Overview Panama City Beach (www.visitpanamacitybeach.com) is located in Bay County, Fla., in the Northwest part of the state. The destination is best known for its more than 27 miles of white sand beaches edging emerald-green waters where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay converge. With an average of 320 days of sunshine annually, the region has long been favored by travelers seeking an affordable beach vacation with year-round offerings for families, couples, groups, and adventure-seekers.
The new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport attracts travelers from major markets, both domestic and international. Leading low fare carrier Southwest Airlines operates daily flights through the airport non-stop from Baltimore, Houston, Austin, Chicago and Nashville. Delta Airlines operates non-stop flights from Atlanta. United Airlines offers direct flights to their international hub in Houston.
Accommodations More than 16,500 rooms ranging from resorts, hotels, condos, townhomes, and villas are available for quick getaways or extended stays in Panama City Beach. Each accommodation caters to travelers of different interests, from families and sun-seekers to couples, honeymooners and meetings groups.
Dining Known as the “Seafood Capital of the South,” Panama City Beach offers an array of dining options to please all palates including award-winning restaurants, casual beachfront cafés, and family-friendly tables. Cajun influences abound as chefs fuse bold flavors and fresh seafood to create signature dishes in distinct spaces that make the most of their seaside setting.
Visitors can enjoy island cuisine, steakhouses, barbecue, ethnic cuisine, and specialty sushi. Experiences are available for any occasion from elaborate multi-course meals and dinner cruises to buffets, grills, casual beachside dining and ice cream parlors.
Recreation Pier Park:
This 1.1 million-square-foot, open-air regional lifestyle center developed by the Simon Property Group, brings unique shopping, tourist attractions, and dining to the heart of Panama City Beach. Located on 100 acres directly across from the Gulf of Mexico and City Pier, department stores and restaurants include Dillard's, JCPenney, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Old Navy, Ron Jon Surf Shop and Target. Other fashion retailers include Ann Taylor Loft, Caché, Chico's, Coldwater Creek, Hollister Co., Ulta Beauty and dozens of one-of-a-kind boutiques and specialty shops.
In addition, Pier Park embraces diverse dining options such as Hofbrau Beer Garden, Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Longhorn Steakhouse, Panera Bread, Pompano Joe’s Seafood House, Tootsies Orchid Lounge and many more. Shoppers can also enjoy movies at The IMAX Grand 16 Theatres, which was recently retrofitted to offer the high-tech sensory experience for up to 350 moviegoers.
Family Entertainment: Panama City Beach offers a variety of activities for all ages such as marine attractions, water parks, zoos, pirate cruises, boating, fishing, snorkeling, diving, and parasailing. Some of the most popular family attractions include:
- Pier Park Amusement Rides
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium
- Gulf World Marine Park
- Shipwreck Island Waterpark
- Coconut Creek Family Fun Park
- ZooWorld Zoological and Botanical Park
- Museum of Man in the Sea
Outdoor Adventure: In this destination known as the “Wreck Diving Capital of the South,” scuba divers explore historic wrecks and artificial reefs while snorkelers observe Manta rays, brightly colored tropical fish and marine life. Sailing, windsurfing, leisure boating, parasailing, and Jet Skiing are all popular ways to explore the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors may also hop aboard tour boats for excursions to Shell Island.
For landlubbers, Panama City Beach features five 18-hole championship golf courses. The destination’s golf is world-class, thanks to temperate weather, stunning landscapes, challenging holes and more. Also on land, visitors can fish, hike and camp in St. Andrews State Park or Camp Helen State Park.
Spas: Panama City Beach is home to an array of spas that offer treatments designed to rejuvenate and relax. Services include massage, facials, hot stone therapy, aromatherapy, waxing, and full-service salons.
Accessibility Daily commercial air service is provided through Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, just 15 minutes from the beach. The new international airport offers a 10,000-foot runway and accommodates larger jets as well as commercial aircraft of any size, improving the region’s overall accessibility. Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico bring boaters to the area’s many marinas, and the destination is within a six-hour drive to major Southeastern cities including Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, and others.
