Featured Fishing Destinations (Lakes, Bays, Towns, Rivers, Etc.)
Emerald Coast – 10.0 Rating
Florida’s Emerald Coast is home to Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island. This area is known as an unbelievable fishing vacation destination for a variety of inshore and offshore fish. This area also has some great beaches, plenty of accommodations, restaurants, attractions, shopping and outdoor recreation. Whether you plan to fish inshore, offshore, in the surf or from the pier, there is something here for all anglers. The Choctawhatchee Bay is very popular and the fishing is good for redfish, sea trout, flounder, sheepshead and many other fish. Offshore, grouper and snapper get the most attention when they are in season, however, cobia, amberjack, wahoo, blackfin tuna, kingfish, dolphin, sailfish, marlin and many other fish are available depending on the season.
Pensacola – 9.5 Rating
Pensacola is a beautiful city that is located along the Florida panhandle. There are a variety of things to do such as shopping, dining, hanging out at the beach and numerous water activities. Fishing is very popular in Pensacola. Numerous fishing guides and charters are available year round in Pensacola, Florida. The guides and charters can put you on a variety of inshore and offshore species depending on the season. There is also a fishing pier that offers some very good fishing, especially during the morning and evening hours. You also have the option of surf fishing along the beaches or even some freshwater bass fishing on the Escambia river.
Panama City Beach Area – 9.25 Rating
Panama City is a very popular vacation destination. While most people think of Panama City as a wild spring break destination, there is plenty to do here for the whole family and it calms down tremendously after the college students’ spring break. Panama City, covered with 27 miles of beaches, is absolutely beautiful. There are many attractions and outdoor activities available. Snorkeling, diving, boating and fishing are just a few of the popular water sports. As far as the fishing goes, there are many options in Panama City, Florida. There are plenty of fishing charters available for some outstanding inshore and offshore fishing. Surf fishing is available as well as pier fishing. In this area, anglers target redfish, sea trout, flounder, sheepshead and many other species of fish inshore. Offshore, grouper and snapper are most popular when they are in season. Cobia, amberjack, wahoo, blackfin tuna, kingfish, dolphin, sailfish, marlin and many other fish are available offshore depending on the season.
Apalachicola & St. George Island – 9.0 Rating
The Apalachicola area is a nice beach vacation destination without the crowds. The fishing here can be outstanding, especially in the Apalachicola Bay. This area is known for its fantastic inshore fishing for a variety of species such as redfish, trout, pompano, sheepshead and tarpon. You also have the option of fishing for grouper, snapper and many others offshore. For the river anglers, head up the Apalachicola River for striped bass and largemouth bass. You won’t find the high-rise hotels and condos in this area, but there are plenty of vacation home rentals to accommodate you on your vacation. If you are looking for the beaches in this area, take a look at St. George Island or nearby Cape San Blas.
Cape San Blas & Port St. Joe – 8.5 Rating
Cape San Blas is located between St. Joseph Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. You won’t find tons of fancy resorts and hotels here, but you will find plenty of vacation rental homes and condos on or near the beach. This area does draw many tourists because of the vacation home rentals on the beaches, the miles of white sand beaches, and of course, the pet-friendly beaches. The St. Joseph Peninsula State Park was ranked as America’s #1 Beach in 2002 according to www.drbeach.org.
Carrabelle – 8.5 Rating
Carrabelle is located in the Panhandle of Florida just Southwest of Tallahassee. This area gives you a taste of what Old Florida was all about….enjoying the coastal outdoors without the crowds. Three pristine rivers converge at Carrabelle and connect with the Gulf of Mexico, providing outstanding fishing for a variety of fish such as tarpon, redfish, trout, snapper, grouper, cobia and more.
Navarre Beach – 8.25 Rating
Navarre Beach is located in Northwest Florida of Santa Rosa County. This beach community is well-known for its beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches and the Santa Rosa Sound. With Pensacola Beach just down the road, visitors to Navarre Beach are close to all the action in and around the Pensacola area. Visitors enjoy the beaches, fishing, boating and much more. Anglers fish in the sound, from the beaches and from the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. Anglers catch a variety of fish in this area such as redfish, sea trout, flounder, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, whiting, sharks and many other types of fish.
Mexico Beach – 7.75 Rating
Mexico Beach is a small beach community located in the Florida Panhandle. Situated between Panama City Beach and Port St. Joe, there isn’t anything real close to this small town. You won’t see high rises, crowded beaches, rush hour traffic or even traffic lights through this small town, but you will see a variety of small hotels, vacation home rentals, rv parks, white sand beaches and the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. You can experience some good fishing from shore in the surf, in the canal, from the jetty or from the pier. There aren’t any barrier islands outside of Mexico Beach like there are in many of the other popular destinations in Florida.
Beaches of South Walton – 7.0 Rating
The Beaches of South Walton feature unspoiled white sand beaches and beautiful waters without the crowds. Located in the panhandle of Florida, the span 26 miles along the Northwest Florida gulf coast. This area is a little bit different than most of the popular travel destinations in Florida.
Instead of seeing the high-rise condos, hotels and surf shops, the Beaches of South Walton features 15 residential communities that have distinctive dining, shopping, and recreation. This area is close to some excellent fishing destinations. There are many anglers that come to this area to visit, but will head over to Destin or Panama City Beach to do some fishing because there are so many more options in both of those destinations. You can definitely surf fish along the beaches here and there are some fishing charters that operate out of this area.
Northwest Florida Fishing & Travel Tips
Northwest Florida Inshore Fishing
The inshore fishing is very good here for redfish, sea trout, flounder and many other species of fish. The areas that offer the most opportunities for fishing inshore are around Pensacola, Apalachicola, the Emerald Coast, Pensacola & the Panama City Beach Area.
Northwest Florida Offshore Fishing
Offshore, anglers have a lot of water to fish here in the Gulf of Mexico and you can launch from many different areas. The more popular places to fish offshore in northwest Florida are Pensacola, the Emerald Coast & the Panama City Beach Area. Mexico Beach is not as popular of a tourist area, but with the locals, it’s a popular offshore fishing destination.
You are going to find most locals fishing the offshore waters for snapper and grouper, but there are other fish to target on the reefs and wrecks and plenty of pelagic fish move through this area too.
Popular Fishing Destinations
Northwest Florida receives a lot of visitors every year, but there are a few places that receive the bulk of the attention. Pensacola, the Emerald Coast & the Panama City Beach Area receive the most visitors. These destinations have plenty to offer with beaches, shops, plenty of lodging, many restaurants and some awesome fishing.
Get Away From the Crowds
If you looking to visit Northwest Florida, but you don’t want to deal with the crowds, you have several options. Some of these destinations have been getting more popular over recent years, but will find much less people around Apalachicola & St. George Island, the Beaches of South Walton, Cape San Blas & Port St. Joe, Carrabelle and Mexico Beach.
Pet Friendly Beaches
Cape San Blas is one of the more popular pet friendly beach destinations in the state of Florida. There are many people who come to visit the Cape just because there are so many pet friendly accommodations and the beach is pet friendly here. Mix in some awesome fishing in the bay and you’ll love it here. It’s definitely not a crowded destination, but there’s enough here if you like to be at the beach with your dogs.
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