12 Fun Things to Do in Panama City Beach

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Visit Panama City Beach. All opinions are 100% mine.

With 27 miles of pristine sugar-white sand beaches to explore, extensive dune systems and the glittering warm turquoise Gulf of Mexico, Panama City Beach is the perfect destination if you want to balance your time between chilling out in nature and taking part in outdoor activities. There’s scuba diving on offer, as well as snorkeling, kayaking, and even parasailing, alongside kids’ cruises, great food, and shopping.

You could even say that this place has it all, and it certainly comes packed with fun things to do. In Panama City Beach, you’ll never be bored – who could be, in that beautifully stunning pristine natural scenery? And with that in mind, there is no better time to Visit Panama City Beach and here are some of the best activities for you when you visit this fun place.

fun things to do in Panama City Beach Florida

Russell-Fields City Pier

Stretching out over 1500 feet into the shimmering turquoise waves of the Gulf of Mexico, this pier is really a great one for gulf-gazing and sky-watching, as the views of the uncluttered horizon are something special, especially around sunset.

Entry to the pier costs $3.00 – a small price to pay for one of the more chilled, fun things to do in Panama City Beach. If fishing is your sport of choice, look no further than this pier. A fishing license costs $6.00 per day, plus rod rentals, bait and tackle are available here. In season you can catch King Mackerel, Cobia, Flounder, Pompano, and many other varieties of fish.

things to do in Panama City Beach

Scuba Diving

And yes, the diving in Panama City Beach is excellent. The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico make it extremely pleasant to literally dive into the turquoise water here. But it’s not just the climate – the thriving marine ecosystem here is home to species like the sea turtle, bottlenose dolphin and goliath grouper, just some of the marine life you may spot in your undersea adventure.

Add to the wildlife a whole host of wrecks to explore and you have a stunning dive location. In fact, Panama City Beach was dubbed “Wreck Diving Capital of the South” by Skin Diver Magazine, so you won’t want to miss this.

Man in the Sea Museum

For a fascinating look into the history of humanity’s relationship with the sea in the form of diving, the Man in the Sea Museum will be sure to pique your curiosity. Here you can clamber through a real-life submarine and see how diving equipment has drastically changed through time.

Most interestingly, you can see aboard SEALAB 1, the environment in which four divers had to live 50 meters below the surface off the coast of Bermuda in 1964. This is a unique museum you’ll want to check out, especially if you’re a fan of diving – which is great, considering this activity is also one of the most fun things to do in Panama City Beach.

Panama City Beach Florida

Shell Island

This is most definitely one of the top things to do in Panama City Beach, both for locals and tourists alike. Shell Island is a completely untouched barrier island running east to west between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay. At 7 miles long and undeveloped, with sand dunes, forests, pristine beaches, and even an inland lake, this is Florida at its most natural.

As a result, there’s a lot of wildlife here which you may not find elsewhere: deer frequent the lake, shorebirds nest at the water’s edge, and ghost crabs pop up and down the beach.

Panama City Beach Winery

Panama City Beach Winery

Proud to be the only tropical winery located in Bay County, Florida, Panama City Beach Winery has won awards for its characteristic berry, citrus and fruit wines. In fact, their fruit wines have gained national as well as international recognition at the Indiana State Fair – the best fruit wine contest in the U.S. This offers daily wine tasting, so after a few hours in the hot sun, a refreshing glass of fruit wine sounds like the perfect technique for cooling down.

Airboat Adventures

A trip to Florida would not be complete if you missed out on the experience of whipping around through the marshy wetlands in an airboat. These adventures truly are a chance to see the real side of Florida, away from the shimmering white beaches along the coast.

A tour of the back country offers you an intimate look at West Bay, rivers creeks and marshlands. Of course, the main attraction are the massive Alligators that call this area home but you should also be on the lookout for American Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Dolphins and a variety of other birds during your tour.

Panama City Beach Florida

Enjoy the Iconic Beaches

One of the most popular areas to hit the beach in Panama City Beach features a 4.75 acre stretch of public beach that is complete with a 170-foot gulf front dune system. This area features a good environmental backdrop to the brilliant white sands where you can play, sunbathe for hours, and visit the Real. FUN. Beach.

Things to do in Panama City Beach don’t get much better than hanging out at the beach all day, and here it feels relatively undeveloped because of the lack of high-rises, meaning you’ll feel far from the city.

A variety of restaurants and shopping nearby means that lunchtime or a break from beachside fun is an easy option within walking distance. Combined with facilities like a swimming area, restrooms, water fountains, and picnic benches, the ‘Rick Seltzer Beach’ is a great option.

Panama City Beach Florida

Conservation Park

Occupying 2,900 acres of West Bay Ecosystem, the Conservation Park is a combined effort to protect natural resources and landscapes while providing a space for recreational activities.

Created as an effort to ‘rehydrate’ the wetlands, Conservation Park offers a chance for visitors to see rare birds and other wildlife in their ever-improving natural habitat. It’s easy to get around this park as the trails are paved, meaning cycling, as well as hiking, is an option. Plus with trail lengths ranging from 0.11 to 11 miles, you can really make it yours as the trails suit all ability levels.

Panama City Beach Florida Parasail

Panama City Parasail

It’s easy to see the natural beauty of Panama City Beach, but to really grasp how beautiful this spot really is it’s time to take to the air! Panama City Parasail offers up the chance to see the sugar-white sands and glistening turquoise seas of St. Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Possibly one of the most fun things to do in Panama City Beach, the captain here is the only USCG certified one with twenty years of experience parasailing on the beach. For a birds-eye panorama of paradise, a parasail into the sky is totally worth it. This company also provides banana boat rides and hobie cat (small sailing catamaran) rentals for extra fun after seeing the gulf from the air.

Catamaran Cruise Panama City Beach Florida

Paradise Adventures Catamaran

Available for private charter, Paradise Adventures is the newest way to embark on an excursion along the stunning coastline of Panama City Beach. With the Privateer, a 52 foot USCG certified catamaran, Paradise Adventures can take you into the turquoise waters of the gulf for a relaxed morning cruise, afternoon adventure, or a sunset sojourn.

The Privateer provides snorkeling equipment for its watery excursions, and food and drink – alcoholic and non-alcoholic – will be supplied. And if snorkeling isn’t your thing, you can lay out on the catamaran’s sunning nets.

Panama City Beach Florida

Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise

This is a cruise with a swashbuckling difference, setting out into the gulf towards Shell Island and back again for 2 hours of pirate fun while you cruise around spotting wildlife like pelicans, playful dolphins, and more. The Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise offers children (and the young at heart) the chance to set sail on an 85-foot pirate ship.

In between sword fighting and firing the cannons, you’ll get a soda, hot dogs, pink lemonade and other refreshments. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Panama City Beach and you’ve brought the kids along with you, plan your fun today on a Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise.

St Andrews State Park Panama City Beach Florida

St. Andrews State Park

The St. Andrews State Park is another location in Panama City Beach that really showcases the natural beauty that this area is home to: white sand dunes and the expansive turquoise gulf will greet you as warmly here as in other beautiful spots in this area.

Filled with nature trails and stunning white sand beaches, this park is as good for walking, birdwatching, and other land-based activities as it is for snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and other fun things to do in Panama City Beach. And what’s more, the presence of fully-fledged campsites, as well as more primitive youth group camping, means that you can stay overnight at this extensive park.

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