You’ve been called a thrill-seeker, a daredevil, a risk-taker and an adventurer. For you, lounging on the beach and working on your tan isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Vacation means taking a walk on the wild side, and maybe crossing a few items off your bucket list. Whether you’re looking for thrills on land or in the sea, Panama City Beach has a broad range of activities to scratch that itch.
If you prefer to devour your thrills at the surface, Adventure at Sea provides both freehand and guided excursions of the Gulf aboard Wave Runners, pontoons and sailboats. The only thing that beats the scenery of our coastline as you race through the waves? A bird’s eye view from a parasail at Paradise Watersports. As you coast along the clouds, be on the lookout for pods of dolphins below. Tickets for this unparalleled experience, as well as boat rentals, are available at the numerous Adventure at Sea booths that adorn Panama City Beach’s shores.
With a name like Cobra, you know there’s bound to be some excitement! Swing through Smuggler’s Cove, an 18-hole putt-putt golf course that guides families through their very own pirate adventure. Crank it up a notch with one of the park’s 9-horsepower go-karts and race your friends and family through a twisty, four-tiered track. If that doesn’t get your heart pumping, we dare you to strap into The Vertical Accelerator, a bungee like thrill ride that launches riders over 160 feet into the sky! “The Dragon Wagon” roller coaster and arcade are perfect for the younger ones who need their fix of fun.
Race City supplies all the thrills of your classic amusement park, making it the ultimate attraction for the whole family. Take a spin on the Scrambler, rock the boat aboard the Sea Dragon Pirate Ship and take flight with the Hurricane steel coaster! This is also the home of PCB’s legendary Skycoaster, a ride that lets you channel your inner Superman as you free fall from a 137-foot tower at over 60 mph. To catch your breath, hop inside the 10,000-foot “Mega-Arcade” to show off your skee ball skills, hoard tickets and trade them in for awesome prizes to commemorate your visit!
Are those serene sunset dolphin cruises not really your speed? Boggy Bayou Airboat Tours redefines the aquatic tour experience, taking you to the lesser known parts of PCB. Oh, and you’ll be sightseeing aboard a GTO Performance Airboat that boasts a 635-horsepower engine. While you cut through the waters of Deer Point Lake, you’re sure to see some of our famous Florida alligators, native birds and other marine life that inhabit the salt marshes.
Winter is over and it’s finally time for some wet ’n’ wild fun. Aquatic Adventures offers just about anything from guided jet-ski dolphin tours to exhilarating banana boat rides. For a more personal experience, become your own captain and navigate your way to scenic Shell Island in your choice of Wave Runners, sailboats or pontoons. Snorkeling tours near Shell Island place you right into the action, as you become immersed in the world of vibrant fish, dolphins and other exotic sea life.
Helicopter tours may sound extravagant and lavish, but Panhandle Helicopter provides an affordable, electrifying experience for all ages to enjoy. Newcomers and families with little ones mostly go for the Intro Ride — a brief but picturesque tour above PCB’s piers. Those looking for an all-out expedition can soar above the city for 27 miles until reaching stunning Shell Island, passing Grand Lagoon and St. Andrews Park along the way. You’ve likely seen countless ads for dolphin tours, but what about a shark tour? The 16-mile “Shark Run” adventure flies above the deeper waters to scout out the most populous shark spots!
Starting on select days this April, Panama City Beach’s beloved water park will get its flow on to celebrate the springtime. We’re talking the whole shebang: a lengthy and loopy lazy river, gnarly wave pool and plummeting speed slides that’ll have you lining up to go again and again. Families will especially love the White Knuckle River group raft ride. Aptly named, you’ll be clutching the handles of your vessel as you plummet down a curvy, chaotic 660- foot long slide.
Spontaneity is your nature, and what’s more impulsive than jumping out of a plane? If you’ve never skydived before, a tandem jump is just right for you. As you leap from 14,000 feet in the air, you’ll drop at a heart-pounding 120 mph. Once your highly trained companion deploys the chute, you’re looking at a majestic, five-minute descent through the clouds. If you thought your view was matchless when parasailing, just imagine those emerald green waters as you float down from the heavens.
Waters off Panama City Beach are rich in shipwrecks, artificial reefs and occasional naturally occurring rock structures known as “hard bottom.” All hold magnificent populations of fish ranging from clouds of bait to apex predators like groupers. And, like all-natural wonders, these environments must be seen in person to be fully appreciated. Dive shops on Panama City Beach, like Dive Locker
, Panama City Diving
, Divers Den
and Panama City Dive Center
, can outfit you with snorkeling gear ideal for inspecting life around the jetties or prepare you to make deeper dives with scuba gear. “Resort courses” that culminate in Open Water Scuba Diving Certifications require only three days to complete. Specialty courses in mixed gases diving or cave diving, for example, are also available to advanced divers.