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The Visitor’s Guide to one of Florida’s last great seaside communities.


Contents 3 Welcome to Mexico Beach! 4 3 Miles of Paradise!

Where is Mexico Beach, Florida? How far away is Mexico Beach? What’s the weather like?

6 A Little Bit of History

How Mexico Beach got its start and highlights between then and now.

8 Calendar of Events

An entire year full of exciting happenings make Mexico Beach a great place to visit year-round.

10 Attractions, Activities & Advice 11 12 14 15 16 17 18 19

Beach Town Sea, Surf & Shore Shopping by the Sea Out on the Town Where to Stay Destination Weddings Park It! Day Trips / Photo Contest Form

20 The Naturalist’s Guide to Mexico Beach 22 22 23 24

Sea Turtles Coastal Birds Sea Shells Sport Fish

26 Mexico Beach Business Directory 28 29 29 30 31 32

Restaurants & Eateries Fishing & Boating Inns & Motels Specialty Shops Grocery & Package Stores Vacation Properties

34 A Welcome Addition Opens Its Doors! Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf brings quality health care to the beach!

36 Stay Connected! 38 Emergency Numbers & Area Information

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Shoaf h CDC Kimberly ico Beac x e M t, n Preside


3 Miles of Paradise! Where is Mexico Beach, Florida? Our laid-back community is located in the southernmost portion of the Florida Panhandle just two hours southwest of Tallahassee and 30 minutes east of Panama City. Situated directly on the Gulf of Mexico near the mouth of St. Joseph Bay, Mexico Beach is sheltered by the protective arm of the St. Joseph Peninusula and Cape San Blas. As a

result, our shores are among the safest in the country. Flanked on either side by the beaches of Gulf County and Tyndall Air Force Base, our three mile stretch of paradise is the perfect beach getaway. Avoid the traffic and crowds – enjoy Florida exactly the way it was meant to be! Beat a path to “just off the beaten path.” Escape to Mexico Beach.

Just off the beaten path.

How far away is Mexico Beach? Albany, GA . . . . . . . 196 Atlanta, GA . . . . . . . 315 Augusta, GA . . . . . . 415 Birmingham, AL . . . 302 Chattanooga, TN . . 428 Chicago, IL . . . . . . . 964 Cincinnati, OH. . . . . 772 Columbia, SC . . . . . 487 Columbus, GA . . . . 208 Destin, FL . . . . . . . . . 80 Dothan, AL . . . . . . . 107 Gainesville, FL . . . . 252

Gulfport, MS. . . . . . 259 Houston, TX . . . . . . 652 Huntsville, AL . . . . . 401 Indianapolis, IN . . . 778 Jackson, MS . . . . . . 378 Jacksonville, FL . . . 263 Knoxville, TN . . . . . 524 Lexington, KY . . . . . 691 Little Rock, AR . . . . 638 Louisville, KY . . . . . 665 Miami, FL . . . . . . . . 560 Memphis, TN . . . . . 536

Montgomery, AL . . 213 Nashville, TN . . . . . 493 New Orleans, LA . . 328 Orlando, FL . . . . . . . 333 Panama City, FL . . . . 27 Pensacola, FL . . . . . 128 Mobile, AL . . . . . . . 186 Savannah, GA . . . . 398 Shreveport, LA . . . . 592 St. Louis, MO . . . . . 798 Tampa, FL . . . . . . . . 351 Tallahassee, FL . . . . 102

Closer than you think! 4


What’s the weather like? month

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun

Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

daily high

63

67

73

79

86

90

91

91

88

80

73

66

nightly low

41

43

50

54

62

68

71

71

68

56

49

43

Yes, it’s that good! Unlike destinations further south, Mexico Beach experiences brief, subtle changes of season. Summers are balmy & wonderful and Winters are calm & comfortable, but most locals prefer the Spring and Fall with their warm days & cool nights.

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A Little Bit of Accounts of Mexico Beach’s past are a little foggy before the early 1900s. Sources agree that the first settlement in the area was Fort Crevecouer, a French military installation built in 1717. The fort’s life was short – it was abandoned and burned to appease La Florida’s Spanish governor. Records indicate very little activity until the 1900s when rumors of the legendary Maddox Gold Mines and sunken Caribbean pirate ships brought treasure hunters to the coast. One old sailing ship was found buried in local sands, but the name of the ship and any record of its cargo have been lost over time. Neither the mines nor the treasure have been rediscovered...yet! Businessman Felix du Pont purchased the land now occupied by the City of Mexico Beach around 1900. Native pine trees were harvested to produce turpentine, and the area gained a bit of exposure to public eyes. Fishermen were some of the first to embrace the newly discovered – and newly accessible – beaches. The allure of amazing Spring and Fall runs of migratory fish were as difficult to resist then as they are today.

