Located in the western Florida panhandle between Pensacola to the west and Tallahassee to the east, Callaway is a suburb of Panama City and has a population of just more than 14,000 residents.
Though it’s just inland from the coast, it’s only a 10 minute drive to some of the best beaches in the region, and for those with access to wheels and the spirit of the open road, it’s possible to make day trips to Pensacola and Tallahassee as well.
From parks and golf to beaches and historic sites, there should be something to tempt nearly every traveler.
Below are 14 things to do in and around Callaway, Florida.
1. Annual Children’s Fishing Rodeo
Kids love fishing, and with so much fresh and saltwater in nearly every direction there’s no reason not to wet a line on your trip to the Sunshine State.
Each year the city of Callaway hosts a popular Children’s Fishing Rodeo event that’s open to kids under 16-years-old and their parents.
It’s usually held in May or June, and in addition to introducing kids to the wonderful world of fishing, there are plenty of special events, local celebrities and tasty food and drinks on-hand too.
There are a variety of fishing contests, trophies, awards, door prizes and live entertainment as well.
2. Annual Veterans Day Parade and Celebration
Veterans Day is a big deal to many patriotic Floridians, and many of the retirees that call Florida home have served in the country’s armed forces at one time or another.
Dedicated to honoring the servicemen and women who’ve served in the five branches of the armed forces, the Annual Veterans Day Parade and Celebration bring together community leaders, businesses, civic groups and schools, and the event is both reverent and downright fun.
The event is held at scenic Veterans Park near downtown Callaway and includes a parade, live music, arts and crafts, and lots of great food and family-friendly activities.
3. John B. Gore Park
Located on Beulah Avenue in Callaway, beautiful John B. Gore Park is situated along Callaway Bayou and features a variety of amenities and recreation options that keeps most guests coming back again and again.
There’s a historic schoolhouse building run by the local historical society, a community center, and a small museum, and for those who prefer to include some outdoor activities with the park’s historical and cultural attractions, there are basketball courts, walking trails and covered seating areas that are perfect for a family picnic or an afternoon spent with a good book.
4. Caribbean Coffee
The quiet town of Mexico Beach is an easy and scenic drive east along the Gulf coast, and Caribbean Coffee on Highway 98 is the perfect place to stop for a tasty caffeine jolt or a bite to eat.
Previous guests have noted that the coffee shop is quaint, charming and relaxed, and that their prices were reasonable and their staff attentive.
There’s both indoor and outdoor seating and they offer a variety of hot and cold coffee drink options made with fresh roasted beans ground onsite.
Their pastries and sandwiches are popular too, and they have a variety of tea and fruit drinks as well.
5. Hit the Beach
It takes just a few minutes to drive from Callaway to Panama City and Panama City Beach, and between the two there are a variety of amazing beach options.
The Gulf of Mexico features warm, clear waters that are generally placid when compared to the more wave-prone Atlantic, and for swimmers, sunbathers and tropical dreamers there are no better places to spend a lazy day soaking up the rays.
St. Andrews State Park is features undeveloped beaches where fishing and snorkeling are popular, and for those who prefer more amenity-packed destinations, Rick Seltzer Beach includes a boardwalk, seasonal lifeguards and easy access to lots of dining and shopping options.
6. Veterans Park
Callaway’s Veterans Park is located on Cherry Street and was officially opened to the public in 1994.
The park’s centerpiece is the impressive twin-engine F 15 fighter jet that’s looks like it’s going 1,000 miles an hour even though it’s sitting perfectly still.
The park is dedicated to those who’ve served the country in the five branches of the armed services, and there’s a portion of the park dedicated to a local man who was killed in Desert Storm.
In addition to being a great place to have a picnic or take a walk, it also features covered seating areas and barbecue grills, and at many times of the year hosts special events, festivals and holiday celebrations.
7. Reel Time Fishers
Located on East Highway 22 in Panama City, Reel Time Fishers isn’t the most contemporary or swankest of south Florida’s restaurants, but it’s a local favorite for those who like comfortable settings, large portions of fresh seafood and reasonable prices.
