even had a drink yet today.
Then she said my name, “Harry?” but the voice was coming from another direction. I turned, and the world slid back into view and reason. The person before me was the girl I once knew, now a lady and the girl I saw must be her daughter.
Well, jokes on me because in about 2 minutes I found out the girl was her granddaughter who was a teenager but looked older. I thought to myself, “gonna need a drink after this one.”
I chatted with my one-time girlfriend for a while. Found out she was here with her grandchild before she was going away to college in the fall. It was a girls’ weekend. Her son was at home at work, but she and her young granddaughter had escaped town for Panama City Beach. Turns out the man I knew she married 20 years before had passed away suddenly and she was just getting out the first summer afterward with her grandchild.
It seems even harder to imagine your friends having grandchildren when you did not get married and did not have a kid. Somehow, it just does not seem to compute. But it was nice seeing her again, such a lovely person. I introduced myself to her granddaughter, saying to her at least 3 times how much she looked like her grandma. She took it as the compliment it was.
I then asked them both if I could have the honor of taking them to dinner tonight. I explained I was alone writing about my trip and the place I was staying. She accepted before her granddaughter could vote. I excused myself after that we exchanged cell phone numbers and I went to go get some reservations somewhere expensive and nice.
You see, full confession, I loved this gal in my 20s. I might not have a shot in 7734 upsides down and flipped, but even the idea of chatting with her about her life had me happy.
After about an hour of looking at websites and Google My Business listings, I found the Saltwater Grill. It was not on the beach, but it had an excellent reputation and was upscale from most of the fun places on the beach.
I had cut my day at the beach a little short for this research, but I also wanted to get a pair of slacks and as I say (get my ears lowered–a haircut). I had only brought shorts for my little vacation but felt at least I should do khaki pants. I had some nice shirts with me, so that was not an issue. Then I went to get my haircut. I found an old-school barber shop and went in and sat to wait for my turn. I think this was the first time I had been to a barber since COVID. Not that I had any concerns, I just had started cutting my own hair during the lockdown and had not started the barbering thing again.
Now for the ladies reading this, yes, I understand this was a bit much to do for an on-the-whim dinner with an old fling from over 25 years ago. I get it. I also thought to myself I was going to look very different from the beach this morning, but hey, at least it will say I care about my appearance.
Like 25 years earlier, I also stopped and washed my car as well. I figured we could drive to the restaurant since it is not far from the top down and enjoy the convertible.
Night came, and dinner came. It turned out the ladies were also staying at the resort. I did not even ask. I was caught off guard by the whole thing. So I just picked them up out front with the car.
I then asked if seafood or steaks were OK, and they both politely agreed. Her granddaughter jumped in the back seat and she was my instant copilot to my right. Off we went. It was only about 7 minutes from the resort maybe, and then I whisked them inside for my reserved table. I saw my friends granddaughters eyes go wide at the menu prices. I assured her she should order anything she likes. I even ordered some appetizers for us to share. That always seems to put people at ease if they have menu sticker shock (take it from a pro).
The meal was amazing, the company was even better. We likely bored her grandchild, but we talked about the early 90s and what happened to old friends. I shared how I had just been to Tyler, Texas a few times seeing one of our old friends. How he was married and had kids and so forth. They both asked me almost at the same time what happened to me with marriage. I cleverly answered that the good one got away and smiled. Then I shared getting close once and dating some amazing ladies over the years. But not feeling settled enough in me to settle with someone else when I was younger.
The night could have just stayed in those moments forever for me. It was a great night. I then took the ladies back to the resort, encouraging them to a sunset view by the pool after dinner. Summer is great like you can have dinner and still not miss the sunset since it is so late in the day here. Tonight it was about 7:30 PM for sunset and our dinner reservation was early at 5:30 PM I made it early because I wanted to assure the best possible table. That and if things went well, a sunset view on our return or drive back.
Sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico here are great. You get a wonderful view of the water, and you can see the colors of the clouds as the sun barriers itself for another day below the waves of the Gulf.
Day Three Beach Return
Back to the beach for the day. I really got a kick out of yesterday, but I still wanted my time to just look at and listen to the waves. I woke up with the sunrise today and breakfast on my balcony. I had grabbed things on the way in for a simple breakfast in the villa while I was here.
I used the side of my fork to cut up my omelet. I had snuck on a few slices of fresh strawberry on top of my cheese omelet. That and some local fresh squeezed orange juice had me ready for a great day. It did not hurt to have my amazing view of the gulf. Since no one was at the pool yet, it also felt like I had everything all to myself.
It was a momentary illusion, but a great one.
These small quiet moments are what moves me about trips away from home. You have to get out of the normal grind to connect with nature and yourself.
With my suntan lotion SPF 30 and my swim trunks, I hit the beach first thing. I had to carry the lotion with me because I intended to get into the water today once it gets hot.
A few hours pass and I hit the water as planned. What is amazing about the gulf is the clarity of the water. You can see down several feet. Check out the photo with this blog. It is literally the beach just up from the resort and it shows how clear the water is.
My day on the beach brings a close to this blog and this trip, but the resort location is ideal. It does not matter if you meant a high school flame or not. This location is wonderful. If you like old-school beaches, Panama City Beach and this resort are the best in class. This is without a doubt the best place I have stayed on this beach.
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