The 1930s saw the completion of United States Highway 98, and vastly increased the number of visitors to the area. Accommodations were very limited, however, and livestock and wildlife still roamed freely along the new road. Local residents recall “being chased by cows on the beach”during early visits to the area. Growth was slow, and the sleepy community remained quiet. In 1946, a small group of businessmen, led by Gordon Parker, W. T. McGowan and J. W. Wainwright, purchased 1,850 acres along the beach for $65,000.00. Development began in earnest shortly thereafter. Accustomed to valuing land for its agricultural yield, Parker’s partners failed to see the value in the stretch of windswept dunes and sandy soil, yet Parker remained convinced and organized the Mexico Beach Corporation. Parker’s son eventually took over development efforts for the company. Along with determination and vision, those efforts enabled the late Charles M. Parker to shape the area into the Mexico Beach of today. Charlie Parker, his wife, Inky, and their two daughters moved to Mexico Beach

Historic Timeline of Mexico Beach

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1717

1901

French build, then abandon and burn, Fort Crevecouer under Spanish threat.

Felix DuPont purchases site for harvest of trees to produce turpentine.

of

T


e

History in 1949. Through dedication, hard work and sacrifice, they made the community their home. The little community suffered growing pains, and some development plans were realized while others were shelved. Electric power and water treatment were just two of the many obstacles standing in the way of progress, but the Parkers were able to overcome them all. Slow growth ensued, and Mexico Beach boasted several hundred residents by 1955. Charlie Parker led the community in a program of smart growth, civic pride and destination awareness. Named for its location on the Gulf, the little beach town was ready to incorporate by 1966. That year, the City of Mexico Beach was formed. Charlie Parker was elected Mayor. Since then, the beach town has kept growing steadily. Over 1,000 people now call Mexico Beach home. City officials have embraced Parker’s vision, attracted quality businesses to the coast and preserved Mexico Beach’s reputation as a family-friendly vacation community.

1937

1946

1949

1955

1966

2006

2010

Construction of United States Highway 98 completed. Traffic to area increases.

Coalition of businessmen led by Gordon Parker buy 1,850 acres along beach.

Charles Parker and family arrive in Mexico Beach to assist with development.

Development progresses and local population exceeds 300 for first time.

City of Mexico Beach incorporates. Charles Parker elected as first Mayor.

U.S. Highway 98 Bridge over Canal dedicated in honor of Charles Parker.

Renovation of City Pier and construction of public access boat ramp complete.

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Calendar of Plein Air Invitational Nationally recognized Plein Air artists capture the beauty of Mexico Beach and surrounding communities with paint and canvas. Painting happens live throughout the region. The ten day event includes an ongoing art exhibit and sale, too!

Music in the Park Join us every Thursday night during the month of September at 6:00 pm for live music overlooking the beach at Sunset Park (right next door to the El Governor Motel).


Events Mexico Beach Gumbo Cook-Off

Snowbird Luncheon

Mexico Beach Photo Contest

On the Saturday before President’s Day, dozens of chefs prepare their best gumbo recipes and compete for cash prizes at Sunset Park. The gumbo is sold after judging to pay for Independence Day fireworks!

A fun and filling get-together for winter residents and guests hosted by the Mexico Beach Community Development Council. Enjoy a great meal with friends and neighbors! Location to be announced.

Held every April 1st thru July 25th. Photos must be shot in Mexico Beach, and winning entries will be displayed in the Mexico Beach Welcome Center. Entry forms are available online at www.Mexico-Beach.com, from the Welcome Center or on page 19 of this Visitor’s Guide.

Best Blast on the Beach!

MBARA Annual Kingfish Tournament

4th of July fireworks display, 5K race, kid’s fishing tourney and much more!

Marquardt’s Marina Offshore Classic Big fish and huge prizes at Marquardt’s Marina on the last Saturday in July!

The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association hosts the area’s biggest kingfish tournament on the last weekend in August. Good times and great prizes in support of a worthy cause.

Mexico Beach Art & Wine Festival

Christmas Celebration of Lights

One of Beach Town USA’s premier events featuring a juried exhibit of fine art, a live auction, fine wines, artisan beers and outstanding live entertainment. Hosted annually by the Driftwood Inn.

Tree lighting ceremony and Christmas carols by candlelight in Sunset Park!

Need more information? Call 888.723.2546 or visit www.Mexico-Beach.com.

Celebrate Twice! Ring in the New Year in two time zones with free shuttle service!

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Attractions, Activities & Advice Safety First! Following these basic rules will ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable visit to Mexico Beach. 1. No pets on the beach with the exceptions of Canal Beach and St. Joe Beach. 2. Speed limit 35 mph on U.S. Highway 98. 3. No passing on the shoulder on U.S. Highway 98. 4. Speed limit 5 mph in the Canal – no wake zone! 5. Restricted areas for Wave Runners – 300 feet offshore. 6. Never take glass on the beach. 7. Open fires are not allowed. 8. No walking on sand dunes and/or sea oats.

Turtle Tips! Please help protect our endangered Sea Turtles! 1. Do not touch turtles or their nests. 2. Do not take flash photography of turtles or their nests. 3. Call 850.647.8238 to report any unmarked turtle crawls. 4. Close all blinds and draperies on the beach side of your accommodations at night. Keep turtles in the dark! 5. Remove lounge chairs, umbrellas, boats, coolers and tents from the beach at the end of each day. 6. If you encounter a Sea Turtle at night, please remain quiet and slowly step away. 7. Do not disturb turtle tracks – they are very valuable to researchers studying Sea Turtles. 8. Pick up plastic bags, balloons, styrofoam and other floating debris. Items like these can be fatal to turtles if ingested.

