The beaches are its main draws. But there’s more to Panama City Beach than the sun and the sand. The top attractions of Panama City Beach, Florida, include parks that appeal to the Nature lover, immaculately preserved snippets of history in its museums, and retail havens that shopaholics adore. Here are the must-visit places of Panama City Beach after you have had your fill of the sun and the surf.
- St. Andrews State Park
The powdery white beach lined by the emerald sea at St. Andrews State Park is one of the most beautiful beaches in Panama City, Florida. While beachcombers can laze in the sun, wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers can scour the many trails in this park that go past dense growth of tropical and coastal plants and trees.
Swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving—there is no dearth of activity options here for the water sports junkie. Anglers can choose their nesting spot from amongst the two fishing piers, a boat ramp, and a jetty located inside the park. If you want to head out into the open waters, rent a kayak or a canoe. You can also take a boat to the nearby Shell Island for a day of calm and bliss.
- Camp Helen State Park
The Camp Helen State Park is an ecologist’s delight, a nature lover’s paradise, and history buff’s playground. This area houses five distinct ecosystems, a rich collection of wildlife, historical buildings that have been lovingly preserved, and sites of human habitation that date back 4,000 years. Inside the park is Lake Powell, one of the biggest coastal dune lakes in the state. The lake is home to a rich variety of birds and marine life forms.
For those on the lookout for activities in Panama City Beach, Florida, a visit to the Camp Helen State Park is a must. Freshwater and saltwater fishing, hiking, swimming, wildlife watching—take your pick, or spend de-stressing “doing” nothing.
- Man in the Sea Museum
If you are holidaying with your kids, make sure the Man in the Sea Museum doesn’t get the miss from your Panama City Beach travel itinerary. You are in the diving wonderland of the world, so visit the Man in the Sea Museum to delve (excuse the pun) into the history of diving in this region. The fascinating exhibits include the world’s first underwater living facility, submarine makes through the years, and diving gear. Also keep an eye out for the edutainment events organized by the museum. One of the top attractions of Panama City Beach, Florida, this museum is also one-of-its-kind in the region.
- Gulf World Marine Park
A day spent at the Gulf World Marine Park is a fun-filled family outing and an educational excursion packed into one neat package. Watch dolphin shows, performances by sea lions, skits starring birds and dogs, and educational tours with a host of creepy, crawly, and scaly creatures.
However, the star attractions here are the interactive animal sessions—once-in-a-lifetime experiences for the animal lover. Swim with the dolphins, shake hands with their fins, get a wet smooch from these lovable cuddlies, and get behind-the-scenes to see and take part in a dolphin training session. The park also organizes interactive play sessions with sea lions. Meet these statuesque, majestic creatures that walk with their head held high and bark loudly, and see a training session in progress.
- Pier Park
This is one of the most popular Panama City attractions for couples and kids alike. Pier Park is a 900,000+ square foot entertainment hub located smack in the middle of Panama City Beach. Pier Park houses specialty stores, boutique stores, fine dining outlets, and a Grand Theater with 16 movie screens.
The Miracle Strip at Pier Park is a hark back to the Miracle Strip Amusement Park, a Panama City Beach icon that closed down after 40 years of dishing out fun to kids and adults alike. The Miracle Strip at Pier Park has restored some of the golden oldies—vintage rides—from the original Miracle Strip. Enjoy a day out at the Pier Park, shopping and dining to your heart’s content happy in the knowledge that your kids are not bored either.
If you want to pack visits to these top attractions of Panama City Beach, Florida, into your tight schedule, stay in a conveniently-located vacation rental. When on the lookout for comfortable beach condo rentals, Panama City, Florida, offers plenty of luxurious but immensely affordable choices.