Around the Area at DIY Network Blog Cabin 2016

From the white sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico to the state capital, Panacea is a peaceful nature lover’s paradise with a lively college town a short drive away. Learn your way around DIY Network Blog Cabin 2016.

By: Laura James

Photo By: fallbrook

Photo By: Giorgio Fochesato

Photo By: Panoramic Images

Photo By: Kenneth Higgins / EyeEm

Photo By: MichaelWarrenPix

Photo By: Arpad Benedek

Photo By: Danita Delimont

Photo By: stephenallen75

Photo By: Walter Bibikow

Photo By: Panoramic Images

Photo By: DenisTangneyJr

Photo By: Arpad Benedek

Photo By: DenisTangneyJr

Photo By: Collegiate Images

Soak up Wakulla Springs

Panacea gets its name from the “cure-all” qualities of the Wakulla Springs. In the early 20th century, people from all over the world would journey to bathe in the hot springs, which were thought to have healing powers. Today, taking a dip in the springs is almost a rite of passage. If you’re feeling adventurous, jump from the 22-foot-tall observation tower at Wakulla Springs State Park into the 69 degree water of Wakulla Spring. If you’re looking to relax, find relief from the summer heat under the large, shady cypress trees.

Escape to the Beach

Feel the sand in your toes and breeze on your face on the Florida Panhandle beaches. In Panacea, you won’t find high rise hotels, spring breakers or endless strip malls lining the coast. Instead, you’ll experience a more peaceful, slow-paced environment, reflective of what many call “Old Florida.” As a beach community, Panacea also does fresh seafood right. From restaurants to retail markets located all throughout the county, options are endless when it comes to fresh oysters, shrimp, crab, flounder, grouper, red snapper and much more.

Explore the Outdoors

In addition to Panacea’s easy access to beach activities, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities inland, too. Between the Apalachicola National Forest, the largest U.S. National Forest in Florida, and St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, adventurers can take advantage of activities like walking, biking, swimming, fishing, birdwatching, camping, hunting, horseback riding, boating and more.

Bird Watch

A blue and gold macaw bird is one of the many birds you could see while birdwatching in Wakulla County. With vast acres of undeveloped lands and protected wildlife sanctuaries, there’s an abundance of wildlife with verified counts of over 300 species of migratory and nesting birds. 

Stop in Sopchoppy

Just 10 miles from Panacea, the town of Sopchoppy has an area of just 1.5 square miles and a population of nearly 500 people. Have you ever seen worm grunting? If you attend their annual Worm Gruntin’ Festival, you can. In addition to the worm grunting demonstration from a professional baiter, the festival includes a 5K race, games, food, live music and arts and crafts. If worms aren’t your thing, and you’re just looking for a place to eat, visit the Sopchoppy Pizza Company for a slice of the “Sopchoppy Supreme,” a local favorite. Their pizza crusts feature a special, not-so-secret ingredient: Tupelo Honey made in Wakulla County. 

Paddle the Wakulla

Located on the beautiful Wakulla River on Hwy. 98, family owned T-n-T Hide-a-way has been providing river or coastal paddling rentals and tours for four decades. They offer kayak, canoe and stand up paddle board rentals, instructions, shuttles and fishing trips and guided eco-tours all led by certified professional guides. Make sure you check out their manatee observation tour, one of their most popular tours. 

Shop at The Tin Shed

Visit The Tin Shed in Apalachicola, Florida to get your antiquing fix. There you will find a variety of nautical décor, wood carvings, signs and antiques. 

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1931, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge spans over 70,000 acres across Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties. It consists of coastal marshes, islands, tidal creeks and estuaries of seven Florida rivers and is home to a diverse community of plant and animal life. The St. Marks Lighthouse, which was built in 1842, is still in use today. 

Go to the Capital

About 30 miles away, Tallahassee is the closest large city to Panacea. The largest city in Northwest Florida, Tallahassee, the state capital, is just 20 miles from Panacea. Tallahassee has a population of nearly 200,000 people.  

Visit Downtown Tally

From restaurants to live music and breweries to festivals, there’s always something going on in downtown Tallahassee. Springtime Tallahassee, one of the major annual festivals, attracts over 27,000 out-of-town visitors and features music, parades, a children’s park, food, arts and crafts and more. Barrel by barrel, Tallahassee’s beer scene is growing. Grab a brew at The Brass Tap, and give yourself plenty of time to peruse the beer list which consists of over 130 taps and 300 beers.

Take an Art Walk

Tallahassee, often referred to as Tally, is known for its southern hospitality, oak-canopied streets and vibrant arts scene. For a culture-filled afternoon, visit one of the city’s many museums or galleries or consider taking the Council on Culture and Arts’ Downtown Public Art Walk, a three-mile stroll through downtown that features more than 30 artworks, including leaping dolphins, a tribute to the earliest residents, the local Civil Rights movement, war memorials and an iconic beach ball.

Go to School

Tallahassee is a major college town, with a student population of nearly 70,000. Florida State University, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee Community College and many other colleges are located in the city. FSU, a space-grant and sea-grant research university, ranked as the 43rd top public school in the nation in 2015, tied with University of Alabama, according to the U.S. News and World Report.   

Tour Campus

FSU is the second largest employer in Tallahassee, just after the State of Florida. The James D. Westscott is a historic building centrally located on campus that houses chief administrative offices and Ruby Diamond Auditorium. In 1969, much of the interior of the building was destroyed by a fire. Renovations to the interior were completed in 1973 and preserved the historic gothic-style exterior.

Watch the Seminoles Play

Cheer on the Florida State Seminoles during football season at the Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium, which can seat about 82,000 people. Overall, Florida State’s varsity sports teams have won 20 national athletic championships and individual athletes have won 78 NCAA national championships.