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Beach Town The beach is the thread that connects us. The sand is so white we compare it to sugar – it’s so clean it squeaks under your feet. We have built our community around this spectacular stretch of shoreline. From restaurants and stores to festivals and concerts to athletic pursuits and fishing tournaments, everything happens along the water’s edge. And all you need to do to enjoy it is be here. Nature abounds. Eagles nest here. Sea Turtle hatchlings make their way into the surf on warm summer nights. Mackerel and Cobia swim close to shore during seasonal migrations. Bottlenose Dolphins frolic in the surf all year long. The variety of life in this paradise is incredible. Browse your way through an eclectic collection of shops full of unique merchandise. Enjoy some of the world’s best seafood in one-of-a-kind restaurants. Wander around friendly neighborhoods where people smile and wave. Explore the parks. Comb the beach. Life here is quiet, and fosters an appreciation for the simple things. Simple things like Concerts in the Park. Held at Sunset Park next to the El Governor Motel, these live music events bring folks together for great entertainment in a beautiful setting. Look for concert posters displayed around town for dates and times, keep your eyes and ears open as you travel Highway 98, or visit www.Mexico-Beach.com. Simple things like original local art. Mexico Beach is home to many resident artists. Painters, sculptors and photographers live and work in our little community. Much of their work is displayed and offered for sale in local shops, restaurants and inns. Each May, Plein Air artists gather for ten days and capture regional vistas on canvas. In October, the city celebrates with an Art & Wine Festival. There’s even a gallery in the Mexico Beach Welcome Center. The Welcome Center, located on the edge of town on the corner of Highway 98 and Canal Parkway, is a great place to begin exploring Mexico Beach. Operated by the Community Development Council and staffed by friendly volunteers, the Welcome Center offers visitor information, public access computers and 24-hour Wi-Fi access. Visitors are encouraged to read The Star local newspaper, pick up a copy of Must See magazine, and tune in to Local TV Channel 4 for additional information.

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Sea, Surf & Shore Many species of aquatic life make their home in the waters of Mexico Beach. It’s not uncommon to see pods of Dolphins playing and feeding in local waters. Sea Turtles, Urchins, Starfish, Crabs, and Sand Dollars thrive here as well. You are welcome to watch, explore and collect, but please, respect the home of these beautiful, amazing creatures. Sea Turtles are among the largest living reptiles, with five

species frequenting the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. These fascinating and endangered animals are cold blooded, breathe air and lay their eggs on land. Turtle nesting season occurs between May 1st and October 31st. Nests are marked with stakes and yellow caution tape – please do not disturb! For more information, see Turtle Tips on page 11.

plenty of fish can be caught right off the beach, City Pier, or in the Canal, many anglers head offshore in search of bigger game. Grouper, Snapper, King Mackerel, Cobia, Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo and more (see page 24) can be caught within sight of land. How is this possible? Through the efforts of the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association (MBARA).

Beach swimmers and surfers share the shallows with numerous aquatic creatures. Hermit Crabs, Starfish, Rays, schools of small fish and other harmless creatures are commonly encountered inside the surf zone. It’s a good idea to do the Sting Ray Shuffle – slide instead of step – while wading…just in case.

MBARA has developed an extensive artificial reef system just offshore from Mexico Beach. The organization has three functions: 1) Conservation and environmental improvement of natural and artificial reefs systems near Mexico Beach; 2) Research and evaluation of reef designs, biomass development and fish production; and 3) Educate the public about the importance of reefs to the marine ecosystem and their impact on coastal communities.

Bigger fish spend the majority of their time in much deeper water, and that’s where fishermen target them. While

Fishing Licenses The State of Florida requires fishermen to hold a recreational saltwater fishing license, but there are two important exemptions to this law – children under 16 years of age and Florida residents over the age of 65. Fishing licenses may be purchased locally at Marquardt’s Marina and Cathey’s Ace Hardware. Anglers fishing aboard licensed charter boats do not need a license - the captain’s charter includes licensing for all fishermen aboard the vessel.

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MBARA also hosts one of the city’s best events, the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association Kingfish Tournament and publishes a regular newsletter. You can learn more about the MBARA online at www.mbara.org. While fishing may be king in Mexico Beach, easy access to artificial reefs and the historic shipwreck of the Vamar make the town a great destination for SCUBA divers, snorkelers and spear fishermen, too. Charters are available for anyone who wants to experience the abundant marine life of Mexico Beach first-hand. Check the Mexico Beach CDC web site at www.Mexico-Beach.com for a list of local captains and contact information.

Of course, there’s plenty of other fun to be had along Mexico Beach. You can ride wave runners or go parasailing. Try your hand at skimboarding or wind surfing. Explore local waters in a kayak, canoe, sailboat, catamaran or motor boat. Play volleyball on the beach. Catch a wave on a surf or bodyboard. Or, you can just relax on the beach and soak up the warm Florida sun. However you decide to spend your days, rest assured that local merchants carry everything you need to make the most of your time at the beach. From chairs and umbrellas to kayaks and coolers, you’ll be well-equipped for the sea, surf and shore of Mexico Beach.


