Panama City Beach
VS
Orange Beach

Florida Beaches VS Alabama Beaches

If you’re taking a Road Trip to your next beach vacation, we have helpful maps and directions at the bottom of this article. Get our Road Trip Checklist in an easy PDF format for viewing and printing. We’ve also created a Budget Travel Course if you want to learn how to save money and plan your trips! Now let’s get to it…

Orange Beach Vacation

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Comparing PCB & Orange Beach

Orange Beach Vacation

There are tons of reasons why you’d want to take a vacation to the Florida Panhandle, mostly because it’s one of the best destinations for family vacations in the U.S. However, you might not have realized that Alabama might actually be much closer to you and it has many similar things to offer, including the beautiful white sand beaches! Either you’ve already been to Panama City Beach or Destin and fell in love with the place, or you’re looking for a new vacation destination on a beach similar to the Fort Walton Area. If you’ve been to Orange Beach, AL before, maybe you’d like something with more Nightlife. PCB is that place. Or if you’re used to going to Panama City Beach or Destin, you might be looking for an alternative due to the Red Tide and Hurricane Michael situations from 2018. Orange Beach and PCB both share the same beautiful, sugary white sand beaches! Some might find Orange Beach to be cleaner, quieter and more family-friendly than PCB. Others might want to party it up in PCB instead. We’ll give you all the info you need to compare Florida and Alabama.

Left - PCB / Right - Orange Beach

things to do in panama city beach travel and vacation Orange Beach Vacation

Comparing Beaches, Resorts and Nightlife

Orange Beach Vacation

Since Orange Beach is not talked about as much as Florida, you might not have thought of going there yet. Honestly, if you’re looking for a place to party and live it up, Orange Beach might not be the best option. There aren’t many places to go out at night with the exception of a few very small bars. However, you will find many restaurants, shopping and activities there like in Panama City Beach, FL! On the other hand, Panama City Beach is well known for nightlife, clubs and late-night bars, making it a perfect destination for young couples wanting to have fun. Alabama is more quiet and people are VERY friendly. Both places are perfect for a relaxing beach vacation, romantic getaway and family vacation. Alabama also offers many miles of beautiful, clean, white-sand beaches just like Panama City/Destin, countless beachfront as well as gulf and bay side condos and home rentals, a relaxing, easygoing atmosphere and plenty of activities, restaurants and things to see. You will find just as many beautiful resorts with tons of amenities at either destination. Condo and House Rental Deals. However, if you’re looking for Spring Break resorts, PCB will be the place to check out.

Want more info about PCB? Check out Things to do in Panama City Beach, FL. If you’re more interested in Orange Beach, check out our Orange Beach Vacation. These articles look at PCB and Orange Beach in more detail.

Comparing Attractions & things to do

orange beach vacation

Both Panama City Beach and Orange Beach are popular beach vacation destinations, therefore you can expect a lot of water activities such as surfboarding, boating, fishing, snorkeling, parasailing, jet ski rentals and more. There are moped and bicycle rentals, beach stores, national parks and shopping centers just about anywhere. You will find at least one theme park, zoo and museum at both destinations as well as many stores and shopping centers, gaming centers, mini golf and restaurants.

Comparing Sunrises & Sunsets

Best Beachfront Restaurants In Panama City Beach Florida

You will find that you’re able to enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunsets from both Panama City Beach and Orange Beach. Since Panama City Beach is on a bit of a curved part of the panhandle, you’re guaranteed beautiful sunsets that set directly into the ocean. From Orange Beach on the other hand, the sun will set further to your right, at the edge of the ocean and beach or further into the beaches, depending on where exactly you’re located. How important is the sunset for you? If you’re a sunset fanatic, maybe you’d rather be guaranteed that setting into the ocean by staying in PCB. If you’re a regular person wanting to enjoy the sunset, take pictures and walk down the beach, Alabama will satisfy your sunset experience just as much. Sunrises are breathtaking from both destinations!

Comparing Distances

You’ll find that Alabama is much closer to you if you’re coming from the Midwest or Western U.S., and PCB is a bit closer to you coming from the East. The difference is about 2 hours.

Traveling in the USA, road trips are a great way to save money, connect with your loved ones, have a deeper level of experience and be free to go wherever you want – when you want. Check out our road trips post with great tips and benefits about road trips.

distances to Panama City Beach, FL

Get directions from any city to Panama City Beach, FL by clicking on the directions tab(desktop) or larger map(mobile) below. 

distances to orange beach, aL

Get directions from any city to Orange Beach, AL by clicking on the directions tab(desktop) or larger map(mobile) below. 

As you can see, the distances depend on if you’re coming from the East or West and are also shorter to Alabama if you’re coming from the Midwest. Saving 2 hours on a 14 hour road trip can definitely help!

If you’re traveling on a BUDGET, We have useful tips for budget travel and how to score deals – check out our Budget travel post.

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No comparison – beaches and water in Florida are far more beautiful than OBA. I’ve been to all of them.

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