Panama City Beach's Sweetest Secret

Sure, you could have your usual grits for breakfast at the beach—but you're not going to.

The sun is high, the sky is blue, a Gulf breeze is blowing, and the scent of coconut oil is in the air. This can mean only one thing: You need a beach doughnut. Have we got the spot for you.

Panama City Beach combers have been happily braving the line at Thomas' Donut & Snack Shop since 1971, and who can blame them? Located on Front Beach Road, in the Laguna Beach community of "PCB," this Gulf Coast institution sells both yeast and buttermilk cake doughnuts—including some so big that your wrist would fit through the center hole. Talk about statement jewelry.

But the menu doesn't stop there. You can order cakes, muffins, and a variety of pastries, as well as ice cream, breakfast sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, and other beachy favorites. (The "Southern Poutine" starts with a humongous order of fries and then adds fresh pimiento cheese and sausage gravy. You will not find it on anybody's bikini diet.)

Locals and tourists come here not just for the food but for the beachfront location, where they can watch the waves roll in as they enjoy the popular Red Velvet Donut or maybe a giant glazed doughnut with sprinkles like the one our friend Summer is holding in the picture. Word on the street says the Peaches and Cream Donut, Apple Fritter, and White Cream Long John are also . . . wait for it . . . scha-weet.

A few words of caution: If you sleep late, don't count on getting your breakfast favorites. The Smoked Sausage and Cheese Kolaches might be all gone. Also, the line gets longer as the morning goes on because everybody wants doughnuts for breakfast. So set that alarm on your smart phone and roll out early to beat the crowd and stock up for the day.

The good news: There's an unspoken rule (or maybe we just made it up) that all the surfside salt in PCB's air will counteract any sugar calories in your doughnuts. So feel free to sample the Old Fashioned Sour Cream Cake Donut, the Cinnamon Sugar Buttermilk Cake Donut . . .

Besides all the sweets and snacks, you can probably get the scoop on what's happening in PCB at this beach joint. It's owned by Mayor Mike Thomas and his son, Mike Jr. Tell them you vote "yes" on the chocolate glaze.

WATCH: SL Editors Pronounce Southern Towns

Please tell us you haven't been waltzing around Disney World, going on and on about the great deal you got on a hotel in KISS-uh-me. Your fellow tourists will think you're requesting a public show of affection from total strangers.

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