When you’re mere steps away from the freshest, most celebrated seafood in the country, the thought of boxing yourself into a restaurant dining room, walled off from the fresh air, sunshine and sounds of the shoreline can seem almost like sacrilege. But those view-obstructing walls don’t have to be an issue if you play your cards right, and Panama City Beach has plenty of fantastic restaurants serving up beautiful vantage points and gorgeous views of the water you don’t want to miss.
Runaway Island offers unobstructed views of the sun sinking into a watercolor of sunset hues each afternoon from their deck bar, sunset deck and dining deck, as well as their flag room and ballyhoo bar on their upper level. Perfect for those days when you feel like relaxing in a casual atmosphere and long to hear some live music on the deck while you dine on fresh, local fare and sip some killer cocktails or wicked frozen drinks, Runaway is the perfect escape — especially as the weather gets cooler and that sea breeze blows in.
An old-fashioned shack built on the beach back in the ’70s, Schooners has a locale right along the surf, putting your toes steps away from a good wiggle in the sand and the tide right at eye level as you breathe in the salt air and feast on some of the area’s best seafood. Enjoying this seaside shack’s “sunset-perfect perspective,” guests love to gather for the countdown before the sunset blast of the old Schooners cannon as the sun dips below the surface of the Gulf. From midday meals to late-night drinks, Schooners has the course charted for great waterfront dining, and their views will definitely put some wind in your sails.
Located directly on the beautiful white sand beaches overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, Harpoon Harry’s 16-foot windows serve up a big old platter of “wow” with sweeping 180-degree views of the Gulf of Mexico. Opening out onto an outdoor dining area raised high above the sand, the sunset experience is made even more complete with frozen drinks from the tiki bar or one of the restaurant’s famous “monster harpoon” drinks. Salting the air with every breeze rolling in off the waves, the fantastic view here will stir up your appetite, and Harpoon Harry’s menu of burgers, steaks and seafood will spear your hunger right on through.
Serving a full menu of great seafood, sandwiches and cocktails from daybreak until the stars come out and play, you might have to leave the sands of the beach to come in and dine at Barefoot on the Beach, but their waterfront views will make you feel like you never left. One of a trio of Barefoot restaurants known throughout the area for their fresh, casual fare and fantastic drinks, this beach side eatery has options aplenty, offering a fun open-air dining experience with the beach just a hop, skip and a jump down the dunes. Whether you come in for an eye-opening breakfast or close out the day with a cocktail in hand and your toes tapping to live music, Barefoot on the Beach will keep the water within view but the hunger at bay.
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