Panama City Beach, Florida
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Panama City Beach Vacation Information

An average of 320 sunny days annually make Panama City Beach the ultimate seaside getaway year-round. Long a favorite with students on spring break, the area has plenty to offer visitors of all ages, not the least of which are 27 miles of white-sand beaches lapped by the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

For those who prefer action to lounging on the sand or dabbling in the surf, fishing, swimming, sailing, diving, snorkeling, and other water sports are popular diversions. And nearby Shell Island is one of the best spots in Florida for shelling. This unspoiled island, which can be reached only by boat and still looks much the way it did hundreds of years ago, is also a great place to go snorkeling.

Even if you’re really a landlubber at heart, you’ll find plenty to do at Panama City Beach. Shopping, golfing, and hiking the nature trails at St. Andrews State Park are all popular pastimes away from the water. Or, for an up-close look at the dolphins and other undersea wonders that doesn’t involve getting your feet wet, opt for a tour in a glass-bottom boat. Many tour operators also make stops at Shell Island.

The mild, sunny weather means that Panama City Beach is a popular venue for special events year-round, and the area hosts everything from seafood festivals to wine tastings, arts and crafts fairs to open-air concerts. Many visitors return every November for the prestigious Florida Ironman Triathlon. Other popular annual events include October’s Southeastern Barbecue Fest Cookoff, April’s Emerald Coast Triathlon, December’s Boat Parade of Lights, and the Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show and Music Festival, held in April.

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Panama City Beach Florida Restaurants

Restaurants

Diners who love good seafood will be tempted to eat their hearts out in Panama City. Known as the “Seafood Capital of the World,” this bustling beach town sits right between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay, so local chefs have easy access to fresh-caught fish, oysters, crabs, and other fruits of the sea. Places to eat in Panama City run the gamut from tiny waterfront dives to white-tablecloth eateries. Choices range from deep-fried grouper with hush puppies and beer to crabmeat-stuffed shrimp and champagne. That’s not to say that Panama City dining can’t be a treat for non-seafood lovers as well, with offerings as diverse as hand-cut steaks, artisan pizzas, and baby-back ribs.

Get information on Panama City Beach restaurants and find current specials, phone numbers, maps, directions, links to menus, videos, and more by choosing from our list of restaurants below.
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Panama City Beach Florida Golf

Golf

Five challenging courses, as pretty as they are interesting to play, offer visiting golfers plenty of choices. In fact, Panama City Beach was named the third best golf town in the country by Golf Digest magazine. Amenities at area courses, among which is the only Nicklaus-designed course in Northwest Florida, include a top PGA school, practice ranges, pro shops, bars, and restaurants. Package deals, including accommodations and golf lessons, are available.

Our list of golf courses and resorts will help you plan your Panama City Beach golfing vacation.
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Panama City Beach Florida Fishing

Fishing

Panama City Beach anglers can expect to catch plenty of fish ­– and collect lots of fish stories to swap with friends. As one of the local captains says, “In Panama City, it’s always time to go fishing.” And indeed, the area’s waters are full of reefs and wrecks teeming with all kinds of fish, including red and black grouper, red and black snapper, trigger fish, scamp, and amberjack. Even jetty and surf fishing can yield catches that include Pompano, Spanish mackerel, flounder, cobia, dolphin, redfish and bluefish. Panama City Beach charter boats offer plenty of deep-sea fishing options, both in the Gulf and in St. Andrews Bay. Most captains welcome fishermen of all ages and skill levels. Many also offer fresh-water fishing charters that explore the grassy flat areas along the bay as well as the back bayous, creeks, and lakes. Rods, reels, and other fishing equipment are usually provided. All that’s left for a visitor to do is go fish!
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Panama City Beach Florida Shopping

Shopping

Whether you’re a seasoned shopper, just want a break from sun and surf, or need to buy souvenirs for the folks back home, Panama City Beach has plenty of retail establishments to visit. You’ll find antiques, swimwear, resort wear, gifts, furniture, and more in the local shops. One standout store, owned by a pair of Panama City Beach natives, offers a line of original fashions. Another stocks more than 20,000 swimsuits. In nearby Panama City, Panama City Mall is home to major retailers offering everything from accessories and lingerie to children’s clothes.

Our list of stores, malls, and outlet centers will help you plan your Panama City Beach shopping excursion.
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Panama City Beach Florida Events

Events

The fact that the sun shines most days means that the fun never stops in Panama City Beach. In fact, the city hosts special events just about every month of the year.

One of the newest and most exciting brings country music’s brightest stars to Frank Brown Park. Held in early September, the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam attracts thousands of visitors to performances by Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Brantley Gilbert, the Charlie Daniels Band, Darryl Worley, and more.

Another popular musical event attracts scores of jazz lovers to Pier Park every spring. Held in April, the Seabreeze Jazz Festival regularly hosts Grammy Award-winning artists such as George Benson, David Sanborn, Al Jarreau, and Norman Brown.

Hundreds of visitors return to Panama City Beach every November for the Florida Ironman Triathlon, which has been held in the city since 1999. Athletes come from all over the country to compete in this grueling swimming, biking, and running event.

Another popular event Panama City has hosted for many years is the Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally. Held every spring and fall, the rally, which offers live entertainment, parades, contests, and more, is one of the biggest free biker gatherings in the country.

These are just a few of the activities Panama City hosts regularly. Check out our calendar of events for an up-to-date list of what’s going on while you’re in town.
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Things to do in Panama City Beach Florida

Other Things To Do

A trip to Panama City Beach offers plenty of opportunities to have some serious fun. Of course, water plays a leading role in local activities, with snorkeling, swimming, boating, fishing, windsurfing, parasailing, and jet-skiing all popular pastimes. Cruising to Shell Island on a glass-bottom boat, riding an airboat through the back waters and marshlands for glimpses of gators, and diving around the Gulf’s many wrecks and reefs are all popular things to do in Panama City. Away from the water, visitors can bike, camp, and hike in St. Andrews State Recreational Area, play a round or two of miniature golf, or visit the zoo.

Get information on Panama City Beach attractions and find current specials, phone numbers, maps, directions and more by choosing from our list of things to do below.
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