Empty-Nester's in the know are discovering that late spring - when schools are back in session - is a great time for an adult Spring Escape. Between Easter (April 5) and Memorial Day (May 25), Empty-Nesters can take advantage of beautiful spring weather and plenty of secluded stretches of sand complemented by the Gulf Coast's finest hospitality.
"Spring in Panama City Beach is a perfect time to cash in a few vacation days and escape to our emerald waters and sugar sand beaches," shares Visit Panama City Beach President and CEO Dan Rowe. "This has been a traditionally quiet time between spring break season in March and the summer vacation season that starts after Memorial Day. We are glad to see more empty-nesters taking advantage of the great weather for a little rest and relaxation in Panama City Beach."
Below is a listing of 10 favorite activities for Empty-Nester Spring Escape in Panama City Beach:
Attend the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, April 22-26, 2015
Named "Top 10 Jazz Festival in the USA" by JazzIZ Magazine and recently nominated as "Best Jazz Festival" at the Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards, the Seabreeze Jazz Festival combines the top national smooth jazz artists with a full weekend of fun, sun, great beaches, and good times - all on the west end of Panama City Beach. The event now attracts over 20,000 fans from the USA, Canada, and Europe for the ultimate performance-packed weekend of jazz. For more information, visit www.seabreezejazzfestival.com.
Spot Dolphins and Learn about Marine Life
The waters off of Panama City Beach are home to the highest concentration of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins in the world and can easily be spotted from the beach or while taking a sightseeing tour with one of many experienced boat captains. To guarantee a sighting, guests can visit Gulf World Marine Park, which features marine life exhibits and the chance to swim with a dolphin. For more information, visit www.gulfworldmarinepark.com.
Have a Picnic at Shell Island
Located just across the pass from St. Andrews State Park, Shell Island is an undeveloped seven-mile island of beautiful trees, white sand and emerald water, perfect for a secluded picnic, walk on the beach or snorkeling adventure. Sightseeing trips, private charters, boat rentals and an hourly shuttle service make the barrier island accessible to anyone who really wants to get away from it all. For more information, visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
Discover Camp Helen State Park
On the western most end of Bay County is Camp Helen State Park, a former retreat for millworkers and today one of Panama City Beach's hidden gem. A short walk around a dune lake along a squeaky sand path leads to a tranquil beach appreciated by locals and known by few visitors. For more information, visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
Tee Off and Staying Out of the Sand
Golfers visiting Panama City Beach will find a destination carving out a growing reputation as a golf haven, with outstanding championship golf courses and affordable greens fees. Favorite courses include the Nicklaus Course and Meadows Course at the Wyndham Bay Point Resort, The Hombre's "Good, Bad, and Ugly" courses, Holiday Gulf Club and Signal Hill Golf Course.
Indulge in Gourmet and Waterfront Dining
Known for its award-winning cuisine, Firefly provides a Mediterranean vibe for couples to celebrate and dine under the restaurant's illuminated oak tree. Firefly's Chef Paul has served two sitting U.S. presidents, and was also selected to prepare a special meal for Team USA Olympians at the London Summer Games. Saltwater Grill is another dining experience known for both their excellent martinis, steaks, and local seafood, as well as a breathtaking 25,000 gallon saltwater aquarium. Since 1967, Captain Anderson's has been a Panama City Beach tradition serving Gulf Coast seafood dishes including award-winning local scamp.
Soak in a Sunset Sail
Perfect before dinner or a night out on the town, Paradise Adventures offers a two-hour sail along the Gulf of Mexico to take in the breathtaking sights and sunsets of Panama City Beach. Couples can relax onboard the 55-foot catamaran and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, sangria, cold beer or a non-alcoholic beverage. For more information, visit www.paradiseadventurespcb.com.
Conquer Stand Up Paddleboarding
Learning to paddleboard is easy thanks to the calm local waters and many businesses offering lessons, rentals, or equipment. Paddleboarding tours offer basic to advanced instruction and provide a fantastic workout, not to mention one of the best ways to watch a sunset. For more information, visit http://www.wowpaddleboards.com/.
Shopping and Entertainment at Pier Park
Pier Park is a 900,000+ square foot shopping center and entertainment hub located just steps from the beach. With a wide array of restaurants, specialty stores and attractions to choose from, couples can treat each other to a special gift or enjoy a stroll through this open-air mall. For more information, visit www.simon.com/mall/pier-park.
Relaxing in Waterfront Accommodations
The majority of Panama City Beach's accommodations offer picturesque Gulf views, and options range from simple to ultra-luxurious. Roomy beachfront condos like El Soleil allow couples to enjoy a romantic night in with a Gulf view, fireplace and sprawling balcony. Just down the road, Carillon Beach Rentals features a collection of cottages, five private pools, shopping, dining and spa all within a private community. The Serenity Spa at Bay Point Wyndham Resort has played host to the First Lady and provides soothing facials, manicures, pedicures and Swedish massages. For more information, visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.