Sandjam Fest 2018

Panama City Beach Florida SandJam Fest

The inaugural adult-alternative rock music festival in beautiful Panama City Beach, FL!

The stages are being set on the beautiful sugar white sands; giving the most stunning backdrop to a Spring festival.

M.B. Miller County Pier
12213 Front Beach Road,
Panama City Beach, FL 32407

Thursday, April 26th | 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM   Lineup: Fitz and the Tantrums and Capital Cities
Friday, April 27th | 2:00 PM – Midnight   Lineup: Sublime with Rome and St. Lucia
Saturday, April 28th | 2:00 PM – Midnight  Lineup:  Incubus and Kaleo

More information at http://sandjamfest.com/

#BOOKDIRECT

#BOOKDIRECT

#BOOKDIRECT

 

There ARE options when booking vacation homes other than the online travel agencies that charge as much as 23% in fees. Travelers can save that 23% simply by #BOOKING DIRECT. Many travelers that book vacation homes on major vacation rental sites are unaware it’s not truly direct. Those sites play as a middleman, stifling direct communication and adding hundreds of extra dollars to your transaction. In December 2016, VRBO and HomeAway were both purchased by Expedia for 4 BILLION dollars. Now, Expedia is on a mission to get that money back! Do you know where it’s going to come from? YOUR pockets! Expedia introduced a Service Fee in February of 2016 of 6-12%. These fees are applied to your payment when you complete the booking online on ANY of sites owned by Expedia.  Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Booking.com and other OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) charge similar fees, except theirs are higher. Expect to pay 6-15% when using these sites.

 

Don’t Despair! You don’t have to pay Service Fees!!  There are alternatives to all OTAs!
Shoot me a message or an email at gdeb@cox.net  if you have any questions about booking directly.  I’m here to help and will not charge you a Service Fee.  And, if you’re looking to book with me, #bookdirect either by calling me or by visiting my website at www.oceanvillacondo.com!

Pirate's cruise

Pirate of the High Seas – Panama City Beach Style!

Arrrrrrrrhhhhh!!  Sail the Seven Seas as a Pirate while in Panama City Beach!!  Have you ever met a kid who didn’t love pirates?   I haven’t!!  Next time you’re in Panama City Beach, become the World’s greatest parents by letting your kids become honorary pirates for the day. The “Sea Dragon” Pirate Cruise is one of Panama City Beach’s premier vacation attractions.  Captain Fearless Phil and his crew of sea dogs are waiting to take the family out on their beloved vessel, The Sea Dragon. The captain will point out numerous species of birds and fish during the cruise and if you’re lucky he’ll scream out, “There she blows!” as you spot some of our playful bottled nosed dolphins.  This pirate ship is an incredible replica of a genuine cargo ship from the 1700′s (and it looks awesome in person!) The Sea Dragon runs daily dolphin cruises (lasting around 2 hours) for a fair price (Adults = $27, Seniors = $23, Kids = $21), plus there’s LOTS to keep the kids entertained on-board, like kid-friendly treasure hunts, the occasional swashbuckling sword-fight, swabbing the deck, firing the “Kid cannon”, reading a treasure map, finding a sunken treasure and sharing the loot. Plus they’ll have a water gun fight, get their face painted, limbo games, have a pirate dance party and get a pirate tattoo.  Every event is cleverly in sync with a mix of music that is upbeat and fun to the activities happening on the main deck.  It is literally non-stop activity for the kids!  Don’t worry…there’s no shortage of cocktails for mom and plenty of cold beer for dad too! So what’s the best part? Your kids will have lots of fun, AND be completely exhausted at the end of the cruise!

http://www.piratecruise.net/
5325 North Lagoon Dr. @ LIGHTHOUSE MARINA • Panama City Beach, FL 32408 • (850) 234-7400 • Next to Capt. Anderson’s Marina

 

 

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!!

Mardi Gras – Panama City Beach Style!

