Panama City Beach has become a sought-after spot for families seeking memorable summer vacations, thanks to its breathtaking beaches, exhilarating water activities, and an exciting array of summer events. See below for all the things to do in Panama City Beach for families.

Explore PCB Beaches & Shell Island

family fun panama city beach florida

There are many ways families can enjoy the stunning local beaches. Sunbathe on the sandy shore or swim in the warm Gulf waters. Fish off the Russell-Fields Pier, or play an exciting game of beach volleyball. Bring your beloved family pet to run around the designated dog beach west of the pier. Adjacent to the Russell-Fields Pier lies the vibrant entertainment hub known as Pier Park, where you’ll find a diverse array of shops, restaurants, and attractions when you need a break from the surf and sand.

For a more secluded beach spot, visit St. Andrews State Park, where the outdoor activities are endless. Go on a hike or biking excursion through the beachside nature trails, or cast a line off the scenic pier for the ultimate fishing trip. 

Continue your shore excursions on Shell Island, a pristine barrier island easily accessible by boat and home to abundant wildlife. You may encounter bottlenose dolphins, hermit crabs, sea turtles, and many other captivating creatures there.

Dive, Cruise, or Jet Ski in Panama City Beach

Continue the family fun in the water. Local outfitters, like Mr. Surf’s Surf Shop, offer surfboard and skimboard rentals and paddleboard tours. Check out Freedom Watersports and other jet ski outfitters if you’d like to enjoy an adrenaline-pumping experience! Want to try something new? Ride a motorized surfboard with JetSurf PCB and enjoy an outing you won’t soon forget.

Another way to enjoy the waterways is by cruising on your boat rental around St. Andrews Bay. Take the fun underwater and explore the artificial reefs and marine life around St. Andrews State Park and Shell Island on a snorkeling or scuba diving trip.

Family paddleboarding

Visit Gulf World Marine Park 

Get up close and personal with marine life at Gulf World Marine Park! Experience interactive programs with California sea lions and African penguins and even swim with dolphins! Become a trainer for a day, feed a stingray, participate in a penguin encounter, and enjoy a Feathers and Friends show. At its core, the park is an educational facility that supports the nonprofit Gulf World Marine Institute, which dedicates time to rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing marine mammals and sea turtles. 

Hop on a Panama City Beach Dolphin Tour

Experience the thrill of a Panama City Beach dolphin cruise with expert guides who know all their favorite gathering spots. 

The 73-foot Sea Screamer is one of the more recognizable tour providers, with its canary yellow hull and exhilarating speed. The vessel holds dozens of passengers and has a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.  Are customized private excursions more your speed? Book a dolphin tour for up to 12 people with Osprey Charters! The captain has over 30 years of experience at the helm. If you’re looking for an inclusive experience for family members with disabilities, plus a scientific approach to dolphin encounters, check out Water Planet Swim Encounters. 

With so many options for dolphin tours in Panama City Beach, creating a memorable experience for the whole family is easy. 

Shop & Play at Pier Park & Beyond

Go shopping in Pier Park, home to around 124 big-name and locally-owned shops! After working up an appetite with all that retail therapy, grab a bite at one of their many restaurants. Other fun Pier Park attractions include the SkyWheel, where you can enjoy panoramic views of Panama City Beach, and Dave & Buster’s, offering arcade games for the young and young-at-heart. You can also catch the latest flicks at the state-of-the-art Grand IMAX Theatre

Bring a part of the Real. Fun. Beach back home with you, or add a touch of coastal charm to your home away from home. Grab your best shopping buddy, pick up a Decor By the Shore Passport at participating stores or the Panama City Beach Visitors Center, and hit the shopping trail! 


Attend Panama City Beach Events 

Prepare for an exciting summer and unforgettable family moments in Panama City Beach! This vibrant coastal destination is renowned for its thrilling summer events that cater to all ages and interests. 

Dance the night away at Panama City Beach’s Summer Concert Series! Free and fun for the whole family, the concert series features a different band every Thursday night from June to August. Bring blankets and chairs, coolers, and even your pets for a summer night to remember. 

Want to have a Real Fun Fourth? With fireworks over the water and choreographed music simulcasts, there’s no better way to celebrate Independence Day than at the beach!

Cool Off at Panama City Beach Ice Cream & Dessert Shops 

Cool off with a sweet treat at one of Panama City Beach’s many ice cream and dessert shops

David’s New Orleans Style Sno-Balls features their signature Stuffed Sno-Balls with creamy soft-serve ice cream down the middle of your favorite flavor! Choose from 40 fun flavors at Pink Pelican Ice Cream Bar, and experience Hawaiian and Thai delights at Pokee and Ice Rolls. If you want to indulge in a different kind of sweet, check out Thomas’ Donut & Snack Shop, offering freshly made doughnuts, like the fan favorite glazed and unique flavors, from key lime to bacon maple chocolate. 

With so many Panama City Beach summer activities, you’ll have a blast making memories with loved ones this summer!