It doesn’t get better than miles of pristine beaches, happy sand-castle building kids and a great book in your hand. (Okay, reading may be a fantasy depending on the age of your children, but a parent can dream, #amiright?). For a much-needed break from the daily grind, plan a family vacation to Panama City Beach. This gorgeous waterfront town in Northwest Florida will make you forget your to-do list even exists. We bet you’re already feeling relaxed…
Keep reading for 10 reasons to plan a family beach trip to this beloved spot in the Sunshine State, and find everything you need to plan the perfect trip at VisitPanamaCityBeach.com!
1. 27 Miles of Beaches
There are nearly a hundred public access points along Panama City Beach. Wherever you choose to hop the waves and feel the sugar-white sand between your toes, there are a variety of experiences to be had down the Emerald Coast. Set up your umbrella at the center of the action, choose a quieter locale or even bring your pup to the Dog Beach at Russell-Fields Pier. St. Andrews State Park, located on a peninsula at the far eastern edge of Panama City Beach, is always a family favorite for beachy adventures.
2. You Will Never Hear the Words "I'm Bored:
Swim with playful dolphins, slice through the waves on jet skis, take in a new perspective via parasail, snorkel by the jetties, scuba alongside shipwrecks, perfect those paddleboard techniques, tour the area by pontoon boat or bike… The list goes on and on... Get more details on all of the top activities for thrill-seeking families!
3. Eco-Adventure Awaits
Whether you’re into nature photography, hiking, kayaking, beachcombing or off-road biking, there are tons of ecologically responsible outings in protected conservation areas. St. Andrew’s State Park has gorgeous trails that wind through coastal plant communities (a prime spot for bird and wildlife-watching!). Gayle's Trails connect Frank Brown Park to Panama City Beach Conservation Park, where boardwalks cross cypress swamps. And be sure to visit Camp Helen State park to explore coastal dunes, salt marshes and freshwater wetlands.
Ready to plan your trip? Get started at VisitPanamaCityBeach.com.
4. Going Off the Grid Is Easy
Head to Shell Island, a seven-mile long undeveloped barrier island known for its natural beauty. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, shorebirds and coastal creatures like ghost crabs, green sea turtles and loggerhead sea turtles. It’s a (beachy) breeze to get there by boat rental and tour boats, including the Shell Island Shuttle which runs between St. Andrews State Park and the island. Heads up: there are no concession stands, restrooms, picnic tables, trash bins or pavilions. So come prepared with snacks, water and garbage bags to take the trash out with you when you leave.
5. There's a Perfect Place to Stay
Every family has different needs on a vacation. Good thing there are over 16,000 accommodations to choose from in PCB. There are resorts, hotels, motels, condos, beach house rentals, campgrounds and RV parks galore. Filter the options and search by location and amenities here.
6. The Food Scene Is Awesome
There’s a cuisine for every crew. While Panama City Beach is known for fresh local seafood, the barbecue, Cajun fare and traditional American food is top-notch, too. You’ll be hooked on the fish tacos at Hook’d and the beach view at Schooner’s is best enjoyed with a grouper sandwich. Take in stunning marina views at Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant. Bring the kids to a casual restaurant with live music for a relaxing evening out. Catch up with pirates and mermaids at Sisters of the Sea during a dining experience. Or even whip up your own feast with a fresh daily catch from one of the many seafood markets.
7. Two Words: Beach Sunset
This is the most peaceful, serene way to wind down and experience all the beauty PCP has to offer. From the Skywheel to your favorite restaurant’s deck… these are some photo-worthy spots to soak in the stunning Panama City Beach sunset.
8. Dolphins, Dolphins, and More Dolphins
A large population of bottlenose dolphins call Panama City Beach home. And you can easily spot these charismatic creatures swimming and playing around their natural habitat almost everywhere you look. The jetties at St. Andrews State Park is a dolphin-watching hotspot. Book a small boat or jet-ski tour for up-close, amazing encounters your family will never forget. You’ll also catch glimpses of stingray, seahorses, sea turtles and sand dollars when you snorkel!
9. There’s a Variety of Kid-Approved Attractions
Jumping the waves keeps your kiddos busy for hours… and so can these other attractions. Play a round of mini golf at Barnacle Bay. Splash your way through Shipwreck Island’s water slides designed for all ages. Catch educational animal shows and exhibits at Gulf World Marine Park. Between the beach and the entertainment, everyone will rest easy at the end of the day.
10. Getting There Is Convenient
Many people drive to Panama City Beach from all across the South and Midwest. For those flying into town, the Panama City Beach airport is only about 15 minutes from area beaches. So pack swimsuits in your carry-on bags… because you can dip your toes in the turquoise water soon after you land.
From things to do to where to stay, get everything you need to book your trip at VisitPanamaCityBeach.com.