I’m from Louisiana.  No great beaches here, but we do have our festivals… and Mardi Gras is one of the best!!  What?!?!  You’ve never experienced any part of  Mardi Gras?  It’s time you did!!

Mardi Gras has an in-determinant number of descriptions, some of which include the traditional colors of purple, green and gold, the myriad of events that surround the time between twelfth night and fat Tuesday, traditions, postures and parades.  But still, it’s so misunderstood.  It’s not a big drunk.  It’s not a big parade. It’s not the beads.  It’s not the doubloons.  It’s not the king cakes.  It’s not about girls flashing. It’s not about people of all walks of life dressing in costume.  It’s about the love of life!  It’s the convergence of food, music, creativity, eccentricity, neighborhoods and the joy of life celebrated all together at the same moment.

Mardi Gras celebrations are found all along the gulf coast, each with its own size and annual traditions.  Panama City Beach is no different!   With Mardi Gras in Panama City Beach, you get all the thrill of the love of life AND you get the most beautiful beaches in the world — all at once!!  You get smiles from ear to ear, lifelong memories and handfuls of beads.  You get parades, costumes, music and fireworks!  You get the camaraderie of the community celebrating together.  You get a small celebration with a big schedule of events!  You get Mardi Gras in Panama City Beach!!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!!  (Let the good times roll!)

Schedule of Events

Friday, February 9, 2018

4:00pm-6:30pm Float Tours LC Hilton W/Pier Park Drive
4:00pm-6:30pm Kids Fun Zone/ Festival Village Celebration Stage
5:00pm Opening Remarks Pier Park Drive
Kids Costume Contest Celebration Stage
5:20pm Kids Parade Pier Park Drive
5:45pm-6:15pm Second Line Crawl Parade Pier Park Drive
6:30pm-7:30pm LIVE ENTERTAINMENT: Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band Celebration Stage
7:30pm Fireworks City Pier

Saturday, February 10, 2018

8:00am Mardi Gras 5k Frank Brown Park
12:00pm Kids Fun Zone/ Festival Village Celebration Stage
12:00pm-1:15pm LIVE ENTERTAINMENT: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band Aaron Bessant Park
1:30pm-2:45pm HEADLINER: Aaron Neville Aaron Bessant Park
3:00pm-4:00pm LIVE ENTERTAINMENT: Waylon Thibodeaux “Louisiana Rocking Fiddler” Celebration Stage
4:15pm-5:45pm Krewe of Dominique Youx Mardi Gras at the Beach Main Parade Pier Park Drive
5:45pm LIVE ENTERTAINMENT: Vince Vance & the Valiants Celebration Stage
7:00pm Fireworks City Pier

 

 

 

Vacation Planning

TIME TO PLAN THAT SUMMER VACATION!

 

Planning that summer vacation isn’t what it used to be!!  After 30 + years in the rental industry as an owner/manager and really getting to know what our guests have come to expect in a rental property, I can offer you a little insight into the process of finding a reputable owner/managed vacation rental.  First, filter down your search to owner managed/operated properties!  These properties are usually where you’ll find more insightful information from the owner themselves, rather than from a large company.  Because you are dealing with the owner, you should get great customer service!  To filter your search further:

 

LOOK FOR UNPARALLELED CUSTOMER SERVICE

 