Shopping by the Sea Several colorful shops dot the roadside as Highway 98 curves through Mexico Beach, while others are tucked away in motels or restaurants. No matter where you find the merchants of Mexico Beach, you’ll discover a huge variety of quality merchandise in their stores. Offerings run the gamut from gifts and souvenirs to gourmet foods and fine art. Pick up your necessities when you arrive, and set aside a few hours to explore the shops of Mexico Beach while you’re here. You’re sure to discover that perfect something to take back home!

Beachwalk

El Governor Motel Gift Shop

3102 Highway 98 / 850.648.4200

1701 Highway 98 / 850.648.5757

Beach wear, casual wear, swim wear, hats, jewelry, sunglasses, kites, beach blankets, skin care products, novelty gifts, more...

Package liquors, beer, wine, t-shirts, beach supplies, convenience items, Christmas store, more...

Cathey’s Ace Hardware

Emerald Coast Jewelry

3004 Highway 98 / 850.648.5242

2802-B Highway 98 / 850.648.2300

Beach supplies, fishing equipment and tackle, outdoor furniture, beach umbrellas, general hardware, more...

Gold and diamond jewelry, regional gold and silver charms, local art, photography, children’s items, gifts, more...

The Driftwood Inn Gift Shop

Frost Pottery Garden & Gift Shop

Prickly Pears

2105 Highway 98 / 850.648.5126

2904-C Highway 98 / 850.541.2839

101 South 36th Street / 850.648.1115

Local art, antiques, t-shirts, postcards, more...

Imported pottery, water features, kites, wind chimes and spinners, jewelry, outdoor rugs, local art, gifts, more...

Fine wines, micro-brew beers, chocolates, gourmet foods and coffees, espresso, fine art, cigars, spices, gift baskets, more...

The Grove

The Shell Shack

2700 Highway 98 / 850.648.4445

3800 Highway 98 / 850.648.8256

Nautical curiosities, local art, home décor and accessories, outdoor furniture, novelty signs, bicycle rentals, more...

Full-service seafood market including packfor-travel services, sea shells, gifts, t-shirts, souvenirs, novelties, more...

Gulf Foods

Toucan’s Beach Store & Surf Shop

900-A Highway 98 / 850.648.5129

719 Highway 98 / 850.648.8207

Beach wear, casual wear, swim wear, hats, jewelry, sunglasses, kites, beach blankets, skin care products, novelty gifts, more...

Beach supplies, swimwear, t-shirts, board shorts, skin care products, resort wear, hats, sunglasses, souvenirs, gifts, more...

The Lookout Lounge

Two Gulls

9454 W. Highway 98, Beacon Hill / 850.647.8310

2802-D Highway 98 / 850.648.1122

Package liquors, wine and beer.

Resort wear for men and women, souvenirs, beach gear, hats, t-shirts, footwear, gifts, art, jewelry, more...

Marquardt’s Marina 3904 Highway 98 / 850.648.8900 Beach wear, technical clothing, fishing equipment and tackle, sunglasses, bait, gas, ice, more...

The Port Fine Wine & Spirits 202 W. Highway 98, Port St. Joe / 850.229.2977 Liquor, wine, beer, cigars, more...


Out on the Town Mexico Beach has a number of excellent establishments serving fresh seafood and cool libations. When you’re craving fresh-caught seafood, a smooth cocktail or live entertainment, the beach is the place to be!

RESTAURANTS

Beach Pizza

Ruby Rumrunner’s

2902 Highway 98 / 850.648.4600

3114 Highway 98 / 850.648.2030

Serving lunch, dinner and take-out Monday thru Saturday. Pizza, salads, fried shrimp, hot and cold sandwiches with Boar’s Head products, more...

Serving lunch and dinner every day from 11am until 9pm. Fresh-caught seafood, pasta, salads, burgers, sandwiches, beer, wine, full bar, more...

The Fish House

Sharon’s Cafe

3006 Highway 98 / 850.648.8950

1100 Highway 98 / 850.648.8634

Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Seafood, steaks, burgers, salads, full bar, more...

Serving breakfast, lunch and take-out every day from 6am until 2pm. Waffles, omelettes, sandwiches, burgers, more...

Killer Seafood

Subway

820 Highway 98 / 850.648.6565

714 Highway 98 / 850.648.8840

Serving lunch and dinner Wednesday thru Sunday. Seafood, fish tacos, salads, burgers, beer, wine, more...

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Located inside Express Lane. Sub sandwiches, salads, soups, more...

Mango Marley’s

Toucan’s on the Beach

3104 Highway 98 / 850.648.5000

719 Highway 98 / 850.648.8207

Serving lunch and dinner every day. Fresh seafood served grilled or fried, burgers, salads, wings, full bar, more...

Serving lunch and dinner every day. Beachfront dining. Seafood, sandwiches, burgers, salads, full bar, more...

Prickly Pears BBQ 101 South 36th Street / 850.648.1115 Serving lunch, dinner and take-out Tuesday thru Saturday. Boston butt, chicken, ribs, Brunswick stew, more...

NIGHT SPOTS

The Lookout Lounge

Ruby Rumrunner’s

9454 W. Highway 98, Beacon Hill / 850.647.8310

3114 Highway 98 / 850.648.2030

Located just across the county line in Beacon Hill, the Lookout Lounge offers karaoke, live music on the deck, more...

