23 Fun and Budget-Friendly Things to do in PCB
The best things in life are free, a song once said, and a great time in Panama City Beach doesn't always include a price tag. Between the city's wonderful beaches, parks, piers, and playgrounds, you can find a multitude of activities that will make some lasting - and priceless - memories.
With 27 miles of white sand and turquoise water, the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches are accessible at no charge. With nearly 100 access points, you won’t have a difficult time finding a spot to dig your toes into the famous sugar-white sand. To view a full list of beach access points, click here.
Get a breath of fresh air and head outside for a natural adventure. Pack a picnic lunch, and visit Camp Helen State Park with its 185-acres of ecological wonder that is bordered on three sides by water, the Gulf to the south and Lake Powell to the north and east. The most visited park by locals and tourists alike is St. Andrews State Park. Here you can cast a line and catch some fish, take a dive and scuba along the jetties or simply enjoy what has been named the Best Beach in America — all for less than $10 per vehicle. Spanning nearly 3,000 acres, the Panama City Beach Conservation Park features 12 different trails of varying difficulty and eight boardwalks totaling more than a mile in length. Bring binoculars — you’ll likely spot plenty of birds and wildlife in the wetlands area of this picturesque park.
Park & Play
Frank Brown Park is an impressive state-of-the-art sports complex, complete with an aquatic center, children’s playground, and 200-plus acres of recreational facilities. Admission to the park is free, so you can park and play without spending a penny. Entrance fees to the park’s aquatic center vary based on age and residency but start at just $3 per person. Score!
Catch a Concert
If you are visiting during the summer season, be sure to check out the Summer Concert Series. From June through August at Aaron Bessant Park, enjoy a free concert in the park every Tuesday night. Don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs and blankets. Coolers, food, and — yes — pets are welcome.
Shopping is in the Bag
Technically, window shopping and art gallery browsing are free. So go treasure hunting for souvenirs, and get all the ideas you want for stocking stuffers. Visit large shopping centers such as Pier Park and Pier Park North, which are filled with both name-brand and specialty boutiques, or take on the Décor By The Shore shopping trail, which showcases dozens of one-of-a-kind mom-and-pop shops peppering the coast. No matter what, you’ll bag a great time — and surely clock some serious miles on that Fitbit, too.
Most accommodations offer complimentary amenities as exclusive privileges for booking direct, so be sure to ask about all the goodies that come with your stay. From free movie rentals to free beach chair setups, there are a host of freebies, so take full advantage of them. Many resorts and hotels have fun daily activities for kids, so be sure to ask. And some even have attractions on-site, Sandpiper Beacon for example has a lazy river, waterslides, and miniature golf — all free to registered guests.
And Because Ideas Are Free, Here Are a Few More
- Snorkel until you spy something you recognize from "Finding Nemo"
- Fly a kite, toss a ball or fling a Frisbee and act like a kid again
- Jog miles of sugar-white sands for a refreshing workout
- Toast the sunset
- Explore Shell Island for treasure
- Browse beach books and souvenir shops for unique finds
- Put your shades on, and people-watch at Pier Park
- Build a sandcastle
- Picnic in a local park or playground
- Pose for a family portrait, and capture the moment forever
- Get your groove on and dance in the sand
- Spike your life with some beach volleyball
- Be the first to spy dolphins... and stingrays... and sea turtles
- Catch a wave and bodysurf to shore
- Daydream your day away - you're on vacation after all