17 Best Things To Do In Panama City Beach Florida

We independently research and recommend any products or places but we may earn a commission if you click on links we provide. Learn More.

Panama City Beach is one of the most iconic beach destinations in Florida. Of course, chilling on the soft white sand is a must, but there are a lot more things to do in Panama City Beach than just, well, bumming on the beach. 

The crystal clear waters make a beautiful setting for swimming, snorkeling, and paddling, while the lovely natural areas foster a great atmosphere for hiking and watching wildlife. Families will be spoiled for options in terms of family-friendly activities, too! Here are some of the best things to do in Panama City Beach.

Quick Travel Tips

Our Favorite Experiences and Tours In Jupiter

Shell Island Snorkel and Dolphin Catamaran Cruise With Island Time – Top pick! On this amazing trip you will be able to spot dolphins, snorkel, and spend time on the island.

Scream Machine Thrill Ride At Panama City Beach – Enjoy the thrill of the water at top speed!

Sunset Cruise On A Tiki Boat – Relax on a tiki boat with the most beautiful sunset on the water.

Enjoy The Beach

It goes without saying that one of the best things to do in Panama City Beach is to spend some time enjoying the actual beach. The sand is soft and white, and the water is shallow and calm. 

There is a whopping 27 miles of soft sand to park on, so even during the peak summer months, you should have no problem staking a claim on your own piece of sand.

Go Paddling

If you tire of simply lazing on the beach, you can still enjoy the water in a number of ways. Because the water is so calm, this is a popular area for paddling. 

There are tons of rental shops all around town where you can pick up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and other boats. If you’re a total beginner, you’ll even be able to find lessons for your activity of choice. This is a great way to spend the day out on the water in PCB!

Take A Ride On The Skywheel Ferris Wheel

For an awesome view of the impressive PCB coastline, take a ride on the Skywheel Ferris Wheel. Located in Pier Park, the Ferris wheel stands tall at 53 meters, offering jaw dropping views over the Emerald Coast. 

If you can’t get enough of these epic views, you can upgrade to the VIP package, which includes free drinks (including alcoholic and/or non-alcoholic), a chance to ride in a special gondola with a glass bottomed floor, and double the ride time.

Have Some Fun At Pier Park

After you step off the Skywheel, you can check out the rest of Pier Park. Wandering around the pier is one of the best things to do in Panama City Beach. This lively area is full of fun activities, whether you want to eat, shop, or play some games!

The park is basically a big outdoor mall with tons of restaurants, bars and stores. It also has a mini golf course, an IMAX theater, a ropes course, and a laser tag arena!

Reconnect With Nature At Panama City Beach Conservation Park

One of the best things to do in Panama City Beach is to get away from the crowds and reconnect with nature. The Panama City Beach Conservation Park is a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts, with over 2,900 acres and miles of hiking and biking trails. 

It’s a great place to explore Florida’s natural beauty, with wetlands, forests, and wildlife habitats. Bring your binoculars for bird watching, or pack a picnic and enjoy the serene surroundings. 

Visit Shell Island

Shell Island is a seven-mile barrier island located off the shores of Panama City Beach. This is one of the few unspoiled beaches left in the area, with zero resorts or other infrastructure spoiling the views. The island is great for wildlife watching, snorkeling, beachcombing, and sunbathing. 

In the summer, you can get here via the Shell Island Shuttle or, if you want to explore on your own terms, you can also rent a boat and meander out to the island by yourself – it’s a popular spot to park your pontoon on a nice sunny day!

Catch A Sunset At Russell Fields City Pier

Russell Fields City Pier is one of the most picturesque spots to watch the sunset in Panama City Beach. Extending 1,500 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, the pier offers spectacular views of the coastline and the horizon. 

Bring your camera to capture the sunset, or simply enjoy a stroll along the pier. It’s also a popular spot for fishing, so if you’re an angler, bring your gear and try your luck at reeling in some local fish as the sun goes down.

Note that there is a $4 fee for walking along the pier and a $7 fee for a daily fishing license.