  1. Call or email and ASK QUESTIONS!! If you get no answer, leave a message.  If the owner doesn’t call you back, this is not the place for you!!  Talking directly with the owner is a great way to get a good feel of how your vacation experience will go.
  2. Ask if the owner is independent of booking sites. Although most booking sites provide ease and anonymity, they also include booking and service fees. Many owners have their own websites, can be contacted directly and provide alternative methods of paying to avoid booking and service fees altogether.  Be sure to ask!!
  3. Get a quote in writing! All reputable owners will gladly supply an itemized quote!  If you don’t understand an item, ask!  There should be no hidden fees!!
  4. The deposit. Don’t forget to factor this into your budget. Also, be aware of the process by which your deposit will be returned. Understand what conditions must be met in order for you to get your deposit back.
  5. Research the property. Make sure the owner owns the property!  This may seem elementary, but there are scammers out there willing to take your money in return for nothing!  Is there a website where you can check ownership?  Does the property have a personal website?  Are there reviews of the property?  Is there someone available to verify they have stayed at the property before?
  6. Make sure the property is a perfect fit for you and your family. Ask about the sleeping arrangements, number of rooms and number of beds.  If a laundry is important, ask if there is a place for laundry.  What is included in the kitchen?  In the bathrooms?  Is parking included?  Does the property have internet?  How does the cleaning work?  Do I need a car?  Is there a grocery store nearby?  What amenities are available?  Is it noisy?  Is it family friendly?  Pet friendly?
  7. Find out who you’re renting from. Research the owner, not just the home. Do a little detective work.  Today’s social media makes it easier than ever to check someone out!  Just enter the name of the owner and see what information comes up!
  8. Avoid group-think. As soon as you decide to go on vacation, everyone else wants to join in on the fun! Sometimes a big house works for some, but not others! Extended families and friends may need to be broken up into smaller groups as opposed to fitting them into one house. It gives everyone more privacy and is easier on the finances, because you don’t have to argue over a large bill at the end. The owner should be able to help you find other accommodations for everyone nearby, if this happens.
  9. Review the contract. You’re not checking into a hotel; this is more like renting an apartment. If you want to review the contract in advance, ask! What are you responsible for doing?  How are special situations handled?  How are weather/environmental related disasters handled?
  10. Stay flexible. Remember, you’re renting someone’s home. Some things may go wrong. The plumbing may back up, the air conditioner/heater may stop working, you can’t access the internet or the code to the door won’t work. Will there be someone available to help you, both on and off site, if something like that happens?
  11. Ask for insider information! The owner knows the area and will be able to offer a wealth of information!!  They should be more than willing to point you in any area of interest!
  12. Get A Contact Number.  Make sure to get the owner’s phone number just in case there is a problem.  If the owner doesn’t live near the property, be sure to get a contact number of the housekeeper or maintenance person. You’ll be glad you did!

As owners, we know the process of nailing down the perfect rental can take a while, sometimes taking a couple of hours and sometimes taking a week or more with back and forth questions.  But, the reward in the end is a wonderful experience for both you and me!   By allowing us to help you find a rental property that’s ideal for you and permitting us to answer all your questions to make your experience as close to perfect and memorable as possible, you allow us to take pride in knowing you’ll have a wonderful vacation!

Are you interested in staying with us with no booking or service fees?  Contact me (Karen deBarros) for all the answers to your questions about our Ocean Villa Condo rentals in beautiful Panama City Beach, Florida.  Email at oceanvilla16@gmail.com or call at 800-478-0591
 

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Top 5 Things to do in Panama City Beach When It’s Raining

Top 5 Things to do in Panama City Beach When It’s Raining

So, you’re on vacation at the beach and it’s raining!!  You guess it’s a wash and you’ll just have stay in the condo and sleep.  Not so fast!!   There are still plenty of things to do that doesn’t involve shopping!!

  1.  I can think of a lot worse things than having to sit on the balcony of the condo at Ocean Villa Condo, curled up, listening to the rain and the ocean, while reading a good suspense novel or playing a game of cards or dominoes with the entire group!  The balcony is 10 feet deep!  That’s plenty deep enough to stay dry from the dripping at the front edge of the balcony.  And…look on the bright side, you’ll be the first to know when the sun shines again!!

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     2. See a movie in style.  The Grand Theatre at Pier Park is a state-of -the-art stadium seating movie theater located in Pier Park.  There are 16 screens with reclining seats and a abundance of movie choices available.  Located within Pier Park are enough eateries and retailers to combine the movie with a great meal or some shopping.  Tickets are just $6.00 on Tuesdays, and any day is free refill day on a large popcorn and large soda, anytime!

