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40+ things to do in Panama City beach Florida

Why Panama City Beach is the Ultimate Vacation Destination

40+ things to do in Panama City beach

Looking for that perfect vacation spot that offers both relaxation and adventure?

Look no further than Panama City Beach!

This Florida city boasts miles of stunning beaches, an array of water activities, and exciting attractions sure to suit all tastes. Whether you're a foodie, thrill-seeker, or beach bum, Panama City Beach is the ultimate vacation destination that has something for everyone.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at what makes Panama City Beach stand out as a top vacation spot. From its gorgeous beaches to its delicious dining options and everything in between, we'll uncover why Panama City Beach truly is a must-visit destination.

Download the Panama City Beach travel checklist here, save it to your phone and don't miss anything you want to do.

40+ things to do in Panama City beach Florida

boarding passes to boat ride with island time at panama city beach

When it comes to gorgeous beaches, Panama City Beach does not disappoint. With miles of soft, white sand and crystal-clear waters, it's no wonder why visitors flock to these shores year-round.

From sunrise to sunset, you can relax, sunbathe, and take in the breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. But the beach is not just for lounging - it's also the perfect place to try out an array of water activities.

So, whether you want to go parasailing, paddleboarding, or jet skiing, there's something to suit every level of adventure-seeker. In the next section, we'll explore the many water activities that Panama City Beach has to offer.

Water Activities

From parasailing to paddleboarding, Panama City Beach offers a wide range of water activities for adventure-seekers. Enjoy an exciting day out on the water and soak up the sun while you're at it.

Those looking for a high-flying experience can try parasailing and take in the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico from above. If you prefer a more laid-back activity, paddleboarding offers a peaceful way to explore the coastline and get some exercise.

For a thrill-seeking adventure, hop on a jet ski and speed through the waters. And if you want to dive into the depths of the ocean, Panama City Beach offers some of the best scuba diving spots in the country. With clear waters and diverse marine life, it's an experience you won't forget.

Below is a list of water activities that you can enjoy in Panama City Beach:

1 - Boat riding

Spend the day at sea by renting a boat or a pontoon from Adventures at Sea and explore the small islands around Panama City Beach.

2 - Air boating

Ready to spice up the boat ride and make it an airboat tour?

Check out Airboat Adventures Or Wild thang airboat tours for an airboat trip and be on the look out for Florida Gators.

3 - Go Fishing

Experience what the Gulf of Mexico has to offer and take a fishing trip with local captains and guides such as Reel Fun, that know exactly where to go for the best fishing experience.

4 - Go snorkeling

Snorkeling can be a really fun way get really close to the marine life and see some of the gulf's local marine life. Don't have your own gear and don't want to buy your own? Then book a snorkel cruise with Salty Mary and everything is covered.

5 - Dolphin Tours

Dolphin tour is definitely a must while visiting Panama City Beach. You will be charted throughout the gulf searching for dolphins and trust me you will not be disappointed.

During our trip, we went on a dolphin tour with Island time sailing and our entire family had a terrific time.

Some other tours you may also want to consider are the Blue dolphin tours and the Sea Screamer.

6 - Rent a jet ski

Rent a jet ski from Lagoon pontoons and enjoy an unguided or guided trip through the gulf waters of Panama City Beach.

7 - Cruises and sightseeing

Ready to explore and learn more about Panama City Beach ? Capt. Anderson's cruises takes you on a 3 1/2 narrated boat tour so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

8 - Go Parasailing

Parasailing is such a fun way to enjoy the beach from the top, after all, it is the best seat on the house. You can schedule a parasailing tour with Paradise water sports.

9 - Go partying and fishing

This activity is not for the folks who likes to fish in the quiet. In fact, the Jubilee fishing cruise is for the party people who also likes to fish.

10 - Scuba dive in the gulf of Mexico

If you want to take your snorkel experience to the level, then scuba diving is what you are looking for and Panama City Diving will be able to hook you up with gear and classes if this would be your first time scuba diving.