Ruby’s serves up great food, cool drinks, good times, a casual atmosphere, and more right in the heart of Mexico Beach.

Mango Marley’s

Toucan’s on the Beach

3104 Highway 98 / 850.648.5000

719 Highway 98 / 850.648.8207

Ice cold beer, hot wings, and big screen TVs with the best sporting events shown live. Games, live entertainment, more...

Toucan’s upper deck lounge is a great spot to dance to live music and enjoy a cocktail overlooking the beach.

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Where to Stay Your lodging options in Mexico Beach include quaint seaside cottages, spacious Gulf front rooms, luxury vacation homes, RV parks and more. Whatever accommodations you seek, you’ll find the perfect place to hang your hat in Mexico Beach.

VA C AT I O N R E N TA L S

Forgotten Coast Property Management & Rentals

Pristine Properties Vacation Rentals

900-C Highway 98 Mexico Beach 888.648.1012 / 850.648.1012 www.ForgottenCoastRental.com

1200 Highway 98 Mexico Beach 877.523.7131 / 850.227.1100 www.VisitFloridaBeaches.com

Gulf Coast Vacation Rentals

Rustic Sands Resort Cottages

101 South 33rd Street Mexico Beach 800.582.2990 / 850.648.5449 www.GulfCoastVacationRentals.com

800 15th Street Mexico Beach 877.240.7213 / 850.648.5229 www.RusticSands.com

Parker Realty of Mexico Beach

Southern Resorts Vacation Rentals

3016 Highway 98 Mexico Beach 800.874.5073 / 850.648.5777 www.MexicoBeachVacations.com

3052 W. Highway 98 Port St. Joe 866.842.0563 / 850.229.1350 www.SouthernResorts.com

INNS & MOTELS

Buena Vista Motel

El Governor Motel

903 Highway 98 Mexico Beach 850.648.5323 www.NewBuenaVista.com

1701 Highway 98 Mexico Beach 850.648.5757 www.ElGovernorMotel.net

The Driftwood Inn

Gulf View Motel

2105 Highway 98 Mexico Beach 850.648.5126 www.DriftwoodInn.com

1404 Highway 98 Mexico Beach 850.648.5955

RV PARKS

El Governor RV Park 1700 Highway 98 Mexico Beach 850.648.5432 www.ElGovernorMotel.net

Rustic Sands RV Resort 800 15th Street Mexico Beach 877.240.7213 / 850.648.5229 www.RusticSands.com

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Occasionally you stumble over a place ideally suited for life’s special occasions. For destination weddings, that place is Mexico Beach. A wide band of white sand edged by sea oats borders calm, clean, turquoise waters. Boardwalks span rolling dunes and provide dramatic walkways to and from beach venues. Every day, the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico in spectacular fashion and paints a once-in-a-lifetime backdrop in the western sky. Without a doubt, this little beach town is a wedding planner’s dream come true! Maybe that’s why there are so many outstanding regional event services providers. Local professionals supply everything your destination wedding requires – planning services, flowers, photography, entertainment, tent rentals and furnishings, cakes and catering and much more! Many property management companies, inns and motels (see page 16) are

happy to help with family and guest housing needs, as well as other details of your big day. A local inn even offers a private Victorian wedding chapel that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico Beach is the perfect place to tie the knot – and the Mexico Beach Community Development Council is here to assist you. We regularly provide destination brides, coordinators and wedding planners with information and referrals. To learn more about destination weddings in Mexico Beach, visit the Mexico Beach CDC web site at www.Mexico-Beach.com and click wedding information.

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Park It!

Every visitor to Mexico Beach should familiarize themselves with the town’s municipal facilities and City Parks. These valuable community assets make it convenient and easy to experience all that Mexico Beach has to offer. They provide access and amenities to beach-goers and numerous opportunites for outdoor recreation including tennis, basketball, picnics and much more. The new Mexico Beach Boat Ramp has plenty of room for launching boats – easily four at once – and parking trailers, as well as a quick route to the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There’s even an historic underwater preserve just a few miles offshore!

Canal Park Canal Park runs along the edge of the Mexico Beach Canal on the Gulf side of Highway 98. There is a covered pavilion, picnic tables and benches, and great fishing spots on the canal, the jetties and the beach.

Mexico Beach City Park Convenient beach walkovers and public restrooms make the beach adjacent to the City Park very popular. It’s right next to Toucan’s Restaurant as well!

Sunset Park

The site of many exciting Mexico Beach events, Sunset Park is located next door to the El Governor Motel. The park hosts the Gumbo Cook-Off, Music in the Park and the Christmas Celebration of Lights.

Mexico Beach Municipal Park Located on Paradise Path between 20th and 22nd Streets, this park offers a top notch tennis court and basketball court, shuffleboard courts, picnic tables, BBQ grills and a large children’s playground.

Under-The-Palms Park

Tucked away off 7th Street, Under-The-Palms Park offers walking paths, open spaces, and public restrooms.

Mexico Beach Boat Ramp This brand new facility, just completed in 2010, is destined to be the envy of communities all over the State of Florida. It features spacious concrete ramps, generous docking space and easy Gulf access.

