Panama City Beach, Florida, is not to be confused with Panama City, Florida.
It is easy to do. Panama City is the seat of Bay County. It has a protected deep-water port in St. Andrews Bay, a history as a shipping point for indigo grown by Loyalist settlers during the American Revolution and as a source for fish and salt for the Confederacy. Panama City got creamed by Hurricane Michael in 2018, so you likely have heard of it on the news. But Panama City Beach (which got creamed, too, of course) is different.
Panama City Beach has the beach. A really white sand beach, great for stretching out upon, which means it is great for drawing tourists. It has been marketed thus for over 100 years.
A nice sampling of the marketing material has made it to the collection of the Library of Florida History.
In the first part of the 20th Century the pitch was toward vacationers who could be lured to spend a month or two in Oceanside villas and resorts.
Post WWII, marketers were quick to play on the ease of access by the improved roads.
As the area’s attractions expanded, the marketing tools grew more sophisticated, but the basic message was the same: Those beautiful white sand beaches. You don’t have to look too hard to see the airbrushing, making sure the beach is white is as white can be.