11 - Seashell scavenger hunt

The gulf of Mexico is known for its beautiful shells so take advantage and maybe plan a shell scavenger hunt and see how many different types of shells you can find.

gulf of mexico scavenger hunt check list

Exciting Attractions

amusement park at panama city beach

If you're looking to add some excitement to your Panama City Beach vacation, you won't be disappointed. This lively destination is packed with thrilling attractions that will keep you entertained from morning till night. Here are just a few of the most exciting things to do in Panama City Beach:

First up, there's WonderWorks, an amusement park that's as wacky as it is fun. Here you can experience a simulated earthquake, ride a virtual rollercoaster, and test your balance on a ropes course. It's an ideal spot for families and groups looking to let loose and have some goofy fun.

If you're looking for a thrill, you might head to the PCB Raceway, where you can zip around in go-karts or take on the high-speed drag strip. There's also a miniature golf course and batting cages, making it a fun stop for all ages.

11 - Mini Golf

12 - SlingShot

13 - Satiate your curiosity

Ripleys believe it or not at panama city beach

14 - Amusement Parks

15 - Grab dinner and watch a show

At the Todd Herendeen Theater , you can have entertainment and dinner at the same time. What a treat.

16 - Play a round of poker

at Get you poker face ready and head over to the Ebro Poker room .

17 - Go fast on the go kart

18 - Play games

19 - Indoor go kart

20 - Skywheel

If you're not afraid of heights, the SkyWheel Panama City Beach offers breathtaking views of the city from its 200-foot tall Ferris wheel.

21 - Shoot some pool

Newby's Too offers pool, karaoke and dats. It's like being at three different bars at the same time.

22 - Have your chance at luck

Feeling a little lucky? Then out it to the test over at Bayside bingo.

23 - Get the heart pumping

Fear at the pier haunted house is ready to get your heart rate going.

24 - Catch a movie

Catch a movie during your vacation over at the Grand Imax Pier Park 16.

25 - Escape a room

If escaping to the beach wasn't enough for you, then you may enjoy escaping one of the rooms over at Royal escape rooms.

26 - Visit the upside down house (Wonderworks)

With over 29,000 square feet of what Wonderworks call edu-tainment, education paired with entertainment, this is a great place for the entire family to learn and have fun together.

wonderworks at panama city beach

26 - Florida Jeep Jam

If you happen to be in Panama City Beach around May and you like jeeps, then the Florida Jeep Jam is going to knock your socks off.

27 - Thrown an Axe... or two

See how good your axe throwing skills are at Axe throwing PCB.

28 - Roller blade your vacation away

Show how you roll over at Rock' it lanes.

29 - Jump until your knees give out

If the beach didn't get the kiddos tired enough, Just Jump will definitely do the trick

Finally, no trip to Panama City Beach would be complete without a visit to Pier Park, the city's premier shopping and entertainment destination. Here you'll find major retailers alongside local boutiques, as well as a movie theater, restaurants, and live music venues.

30 - Go shopping

Don't forget to reserve some time for a little shopping so you can take back home with you a souvenir to remind you of Panama City Beach or you can grab a gift for families and friends too. Here are a few of National and Local brands you will find around town.

Ron Jon Surf Shop

Florida Linen

Big airbursh

Salty dog surf shop

Gulf Coast Sandal Factory

Pink Narcissus

Reeds Jewelers

Shimmering Seas

The Spice and Tea Exchange

Toy Kingdom

After all that excitement, you'll be ready to refuel with some delicious dining options. From seafood shacks to upscale wine bars, Panama City Beach has something to satisfy every craving.

Delicious Dining

Panama City Beach is renowned for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and an array of thrilling activities. With so much to do and see, it's no surprise that visitors often work up an appetite. Luckily, the city boasts an impressive dining scene that caters to all tastes and budgets.

Seafood lovers will be in heaven here, with an abundance of fresh catches available at many of the city's eateries. Whether you're in the mood for a casual fish taco at a seaside shack or an upscale lobster dinner at a fine dining restaurant, Panama City Beach has you covered.