Vamar State Underwater Archaeological Preserve The sea floor off of Mexico Beach is dotted with numerous wrecks and artificial reefs. The shipwreck Vamar, however, may be the most interesting. It has a fascinating history and is accessible to both snorkelers and divers. Resting in just 27 feet of water, the Vamar is often visible from the surface!

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Day Trips These excursions are less than an hour away and offer their own unique charm!

Port St. Joe

Apalachicola

WindMark Beach

St. Joseph Peninsula

St. Vincent Island & Indian Pass

Panama City Beach

Just 12 miles away. A town with a fascinating history, great shopping, excellent restaurants, a dive shop and the 18-hole St. Joseph Bay Golf Club. Just 7 miles away. The perfect spot for bike rides and a workout at the fitness center. Home to Great Southern School of Fish Restaurant and Bar.

Just 25 miles away. A great escape for nature lovers, St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge is filled with exotic animal life. Ferry to and from the island, and enjoy the world’s best oysters at the Indian Pass Raw Bar on the trip back.

Just 32 miles away. Always a delight to visit, historic Apalachicola is filled with unique stores, art galleries and fantastic gourmet restaurants.

Just 19 miles away. The beaches at the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park were voted No. 1 in the nation. Home of the Cape San Blas Lighthouse! Just 39 miles away. A good spot for a day of high profile family fun. PCB is the home of Shipwreck Island Water Park and Gulf World Marine Park.

MEXICO BEACH PHOTO CONTEST ENTRY FORM NAME

Submission Requirements

MAILING ADDRESS

The annual Mexico Beach Photo Contest is held from April 1st through July 25th each year. The submission deadline is July 25th. Please submit best quality 8"x10" images and $5.00 per entry along with this completed form to: Mexico Beach CDC Photo Contest P.O. Box 13382 Mexico Beach, FL 32410

CITY

S TAT E

ZIP

TELEPHONE

E-MAIL

TITLE 1: TITLE 2: TITLE 3:

CATEGORY: CATEGORY: CATEGORY:

THE BEACH HISTORICAL

PEOPLE FLORA

ANIMAL LIFE WATERSPORTS

FISHING & BOATING SUNRISES & SUNSETS

AROUND TOWN SPECIAL EVENTS

THE BEACH HISTORICAL

PEOPLE FLORA

ANIMAL LIFE WATERSPORTS

FISHING & BOATING SUNRISES & SUNSETS

AROUND TOWN SPECIAL EVENTS

THE BEACH HISTORICAL

PEOPLE FLORA

ANIMAL LIFE WATERSPORTS

FISHING & BOATING SUNRISES & SUNSETS

AROUND TOWN SPECIAL EVENTS

Important! Submission of an image to the Mexico Beach CDC Photo Contest constitutes the photographer’s release of all rights to the photo. Images may appear in Mexico Beach CDC publications and other regional promotional materials. Photos submitted will not be returned.

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The Naturalist’s Guide to 20

22 22 23 24

Sea Turtles Coastal Birds Sea Shells Sport Fish


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Sea Turtles Coastal Birds

Little Blue Heron Snowy Egret

Roseate Spoonbill Tricolor Heron

Yellow Crowned Heron

Black Crowned Heron

Green Heron White Ibis

Great Egret

Glossy Ibis

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Great Blue Heron

Sea Shells

Reddish Egret

Common Jingle

Calico Scallop

Common Bubble

Spiny Jewel Box

Buttercup Lucine

Auger

Periwinkle Fan Scallop

Florida Fighting Conch

Dove Snail

Eastern Oyster

Giant Heart Cockle

Coquina Yellow Cockle Sailor’s Ear

Worm Shell

Slipper Shell

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Sport Fish

White Marlin

Including inshore, nearshore and offshore species. Bluefish

Pompano Sailfish

Wahoo

Tripletail

Hogfish

Mangrove Snapper Redfish Barracuda

Scamp Vermillion Snapper

Amberjack

Black Sea Bass

Blackfin Tuna

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Goliath Grouper


Spanish Mackerel

Blue Marlin

Tarpon

Sheepshead Yellowfin Tuna

Speckled Trout

Mahi-Mahi King Mackerel

Gray Triggerfish

Red Grouper

Whiting

Bonito Red Snapper

Flounder

Gag Grouper

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Business Directory 28 29 29 30 31 32

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Restaurants & Eateries Fishing & Boating Inns & Motels Specialty Shops Grocery & Package Stores Vacation Properties


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A family-owned casual dining restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner – specializing in fresh seafood at affordable prices. Home of the Shrimp Basket daily lunch and dinner specials.

Family-friendly fun! Catch your favorite sports team while enjoying a watermelon margarita, the Best Wings in Town or the Bloody Mary Bar. Gather with the locals at the coolest place on the beach. Open 7 days a week!

850.648.8950

850.648.5000

3006 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.fishhousemexicobeach.com

3104 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.mangomarleys.com

Find it all at Toucan’s Restaurant! Savor fresh local seafood while dining beachside. Watch the dolphins swim by during happy hour. Enjoy good times and great music into the night in the upper deck lounge.

850.648.8207 719 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.toucansmexicobeachfl.com

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Family outings, business retreats, or a serious angler’s chance to catch the big one! Daily inshore and offshore fishing excursions with a licensed captain. Tackle and equipment provided. Please call for dates and pricing.