Spend An Afternoon At St. Andrews State Park

For the perfect blend of nature and adventure, one of the best things to do in Panama City Beach is to spend an afternoon at St. Andrews State Park. This park boasts over 1,200 acres of pristine coastal environments, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and St. Andrews Bay on the other.

You can go swimming, snorkeling, or fishing off the pier, and the park also offers hiking trails that provide great opportunities for wildlife spotting. Kayak rentals are available for those who want to explore the calm waters of Grand Lagoon or venture out to the aforementioned Shell Island.

Explore The City By Bike

Discover the charm of Panama City Beach on two wheels by renting a bike and exploring the city’s scenic bike paths. The area has several dedicated bike trails that weave through beautiful parks and along the coastline. 

You can hit the trails on your own, or purchase a self-guided tour that will lead you through local neighborhoods and other off-the-beaten-path areas. Many local shops offer bike rentals, including options for families with children.

Discover Local Cuisine

Panama City Beach is a haven for foodies, with a variety of dining options to suit all tastes. From fresh seafood restaurants to charming beachside cafes, there’s something for everyone in this beach town. 

Local favorites include the fish tacos at Finn’s Island Style Grub, the mahi mahi from Pineapple Willys, and the fried Gulf shrimps from The Grand Marlin. For dessert, hunt down some key lime pie or grab an ice cream cone and wander along the beach.

Cool Off At Shipwreck Island Waterpark

Once you’ve had enough beach time, enjoy a day of family fun at Shipwreck Island Waterpark. This popular waterpark features a variety of slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers. 

There are attractions suitable for all ages, from thrilling high-speed slides to gentle kiddie pools. The park also has plenty of shaded areas and dining options, making it a great place to spend a hot summer day.

Embark On A Dolphin Watching Cruise

If you want a chance to see some marine life, take a dolphin watching cruise while visiting Panama City Beach. These cruises offer the chance to see dolphins in their natural habitat, and many tours include snorkeling stops where you can explore the underwater world and see a variety of marine life.

There are several tour operators in the area offering different types of cruises, from intimate boat trips to larger group tours. Most tours also provide a welcome drink and some snacks.

Enjoy Live Music At The Todd Herendeen Theatre

For an evening of entertainment, head to the Todd Herendeen Theatre. This venue hosts a variety of live music performances, from country to rock and roll. Todd Herendeen, the theater’s namesake, is known for his dynamic performances and engaging shows. 

You can also enjoy dinner and a show in this cozy, intimate setting – just make sure to make reservations ahead of time. It’s a wonderful way to experience local talent and enjoy a night out in Panama City Beach.

Check Out Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

If you’re looking for quirky and fun things to do in Panama City Beach, check out Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum. This fascinating attraction is full of oddities and curiosities from around the world. 

Explore exhibits that feature bizarre artifacts, unusual art, and interactive displays. The museum also includes a 7D Moving Theater and a Mirror Maze, offering a variety of fun experiences. It’s a great place to spend a few hours, especially on a rainy day.

Discover Local Wildlife At Zooworld

Zooworld Zoological and Botanical Conservatory is a must-visit for animal lovers visiting PCB. This small zoo offers up-close encounters with a variety of animals, including lemurs, sloths, and alligators. 

You can also participate in animal feedings and educational programs. The zoo is committed to conservation and provides a home for many rescued animals.

Enjoy Some Family Time At Coconut Creek Family Fun Park

Coconut Creek Family Fun Park is an excellent place for families to spend the day. The park features two 18-hole mini-golf courses and a giant maze. The maze is a hit with kids and adults alike, providing a fun challenge as you try to find your way out. 

The park is beautifully landscaped, with plenty of shade and seating areas. It’s an ideal spot for some friendly competition and family bonding.

Have A Beach Bonfire

Experience the magic of a beach bonfire in Panama City Beach. Several local companies offer bonfire packages (including setup and cleanup) so you can enjoy a hassle-free evening on the sand. 

Roast marshmallows, reminisce about your beach day, and enjoy the company of friends and family under the starry sky. This is one of the most unique things to do in Panama City Beach and a memorable way to end a day at the beach.

Leave a Comment