Best Places to See and Be in Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach is a long-established vacation spot for visitors, both American and international. Panama City is unique in that it offers miles of pristine beach alongside a city with plenty of activities and amenities.

From hanging out the local pier to hiking at a state park to a day at the aquarium, you won’t be short of things to do on your next trip to the beach.

Here are a few of the best 2019 Panama City places to be and things to do:

Panama Beach City Things to Do

Pier Park

Pier Park is a community hub built around a 1,500-foot pier in the heart of Panama City Beach.

The park features a shopping complex with more than 120 stores, a town, center, and a boardwalk – the perfect place to spend an afternoon relaxing and shopping with an ice cream cone.

Opened in 2008, the park quickly became a favorite hangout among locals and visitors alike – and a place for vacationers to pick up anything they might have left at home. Perhaps the best part of Pier Park is the Grand IMAX theatre, which streams everything from new releases to documentaries.

Whether for a casual afternoon stroll or the annual New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop, this is one of the best 2019 Panama City places to be.

Shipwreck Island Water Park

This waterpark is one of the best things to do for families at Panama City Beach.

Youngsters will enjoy Tadpole Hole, a shallow splash pool full of giant creatures and miniature slides. This is both a fun and safe place for little kids to play.

Older kids and adults will enjoy the Pirate’s Plunge, two 60-foot, parallel waterslides that plunge to the finish line – first one to the bottom wins! Or, twist and turn in a multi-person tube down the White Knuckle River. The Lazy River, Wave Pool, and the Raging Rapids are fun for the whole family.

Shipwreck Island is located at 12201 Hutchison Blvd. off of Middle Beach Road.

St. Andrews State Park

Come see this stunning state park at the tip of the arm, featuring two miles of pristine white-sand beach surrounded by turquoise waters.

Hop on our bike and ride the paved trails through this beautiful park. Or, hike one of its marked trails. If you prefer the surf, you can rent a kayak, canoe, or snorkel gear on-site, and head to the water.

The park also offers concession stands with snacks and souvenirs, as well as fishing gear so you can attempt to reel in some Florida swimmers. From St. Andrews, you can take a shuttle boat to Shell Island, an undeveloped barrier island off the coast.

The park is located at the very end of Panama City Beach and costs $8 per vehicle to enter. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to sundown.

Gulf World

A must-visit for families vacationing in Panama City Beach, Gulf World offers a look into the marine life of the surrounding Gulf of Mexico and beyond.

Daily events include bottlenose dolphin, sea lion, and bird shows, as well as stingray, shark, and turtle feedings.

Older children and adults can get up close and personal with sea lions, seals, and dolphins with Gulf World’s interactive programs. Remember to reserve ahead of time for in-water and interactive experiences.

Have a budding marine biologist in the family? Sign them up to be a trainer for the day. They can help prepare meals and training sessions, and even appear on-stage at the Dolphin Show.

Be sure to visit the tortoise and alligator habitats, as well as the tropical gardens, before you leave. Gulf World is located at 15412 Front Beach Rd. in Panama City Beach, and is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, excluding major holidays.

Come See Us

Panama City Beach has so many things to do for one day that you’ll need to squeeze in a good night’s sleep for the next huge day. Book one of The Dunes’ rentals, just a few breezy steps from the beach, so you can enjoy both proximity to the water and a central location to the area’s attractions. To reserve today, check out our rentals online or call us at 800-874-2412.

New Years Events in Panama City Beach

About 40,000 people head to Panama City Beach for New Year’s – an impressive number given its small population size of 12,000. This is both good for the local economy and for visitors who spend their holidays at the many Panama City Beach vacation rentals and hotels. This normally quiet beach town quickly shifts into “party mode” with the influx of people.

Whether you want to be at the heart of the action – the Beach Ball Drop – or a laid-back bar with a view of the fireworks, we can guarantee you’ll have a blast at Panama City New Year’s Eve events and parties this year.

Panama City Beach New Years Events and Fireworks

Beach Ball Drop

This is one time where you do want to drop the ball – or watch one drop, at least.

Panama City Beach New Year’s Eve event has two ball drops to accommodate early-to-bedders and partiers alike. Families with young kids can come for the 8 p.m. ball drop, where thousands of beach balls are dropped from a palm tree-height net above, starting a giant, free-for-all volleyball game below. Colorful fireworks set off from the pier decorate the newly-dark sky.

As the crowd counts down, a giant glowing beach ball is lowering signaling the new calendar year as the clock strikes midnight. Another round of fireworks graces the sky, capping off an exciting Panama City New Year’s.

Streets of Pier Park are closed to traffic for the celebration. Visitors can expect free live music, entertainment, food, and drink. This is a Panama City New Year’s event you don’t want to miss.

The pier is located at 600 Pier Park Dr.

Schooner’s New Year’s Eve Party

Celebrate with your toes in the sand at Schooner’s Beach Club this December 31st.

Schooner’s is fun all the time, but it pulls out all the stops for New Year’s Eve – the manager’s favorite worknight of the year. One of the best events in the area, this bar and restaurant plays host to a bumping party with live music right on the beach, and a spectacular display of fireworks right at the water’s edge. Sip champagne as you watch the sky light up in reds, blues, and greens.

While some people get fancy – sequins, boas, and a few golden top hats are all welcome – jeans and a nice shirt are also acceptable. There are no rules at Schooner’s on New Year’s Eve.

Sandpiper Tiki Bar

Located at the Sandpiper Resort, this beachfront restaurant and bar is open to the public, and a fantastic place to spend New Year’s Eve.

Sip fruity tropical drinks in the warm ocean breeze until the countdown – a great place to relax on the most exciting night of the year. Tiki Bar serves a variety of both alcoholic and non-alcohol drinks – something for the whole family.

Enjoy classic party songs from a live band leading up to the countdown, and a stunning view of the fireworks at the nearby Pier. Perhaps the more unique part is the on-site deli open all night for sandwiches and other snacks.

The Tiki Bar is located at the Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort at 17403 Front Beach Rd.

Movie Marathon at The Hub

Film buffs will love this alternative NYE event.

Starting in the late afternoon, popular restaurant and venue The Hub will screen film after film until the midnight countdown. The Hub is located at 7000 E County Highway 30A in Santa Rosa Beach, about 40 minutes from Panama City.

Here at The Dunes we offer a family-friendly environment with stunning two- and three-bedroom suites overlooking 1,500 feet of white-sand beach. Panama City Beach is the perfect place to spend the holidays with family and friends, and we can help you make the most of it. After a Panama City New Year’s full of dancing, you’ll want somewhere comfortable and cozy to put up your feet.

For information and reservations, give us a call at 800-874-2412. View available rooms on our website and book directly today.

Panama City Boat And Fishing Charters

Panama City, PCB and the surrounding areas of the Florida panhandle are premier locations for anyone who loves spending time near the water. From heading out in a boat onto the waters, to fishing adventures and more, there’s something for water lovers all over this jaw-dropping area.

Dunes of Panama - Charter Fishing

Boat Charters

One of the best ways to see all of the beauties that the Panama City area has to offer is by getting right out onto the water. Most people, while vacationing, will want to rent a boat or head out on a charter.

This is a great idea for anyone who loves to be outdoors and on the water to try during his or her stay here. There are many options for Panama City charters, so we’ve selected some of the best ones in the area to make your decision easier.

Island Time Sailing Cruises is a good company to book a boat charter with if you’re with a bigger group or on a large family getaway. Spend the day out on the water with the knowledgeable and trained staff to get an experience you won’t soon forget.

You’ll have the chance to see dolphins playing in the sparkling waters of Panama City and even have the opportunity to do some snorkeling if you choose to. There is a bar and some food options on board to fill you up as you spend the afternoon exploring the local waters.


If you’re looking for a boating experience that is more sporting related, why not try some Panama City deep sea fishing?

Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or a beginner, there are options for everyone to try out this fun activity. Try some of the companies that specialize in this sport and you’ll be well on your way to exploring Panama City like one of the locals.

Jubilee Deep Sea Fishing is just one of the Panama City deep sea fishing charters that will take you out into the waters to search for the catch of the day. Many of the trips you can book are hours long, but it is up to you how much time you want to spend fishing.

This is a wonderful company to book with if you have a mixture of experienced fisherman and beginners, and can even be a good time for people who don’t want to fish and are just along for the ride. You’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful blue waves, see some dolphins in the area, and of course, catch some fish.

There is a variety of fish including triggerfish, vermillion snapper, ladyfish and more to try and get on your line. You can even get the fish you catch cleaned and filleted to pick up and eat the very next day!

Captain Black’s Fishing is another fantastic option for deep sea fishing. This is fishing in Panama City in more of the traditional sense. Captain Black knows all the best spots.

With his years of experience, he has cultivated some clever tricks and unique fishing strategies. Some people have noted catching more than a hundred fish in just one trip with Captain Black. You’ll have the chance to catch red snapper, Bonita fish, and more.

More Options

There are so many awesome options for Panama City boat charters and fishing trips that are must tries during your vacation here. Make sure to add one of these wonderful water activities to your list of things to do during your trip.

All the companies above are great options, but if you’re looking for something else reach out to our staff any time. The water is one of the premiere features for spending time in Panama City, and choosing one of our Panama City Beach vacation rentals will put you in a prime spot to enjoy it all. Browse the vacation rentals on our website today to book your next home away from home.

Panama City Beach Thanksgiving Events

Some people are hesitant to head on vacation during the holidays. But when you’re planning a trip to Panama City during Thanksgiving, you’ll still have lots of chances to enjoy the tradition.

While some events have been changed for the season this year, there is still a distinct desire to celebrate the holiday season with spirited energy.

Some top-tier restaurants are offering big Thanksgiving meals and Santa is still expected to make an appearance- or two. You’ll find something for everyone as you explore the options for a Panama City Thanksgiving.

Dunes of Panama - Thanksgiving Events

Harpoon Harry’s

At harpoon Harry’s, the food and eating is an event in itself. Every year, Harpoon Harry’s is known for hosting a traditional Thanksgiving Buffet, along with an all you can eat crab legs and shrimp section. Bring the family along to celebrate one of the most wonderful times of the year at one of Panama City Beach’s favorite local spots.

Make this holiday season a unique one by celebrating in true Panama City Thanksgiving tradition. The cost is about $35 and the buffet runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Reservations are encouraged.

Schooner’s Beach Party

This popular Panama City restaurant is known for having a local party out on the beach on Friday and Saturday night right after Thanksgiving. They have live music, a bonfire, bar, s’mores, and all sorts of fun beach activities happening behind the restaurant. It’s definitely an interesting way to spend the holiday weekend.

Beach Home for the Holidays

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, head to Panama City Beach to kick off the rest of the holiday season. The whole event is based around Aaron Bessant Park and will truly get you into the spirit of the season.

On Friday, November 23 and Saturday, November 24, there are activities from 3:30 p.m. through the evening. On both Friday and Saturday, soak in the ambiance of a campfire, s’mores, and Santa’s Village starting at 3:30 p.m.

On Friday, enjoy holiday entertainment and the lighting of the Christmas tree at 5 p.m., accompanied by one of the area’s PCB parades (details not yet announced). At the same time on Saturday, the Panama City POPS Orchestra will perform. On both evenings, fireworks start at 7:30 p.m. making this a wonderful event for all ages.

Other Events and Activities

In addition to these scheduled events and activities, there are other fantastic options to fill your days during your trip to Panama City and PCB during the Thanksgiving season. Play a round of golf at one of the many premier courses in the area, show at Pier Park, walk the pier, or even try your hand at deep sea fishing.

From the shopping to the sight-seeing and all the food options, there will be something memorable for every member of the family to enjoy during your Thanksgiving getaway to Panama City and the surrounding areas.

In addition to the options for events above, there are also several restaurants open in the area to serve Thanksgiving dinner. Some are buffets, menu items, or even potlucks—and our staff can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Whether it’s one of these special local events you plan to head to or you are looking for something different than you see here, our staff can definitely help you.

More To Do

Even though Panama City is known for summer beach getaways, there’s still plenty of room to enjoy those things during the Thanksgiving and holiday season as well. Get ready to spend your holiday on vacation and pick out your perfect vacation rental online today.

Restaurants With a View in Panama City Beach

Unlike other major tourist destinations that settle down during the fall, Panama City lights up. With some of Florida’s best attractions and most beautiful beaches, there are plenty of places to eat and things to do throughout the fall season.

What if you want to dine with a water view? You won’t find that feature tucked away in a mountain cabin. Panama City Beach is the perfect place to snack on some famous Florida seafood and enjoy bold views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Below are four fall restaurants in Panama City with a nice water view for you and whoever is lucky enough to join you.

Dunes of Panama - Restaurants

Shrimp Boat Restaurant

Romantics can stop reading here. For that quintessential waterside romantic getaway, look no further than the Shrimp Boat Restaurant. It’s electric ambiance and candlelight dinner setting is the ideal backdrop for a night by the water. The interior is magically lit, and the light flows gracefully over the gulf.

Enjoy a menu with exclusively-local and fresh ingredients. Open up your dinner with lobster nachos, crawfish beignets, or fried okra. Follow it up with snow crab legs, flounder, or bacon-wrapped scallops.

This massive two-story shrimp house is a sight to behold. Take a walk around the building after dinner to really soak the wonderful ambiance in. The Shrimp Boat Restaurant is a stunning waterfront achievement structurally and menu-wise. It is located at 1201 Beck Ave, Panama City, FL 32401 and open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Bayou Joe’s

On the other side of the spectrum, you have perhaps the most laid-back and cool joint in the area. Bayou Joe’s rests you right on Massalina Bayou.

Watch as the boats settle on up or cruise on by the marina. You will take a seat right on the dock, with water views in every direction (the website touts a clear 180-view of the water). This restaurant also offers underwater glow lights from Deep Glow Technologies that allow you to see the fish and underwater life swimming around under the dock at night!

Enjoy some good ol’ southern comfort food while watching, including the Garbage Potatoes, Tom’s Trash with Class Omelet, or the Garbage Grits. If you really fall in love with some of the sauces used in the dishes as so many others have, take some home with you, as they sell them by the jar!

Bayou Joe’s wears its heart-on-its-sleeve. The team loves traditional breakfast, a cozy and casual décor, and a nice view. You get all of this in spades when you stop by during opening hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday and Monday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

It is located at 112A East 3rd Court on Massalina Bayou, Panama City, FL 32401.

Just the Cook, off the Hook!

The sassy and funky joint could not be more by the water. As a matter of fact, you are on a houseboat restaurant. This offbeat and eccentric eatery is famous for its down-to-Earth selection of fresh seafood and classic American burgers. You won’t miss the ringed buoy sitting atop this small waterside shanty.

One of the more popular menu items is a donut burger. It is exactly as it sounds. With big sandwiches and fresh food, you have a delightful little spot with a view.

You can find this little seaboat at 4601 W US-98, Panama City, FL 32401.

Capt. Anderson’s Waterfront Restaurant and Marketplace

Capt. Anderson’s is unique in that it is a market where you can gather fresh fish yet also have an exquisite and calm waterfront dining experience. The team has managed to accomplish both very well, becoming one of the longest-standing seafood restaurants in Panama City.

This seafood stop is locally-famous. Order a wide assortment of seafood, including golden calamari, parmesan baked oysters, scallop provencal, for appetizers. Find whole fresh gulf flounder, oven broiled stuffed grouper and Florida lobster thermidor on the dinner menu.

Capt. Anderson’s boasts a brilliant view of the water and the local fleet bringing in the fresh catch of the day. It is located at 5551 N Lagoon Dr, Panama City, FL 32408. The hours are 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week, and closed Sundays.

More To Do and See

Don’t miss out on these fall restaurants with a water view, and the many others not mentioned here, on your next vacation. Make sure you find a place to stay. Review our Panama City beach rentals for some fantastic beachside amenities. Book today.

Panama City Beach Fall Events

Halloween is the season to go a little crazy. Between the piles of candy from trunk-or-treat, the late-night parties, and the spooky attractions, it seems everyone can get in on the excitement. And Panama City/PCB may be the place to do it.

While staying on the Florida panhandle, you can spend some time on the beach or escape to the city on a splendid day trip. Either way, Panama City and its Panama City Beach counterpart is yours to explore. For all fall-themed things to do in Panama City, look no further.

Dunes of Panama - Halloween

Gulf World Halloween

Get in the spooky spirit! Gulf World Marine Park is hosting a full month of scary sights and sounds for all ages.

Gulf World is a radiant and ambitious marine park filled with dolphin, parrots, sharks, and a whole lot more. Any time of the year is a good time to see the spectacle. But fall visitors are in for a special treat. The building’s many rooms are decorated with spooky décor. The famous dolphin encounter and performance show has a Halloween-themed edge.

Come on over for Witches Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. it is every Wednesday in the month of October (dates October 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st). The special event will feature face painting and kids activities. Come dressed up for some extra treats!

All attendees can come for the event with their general admission ticket.

While Witches Wednesdays may be for the kids, Wicked Wednesdays include a haunted house and a glow in the dark Halloween dance party. The event leans towards older kids and adults. The event is October 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The marine park is located at 15412 Front Beach Rd. Panama City Beach, FL. General admission is $29.99 for adults and $24.99 for seniors. Children ages 5-11 are $19.99. In-person prices may vary, so consider pre-purchasing your tickets online to guarantee price and entry.

Massage Envy Haunted House

Though you wouldn’t connect a massage with a haunted house, the two seem to work wonderfully together. Massage Envy is hosting their own haunted house stop in the last week of October. All proceeds will go to support It is Oct 20th, 26th, 27th, and the 31st from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. (6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Halloween).

Come on over to Massage Envy in the huge Pier park shopping district. It is located at 15801 L C Hilton Jr Dr, Suite #120, Panama City Beach, FL. Admission is $10 at the door.

XD Darkride Experience Zombie Hunt in Pier Park

Take one of your Panama City day trips back on over to Pier Park for a trip into the unknown. The XD Darkride Experience Pier Park is a spectacular and unique activity incorporating virtual reality, a big screen, and a whole big group of your friends.

Don’t miss out on the Dark Ride’s special Halloween event- the zombie hunt. Hordes of the undead are heading your way, and it is up to you (and the few people beside you) to ward them off.

It is your first night shift on as your everyday standard patrol officer when you get a call about a traffic incident. When you go to investigate, chaos falls on you and your friends.

This riveting event is the perfect addition for your fall vacation to Panama City Beach. The price is $9.99 general admission per player.

Load up and fight the swarm. You won’t find anything more immersive this fall.

More To See

Find some delightful gulf-front two and three bedroom units on our website to enjoy the Halloween fun. Book today to bring your next vacation to the wide-open shores of Panama City Beach.

Panama City Beach Activities

Treat yourself to the bold beach views and many things to do in Panama City Beach. It’s an unending supply of fun whether you want to see the sights, check out the museums, or try an eclectic range of cocktails and cuisine.

The beach is the prize. Stay on the coast of Panama City and soak in every minute outside one of our vacation rentals by the water. We want you to have an amazing time, which is why we have collected our personal favorite beach activities for you to take advantage of on your seasonal vacation getaway.

Panama City Beach Activities

Snorkel at Shell Island

We start by swinging for the fences. Shell Island is one of the most exotic beach locations in the area, and one that offers many rewards. Shell Island is only accessible by boat and is conveniently located near our Panama City Beach vacation rentals.

Thankfully, you don’t have to rent a private cruiser to make the trip a reality. Shell Island Snorkeling and Dolphin Cruises will offer not just a journey over to the isolated island and not just a trip back, but both dolphin cruising adventures and snorkeling opportunities.

Guests snorkel for shells and marine life, stop off on the shores of Shell Island, and spot for dolphins at the surface. The boat carries 24 people on a nearly day-long adventure. If you want to fit multiple beach activities into one, consider contacting this top-tier tour provider.

Parasail the Skies Above Panama City Beach

Panama City Parasail provides a lofty launch from the back of a boat and into the sky. Parasailing is unquestionably one of the best ways to see the beaches. It is welcoming for families and beginners who have no experience in the sky. The captain is a certified professional.

Also, check out Panama City Parasail for banana boats and dolphin tours. The versatile crew can open up new adventurous possibilities for you during your vacation stay.

Walk the Russell-Fields City Pier

The famous Russell-Fields Pier carries you out into the water further than any other pier in the Gulf of Mexico. This impressive pier gives you the perfect opportunity to scan the waters for fish, sea turtles, dolphins, and rays, which have all been sighted numerous times during the day.

Visitors can walk and fish off the pier at their leisure. It is located at City Beach. Families will be happy to know that the beach is watched over by lifeguards and it allows for leashed pets. With eleven beach volleyball courts, a nearby shopping district, and some of the best views anywhere, this stop is one well worth taking.

The Many Activities at the Pirates of the High Seas Fest

This annual event is a stupendously large local get-together. Pirates course through every activity. Kids can come on out for the Little Pirates Play Zone, which features bounce houses, face painting, and many other activities that change by the year.

Kids can receive fishing instruction, go on a treasure hunt and visit a magic show. The event even showcases a pirate pet parade. It is exactly what it sounds like, and it may be the greatest thing ever invented.

Adults can find a lot to love with the famous Pirate Crawl. Music and fireworks close each night’s celebrations. The Pirates of the High Seas event may only be once a year, but it is so big and so magical that it deserves mention here. It is even worth planning your trip around.

The event is Oct 5th to the 7th at Pier Park and the Grand Lagoon. Contact us for schedule details and more.

More To Do and See

This is just a few of the many fun activities that you’ll find on Panama City Beach. The excitement never ends, and it’s a perfect destination for a full vacation or a quick weekend trip. With warm pleasant weather year-round and plenty of things to do, you’re guaranteed the experience of a lifetime.

Contact us for more information about the many local activities and attractions. Rent a bike for some laid-back travel. Book a local wildlife cruise. Sit down for a fine dining experience on the water. It’s a never-ending adventure in Panama City Beach.

Fall in Panama City Beach

It is fall in Panama City Beach. It is possibly the best time of the year to visit the panhandle. Broad beach views, cool waters, and a wide range of family activities all help make Panama City Beach the perfect place to vacation in the fall.

But the big question is, what can you do? Below is an overview of the four finest fall events, filled with fun things to do, to fit the crisp cool of the season.

Dunes of Panama - oktoberfest


No fall season is complete without an Oktoberfest. Panama City Beach delivers the best of the bunch for their annual pumpkin-themed celebration.

This distinctly German event features an eye-opening 150’x150’ tent designed to mimic the authentic Oktoberfest celebration that originated in Munich, German. If you take a look, you might mistake Panama City Beach for the heart of Germany.

Brats, beer, music, and more will erupt on the shores of Panama City. The event is at the Aaron Bessant Park, which is located in the Pier Park district of Panama City Beach. Local vendors will have mustard-soaked pretzels, a range of legitimate German beers, smoked bratwursts, and other traditional Oktoberfest foods.

It will also features family games and activities, including corn hole, a bounce house, face painting, a photo booth, and a special slide zone.

The event is available in different ticket packages. There is a 2-day family pass, a special beer garden pass, VIP access, and single day entries available. It is Oct 12th and Oct 13th. Don’t miss it when you’re in the Panama City area, or stop by for the full weekend!

Pirates of the High Seas Fest

You can never run out of things to do if you attend the Pirates of the High Seas Fest. The event is a full pirate adventure. Stop by for the treasure drop. Test your mettle on the pirate 5K.

Drink it up afterward with a Pirate Crawl, corresponding with the local parade. Enjoy the jams of Victor Wainwright & the Train. Stay to 9:15 p.m. on Friday for a celebratory fireworks launch to commemorate the holiday weekend.

This really is a massive draw for the community. To top it all off, it is completely free. Come on out Oct 5th to Oct 7th at Pier Park. Sunday’s events are at the Grand Lagoon Park.

Bloody Mary and Music Festival

Perhaps the best thing about visiting Florida for the fall is that you can still drink margaritas and Bloody Marys outside, and comfortably. Schooner’s is hosting a bombastic get-together for the fall season.

Who makes the best Bloody Mary in town? It is up to participants, Schooner’s, and other locals to figure it out. The Grand Lagoon Coalition will run a competition featuring 20 of the top bar restaurants in Panama City Beach.

Each will surprise and win over local judges (you) for the best Bloody Mary. The winner receives a giant four-foot Red Tomato- and everyone wants it.

To really get in the spirit, enjoy the pleasurable jams of the Ukulele Orchestra of St. Andrews and Southern Sunday. The event is right on the local beaches. Simply stop by Schooner’s at 5121 Gulf Drive and walk around the building.

You won’t miss hundreds of visitors sipping on Bloody Marys and soaking in the beach views. The event is Oct 20th. It begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. The price is $20 per person.

Beach Home for the Holidays

Check out the Beach Home for the Holidays event on the cusp of the winter season. Before the holidays kick into full gear, come and sneak in a pre-emptive fall vacation. The event will showcase family activities, carol-themed concerts, and a gift bag of goodies filled with s’mores and other treats.

You can find a stellar transition from the soothing fall to the chilly (yet warm) winter. The event is Thanksgiving weekend at the Aaron Bessant Park.

Stay With Us This Fall

Find an array of rewarding activities and events for your fall vacation to Panama City Beach. Book your stay online with us today and enjoy the warmer weather than much of the country, pleasant beach views, and a full range of events and activities to plan your schedule around.

Outdoor Attractions Within 2 Hours of Panama City

Are you visiting Panama City Beach in the near future? The good news is that you can never run out of exciting outdoors things to do here, including some of Florida’s most beautiful preserves and recreation areas, just a few hours or less from Panama City.

If you are into spending time out in the wild, kayaking or swimming, hiking untouched habitats, viewing rare birds and other native wildlife, hiking, you are in luck when visiting this area!

Below are three incredible outdoor family-friendly attractions that are well worth the quick trip from Panama City Beach for a fulfilling outdoor experience.

Dunes of Panama - Outdoor

The Econfina Creek Water Management Area

The Econfina Creek Water Management Area is a 41,000 acre creekfront region offering kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, scenic trails, and seasonal hunting.

Located just 45 minutes from Panama City and managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District, it’s one of the most scenic outdoor recreational areas in the state, with fern draped limestone rocks, steep canoe trails, spring fed creeks, and shallow, clear lakes.

Econfina Creek is known for its remarkable kayaking and canoe trails, which you can explore with a professional Panama City Beach provider like Coldwater Excursions. Or the Econfina Canoe Livery, a rental provider at the creek, offers a kayak adventure on a self-guided tour with shuttle service.

The upper creek area is considered to be strenuous and should only be attempted by experienced paddlers. Hikers can enjoy exploration on over 27 miles of designated trails throughout the creek that cross wetlands, scenic buffs and uplands.

Throughout your journey, whether hiking or by kayak, you’ll find numerous local bird species including osprey, hawks, bald eagles, kestrels, native plants and blooming wildflowers in the spring and summer, large oak trees and other native species.

The Choctawhatchee River Water Management Area

The Choctawhatchee River Water Management Area offers 57,000 acres of exploration as well as 30 miles of river. Located just a little over an hour from the Panama City area, this is a top destination for hiking, wildlife viewing, canoeing, kayaking, boating, fishing, picnicking and seasonal hunting.

This area is home to the beautiful spring-fed Holmes Creek, a top destination for paddling, snorkeling and diving. It’s particularly stunning to kayak in this area because the springs keep the water almost transparent for much of the year.

Holmes Creek can also be toured with a local Panama City Beach kayak provider or by renting from the Holmes Creek Canoe Livery in Vernon Florida, another convenient self-guided option near The Choctawhatchee River WMA.

The wildlife is abundant here, making it an excellent destination for hiking and wildlife viewing. Some of the wildlife species you might run into during your visit to this preserve include turtles, a variety of fish species including large mouth bass, flat head grey mullet, and blue gill, vultures, owls, hawks, eagles, cardinals, warblers, woodpeckers, heron, mockingbirds, deer, wild turkeys, and more.

The Point Washington State Forest

As one of the closest outdoor preserves to Panama City and PCB, just a 30-40 minute drive away, the Point Washington State Forest offers over 15,250 acres of stunning outdoor attractions and sport opportunities. Some of them include biking, hiking, horseback riding and hunting.

In particular, this area offers over 30 miles of extensive biking and hiking trails, with most of them being a sandy single track surface across four trail systems in the forest. Hikers also find them equally enjoyable and easy to navigate. The trails cross the diverse and scenic terrain, featuring cypress swamps, basin swamps, wet prairie, and wet flatwoods.

Here you can view several native species plants, from wild buckwheat, to figwort, goldenrod, hairy jointweed, and blazing star. Native animal species here include the gopher tortoise, flatwoods salamander, red-headed woodpecker, ground dove, mourning dove, American kestrel and many others.

Explore With Us

If you are staying in Panama City for your vacation and are enticed by the thrill of exploration, any of these outdoor attractions are sure to make for a more complete and memorable vacation.

And these attractions are close enough to Panama City Beach that you won’t spend much time on the road at all!

Kayaking Tours and Rentals in Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach is one of the most visited destinations in Florida for its incredible kayaking.

From sea kayaking the Saltwater Paddle Trail, to tours of the beautiful Econfina Creek, Holmes Creek and more, there are endless opportunities for both calm and leisurely and challenging kayaking.

Kayaking is more popular than ever because of its minimal environmental impact and how truly easy it is to learn.

Kayaking tours are also a great opportunity for you to meet new people and get up close to the wildlife of any area, seeing a variety of different landscapes and ecosystems, local fish, turtles, marine mammals and more.

This sport is popular with both locals and tourists alike, and you will find several providers right in Panama City Beach for your convenience. Here are a few top kayak tour providers in Panama City Beach to set you on the right path to touring the area.

Dunes of Panama - Kayaking

Coldwater Excursions Kayak Tours

If you are looking for the ultimate kayaking experience, consider Coldwater Excursions, a top provider in the area.

Their kayak tours cover several of the top nearby opportunities, including Econfina Creek, Holmes Creek as well as Dune Lakes. A unique aspect about Coldwater Excursions is that they are genuinely inspired by ecology, and their service appeals to people of all ages.

On the Econfina Creek kayak tour you’ll get the chance to view a huge variety of wildlife and natural vegetation including white oak, tupelo and cypress trees.

You’ll paddle through a pristine ecosystem that has hardly been touched by humans. It’s a full day tour where you’ll get to paddle along a six mile stretch and see many of the 11 springs that feed the creek.

The Cypress Spring tour takes you to one of the most scenic cold water springs in Florida, just a short distance from Panama City Beach.

The trip to the spring takes about 20 minutes and once you arrive you can choose to jump in the spring with snorkeling gear and a SeaDoo underwater scooter or you can simply enjoy the views.

You’re provided with all the gear you need for the day including lunch, drinks, cameras, towels and more. For all these tours, you will get a safety briefing before you set out exploring the various routes.

Kayaking On Your Own

If you’re an experienced kayaker, it can be rewarding to head out on your own, either kayaking the surrounding waters around PCB or renting a kayak and heading out to the incredibly clear, spring fed waters of Econfina Creek or Holmes Creek.

There are several kayak launches and rental providers near Dunes of Panama including right next to us in St. Andrews State Park.

Shell Island Shuttle

Shell Island Shuttle at St. Andrews State Park offers fun self-guided kayak tours that start with a shuttle ride to Shell Island where you can then pick up your kayak and start exploring.

As just a short ride from St. Andrews State Park, Shell Island is beautiful, undeveloped, and offers a calm relaxing kayak experience where you can enjoy views of local wildlife ranging from osprey, deer, heron, rays and of course plenty of dolphins, which the island is known for.

Bay Point Water Sports

Also nearby at 5709 N. Lagoon Dr., Bay Point Water Sports offers self-guided kayak tours of Shell Island, which is about 20 minutes from their location. They offer very reasonable prices for half day or full day Hobie kayak rentals, with both single and tandem kayaks being the same price.

Panama City Paddleboards

Also as a convenient option, Panama City Paddleboards will delivery kayaks or paddleboards right to your vacation rental and they also offer some of the best rates that you will find, including weekly rates.

This can be a great choice if you want to simply rent a kayak for the week and head out on your own to Econfina Creek, Shell Island, Holmes Creek and some of the other incredible kayaking destinations in our area.

Peddle Paddle Surf Shop

The Peddle Paddle Surf Shop is located at 15010 Front Beach Rd and will also deliver right to you, including surf boards, kayaks, paddle boards and bicycles.

Just rent a kayak, choose a destination here in PCB or nearby, and enjoy some of the most thrilling kayaking anywhere!

Come See Us

For more about planning a kayak adventure in Panama City Beach and find Last Minute Deals for top vacation rentals, contact us today.