With a 27-mile long stretch of sugar-white sand lapped by the warm emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Panama City Beach is the sweetest place to be for beach lovers – not least because it basks in over 300 days of sunshine each year. This is pure paradise for anyone who loves to feel soft sand between their toes; but it’s a beach you’ll never be bored on, since holidays to Panama City Beach come with the added bonus of tons of things to do for every age.
The beach is definitely where it’s at here, and there’s one to suit every mood and inclination. You can strut your stuff at Schooner Beach, which is the hot-spot for volleyball and the place to see and be seen; pitch your beach camp at one of the countless family-friendly spots; or slope off to the quieter enclaves of Shell Beach and St Andrew’s State Park, where the only footprints may be your own.
Then there’s the action on the water, which is not only top-notch but never-ending. If it’s watersports that float your boat, then there’s a dizzying choice from banana boats and jet skis, to paragliding and all sorts of surfing. Divers can explore the beauty of the Gulf’s hidden underworld; fishing fans have any number of spots where they can cast their rod; and for those who simply want to savour the view, there’s cruising and dolphin spotting.
Golf is another big plus point for Panama Beach City holidays and you’ll be spoilt for choice with no less than five championship courses. Plus there’s shopping, attractions, theme parks, great restaurants – and some of the best night-life you’ll find anywhere. So get ready to party!
It’s a 5-hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Orlando and with so much beach to choose from at Panama City Beach, there’s no problem in getting away from the crowds. The main beach is sandwiched by two state parks, St Andrew’s and Camp Helen, both of which offer plenty of secluded spots to kick back at. You can get closer to nature too, with the chance of raccoons for company and alligator-spotting at Gator Lake.
Besides all the beachside fun, there are plenty of other attractions to keep the kids happy. There’s swimming with dolphins, sea lion shows and shark feeding at Gulf World Marine Park; exotic and endangered animals at Zoo World; thrills and spills at Shipwreck Island Waterpark; and cutlass action aplenty at the annual Pirates of the High Seas festival.
The quality of the water-based activities can’t be over-emphasised. Dive courses and charters come with the opportunity to explore crystal-clear reefs, and to spot sea turtles and bottle nosed dolphins. Fishermen will have plenty of success by casting a line from the shore or from a choice of four piers – or they can take to the Gulf by boat for some deep-sea action.
If you’re in need of some retail therapy, then there’s plenty on offer around Panama City Beach. Take a break from sun worshipping, sling on a sarong and go in search of quirky stores behind the beachfront. And for serious shoppers, there’s the immense Pier Park – a tempting combination of specialty shops, high street names, restaurants and attractions.
Panama City Beach holidays are about fun, and come night-fall you can take your pick from some seriously superb restaurants and entertainment, including shows by the Blue Man Group and plenty of clubs. The biggest nightclub in the USA, the state-of-the art La Vela, is right here in Panama Beach City.