They’re particularly well-known for their fried grouper, gulf shrimp and tasty sides that include jalapeño stuffed cheese curds, crispy fries, seasoned rice and battered and fried okra.
Reel Time draws an eclectic crowd and can get crowded especially during the peak dinner hours on the weekends, so if you’d rather get in-and-out quickly consider a lunch time or late afternoon visit.
8. Museum of Man in the Sea
The Museum of Man in the Sea was founded in the mid-‘70s by a group of former navy SEALs and marine scientists, and it’s a unique local attraction that’s focused on preserving the amazing history of man’s interaction with the sea.
The museum is full of equipment used by divers in ages past, and by today’s standards many of them are comically clunky, even though at the time they were considered state-of-the-art.
Visitors can explore a renovated submarine and even try on some of the antique underwater breathing devices, and there’s a popular introductory film that gives guests an overview of the things they’re about to see and experience.
9. Zoo World Zoological Conservatory
Zoo World Zoological Conservatory is more than just a traditional zoo because it’s largely dedicated to animal and habitat conservation efforts in addition to showcasing a variety of animals from around the world.
The conservatory is located on Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach, and a few of its star inhabitants includes lions, bears, tigers and primates.
The conservatory also features an impressive collection of reptiles, and there are a variety of child’s programs offered during the summer vacation months that are geared at teaching children about the wonders of the natural world and the importance of protecting it.
10. The Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida
Though Florida’s weather is idyllic for much of the year, it’s also prone to long stretches of unbearably hot weather and can be stormy too, and during those times it’s wise for those traveling with children to have a few indoor activity options in their back pockets.
The Science and Discover Center of Northwest Florida is one such place, and in addition to engaging and entertaining kids, it also educates them, making it a truly rare gem.
The center includes a variety of interactive exhibits that touch on animals and the natural world, science and technology, and even things like art and history.
11. The Martin Theatre
Community theatres and performing arts centers are often overlooked recreation options for those more focused on commercial attractions, but they’re great community resources that should be taken advantage of whenever possible.
The Martin Theatre was opened in 1936 as a movie house, and for the next few decades went through some hard times before finally falling into disuse and disrepair in the ‘70s.
Luckily the theatre was renovated and reopened in the 90s, and it now features a variety of movies and live performances that include dramatic productions, comedy and music.
They’ve got a full calendar of events, so check it out online before heading out.
12. Russell-Fields City Pier
Panama City Beach’s Russell-Fields City Pier is the longest pier of its kind on the Gulf of Mexico.
It stretches out into the water more than 1,500 feet, and is a popular attraction for fisherman, walkers and all-around lovers of Florida’s amazing views.
It’s common to see a variety of fish and marine life in the waters below, and it’s a lot of fun watching the fisherman haul in their catches.
For those looking to capture an iconic Florida sunset, there’s no better place to do it, and there are a variety of beach, dining and shopping options nearby for those who’d like to spend an entire day in the area.
13. Cape San Blas Lighthouse
Located in nearby Port St. Joe, Cape San Blas Lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the Gulf coast’s most well-preserved lighthouses and historic attractions.
The lighthouse isn’t open to the public every day, but it is open from Wednesday through Saturday from 11 AM until 5 PM.
It’s possible to climb to the top of the lighthouse, and once there visitors will be rewarded for their effort with amazing panoramic views that include both land and sea.
There’s a nice little gift shop on-site too, and the cost of admission is less than a burger and fries.
14. Panama City Beach Winery
Florida’s warm tropical climate lends itself to cool, refreshing and fruity drinks.
Located on Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach, Panama City Beach Winery is a family run retail outlet that specializes in providing fruit-based wines made in the Sunshine State.
Featuring ingredients like blueberries, strawberries, key limes and coconut, their selection adds an interesting new twist on the often traditional and boring wine lineups found at most wineries, and many of them have won state and national awards.
Tasting events are offered regularly, and most guests pick up a bottle or two to take home with them when it’s time to go.