The original beach destination
Words by Lola Bames
With miles of white sand beaches, Panama City Beach is an iconic southern destination—but there’s more to explore beyond the beach. Make your way to the Gulf Coast and cool off in PCB this summer!
Shell Island Shuttle: Spend the day on Shell Island! You can take the shuttle boat over, then explore and splash around on seven miles of undeveloped beach—swim, snorkel, and kayak in the cool gulf waters!
St. Andrews State Park: Located right in between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay this park is the perfect place for snorkeling—and what’s cooler than hanging out under water?
Jet Ski: Suit up—in your bathing suit, that is—for a jet ski tour in the crystal waters of PCB. If you’re feeling adventurous, go out on your own with a jet ski rental. Either way, the Gulf water will keep you feeling cool!
Cruise: Choose your view on a cool cruise—see the dolphins swimming around during the day, or wait until the cooler evenings to get the best view of the sunset from the water. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch both.
Hit the Beach: You can’t go to PCB without spending some time relaxing on the beach! After laying out in the sun, take a dip in the sparkling Gulf water to cool off. Pro tip—reapply your sunscreen often.
Schooners: Known by locals as the Last Local Beach Club, Schooners is a great place to grab a bite to eat, but you can also watch the waves roll in or play a game of volleyball right by the cool water!
Pineapple Willy’s Restaurant: Experience a piece of history by grabbing a bite to eat on “The Panama City Beach Pier.” The cool breeze coming off the Gulf water makes for a pleasant outdoor dining experience.
Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar: Enjoy fresh seafood and oysters with an unbeatable view of the waterfront. Grab a cold drink with your meal, then hit the beach for some parasailing when you’re done!
The Grand Marlin: They update the menu daily, so you get to enjoy the freshest catch with an incredible view of the Gulf waters. After you eat, head down to the beach to dip your toes in the water!
Runaway Island: This two story restaurant features an outdoor deck and boardwalk that takes you all the way to the beach! Some evenings you can hang around to watch live music as the sun goes down and the temps cool off.
Capt. Anderson’s: Grab an early dinner at Capt. Anderson’s for a chance to see the fishing fleets unload their daily catch. And don’t forget to take a picture in front of the Empire Mica Propeller fountain!
Splash!: This family-friendly resort is the only one in PCB with an onsite waterpark—and if that’s not cool enough, they also have a dive-in movie theater! No matter how warm it gets, you’ll stay cool with the resort’s water slides, water cannons, a splash pad and relaxing lazy river. If you need some grown-up time, you can keep it cool in the adults-only pool.
Hyatt: Located on the beach, this hotel has the coolest tropical vacation vibes. The cabana-lined resort style pool and lazy river are a treat unto themselves, but the bonus is that you’re just steps away from the beach and the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If you decide to stay in the sand all day, make sure to rent a shade tent for your beach chairs!
Holiday Inn Resort: Talk about a room with a view! Step out onto your private, beachfront balcony for an incredible view of the gulf. Morning coffee with a Gulf breeze? Yes, please! Plus, you can catch live entertainment on the Escape Deck—a stage right by the beach, so you can enjoy a concert while you swim.
Holiday Inn Express: Is there anything more fun than hanging out by the pool with a cold drink in hand? The poolside bar & grill will keep you cool despite the sunshine. The zero-depth entry pool is a great place to immerse your lounge chair for an afternoon read, then after a loop around the lazy river, you can hit the beach for some waterfront fun.
Springhill Suites: What’s better than a waterfront hotel? A waterfront hotel with an on-site ice cream shop! Grab a scoop from Jelly’s to keep you cool on a beach stroll, then take a plunge in the relaxing pool. Once you’re done in the water, stay out of the sun with one of the shaded cabanas—and make sure you grab a cold drink from the bar!