Depending on where in the country you’re from, Panama City Beach and the Florida Panhandle may not be the most popularized spot to visit in the Sunshine State. It doesn’t see anywhere near the tourist hype of cities like Miami, Orlando, Tampa, St. Pete, or Key West. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a pretty perfect Florida destination.
Personally, I grew up in Tennessee and my summer vacations revolved around spending time on Florida’s Emerald Coast. The Florida Panhandle is actually a popular summer (yes, summer) destination for residents of the American South, like myself. It’s an easy drive from most major southern cities and the rewards are endless.
So, why visit Panama City Beach? Even if you live elsewhere in the country? Well, I’ve partnered up with Hotels.com to show you why Panama City Beach is a delightful vacation destination regardless of where you’re coming from. Check out these 6 reasons to visit Panama City Beach.
Visiting Panama City Beach
Traveling right now is still a tricky situation. If you do decide to visit Panama City Beach soon, please do so responsibly. Remember to always wear a face mask, wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitizer, and maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others at all times.
Always check official websites for the latest updates on local and national policies, mandates, and regulations. Here’s Florida’s page for travelers. (And it never hurts to book accommodation with free cancellation in case your plans change unexpectedly.)
Where to stay in Panama City Beach
But before I get to the many reasons you should visit Panama City Beach, you should know there are just as many awesome places to stay here as well. In Panama City Beach, condos and beach houses are the way to go and you can find some with all the amenities. Start here with this list of great places to stay in Panama City Beach.
Long Beach Towers
The cozy condos of Long Beach Towers come with unbelievable ocean views, a full kitchen, a beautiful beachside pool, and every amenity in between. The property also has barbecue grills, a fitness center (because of course you’re going to use that), and a self-serve laundry facility. Plus, it’s within walking distance of some of the city’s top attractions. Check out Long Beach Towers here.
This beautiful beachfront property features two outdoor pools and two hot tubs and a pool bar, ocean views, concierge services, full kitchens, and much more. All in the center of town. Check out the condos at Club Wyndham here.
Aqua Beach Resort
Modern, updated rooms with balconies overlooking the ocean, an indoor-outdoor pool and hot tub, barbecue grills and laundry rooms, full kitchens, and some great reasons to stay here. Want more? How about an airport shuttle? They have that too! Check out Aqua Beach Resort here.
Why visit Panama City Beach?
Panama City Beach, Florida may seem like a hidden gem to some, but for many a trip here is the highlight of every year. There are more than enough reasons to visit Panama City Beach for every kind of traveler–some you can’t find anywhere else.
1. Perfect beaches
Florida’s Panhandle has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and, no, you can’t change my mind. And Panama City Beach alone has 27 miles of them.
The beaches of Panama City Beach are so deservedly legendary for their perfect sand. Sand as pure white as sugar (said to be some of the whitest sand in the world) and as soft as, well, powdered sugar. I promise you have never felt anything like this in your life.
Why visit Panama City Beach for this? Because it’s one of the few places in the world you can actually experience this. It’s truly a marvel.
2. Crystal-clear water
Like the area’s perfect sand, the waters off Panama City Beach are also famously perfect: crystal clear yet strikingly turquoise.
Standing in the ocean, the water is so clear you can see the fish all around you. From your condo balcony high above the water, you’ll see how the area got its nickname the Emerald Coast. No rocky coastlines or seaweed to worry about. No dark water or debris floating by. Just perfect, clear water.
Why visit Panama City Beach for this? Because it’s such a thrill to be able to enjoy the ocean part of visiting the ocean… without having to sidestep overwhelming seaweed or feet-slicing stones.
3. Year-round bliss
One of the best parts about Panama City Beach’s perfect sand and water is that you can enjoy it all year long. Panama City Beach boasts an average of 320 days of sunshine per year. That’s almost an entire year of sunshine and I am HERE FOR IT.
Additionally, Panama City Beach’s year-round average temperature is 74°F. It doesn’t get much more blissful than sun and 70s most of the year.
Panama City Beach’s high season is Spring Break, followed by the summer when high temps hover around 90°. However any time of year is a great time to relax on sand that you would swear belongs on top of French toast.
Why visit Panama City Beach for this? Anytime of the year you need to just escape, know that Panama City Beach will be there to welcome you with open arms and a beach cabana.
4. So much nature
The Panama City Beach area is home to two state parks: St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park. These beautiful beachside parks are popular for activities like birding, boating, camping, kayaking, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
Additionally, the clear waters of the Panama City Beach area offer great fishing, snorkeling, and diving opportunities. You can see wild dolphins from your beach chair and look down on migrating rays from your condo. One time, a seahorse swam right up to me!
Also, not all of Florida’s alligators are relegated to the Everglades. There’s a good chance you’ll see one or two while you’re here.
Why visit Panama City Beach for this? You can get the best of both natural worlds: surf and turf!
5. Interesting wineries
I’m a big fan of indulging in local flavors when I travel – and that especially goes for Florida and all its citrus-y goodness! I recommended a visit to the citrus factory in Fort Myers for fresh fruit and juice samples, and now I’ll recommend something else just as quintessentially Florida.
Panama City Beach Winery
The Panama City Beach Winery produces wine from 100% Florida fruit. They offer flavors like:
- Key lime
- Passion fruit
- And many more.
Plus, they offer complimentary wine tastings Mondays through Fridays. I’m telling you, this place is super popular. Check out their reviews on Tripadvisor.
Why visit Panama City Beach for this? Florida is one of the citrus capitals of the world and it’s fun to experiment past the point of orange juice.
6. Gulf Coast sunsets
Because of Panama City Beach’s location on the west coast of Florida, a visit here will reward you with magical Gulf Coast sunsets. Think these are different than every other sunset? Thank again.
Here, the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico in every shade of fiery orange, pink, and purple. Every night watching the sun set is an activity of its own—if only a brief one. (For example, on Clearwater Beach, another glorious Gulf Coast city, it’s a nightly event that always ends in roaring applause.)
Why visit Panama City Beach for this? Well, the east coast of Florida is surely not bragging about this. What do they even do at this time every night over on that side of the state? 🤔
More info for your visit to Panama City
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