I lived in Pensacola for a while. Since you've visited Panama City I won't be telling you anything you don't already know but that part of Florida, in the Panhandle, is pretty ho-hum. It's not the scenic Florida that most folks think of as being "Florida."
That said, there are a few exceptions. I thought P'cola Bay was pretty and there are some gorgeous, quiet views from the beaches and cliffs along Scenic Highway.
The old town area of P'cola around the harbor has some nice older buildings that would suit the themes you've been working toward. There are both some well maintained older buildings, some that are in various stages of refurbishment and some that are abandoned and decaying. (BTW, I was last there six or seven years ago so some things may have changed - but not much, I'd reckon; P'cola is a slow town.)
Mobile is somewhat similar to Pensacola in overall style. I don't think it's worth a special trip, but that's just my opinion.
BTW, didja know there are only two seasons along the Gulf Coast? Yup. There's Mardi Gras. And there's Gittin' Ready For Mardi Gras.