Panama City Beach is a breathtaking coastal paradise located on the Emerald Coast of Florida. With its pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and abundance of outdoor activities, this vibrant city offers a plethora of things to see and do. Whether you’re seeking thrilling water sports, family-friendly attractions, or simply a relaxing getaway, Panama City Beach has something for everyone.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the top things to do in Panama City Beach, providing you with a roadmap to create unforgettable memories in this tropical haven.

1. Soak up the Sun on Panama City Beach

This one is basically a no-brainer. Panama City Beach boasts 27 miles of stunning coastline, making it an idyllic destination for sun seekers. The pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters create a picturesque backdrop for relaxation and fun. Whether you’re lounging on the beach, building sandcastles, or playing beach volleyball, you’ll find endless enjoyment under the warm glow of the Sunshine State.

2. Embark on a Dolphin Tour

Dolphin family in the wild in the emerald waters of Florida.

One of the most enchanting experiences in Panama City Beach is embarking on a dolphin tour. Hop aboard a boat and set sail to encounter these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. As you cruise along the sparkling waters, dolphins gracefully leap and play, providing a captivating spectacle that will leave you in awe — for good reason.

3. Explore St. Andrews State Park

Shell island next to St. Andrews Florida State Park.

Nestled on the eastern end of Panama City Beach, St. Andrews State Park offers a treasure trove of outdoor adventures. From swimming and snorkeling in the emerald waters to hiking scenic nature trails, this park provides a diverse range of activities for nature enthusiasts. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Shell Island, a pristine barrier island within the park, where you can witness an array of coastal wildlife.

4. Indulge in Water Sports Adventures

Parasailing in beautiful turquoise water.

Panama City Beach is renowned for its thrilling water sports offerings. Dive into the exhilarating world of parasailing and soar high above the sparkling waters, taking in panoramic views of the coastline. Jet skiing, paddleboarding, and kayaking are also popular activities that allow you to embrace an uptempo adrenaline rush while exploring the natural beauty of the area.

5. Discover the WonderWorks Interactive Museum

Boy using headphones and mic at an interactive museum.

If you’re seeking a unique and interactive experience, head to WonderWorks. This upside-down building is home to over 100 exhibits that blend education and entertainment. From mind-bending optical illusions to the hurricane shack, WonderWorks promises an immersive journey of discovery for visitors of all ages.

6. Sample Delicious Seafood at Local Restaurants

Romantic honeymoon dinner for two.

Panama City Beach is a haven for seafood lovers, offering a wide array of dining options that showcase the fresh flavors of the Gulf. From succulent shrimp and mouthwatering crab legs to delectable oysters and grilled fish, you’ll find a seafood bonanaza to satisfy your cravings. Don’t forget to indulge in the local specialty, the famous “grouper sandwich,” which pairs perfectly with stunning ocean views.

7. Enjoy Thrills at Shipwreck Island Waterpark

People tubing down a lazy river.

For a day of family-friendly fun and excitement, make your way to Shipwreck Island Waterpark. With its exhilarating water slides, lazy river, and wave pool, this tropical oasis guarantees a splashing good time. Whether you’re seeking heart-pounding thrills or relaxation under the sun, this waterpark offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

8. Unwind with a Sunset Sail

Friends enjoying a sunset sail.

As the day draws to a close, treat yourself to a breathtaking sunset sail along the Gulf of Mexico. Set sail on a romantic catamaran or a luxurious yacht and watch as the sky transforms into a vibrant palette of colors. This serene and picturesque setting provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic evening or a peaceful retreat.

9. Experience the Shopping Paradise of Pier Park

Happy young woman shopping with shopping bags and sunglasses.

Looking for some retail therapy in a tropical clime? Pier Park is a shopper’s paradise nestled in the heart of Panama City Beach. This vibrant outdoor mall boasts an impressive array of retail stores, boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment options. Whether you’re searching for the latest fashion trends, unique souvenirs, or delicious dining experiences, Pier Park offers a one-stop destination for all your needs.

10. Take a Swing at Miniature Golf

Mini golf course by the beach on a sunny day.

For some lighthearted entertainment, challenge your friends and family to a round of miniature golf. Panama City Beach is home to numerous mini-golf courses that offer whimsical themes, challenging obstacles, and friendly competition. Put your putting skills to the test and create lasting memories as you navigate through imaginative landscapes and tricky holes.

11. Capture Memories at Gulf World Marine Park

Dolphin show at a marine park.

Gulf World Marine Park provides an up-close and personal encounter with marine life. From awe-inspiring dolphin shows to interactive exhibits featuring sea lions and penguins, this park offers a captivating experience for animal lovers. You can even participate in dolphin encounters or swim with stingrays, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

12. Enjoy Live Music at Local Venues

DJs playing for people on the beach.

Panama City Beach has a vibrant music scene that caters to a variety of tastes. From beachfront bars to live music venues, you’ll find an abundance of options to enjoy live performances by talented musicians. Immerse yourself in the rhythmic beats of reggae, rock, country, or jazz and let the music transport you to a state of pure bliss.

13. Observe Marine Life at Man in the Sea Museum

Man taking a photo at an aquarium.

The Man in the Sea Museum is a fascinating attraction that offers a glimpse into the world of undersea exploration. Discover the history of deep-sea diving and submarine technology through interactive exhibits and displays. Marvel at vintage diving equipment and learn about the pioneers who ventured into the depths of the ocean.

Things to Do in Panama City Beach: FAQ

Have questions about things to do in Panama City Beach? We’ve got you covered! Check out these frequently asked questions to find answers and get all the information you need for an amazing vacation in this coastal paradise.

What is the best time to visit Panama City Beach?

The best time to visit Panama City Beach is during the spring months of March to May or the fall months of September to November. During these periods, the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are relatively smaller compared to the peak summer season.

What is the nightlife like in Panama City Beach?

Panama City Beach offers a vibrant nightlife scene with a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues. From beachfront bars where you can enjoy cocktails while watching the sunset to energetic nightclubs where you can dance the night away, there’s something to suit every taste and preference.

How far is Panama City Beach from the nearest airport?

Panama City Beach is served by Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), which is located approximately 20 miles northwest of the city. The airport offers domestic flights and is easily accessible from major cities across the United States.

Discover the Perfect Rental in Panama City Beach

With its stunning beaches, abundant attractions, and vibrant atmosphere, Panama City Beach is a popular vacation destination. By choosing a rental property, you can elevate your experience by enjoying the comforts of home, the beauty of the surroundings, and the convenience of a beachfront location.

Explore the wide range of Panama City Beach vacation rentals available, find the perfect property that suits your needs, and embark on a memorable vacation to this coastal retreat on the Gulf Coast.