Quiet days filled with sunshine are the ones that make my heart soar. But then so do early mornings where my feet hit the pavement just as the sun has come up. This trip to the Sheraton Panama City Beach Resort was no different. Not only did I get a chance to take in the local sights, but I also got a chance to check out this hotel from a runner’s perspective.
Fitness enthusiast amenities:
Swimming: This hotel has two pools with plenty of space for lounging pre- or post-run. It offers a gorgeous view of the bay from both pools. These pools are not set up for swimming laps but is a perfect place to stretch out your muscles. There is also a hot tub situated right near one of the pools with an equally great view of the water.
Hotel gym: This gym is your standard hotel gym. There are large windows that overlook the back of the resort where you can get a perfect view of the bay. There are a good number of both cardio and weight-training equipment available for whatever your training needs are that day.
Walking paths: If you enjoy a nice, long walk along the water, you can take advantage of the hotel’s boardwalk. It goes out across the water that eventually takes you through an open-air bar and restaurant. If you continue past the restaurant, the boardwalk will take you to a private beach on the bay available for resort guests.
Golf: For the golf lovers, this hotel offers an 18-hole Nicklaus Course with views of the bay and the surrounding marshes.
If you want good food with views for days, this hotel has two restaurants that offer both of those.
The first is Flip Flops. This restaurant is situated in the center of the hotel where it is just as casual as the name portrays. You can have lunch or dinner wearing your bathing suit, a pair of flip flops, or whatever makes you feel comfortable. They offer your standard menu of sandwiches, salads, quesadillas . . . . you name it. I tried both their quesadilla, which could easily be shared between two people, and a Cesar salad with grilled shrimp. Both were quite tasty!
Pelican’s Bar and Grille is another restaurant on-site that is located directly on the boardwalk. This is another casual restaurant. Many of the guests returning from a day-trip with Paradise Adventures Catamaran (which is located at one end of the boardwalk) make this an evening stop for both a drink and dinner overlooking the water.
This resort is in a beautiful location, with rolling golf-course hills, ample sidewalks, and views that will make your heart sing.
On my run, I took out from the hotel entrance and made a left onto Jan Cooley Drive. After a small jaunt on the grass, I reached the sidewalk. This sidewalk will take you through the golf course, where you can wind through the course, or you can take this sidewalk all the way to the end of Jan Cooley Drive. I chose to take the sidewalk to the end of the road, which meets Delwood Beach Road. I took a left onto Delwood Beach Road, where there were more sidewalks, and followed it for another couple miles. Eventually, Delwood Beach Road turns into Magnolia Beach Road, where you can easily get a good long run out of this route. If you stay on the sidewalk, this route is nice and flat – great for working on some speed!
If you want a shorter run while visiting, you can easily use the boardwalk or make a loop around the golf course, being careful to avoid the golf carts, of course, to get in your miles.
If you are not used to the Florida heat and humidity, depending on the time of year you arrive, you’ll want to plan your outdoor runs in the mornings or evenings to ensure the best temperatures.
Need a running route? Create your own here.
If you are searching for a beach destination without the hustle and bustle of a tourist trap, where you don’t have to wait in line for a beach chair, and the evenings are spent quietly watching the sun go down at the edge of a dock, you might have found the perfect getaway for you. From the perspective of a runner and fitness junkie, this resort offered just the right amount of running/walking routes with views that would make you want to keep going for miles.