Your Complete Panama City Travel Guide

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Panama city beach, florida, travel guide

There are countless worthwhile activities in Panama City Beach, Florida. Taking in everything is impossible in one trip.
To help you see and do as much as you can and make the most of your stay, here is our guide to the best businesses and places to visit to during your vacation:

Transportation

Air Travel
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport offers daily non-stop service from Hartsfield Jackson International Airport via Delta Air’s Delta Connection service. Inbound direct flights also come from Baltimore, Houston-Hobby, Nashville and St. Louis.

Public Transportation
Bay Town Trolley offers regular service during Monday through Saturday from 6-8. Panama City Beach is served by two main routes running from Front Beach Road to the Senior Center to Thomas Drive to the Gulf Coast Community College Transfer Station.

Car Rental
Enterprise Rent-a-Car has a location in the Shoppes at Edgewater retail center. Enterprise, Hertz, National, Alamo, Budget and Avis also have branches at the NFBI Airport.
Many visitors enjoy renting scooters or electric buggies from Classic Rentals on Front Beach Drive. These vehicles make getting around the beachside area fun and easy.

Best Sites to Visit

The Beach
Of course, the main draw to Panama City Beach is its namesake beachfront! Stretching 27 miles, the area offers the perfect place to relax, party, play, read or just catch some sun. The area is called “Emerald Beach” because of its deep blue-green waters and gorgeous white sands. Many businesses in the area offer chair, paddleboat or watercraft rentals to make the beach even more enjoyable.

Shell Island
Lying in between St. Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Shell Island offers seven miles of pristine, undeveloped beach to enjoy a rare moment of isolation. Ferry and shuttle service is limited, so you will not find the crowds here that you occasionally see at the regular beachfront. Shell Island offers the perfect opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy some true natural beaches.

St. Andrews State Park
This 1,200 acre park used to be a military site during WWII. One can still see evidence by looking at the circular cannon platforms located near the jetties. Visitors can enjoy the well-preserved beachfront, walk on the trails and make use of the ample picnic tables, grills and public restrooms. St. Andrews also offers plenty of sites for camping in RVs, vehicles, tents or even under the stars for the more adventurous.

Conservation Park
If you have had your fill of the beach, you can take a break by viewing some of Florida’s beautiful natural woodlands. Conservation Park has plenty of trails for walking, bike rides or longer hikes. There is also a picnicking area, an outdoor classroom and brochures mapping trails and helping self-guided nature tours.

Golf
Florida has perfect golf weather almost all year round. Take advantage of our beautiful conditions at Hombre Golf Club or Camp Creek Golf Club. Both offer tough but fun holes featuring plenty of water hazards.

Adventures

Panama City Beach is an excellent place to go for the more adventurous types. Here are some of the favorite activities people like to get into while they are here:

● Aquatic Adventures and Adventures at Sea both offer parasailing, jet ski rentals, pontoon boat rides, snorkeling, fishing trip charters and boat rentals.
● Water Planet offers dolphin swimming tours to get up close and personal with one of nature’s most intriguing and playful animals
● Gator Country Alligator Park lets you get acquainted with a less charming but still iconic member of Florida’s wildlife family with airboat tours and a gator farm.

Attractions

There are simply too many fun places in Panama City Beach to go into detail, but here are some more notable amusements:

● Shipwreck Island Waterpark
● Coconut Creek Family Fun Park
● Gulf World Marine Park
● Pier Park — shopping and amusements
● WonderWorks — Indoor amusement park and educational museum
● Hidden Lagoon Golf and Racetrack
● Ripley’s Believe It or Not
● Slingshot & Indy Speedway
● Miracle Strip Amusement Park

Best Food and Drink

Here are some of the can’t-miss food and beverage experiences in Panama City Beach:

● Saltwater Grill holds the title of most loved formal restaurant.
● Panama City Beach Winery looks unassuming since it is nestled in a shopping center, but the bold vintages offer plenty of unexpected surprises.
● Finns Island Style Grub is a laid back place serving up Californian, Caribbean and Latin dishes with a Florida flair.
● Sharky’s Beach Club pours drinks out of their famous Tiki Hut right off the beach, and they also serve seafood and other delicious eats. At night, they transform into a dance club with a live DJ.

Lodging

There are many popular hotels and inns located right on the beachfront, including:

● Holiday Inn Resort
● Legacy by the Sea
● Hampton Inn & Suites Pier Park

For the best experience, true thrill seekers opt for vacation rentals in Panama City Beach, Florida. Condo and beach house rentals let vacationers stay longer for cheaper and lodge on their own terms. Visit our condo rentals page for more details on how to find the best Panama City Beach vacation units at the best price.

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