Full service marina. We have it all! Ethanol-free gas, Yamaha and EdgeWater sales and service, wet storage, boat/kayak rentals, boating/beach accessories, charters, bait, tackle, clothing, sunglasses & more. ATM available.

850.648.8211

850.648.8900

Mexico Beach Canal / Mexico Beach www.charismacharters.com

3904 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.marquardtsmarina.com

This beachside inn is nestled in the heart of Mexico Beach. Enjoy retreats to porch swings and landscaped walkways. Each room offers beautiful views of the Gulf and there is an on-site Victorian wedding chapel.

Located directly on the beach, every room at the El Governor overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and includes a kitchen – perfect for families. Enjoy the large pool, tiki bar and gift shop. RV park just across Highway 98!

850.648.5126

850.648.5757

2105 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.driftwoodinn.com

1701 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.elgovernormotel.net

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Exquisite and stylish treasures including brand-name beachwear, jewelry, hats, beach blankets, sunglasses, swimwear, picture frames, embossed serving platters, wind chimes, novelties and much more!

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Located in the Markets of Mexico Beach, Emerald Coast Jewelry features regional keepsake charms in silver and gold, blue diamonds, jewelry repair, gifts and more. Ask about beach photography services!

850.648.4200

850.648.2300

3102 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.mexicobeachgifts.com

2802-B Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.emeraldcoastjewelry.com

Pottery and gifts from around the world! Frost Pottery Garden & Gift Shop offers a huge selection of imported pottery in almost any shape, size or color with unique gifts, garden accessories, exotic plants and much more.

Shop the Grove! Enter an oasis filled with home dÊcor, small furnishings, nautical gifts, unique accessories and art. There’s also a large selection of handmade and painted outdoor furniture, novelty signs and bike rental!

850.541.2839

850.648.4445

2904-C Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.frostpotterygarden.com

2700 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.thegroveofmexicobeach.com


Serving the best local seafood in Mexico Beach since 1965. We offer fresh or steamed shrimp, fish and scallops, a large variety of seashells, t-shirts and novelty gifts, and we’ll pack seafood for travel.

Quality fresh-cut meats, great produce, and a large selection of beer and wine. Shop at Gulf Foods for groceries, clothes, gifts and all of your beach needs. Video rental and ATM Service is also available!

850.648.8256

850.648.5129

3800 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.shellshackmexicobeach.com

900-A Highway 98 / Mexico Beach gulffoods@yahoo.com

Your place for fun on the beach! Don’t miss out on good times at the Lookout Lounge. Enjoy daily drink specials, karaoke, live music and sunsets on the deck. Located at the Mexico Beach city limits in Beacon Hill.

The Port Fine Wine & Spirits offers the closest and largest selection of wines, imported beers, cigars, ice and liquor inventory to Mexico Beach. Open Mon-Sat 10am-9pm / Sun 10am-6pm (EST).

850.647.8310

850.229.2977

9454 West Highway 98 / Beacon Hill www.lookoutlounge.com

202 West Highway 98 / Port St. Joe www.theportfinewine.com

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We are as selective as you are! Specializing in vacation rentals from Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas including beach and canal front properties as well as affordable homes, condos and townhomes.

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From five bedroom beach front homes to affordable townhomes, we offer over 150 rental properties from Mexico Beach to Cape San Blas – clean quality properties and guaranteed customer service!

888.648.1012

800.582.2990

900-C Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.forgottencoastrental.com

101 South 33rd Street / Mexico Beach www.gulfcoastvacationrentals.com/mbvg

Hometown hospitality and service! Come see us today and enjoy your dream vacation on Florida’s pristine white sands and emerald waters. Make yourself at home in one of ours!

Front row seating available! We have a great selection of Gulf front, Gulf view & beachside vacation rentals. Our office has been serving the Mexico Beach area for over 30 years. Call today to book your stay!

850.648.1102

800.239.4959

3001 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach diannakelsay@yahoo.com

1402 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.vacationrentalsmexicobeach.com


Sharing sunsets for 65 years! Our family-owned business offers a large selection of vacation rental homes, condos and townhouses with nice amenities – beach front, Gulf view and on the canal with boat slips!

Pristine Properties offers a variety of clean beach and town home rentals to fulfill your vacation dreams. Gulf front, canal front, private boat slips and more with linens, DVD rentals and other amenities included.

800.874.5073

877.523.7131

3016 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.mexicobeachvacations.com

1200 Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.visitfloridabeaches.com

Military friendly! Tyndall F-22 TX & B-Coursers, ABM students and AOC TDY’s welcome. Just 12 miles to the main gate. Located in the purple building on the corner of 28th Street and Highway 98.

850.648.8700 2802-F Highway 98 / Mexico Beach www.mexicobeachsundancerealty.com

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A Welcome Addition Opens Its Doors!

