We just wrapped up a short trip to Florida’s Panhandle, with stops in Panama City and Destin. Our family travel blog, Away is Home, is celebrating 500 years of Florida tourism.

OK, so Ponce de Leon arrived on the other coast, but he probably wished he’d landed on these white sandy beaches. They are beautifully quiet at this time of year. Spring break is a few weeks away and the summer crowds won’t materialize until after Memorial Day.

As you can see in the video postcard, we were met with an angry winter storm that had been only partially tamed by southern latitudes. The winds kicked up the waves and pelted us with snow-colored sand. But it was still 71 degrees, so we weren’t complaining.

Our newest discovery is Holiday Isle, a community of private homes and resorts set along canals and beachfront. We stayed in a fun vacation rental with its own dock, a heated pool and hot tub located a short walk from the beach. Too bad we only had two days here. I could live here — if I wasn’t following the rest of my family around the world.