Panama City and Panama City Beach, Florida are amongst the most beloved beach towns in the South. Popular with families and spring breakers alike, they’re set between South Walton and Apalachicola as well as near the Northwest Florida Beaches Airport.
Summer is a great time to visit but the crowds can be overwhelming. Spring has fun festivals like St. Andrews Mardi Gras and UnWined. Fall has great weather and you can also find better deals on accommodations.
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Where to Eat in Greater Panama City Beach
There are so many incredible places to eat along the bay in both Panama City and Panama City Beach. Expect delicious seafood and old-school restaurants.
Angelo’s Steak Pit– The Western-inspired restaurant is recognized for the giant bull out front called “Big Gus.” The longtime eatery is known for its steaks, fried shrimp, and barbecue chicken. 9527 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, (850) 234-2531
Bayou Joe’s– This local favorite sits on a quiet stretch of water in a rustic building. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and beloved menu items include the Bloody Mary, garbage omelet, and fish sandwich. 112A East 3rd Court, Panama City, (850) 763-6442
Captain Anderson’s– This longtime waterfront restaurant is a base for fishing excursions but also has incredible seafood. The menu has also won a Wine Spectator award for its selections. 5551 North Lagoon Drive, Panama City, (850) 234-2225
David’s Sno Balls– Cool off with New Orleans-style sno balls, along with classic fare like red beans and rice, po boys, muffulettas, and beignets. 13913 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, (850) 236-1998
Diego’s Burrito Factory– Build your own burritos, quesadillas, and nachos, and even get a margarita to go! Multiple locations, Panama City Beach
Dusty’s Oyster Bar– The seafood dive covered in dollar bills is one of the best places around for fresh seafood. Come for the oysters on the half shell and marinated crab claws. 16450 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, (850) 233-0035
Firefly– Don’t let the strip mall setting fool you. This beautiful restaurant has a little bit of everything, including steaks, sushi, seafood, and pasta. There’s also an incredible wine selection. 535 North Richard Jackson Boulevard, (850) 249-3359
Finns Island Style Grub– Check out this surf shop with a covered trailer selling breakfast burritos and fish tacos all day. You can also pop inside for a coffee or juice before heading to the beach. 7220 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach, (850) 249-3466
Hunt’s Oyster Bar and Seafood Restaurant– This bright yellow restaurant is home to a championship oyster shucker and a menu of locally caught seafood. You can also bring in your catch for the kitchen to cook. 1150 Beck Avenue, Panama City, (850) 763-9645
The Pour Coffee & Community– Grab a cup of coffee and a pastry at this beachside cafe. Profits go towards helping the community. 12902 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, (850) 234-3084
Saltwater Grill– The popular restaurant is centered around a 25,000-gallon aquarium and has fresh Gulf seafood and steaks, along with a full bar menu. 11040 Hutchinson Boulevard, Panama City Beach, (850) 230-2739
Thomas Donut and Snack Shop– A must-see is this classic Laguna Beach donut shop. The pastries are prepared the old-fashioned way, to be enjoyed outside. But the menu also has sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, and kolaches. 19208 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, (850) 234-8039
Uncle Ernie’s– The bayfront restaurant in a former home has a lively atmosphere with live music and fresh seafood, including oysters, shrimp, and burgers. 1151 Bayview Avenue, Panama City, (850) 763-8427
What to Do in Greater Panama City Beach
There are plenty of things to do in Panama City Beach beyond the beach! Check out the many attractions ranging from museums to fishing trips to family-friendly rides. And don’t forget about outdoor experiences like kayaking, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and parasailing.
Camp Helen State Park– Home to one of the largest sand dunes in the state, this state park was once a resort for employees of an Alabama textile mill. The homes are still standing and visitors have access to a nearly private stretch of beach. 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach
Dolphin cruises- Spot dolphins on an afternoon excursion with Captain Anderson’s, which leads you through St. Andrews Bay over the course of 1.5 hours. The boats have comfortable seats for a fun day out.
Fishing charters- If you’re looking to go fishing, join one of many excursions that operate nearly daily like the 5 Hour Deep Sea Party Boat Fishing in Panama City Beach.
Helicopter tours– See the stretch of coastline from above ranging from five to 25 minutes, spotting Panama City Beach landmarks along the way.
Mini golf- There is no shortage of putt options along the beach! Favorites include Goofy Golf and Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf.
Panama City Beach Conservation Park– Spread across nearly 3,000 acres, this city park has 24 miles of trails and boardwalks through the cypress trees. It’s open daily from dawn to dusk. 100 Conservation Drive, Panama City Beach
Panama City Happy Hour E-Bike Adventure– This fun tour through Panama City navigates historic St. Andrews by e-bike, stopping at bars and landmarks along the way.
Shell Island- One of the most popular summer activities is a day trip to Shell Island, a barrier island off the coast of Panama City Beach. Book your spot on a Shell Island tour or take your own private boat for a day of snorkeling and relaxing.
SkyWheel Panama City Beach– Located at Pier Park, this glass-enclosed Ferris wheel provides the best views of the beach. The landmark also has a mini-golf course and a ropes course. 15700 LC Hilton Jr. Drive, Panama City Beach
St. Andrews State Park– This 1,200-acre state park has one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in Florida. It was the site of a shipwreck during a 1929 hurricane but is now popular for surfing and snorkeling. The Shell Island shuttles leave from here. 4607 State Park Lane, Panama City
Wonderworks– Kids love this quirky museum with interactive exhibits. 9910 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach
Where to Stay in Greater Panama City Beach
The most popular way to stay in Panama City and Panama City Beach is through rentals, including condos and houses. But the number of high-rise hotels is increasing options.
Courtyard by Marriott Panama City– This hotel is located near St. Andrews, with amenities like a restaurant, outdoor pool, and in-room tea and coffee. 905 East 23rd Place, Panama City
Hilton Garden Inn Panama City– Convenient to many restaurants and shops, this hotel has free WiFi, a restaurant, an outdoor pool, and a pantry with snacks and essentials. 1101 US-231, Panama City
Sheraton Panama City Beach Golf & Spa Resort– Set across the bay, this hotel has easy beach access, golf, tennis, pools, a spa, and multiple restaurants. 4114 Jan Cooley Drive, Panama City Beach
Tidewater Beach Resort by Panhandle Getaways– This rental company has a number of accommodation options along with outdoor pools, barbecue facilities, and full kitchens. 16819 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach
St. Andrews State Park- The state park also offers camping for both RVs and tents with unparalleled access to the beach. 4607 State Park Lane, Panama City
SpringHill Suites by Marriott– The tower hotel is located on a quiet stretch of beach and has an outdoor pool, a fitness center, free daily breakfast, and onsite parking. 12513 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach