Things to Do in panama city beach, fL

Best places to stay, eat, have fun, explore and enjoy

2019 Update regarding conditions after the hurricanes and red tide can be found here or scroll to the bottom of this post.

If you’re looking to take a beach vacation, look no further than Panama City Beach, FL. This destination is one of our Top 6 Family Vacations. There are travel options for every budget and we have all the top things to do in Panama City Beach below.

As you’re planning your trip, check out our helpful Travel Planning Tools where you will find checklists, travel budget planners and more!

things to do in Panama City Beach

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things to do in panama city beach travel and vacation

Panama City Beach has so much to offer for everyone, starting with the most beautiful snow white sand beaches…the powdery sand feels soft on your skin and makes you want to be covered in it. If you’re taking a road trip to Panama City Beach, check out our road trips post with great tips as well as our “road trips to Panama City Beach post here with actual directions and a summary of best things to do.

top things to do in panama city beach

Shell Island

Take a boat ride to Shell Island for a quiet day at the secluded beaches of this island. You can look for shells, snorkel and swim in the shallow, calm waters while enjoying some snacks you’ve brought. Find shuttle service, snorkel rental info and prices at the official St. Andrews State Park shuttle service website here. Shell Island is just a short boat ride away…and worth it by all means.

St. Andrews State Park

So, that brings us to St. Andrews State Park, another great place to explore. Spot deer, alligators, friendly squirrels and walk through trails. With two fishing peers off of the beautiful beaches, there’s plenty of fishing opportunity. There are also campgrounds, picnic pavilions, RV campground, and opportunities for many water sports.  

Theme Parks, Water Parks, Fun and Adventure Parks

Shipwreck Island is a popular water park offering everything from super fast slides, a motion wave pool, tipping bucket, plunges, lazy river and even a shipwreck jump. Here you can find park information including prices, height requirements and more. If you’re tired of the beach or it’s too hot and you’re looking for things to do in Panama City Beach, Shipwreck Island is your answer for all day fun.

Coconut Creek Family Adventure Park offers mini gold adventure and a grand maze to get you through your boredom.

Race City Amusement Park has roller coasters, arcades, go carts, mini gold, spinning zone, maze and more.

Beachfront Adventures offers an aqua maze, mini golf and go carts  as well as zip line and rope courses. In addition, they have a special area for smaller kids. 

Check out our Adventurous PCB Vacation Idea for an actual vacation itinerary with adventurous activities for 7 days. On the other hand, if it’s a family vacation you’re taking, we have an itinerary for that too!

Best Panama City Beach Restaurants - Top 3 beach front restaurants

If you need things to do in Panama City Beach, don’t forget to check out the best restaurants in town! See our full article of the Best Beachfront Restaurants in PCB to get all the recommendations we have learned over the last 12 years of visiting PCB. Most of these restaurants have either daily live music or during weekend nights. Surely, you’ll experience the best food, best drinks and entertainment you could ask for in PCB!

Sharky’s is by far one of the top restaurants in Panama City Beach. This restaurant has beach front seating, a friendly and cool atmosphere, live music at night and amazingly good food and drinks.

Pineapple Willy’s is another great beach front restaurant having it’s own pier on the beach. It’s a fantastic choice with great food, very nice drinks including their famous Pineapple Willy’s drink that comes in a refillable cup. They also have live music for entertainment.

Margaritaville is located at the Pier Park, right at its entrance. Margaritaville offers a cool atmosphere with live music, really cool decor like a hanging plane and it’s a great location if you’re spending a day at Pier Park.

Clubs and Nightlife

For more detailed info, check out our PCB Spring Break & Nightlife post!

Club La Vela – The largest nightclub in the USA is a must-visit if you’re looking for nightlife. Featuring the famous beach side pool parties,10 theme rooms, plenty of bar stations, bar service and even teens-only schedule. So if you want to party, this is the place to go. 

Spinnaker Beach Club has awesome drinks, karaoke, live music including special guests and DJ’s as well as great food. It’s a great place were you can have fun and eat too.

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge features live country music, drinks and private events as well as great food and bites. They also have interactive fun like fan wall, jukebox and photos.

Water Sports and Activities

Bay Point Water Sports has lots of things to do in Panama City Beach to fulfill your adventure cravings. They offer Jet Ski, pontoon boat, kayaking rentals and dolphin tours.

Likewise, Sunshine Water Sports offers those as well as banana boat, beach chairs and parasailing. 

But if you’re like something different, opt for Coldwater Excursions which offers guided tours and rentals through Holmes Creek and Econfina and the coastal Dune Lakes. This is great for snorkeling, canoeing and kayaking in a natural spring.

Check out our Adventurous Vacation Idea in Panama City Beach for all kinds of adventurous attractions and ideas. We include daily activity ideas in a PCB itinerary so you can save yourself some time and not have to look for everything yourself.

If you want to make your vacation more romantic, check out our Romantic Vacations for information and tips on how to add a bit of romance to every kind of trip.

The ~ 2 ~ best panama city beach resorts

Based on luxury feel, amenities, affordability and things to do

things to do in Panama City Beach

Splash Resort

If You Have Kids, Especially Smaller Ones, Splash Resort. Is The Best Choice. You Can Rent Condos From Owners Or The Resort Itself, It’s Close To Everything And The Best Part – The Resort Amenities. A Beautiful, Gated Kiddie Splash Area For Toddlers, Lagoon Lazy River, Kids Covered Playground Pool, Grilling Area And 2 More Pools – Are All Beachfront And Gated For Safety And Convenience. Enjoy And Relax While The Kids Are Having A Blast. Beautifully Decorated Interior Halls And Front Desk, It’s Luxury Feel Without The Hefty Price.

things to do in Panama City Beach

edgewater beach and golf resort

Edgewater Resort is one of the largest properties in Panama City Beach offering everything from golf condos to oceanfront villas. With a Polynesian style lagoon pool, 11 additional property pools, 6 reflecting ponds and 4 whirlpools, you will have plenty of privacy and choice. If you have children, the adventure zone offers kids a lot to do (update- the climbing adventure zone is no longer there) and the gated kiddie splash pad is great for toddlers. Please keep in mind, the splash pad is very slippery and there are a lot of signs saying “no running,” however I wish they made it non-slippery. So please bring some water shoes for your little ones to keep them from falling and hurting themselves! In addition, not to mention their spa and golf! Edgewater offers tropical surrounding paths that you can walk through and enjoy if you’re tired of the pool. Also, there are on-site restaurants and bars with amazing tropical drinks. Edgewater resort is where this Engagement happened, for a cool engagement idea, be sure to check that out.

In case you were wondering, Edgewater was not hit directly by the 2018 hurricanes, it’s still in great condition for vacations.

If you’re traveling on a budget, we have great tips for that in out Budget travel post.

Click the banner below for amazing condo rentals at these properties, just search by the property name or Panama City Beach location. Condos are affordable and you get the resort perks!

best College Student resorts

While resorts and hotels want to be family friendly, during spring break, college students have been know to go to a few certain places. Holiday Inn as well as Sandpiper Beacon are two of the top Spring Break hot-spots.

Check out our Panama City Beach Spring Break & Nightlife post for more detailed info!

Below you will find the address and location of Club La Vela, you can easily get directions to it from any hotel. 

PCB 2019 - Conditions

If you’re wondering what the conditions of PCB are after the dreadful 2018 red tide and hurricanes, we have you covered. We visited PCB in June 2019 and found mostly everything on the front beach side to be about the same as in previous years. If you’re visiting one of the major hotels and resorts like Edgewater, Splash and others, you will not see much damage. Driving through front beach road and others to get to Destin or Pier Park is just as enjoyable as ever before. There is minor damage on some smaller buildings across the street, but most of them are being renovated or hardly noticeable. Most of the damage that happened was in the “city” part of PCB and did not affect tourism much. We stayed at Edgewater Resort June 2019 and the resort didn’t suffer ANY damage. The water is perfect as we have known it to be before 2018 with NO SIGN OF RED TIDE or anything else. During the first week of June, water conditions were excellent, the weather every day was in the 80’s to low 90’s. There was no sign of anything in the water except a little bit of seaweed. On our last two days it rained quite a bit, but we still managed to go on the beach for a couple of hours. You know the beach weather, it rains for two minutes, then stops. 

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Terri Kozlowski
5 years ago

We have gone to Panama City Beach each year for the past 5 years and love it. St. Andrews State Park is the best place for smaller children to learn to love the beach as there are protected pool areas that do not have the larger waves for the little ones.

Cara Walker
6 years ago

Love this post! PCB is my hometown, and I miss it. I actually have a few PCB related posts in the works for my blog too. I love the pictures of Edgewater because I got married right there under a gazebo by the pool.

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