If it seems like all I did in Panama City Beach was eat and drink, that’s only partially correct. We also found plenty of time for fitness, too. You know, when we weren’t eating and drinking, of course.
When I’m at home in Tennessee, I work out with a trainer one to two days a week and on my own the other five. I’m often asked if I keep up that pace on the road, and the short answer is “no” with the long answer being: “… but I try to incorporate at least one active activity in my schedule every day.”
Two years ago when in PCB, I tried SUP Yoga for the first time. On last year’s visit, we chartered a boat out to Shell Island and did a little paddleboarding. This time around, I wanted to try something different, and when I saw that Yoga Elements had aerial yoga, I knew exactly what we’d be doing.
I’d tried aerial in New York and Nashville, but this was by far the best class I’ve taken yet. The three of us were the only students, and the studio overlooked Carillon’s lake, so the instructor Jackie—who was a straight-up aerial rock star, it must be said—opened up the doors and we had a glorious coastal breeze to inhale as we got our om on.
We started in a seated position before going up to higher levels of skill (and higher levels on the hammock; you clip your carabiners on whatever height you’re working on at the moment).
Next up were some floor asanas that included common poses everyone knows like plank and pigeons.
Both of my companions were total aerial newbies but that didn’t stop them from jumping right in. I was so proud of them, as it can be mildly intimidating dangling precariously from the ceiling like so.
I’ve now tried both aerial silks and hammock-style yoga, and I definitely prefer the latter. I think it’s less painful when you don’t have the knot poking into your back, not to mention you get a nice nap in the swing when you’re done.
Savasana never felt so good. Namaste.
And for those of you scared to try it, I promise it’s not scary once you get the run-down of the equipment from your instructor, nor is it painful and in some respects it’s even easier than regular ol’ yoga. As someone with perpetually tight hamstrings, I can get into a much deeper stretch doing aerial than I ever could on solid ground.
After yoga, Jade, Angie, David and I headed into the nearby Conservation Park for a stroll. The 2,900-acre recreational area is laced with hiking and biking trails, not to mention inhabited by wildlife galore. The longest of the 12 trails is 11 miles in length, so runners and cyclists have plenty of space to get their training on.
For those of you who, like me, wrongly thought PCB was all sand and surf, think again.
The skies were looking a bit ominous that morning so we didn’t press our luck and only did a quick mile loop to get a feel for the day-use park. As many years as I’ve been coming down to the Panhandle, I never knew there were lush forests such as this one.
Of course with any type of activity comes hunger and we quenched ours with a little food crawl of St. Andrews, starting first with fried green tomatoes, Bloody Marys and key lime pie at Uncle Ernie’s right on the water.
Then, it was off to Finns for fish tacos to try out the famed food truck’s newest location over the bridge (verdict: every bit as good as the original outpost).
Our nights in PCB were casual with sunset viewings from our private beach at Carillon to a little inversion practice and some snuggle time with this little gal, the newest member of our girl band.
The icing on the cake of our girlfriend getaways was dinner on the final two evenings, both of which I wound up spending at Signature Market in Carillon Beach.
The latest restaurant to open in PCB is by far my favorite of all: With a menu that rotates daily and focuses on seasonal items—dishes on the menu included flounder cheeks, a pulled pork delicacy and a bacon-wrapped burger—Signature Market is the perfect spot for a nicer meal in a quiet setting: great for date nights, family outings or friend dinners such as ours. And if they have the bread pudding or key lime anything on the menu, don’t pass it up—just trust me on this.
Kid Augustine gave its beer selection her stamp of approval!
While I’ve been going there my entire life, this was the first time I’d been to Panama City Beach exclusively for a girls’ getaway—I’d always fancied it more of a family vacation spot—and I can’t wait to take my sister and my mom back with me for round two.