Ice cream, milkshakes and other frozen delights are some of life’s simple pleasures, but simple doesn’t have to mean boring. Panama City Beach offers the best and uncommon concoctions for tasty desserts. The next time you’re in need of a scoop or two (or three), challenge your taste buds with a unique treat.
Pink Pelican Ice Cream Bar
Pink Pelican Ice Cream Bar has the scoop on fantastic flavors, sourcing each of their 40-plus ice creams, sherbets and frozen yogurts from the crème de la crème of the nation’s creameries. Perhaps that’s what helped earn them the distinction of being named the No. 2 Ice Cream Shop in America by Tripadvisor.
David's New Orleans Style Cafe & Sno-Balls
Since they opened the NOLA-style eatery in 2007, owners David Bulger and David Ellingson have made it their mission to bring the Big Easy to the beach. A cup of finely shaved ice with soft-serve ice cream at its center is drizzled in one of many flavored syrups and is then capped off with a dome of even more shaved ice and syrup. Sno- Balls are customizable and kaleidoscopic, with more than 60 flavored syrups and 12 ice cream flavors. Favorites include Key Lime Pie and Red Velvet Cake.
A go-to spot for unique sweet and savory crepes, Gypsea Crepes has something for everyone, any time of day. Those seeking a sugar rush shouldn’t miss their Sweet Crepe filled with strawberries, bananas, blueberries and raspberries, and topped with choice of chocolate sauce, Nutella or peanut butter. If feeling extra indulgent, diners can top their crepe with a slice of cheesecake.
Growing up outside New Orleans, Ricky Lehrmann and Daryl Battaglia, owners of The Pancakery, vacationed on Florida beaches. When they committed to going into business, they wanted to bring friends and families together in a special place. For them, Panama City Beach is such a place. The Florida Panhandle’s favorite breakfast spot — it’s open for lunch, too — offers gourmet pancakes, crepes, omelets, and lots of sweets! No one says the super sugary Happy Face Pancake has to be reserved just for kids. Be sure to apply extra syrup!
Started by local businessman Tom Ehlke, the Candymaker has become a popular stop for Pier Park visitors, and the demand for fresh, homemade taffy and candy has grown. Many visitors call and have the candy shipped to them after they get back home. Whatever craving you may have, Candymaker will fulfill it with one of the area’s largest selections of handmade candies.
Thomas Donut & Snack Shop
Opened as a snack shop in 1971, Thomas Donut & Snack Shop put the cherry on top of their already successful family-owned business when they built an ice cream shop in 2015. The menu offers a daily rotating list of 36 flavors of ice creams, frozen yogurt, sorbets, and sherbets — plus a selection of delicious homemade doughnuts.
Gulf Coast Burger Co.
The brainchild of Justin Greene and Dustin Kelly, Gulf Coast Burger’s shakes shake up the dessert scene with flavors such as the sugar-packed “Sugar Rush,” a vanilla base loaded with Fruity Pebbles and festooned with an enormous lollypop, some Nerds Rope, Airhead Extremes, and cotton candy ... then topped with a cherry. Their spiked shakes make this kid-like indulgence anything but child’s play.
Offering handcrafted sweets since 1947, Kilwin’s has become a name famous for their heavenly fudges, premium gourmet chocolates, caramels, toffees, brittles, candied apples, and caramel corns. Or try their diverse flavors of ice cream.
Chuy's Gourmet Pops & More
With more than 35 flavors on their menu, Chuy’s Gourmet Pops & More first opened in late spring of 2016. Since then, owners Jazmina and Silvino Barragan have been using fresh fruits and ice creams to create combinations that are truly unique and worth getting downright sticky for. Their fruit-based pops are made using fresh juices and about a dozen flavors of hand-dipped ice creams.
Hershey's Beach Ice Cream Shop
The name brand says it all. Featuring 40 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream, this shop has whatever you’re looking for — even by the pint. Pick from a variety of cones, milkshakes, and sky-high sundaes.