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Since its inception, Mexico Beach has been a fantastic place to vacation. The town’s only drawback has been the lack of an easily accessible, responsive, quality health care facility. With the opening of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf in 2010, that issue has been officially resolved! Sacred Heart Health System is known for providing high-quality health care to adults and children throughout Northwest Florida. The regional hub of the Health System is a 466-bed acute care facility in Pensacola, which includes Sacred Heart Hospital, Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, and Sacred Heart Women’s Hospital. The system also includes Sacred


Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, a 58-bed facility in Walton County, and a large regional network of over 135 primary care physicians and specialists. Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf is the newest addition to the Sacred Heart Health System. The 25-bed hospital, located just a few minutes from Mexico Beach in Port St. Joe, features a 24-hour emergency department, inpatient acute care services, surgical services, physical, speech and occupational therapy, a full complement of diagnostic, imaging and laboratory services, and a helipad to be used by Sacred Heart’s regional air ambulance

service to provide rapid transport for traumatized or critically ill patients. A new Medical Office Building opening in 2011 provides convenient access to primary care and specialty physicians, dialysis services, women’s imaging and diagnostic services (including ultrasound, bone densitometry and digital mammography) and Sacred Heart Rehabilitation. MRI services, stress tests and pain management services are also slated for the facility. Sacred Heart is part of Ascension Health, the nation’s largest system of Catholic, not-for-profit health care facilities. PHYSICAL

ADDRESS

3801 East Highway 98 Port St. Joe, Florida 32456 TELEPHONE

850.229.5600 WEB SITE

www.SacredHeartontheGulf.org

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It’s easy to keep in touch!

Stay abreast of what’s happening in Mexico Beach by visiting the Mexico Beach CDC web site at www.Mexico-Beach.com. Plan your next visit to correspond with exciting community events using the event calendar, view a live video feed from the beach cam, browse the video gallery and read the latest community newsletter. It’s the perfect tool for staying connected to the beach!

You’ll find discussion, photos up-to-date information and new friends at www.facebook.com/ Mexico-Beach-FL (or search Mexico Beach, FL).

Search Mexico Beach, FL for local video on a variety of subjects including fishing, surfing, weather, special events and artificial reef building.

Follow mexicobeachfla on Twitter and stay current with daily tweets – the perfect way to make life at the beach part of every day!

Free public access computers (during business hours only) and Wi-Fi service are available at the Mexico Beach Welcome Center – southwest corner of Highway 98 and Canal Parkway.

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Emergency Numbers

Mexico Beach City Services

Police, Fire & Paramedic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 911 Florida Highway Patrol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.872.4150 Florida Marine Patrol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800.342.5367 United States Coast Guard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.234.2475 Turtle and Wildlife Assistance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.647.8238

Mexico Beach City Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.648.5700 Mexico Beach City Docks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800.648.2242 Mexico Beach Harbor Master . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.527.7147 Boat Slip Rental Mexico Beach Visitor Information . . . . . . . . . . . 850.648.8196 Mexico Beach Post Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.648.2208

Mexico Beach Utilities WATER

City of Mexico Beach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.648.5245 POWER

Progress Energy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800.700.8744 GAS

St. Joe Natural Gas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.229.8216 TELEPHONE

FairPoint Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.229.7231 TELEVISION

MediaCom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800.239.8411 INTERNET

FairPoint Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.229.7231 MediaCom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800.239.8411

Port St. Joe & Gulf County Gulf County Visitor Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.229.7800 Gulf County Chamber of Commerce . . . . . . . . . 850.227.1223 Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf . . . . . . . . . . . 850.229.5600 Constitution Convention Museum State Park . . 850.229.8029 Cape San Blas Lighthouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.229.1151 St. Joseph Peninsula State Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.227.1327 Cape San Blas Dead Lakes County Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.639.2238 Wewahitchka St. Joseph Bay Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.227.1751 18 Hole Championship Golf Course


Mexico Beach Churches Christian Fellowship Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.648.8972 500 North 15th Street Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints . . . 850.648.8182 318 Robin Lane First Baptist Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.648.5776 823 15th Street First United Methodist Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850.648.8820 111-A North 22nd Street Mexico Beach Christian Worship Center . . . . . . 850.648.5773 105 North 31st Street (Civic Center)

Need more information? While visiting, tune in to Mexico Beach Channel 4 for local happenings and events, drop by the Mexico Beach Welcome Center at the southwest corner of Highway 98 and Canal Parkway, or visit the Mexico Beach Community Development Council web site at www.Mexico-Beach.com. For more information about the area, further assistance in planning your vacation or additional copies of this Visitor’s Guide, please contact the Mexico Beach Community Development Council at: ADDRESS

Lynda Albrecht Butch Alley Carol Anderson Daniel Anderson Dustin Bryson Halle Cannon Jessica Cannon Carol Cox Robert Cox Bill Fauth Traci Gaddis Stephanie Gaddis-Cribbs Lisa Gaines Rosie Gammell Alayna Godwin Regina Gossett Jacquie Gwyn

Debbie Hooper Ellen Lail Opal Lovelace William Mandigo Kimberly McArdle Natalie Nix Jennifer Nunz Claire Opsteen Sharon Rasmussen Candy Sheridan Kendall Smith Marie Stephens Kim Stone Jane Wolf Sandie Yarbrough

Graphic design and printing by

TELEPHONE

MAILING

850.648.8196 888.723.2546

P.O. Box 13382 Mexico Beach, FL 32410

P.O. Box 1014 Port St. Joe, FL 32457

FAX

INTERNET

850.227.6986

850.648.9403

www.Mexico-Beach.com

www.MustSeeMagazine.com

MEDIA, LLC

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Mexico Beach Florida 2012 Visitor's Guide