by Travel Writer, Charlene Peters of

Watching the alligators inside the Gulf World Marine Park during my weekend stay at Sterling Resorts: Reflections in Panama City Beach, Florida, I couldn’t help but compare their dry, scaly skin to my own dry, scaly skin — a reminder of my well overdue facial and body scrub, not to mention calming massage.

As I took my seat on the bleachers at the dolphin show, my mind was made up — I had to do something, especially after watching the sleek, oily bodies of these mammals happily splashing around. Now was the time to take action.

I left Gulf World Marine Park motivated by alligators and inspired by dolphins, and following a quick beach-side lunch at Hook’d, I headed to Salon Baliage & Spa, where my goal was to simulate Ponce de Leon in discovering my own Fountain of Youth.

Of course, the legendary springs that restored youth in those days was not where I actually headed. I did, however, find solace in the visual feast of the seemingly endless beaches of Northwest Florida. But my experience to shed years came in the form of a body scrub, massage and facial.

Tucked away in the Carillon Beach Resort on Carillon Market Street is Salon Baliage & Spa. You could spend an entire day shopping, dining, relaxing and walking around this area, but I was on a mission. I arrived for a Sea Salt Glow treatment, which was a half-hour scrub that left my skin as soft as a newborn’s bottom, followed by a half-hour massage. Two massage therapists were involved in my two-step treatment, the latter massage given by a massage therapist, Marie, from Paris. Although the massage lasted only a half hour, I left in a total state of relaxation, which led me to feel re-born, which translates into youth. So, basically, I found my own version of the Fountain of Youth.

What did I do from there? Nothing. I floated (OK, so I drove) a short distance to Camp Helen State Park and just strolled through the white sand toward the beach, savoring in my relaxed state of mind.