But it's not just seafood that shines here. The city offers a diverse range of cuisines, from classic American BBQ joints to sushi bars and Italian trattorias. And of course, no visit to Panama City Beach would be complete without trying some quintessential Southern dishes like fried chicken, grits, and biscuits.

31 - Explore the local cuisine

crab legs at panama city beach








32 - Dine with a view - Waterfront restaurants

waterfront dining at panama city beach

33 - Wine tasting

34 - Go out for breakfast

35 - Satisfy the sweet tooth

amore donuts at panama city beach

After indulging in all that delicious food, it's time to explore the city. From historic landmarks to outdoor adventures, there are plenty of ways to keep the fun going.

Explore the city

pier at panama city beach

Once you've satisfied your cravings with the city's diverse cuisine, it's time to take in all the sights and experiences that Panama City Beach has to offer. One must-see attraction is the St. Andrews State Park, which boasts some of the best wildlife viewing in the area. Here, you can take a leisurely stroll or rent a kayak to explore the park's crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches.

For history buffs, the City of Panama City Heritage Museum should be on your radar. This museum offers a glimpse into the city's past through interactive exhibits and displays. You'll learn about the city's ties to the military, the timber industry, and the local fishing trade.

36 - Visit St. Andrews State Park

There are several reasons why you might want to visit St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach, Florida:

  1. Beautiful Beaches: The park is known for its pristine white sandy beaches, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. You can also rent kayaks, paddleboards, and other watercraft to explore the park's waters.

  2. Diverse Wildlife: The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, and shorebirds. There are also hiking trails where you can spot various bird species and enjoy the natural beauty of the park.

  3. Camping: St. Andrews State Park has a large campground with over 176 campsites that can accommodate both tents and RVs. The campground is well-maintained and has amenities such as electricity, water, and picnic tables.

  4. Fishing: The park has two fishing piers and a jetties that are popular spots for catching fish. The park also offers fishing clinics and programs for visitors who want to learn more about fishing.

  5. History: The park is also rich in history, as it was once used as a military reservation during World War II. You can visit the historic site of Battery 234, which was a gun battery used to protect the entrance to St. Andrew Bay.

37 - Take a Helicopter ride

38 - Visit the local marine life at Gulf World

Looking for a thrilling and memorable family vacation?

Look no further than Gulf World in Panama City Beach, Florida. Whether you're seeking the excitement of aquatic adventures, the thrill of animal encounters, or the tranquility of beachside relaxation, Gulf World has something for everyone.

For a full review of Gulf Word Park, check out this blog article or you can also watch the youtube video right here.

dolphin show at gulf world at panama city beach

39 - Visit Shell Island

There are several reasons why you might want to visit Shell Island in Panama City Beach, Florida:

  1. Pristine Beaches: Shell Island is known for its stunning and unspoiled beaches, which offer a peaceful and secluded environment for visitors. The island is surrounded by crystal-clear water and boasts some of the whitest sand in the world, making it an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing.

  2. Wildlife: Shell Island is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including dolphins, sea turtles, and a variety of bird species. You can take a boat tour or rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the island's waters and observe its wildlife up close.

  3. Snorkeling and Diving: The waters surrounding Shell Island are teeming with marine life, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling and diving. Visitors can explore the island's coral reefs and observe a variety of fish species, such as snapper, grouper, and angelfish.

  4. Seashell Collecting: Shell Island is named after the seashells that can be found along its beaches. Visitors can collect a variety of shells, including sand dollars, starfish, and conch shells, to take home as souvenirs.

  5. Photography: Shell Island's natural beauty and diverse wildlife make it a popular spot for photography. Visitors can capture stunning photos of the island's beaches, wildlife, and scenery, making it a great place to create lasting memories.

40 - Explore the wild life at ZooWorld

Zoo World has been a popular attraction in Panama City Beach for over 25 years. Founded in 1990 by a local businessman, the park was initially home to a small collection of animals, including monkeys, birds, and a few big cats.

Over the years, the park has expanded to include over 260 animals representing more than 70 different species from around the world.

