Hotels.com asked me to share my favorite things to do and see while traveling in the Panama City, Florida. Panama City Beach is home to twenty-seven miles of gorgeous, white sand beaches with two beach front state parks, city parks, and county parks, along with over a hundred public beach access points. In fact, Tripadvisor ranked Panama City Beach the #2 “Emerging Destination” in the world for 2021. It has hundreds of places to stay from resorts to beach homes. You can choose to travel there alone or with a group, and you will be sure to find a place that fits all of your needs! If you are bringing the kids, quite a few hotels are known for having interactive water parks for children, along with pools and hot tubs. No matter what time of the year you are in Panama City Beach, it will be perfect for a walk on the beach while taking in the stunning turquoise waters and abundant sunshine.
If you are thinking that you want to head down south, the following are the five best things for you and your family to experience while there:
Pier Park is the city’s premier shopping and entertainment destination. This outdoor complex boasts over a hundred stores ranging from clothing to home goods. It also offers many delectable dining options. No matter what you are in the mood for, this mall has it all! Choose your adventures at a variety of venues from the Grand IMAX movie theater, to laser tag, and live music.
Camp Helen State Park
Camp Helen State Park is bordered on three sides by water; the gulf to the south and Lake Powell to the north and east. The latter is the largest coastal dune lake in Florida. There you will discover a wealth of local and Florida history. Prehistoric mounds indicate that humans inhabited the area more than 4,000 years ago. It became a state park in 1996 and has been open to the general public ever since. The nearly two hundred acres are for day use only. Activities include swimming, beach combing, bird watching, nature study, hiking and biking on the trails, and both freshwater and saltwater fishing. On the first Saturday of every month there is a free history tour.
Bike The Beach PCB
Looking to spend some time outside while in Panama City Beach? One of the best ways to do it is to rent a bike that you can ride along the beach. Bike The Beach PCB is a bicycle rental company based directly on the sands and has easy access to trails and dozens of nearby other beaches and shops in the area. They are located next to Pier Park at the Snappy Turtle. Whether you are 6 or 60, a day riding a bike will make you feel like a kid!
Cobra Adventure Park
The beach is synonymous with fun and nothing is more fun than an adventure park, especially when it is beachside such as Cobra Adventure Park. Rides there include the Max Flight Simulator, billed as the “roller coaster of the future.”, The Dragon Wagon, which is a steel-track, junior oval “kids only” roller coaster, 9hp go-karts on four levels, The Wild Thing, The Vertical Accelerator, which reaches heights of over 160 feet, and so much more! There is also an arcade and 18-hole pirate put put mini-course.
Flippers Dolphin Tours
How can you visit the beach without getting up close and personal with some of its marine life? Flippers Dolphin Tours affords you the opportunity to swim with friendly dolphins in the beautiful waters surrounding Shell Island. Take one of the personalized tours and have an experience of a lifetime. They guarantee only carry six passengers at a time. Snorkeling gear is provided and an experienced captain will assist you and your family the entire time. It is an unforgettable two hour/twelve mile ride. You will even be able to find sand dollars that you can bring home with you as a souvenir.
Please keep in mind that traveling in this moment remains uncertain, thus always make sure your safety and the safety of others is your #1 priority. If you are indeed comfortable with traveling, ensure you travel responsibly and within regulation. You travel at your own risk.
Here are some recommendations should you travel:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses. Be aware you might have to self-quarantine upon arrival.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
- Be patient and calm. Remember we are all trying to do our best and are in this together.
Ask anyone in the know and they will tell you Panama City Beach is a friendly, coastal escape catering to everyone. From year-round, go-to spots to ultra-cool festivals and events, this beach getaway offers a versatility you will love and want to return to over and over again. I can offer you five reasons to visit Panama City Beach, but there are more like 5,000!