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    3.  Find the “pocket” at Rock’ It Lanes.  It’s not just for bowling!!  Whether the pocket is found in the bowling pins or on the felt of the pool table, this is the place to be!!  Rock’ It Lanes is the only bowling center on the beach and is located just a few minutes from our Ocean Villa Condo in the Edgewater Shopping Plaza!! Bring the whole family. At 50,000 square feet, there’s plenty of room to play all day. There are 24 lanes of computerized bowling, 23 pool tables, an arcade featuring all the latest games and some old favorites, plus an 8,000 square foot roller skating rink! You don’t even have to leave to eat!! Grab lunch or dinner at the Grille, where they’re serving up a great menu including home-made burgers, made-from-scratch pizzas, chicken quesadillas and more.

4.  Take in a little hands-on fact finding at local exhibits and museums!  The Museum of the Man in the Sea is a little drive from Ocean Villa, about 15 minutes, and has fascinating exhibits that will introduce you to a world of underwater mysteries and diving!  There on display, is the SEALAB-1, the world’s first working undersea habitat.  Easy on the pocketbook, entrance to this quirky museum is less than $10!!  Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum offers a totally whimsical museum experience.  In addition to 15 different gallery displays of things that “have to be seen to be believed”, there is a 7-D motion theater that combines 3-D film with subtle and intense seat vibrations, bumps, dips and shakes to  transport you virtually into the movie experience.  Don’t miss the MirrorMaze Challenge or the LaseRace Challenge!!  Right across the street is WonderWorks Museum, where you’ll be greeted by over 100 exhibits and challenges the minute you walk into the door!!  Not to be missed is the Upside Down Experience, plus there is laser tag, a ropes course, a 6D motion ride and plenty of hands-on activities for all ages.

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   5.  Last, but not least, it may be just the time for a little libation!!  Two really great places to get started are within a few minutes drive from our condos at Ocean Villa!!  If beer is your thing, the Fishale Taphouse and Grill Bright,  is a spacious tavern with a fireplace and some 65 craft beers on tap to spend the day trying! There’s also a casual American menu offered when you’ve had enough tasting!!  Up on Thomas Road, the Panama City Beach Winery sells citrus, fruit and berry wines.  These aren’t just your average wines!!  The flavors are endless!  There’s even a tomato wine called “Hot Sun” that is a dry white wine with a hint of tomato and peppers!!  Tastings are free, informative and fun!  Bring along a group of people and have each person select different wines so more can be tried!!  Don’t drink wine?  Go anyway…you might just change your mind!!

Fishale

Proving a rainy day in Panama City Beach doesn’t have to be a day stuck indoors, I hope this blog has given you some ideas on taking advantage of a perfect opportunity to enjoy a guilt-free day away from tanning – and the chance to discover some of Panama City Beach’s best indoor attractions!

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PANAMA CITY BEACH SEABREEZE JAZZ FESTIVAL

SEABREEZE JAZZ FESTIVAL

Panama City Beach, FL

April 20 – 24, 2016

 Jazz1

Smooth jazz…that’s what Panama City Beach’s Seabreeze Jazz Festival is all about!  The epitome of “The Good Life”, smooth jazz is laid back, yet upscale at the same time, relaxing and familiar as a pair of your most comfortable beach sandals. Here’s a festival dedicated to just this lifestyle; and, we still have availability at the condos!

Beginning April 20th, sit back and enjoy a Dinner Cruise aboard the Solaris Dinner yacht featuring Nick Colionne.  On Thursday, The Solaris Dinner yacht departs again, but this time for a lunch cruise featuring Mindi Abair.

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After the cruise on Thursday, on the main stage at Aaron Bessant Park, 10 minutes from the condos, you’ll be serenaded all day long by some of your favorites.  There’s even an All Star after party jam nightly, featuring individual artists!!  On Friday, the fun begins all over again at 1pm and continues into the night with more of your favorites at both Pompano Joe’s at Pier Park and the main stage at Aaron Bessant Park!  Get up early on Saturday and Sunday, because the days are filled with smooth jazz performances – what’s not to like!!  Beginning at 8 am on both days and again throughout the day and night, your favorites will be giving their bests again.  All performances end on Sunday with an appearance of Jazz All Stars featuring Peabo Bryson, Nick Colionne, Brian Simpson, and Elan Trotman!