Some of the animals you can expect to see at Zoo World include lions, tigers, giraffes, zebras, kangaroos, primates, reptiles, and more. The park is also home to a variety of bird species and even features a unique "Birds of Prey" show, where visitors can watch trained birds fly and perform tricks.

Read more about our experience at Zoo World right here in this blog article.

feeding the giraffe at the Zoo World at panama city beach

41 - Visit Camp Helen State Park

Here are some interesting facts about Camp Helen State Park in Florida:

  1. The park is located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, between Panama City Beach and Destin, and covers over 180 acres of land.

  2. The park was once the site of a popular vacation resort, called Camp Helen, which was established in the early 20th century. The resort operated until the 1980s, and many of its original buildings and structures still remain in the park today.

  3. Camp Helen State Park is known for its diverse ecosystems, including freshwater and saltwater wetlands, sand dunes, and coastal scrub. These ecosystems provide habitats for a variety of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, ospreys, and bald eagles.

  4. The park has a long stretch of beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico, which is popular for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. Visitors can also rent kayaks, paddleboards, and other watercraft to explore the park's waters.

  5. The park has several hiking trails that wind through the park's forests and wetlands. One of the most popular trails is the Lake Powell Trail, which takes hikers along the shore of Lake Powell, the largest coastal dune lake in Florida.

  6. Camp Helen State Park is home to several historic structures, including the lodge, which was built in the 1920s and served as the main building of the Camp Helen resort. The park also has several other historic buildings, including a chapel, a dance pavilion, and several cottages.

  7. The park hosts several events and programs throughout the year, including guided nature walks, bird watching tours, and educational programs about the park's history and ecology.

42 - Visit Eden State Gardens and Mansion

Eden State Gardens and Mansion is actually located in Santa Rosa Beach, which is about an hour's drive from Panama City Beach, but it is certainly worth the trip. Here are some reasons why you might want to visit:

  1. Historic Mansion: The centerpiece of the estate is the historic mansion, which dates back to 1898 and is one of the finest examples of antebellum architecture in Florida. Visitors can take guided tours of the mansion to learn about its history and the people who lived there.

  2. Beautiful Gardens: The estate is home to 163 acres of beautiful gardens, including one of the largest collections of camellias in the southeastern United States. The gardens also feature live oaks, magnolias, and azaleas, making it a picturesque spot for nature lovers and photographers.

  3. Educational Programs: The estate offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year, including gardening workshops, nature walks, and historical lectures. Visitors can learn about the history of the estate, the local flora and fauna, and other topics related to the Gulf Coast region.

  4. Special Events: Eden State Gardens and Mansion is a popular venue for weddings, receptions, and other special events. The estate offers several venues for events, including the mansion lawn, the gardens, and the courtyard.

  5. Nearby State Forest: The estate is located adjacent to the Point Washington State Forest, which covers over 15,000 acres and offers opportunities for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the forest's many trails and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Overall, Eden State Gardens and Mansion is a great place to visit for anyone interested in history, nature, or just looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the beach.

33 - Cruise around the beach

Rent a golf cart, scooter, sling shot, dune buggie or even a harley at Outlaw Rentals.

45 - Take a walk on the pier

Beware that there is a charge of $3 per person.

Take a break from all the activities.

46 - Build memories to keep.

Schedule a family sunset photoshoot with Surf's up studio.

47 - Resort day

Spend the day at the resort where you are staying and explore all amenities that you as a guest have access to. You may be surprised with what you find.

resort pool at panama city beach

Panama City Beach is a destination like no other, offering visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and modern attractions. With so much to see and do, it's no wonder why this city is a top vacation spot for travelers from all around the world.,

To finalize, Panama City Beach truly lives up to its reputation as the ultimate vacation destination. The breathtaking beaches, abundance of water activities, and exciting attractions make it a perfect spot for any type of traveler. You'll also find outstanding dining options and many opportunities to explore the city. Don't wait any longer to experience the magic of Panama City Beach - start planning your trip now! As they say, "Life's a beach," and there's no better place to live it than in Panama City Beach.


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