Weather Panama City Beach offers year-round sunshine and an average temperature of 77 degrees. Average seasonal temperatures are:
- Spring – Daytime high of 74 degrees
- Summer – Daytime high of 91 degrees
- Fall – Daytime high of 80 degrees
- Winter – Daytime high of 64 degrees
Accolades clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay, for which the destination has earned the following accolades:
#2 Top Trending Spots For A Summer 2017 Vacation Rental Stay – TripAdvisor.com, 2017
#5 Top 25 Beaches “Best time to go: Year-round” – TripAdvisor.com, 2017
#7 “Best Places to Experience Florida’s Wildlife” – CondeNastTraveler.com, 2017
“Top Sports Vacation Spots” – SportsEvents, 2017
#12 “50 Undiscovered Places You’ll Love in the South” – Southern Living, 2016
Shell Island #7 “Best Beaches in the South” – Coastal Living, 2016
“15 Beaches That Are Better in the Fall” – Men’sJournal.com, 2016
#5 “Top 10 Most Group-Friendly Beach Cities in America” – HotelPlanner.com, 2016
25 Most Popular Summer Vacation Rental Spots in the US – Trip Advisor, 2016
“The 24 best beaches in America, ranked” – Business Insider, 2016
Shipwreck Island #18 “Top 25 Water Parks in the U.S.” – Trip Advisor, 2016
“50 states, 50 dates: Romantic activities around the USA” – USAToday.com, 2016
“The 10 Best Beaches in Florida” – CondeNastTraveler.com, 2016
“The South’s Best Beaches” – SouthernLiving.com, 2016
“Ten Beaches to Visit Now” – National Geographic Traveler, 2016
“Top 10 U.S. Beaches” – TripAdvisor, 2016
“Top 10 Beaches in the U.S.” – Smarter Travel, 2015
“Best Scuba Diving Sites in the U.S. & Caribbean”, - USA Today 10Best, 2015
# 10 “Best U.S. Beaches” – TripAdvisor, 2015
“Top Winter Getaway” – Flipkey, 2015
“Most Popular Spring Break Destination” – Global Travel Industry News, 2014
#8 “Best Places to Watch a Sunset” – Reader’s Choice Awards: USA Today, 2013
Named Top Beach in the Continental U.S. in CNN’s “World’s 100 Best Beaches” – 2013
Top Ten Places in the World to Swim – Reader’s Digest .Ca, 2013
Top Ten Best Bikini-Watching Beaches – 10best.com, 2013
#3 St. Andrews State Park “Top 10 Visited State Parks” – Florida DEP, 2012
“20 Amazing American Beaches” – USA Today, 2012
President’s Award “Best of the Best Restored Beaches” – ASBPA, 2012
#5 “10 Best U.S. Beaches” – 10Best, 2012
#12 “25 Best Beaches in the World” – Canadian Living, 2012
Travelers’ Choice Awards 2011: #3 “Top 10 Beach Destinations in the USA” – TripAdvisor, 2011
Top 10 Budget Destinations for 2011 – AOL Travel, 2011
Top 5 Value Destinations for Winter Travel – CNN.com, 2010
#3 “Top 10 Vacation Rental Hot Spots in the U.S.” – TripAdvisor, 2010
America’s Top 10 Beaches – TripAdvisor, 2008, 2009
America’s Top 5 Beaches for Families – Travel Channel, 2009
America’s 20 Most Beautiful Beaches – Condé Nast Traveler, 2006
Top Ten Family Beach Destination – USA Today, 2005
Blue Wave Beach – The Clean Beaches Council, 2002, 2003, 2004
#10 Beach in America – The Travel Channel, 2001
Top Five “Best Beaches” – Southern Living, 2000, 2008
#3 Beach in America – The Surfrider Foundation, 2000
#1 Beach - Dr. Beach (Stephen Leatherman), 1995