This is truly an event not to be missed!!  For more detailed ticket and schedule information, visit www.seabreezejazzfestival.com.  For more information about accommodations at our condos, visit our website at www.oceanvillacondo.com or give me a call at 800-478-0591.

If you can’t attend the festival, but still love smooth jazz, tune in from your computer or phone to Seabreeze 106.3 fm while working to listen to your favorite smooth jazz or just to see what it’s all about!  I think you’ll agree, smooth jazz and the beach — there’s no other “relax and unwind” combination like it!!

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SHOPPING

Page-11-Image-29Pier Park Panama City Beach is a 900,000+ square foot Florida outdoor shopping center and entertainment hub located in the heart of this beachside city. Located between Back Beach Road and Front Beach Road, it serves as the premiere Northwest Florida shopping destination. This mecca offers dining, specialty shops, attractions, events and more.

Fishing

FISHING/CHARTERS

Panama City Beach is famous for fishing of all kinds – especially deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. But serious anglers also catch plenty of fish from the piers along the beach and St. Andrew Bay, or by casting a line directly from the shore. Anglers will also enjoy bay fishing, or scouting a local river or freshwater lake. Novice and experienced fishermen alike will be thrilled with the variety of fresh and saltwater fishing options available in Panama City Beach. Most professional charter fishing companies will provide a fishing license for their customers. However, visitors can also obtain a short-term fishing license, details HERE. For more information on fishing from local piers, click HERE.

For detailed fishing regulations, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation.

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WATER ACTIVITIES

 

If you love water sports, the big question here isn’t what to do, it’s how to fit it all in. At Panama City Beach, water sports aren’t just something to do, they’re a way of life. All the equipment, guides and lessons you need are available beachside in front of the condo.

  •  Page-9-Image-25Cruises, Boating & Fishing – The Gulf of Mexico is beautiful from the white-sand shores of Panama City Beach, but you get a totally different perspective out on the water, whether you’re fishing, zipping across the Gulf on a banana boat or just kicking back on one of our famous sunset cruises. Dolphin cruises are another great way to see Panama City Beach by water and observe dolphins in their natural habitat.

 

 

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  •  Diving & Snorkeling – Great weather, great water and an underwater landscape teeming with life make for great diving conditions. Done, done and done! Experienced divers love our reefs and wrecks, and for newcomers, snorkeling is the perfect introduction to Panama City Beach
  •  Skimboarding – Skimboarders run towards the ocean, drop into the thin wash of retreating waves, then skim out to sea and ride the breaking waves back to shore. Our sugar-white sands and flat waters make Panama City Beach a must-skim destination.

 

 

 

  •  Page-9-Image-24Jet Skiing – Feel the wind in your hair and salt spray on your face as you zip across the Gulf. Personal watercraft, usually called “jet skis,” are a longtime favorite for fun in the sun at Panama City Beach, whether riding solo or on a 2- or 3-seater.

 

 

 

 

  •  Paddle Boarding – One of the hottest newcomers to Panama City Beach water sports, paddle boarding uses big boards, letting riders stand and gently paddle their way across the water.
  •  Kiteboarding or “kitesurfing” – This is one of nature’s most zen adventures – just you, a small board and wind to pull you along! In addition to Panama City Beach, some barrier islands like Shell Island, offer spectacular and serene riding areas.
  • Surfing–Part of what makes Panama City Beach water sports unique is that there are opportunities for everyone – experts and newbies alike – and surfing is one area where we’re perfect for beginners. With our white-sand beaches, mild climate and mid-sized Gulf waves, entry-level never felt so
  •  Page-9-Image-26Parasailing – Fast boats lift parachutes high in the air, and you with them. Go solo, or try our big chutes to share the experience with family and friends. Of all the beach sports you might try, this one that gives you a bird’s-eye view you’ll never forget!