Panama City Beach is known far and wide for its sugar white sand beaches and the beautiful water of the Gulf of Mexico. For generations, it’s been a destination for beach fun and sun, but many of today’s travelers are looking for a little more excitement than simply relaxing on the sand, watching the waves roll by. For the traveler looking for adventurous ways to cool off from the summer heat, Panama City Beach has plenty of excitement to pique your interest and provide you with the ultimate vacation.

Jet Skiing

If you want to feel the wind in your hair while you race through waves, leaving nothing but salty mist in your wake, it’s hard to beat jet skiing. Jet Ski rentals can be found all over Panama City Beach. The experiences include renting straight off the beach to explore the Gulf of Mexico or joining a guided expedition to Shell Island, where you’re sure to spot dolphins and see the best parts of the island to explore or snorkel.


Parasailing services take visitors up, up and away to experience a bird’s eye view of Panama City Beach. Vacationers ages 5 and up can enjoy an unforgettable view of paradise while gently floating along, tethered to a tow boat and held aloft by the cushion of air captured by what resembles a giant parachute.

Kite Surfing

Cutting through the water and reaching new heights of exhilaration; launching into the air with the turquoise waves rolling below you. Sound like your idea of a good time? Then kite surfing in Panama City Beach is for you. If you’re new to the sport, experts at Emerald Coast Kite Surfing provide lessons. These lessons are offered year-round in the more protected waters of St. Andrew Bay, but experts may take their kites out into the open water of the Gulf of Mexico.


When you’re ready to combine your love of scuba diving with your love of hunting, spearfishing lets you test your most primal skills with spear guns: harpoon-like devices for targeting fish while you SCUBA — or free-dive. “Spearos” — that’s what many spearfishers call themselves — will tell you that there’s nothing more exciting than the underwater hunt. 

SCUBA Diving

It’s possible that your ideal adventure takes place underwater, where you can get a firsthand look at native marine life and shipwrecks resting on the Gulf floor. Did you know that Panama City Beach is where the U.S. military’s divers learn their trade? Or that there are dozens of artificial reefs waiting to be discovered offshore? Everything from ships to tanks or even fighter jets can be explored by scuba divers who venture out. If you’ve never dived before, check into lessons at a local dive shop; if you’re a seasoned diver, hop aboard a trip and see why Panama City Beach is considered one of the best destinations for scuba in the Southeast.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

There’s a way to get out on the water and witness marine life without swimming alongside it. Paddleboarding provides a great view into the water while you stand on what looks like an extra-large surfboard. Paddleboarders propel themselves over the water while standing up, using a single paddle. The balance required makes this sport a great workout and rewards participants with not only a toned core, but also the amazing scenery you’ll find while cruising along local waterways.


Whether it's cruising through the waves on jetski or paddle boarding among bottle nose dolphins, Panama City Beach has an abundance of activities to help you cool off during those fun summer days at the beach. For more water activities and things to do during your vacation, click here.