When things start slowing down as the days turn cooler in the north, Panama City Beach is still open for business. In fact, a lot of people choose to visit in the fall because the crowds are thinner—and there some unique activities that you just don’t get any other season. Here is a great itinerary of some the best things to do on a Panama City Beach fall.
Day 1: Watersports and Swimming
If you vacation in early September, you can still take advantage of the watersports. Most businesses in Panama City Beach that shut down for the season do so at the end of October, so you can easily get in cruises, fishing, diving/snorkeling, jet skiing, paddle boarding, and parasailing. Remember that this is in the middle of hurricane season so activities could change quickly based on ocean conditions.
If you visit after the watersports have shut down, there still may be some fishing expeditions left, and you can also spend the day at one of the many natural museums and ocean education facilities at Panama City Beach.
Day 2: Music
In September, most of the pubs and restaurants that feature live music will still be open. The Salty Goat Saloon and Sharkey’s Beachfront Restaurant, both on the waterfront, both offer live music. Coyote Ugly is a favorite, and the Barefoot Bar and Grill has live music all week long. If you have the kids along, Pineapple Willy’s is a great choice. They have seating on the pier and there is beach access as well. If you’re here on Labor Day Weekend, the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam will be in session. Check Gulfcoastjam.com for a complete lineup of country music stars.
In October you can find Octoberfest music and more all month long, and the Bloody Mary & Music Festival is always a fun excursion—don’t miss the crowning of the next “Big Tomato!”
Day 3: Festivals and Rallies
If you’re here on Columbus Day Weekend, get yourself down to the Pirates of the High Seas festival, matey! The free festival has parades and mock sword fights, and fireworks. At some point the festival is fully invaded by fearsome pirates! This day is great family fun.
If you’re a foodie, don’t miss the week-long Schooners Lobster Festival & Tournament, where you can enjoy music and lobster all week long.
In late October the Thunder Beach Motorcycle rally holds is fall event. If you ride, join them for a trip down the coast, music, and great food.
Another family-friendly festival is the Bogy Bayou Mullet Festival in nearby Niceville, Florida. Just up Route 98 and across the Choctawhatchee Bay is a three-day festival with great food, country music, arts and crafts, shopping, and lots of kids’ activities.
Day 4: Take a Cruise
Panama City Beach fall is still a great time for a water cruise, especially with the family. The Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise sight-seeing cruise is on a powered replica of the pirate ships from days gone by. Learn sea chanties, set the kids loose “swabbing the deck” and remind them of how well they did when you ask them to help clean the floors at home. Join the pirate dance party and find sunken treasure!
If you want something a little more relaxing, try a sunset cruise. Island Time Sailing Cruises offers day cruises as well as sunset trips. Lots of on-board fun, dolphin sightings, and beautiful twilight scenery with complimentary snacks and beverages.
For a smooth, fast ride and some more great dolphin viewing, check out the Sea Screamer, the world’s largest speedboat. Want to do some fishing? Call Captain Anderson’s Marina and book a saltwater fishing tour. If you want a marsh tour, book with Airboat Adventures. They also offer private tours and an alligator park where you can even pet them.
Day 5: Theme Parks and Museums
Need some speed? Check out Race City. They claim to have the “fastest, tallest and steepest go kart track in all of Panama City Beach,” so don’t miss it! There are rides for kids, indoor miniature gold, bumper boating, spinning bumper cars, and a sky coaster.
If you want something a little more low-key, Coconut Creek Family Fun Park has two mini-golf courses set in a jungle environment and a giant maze you can, literally, lose yourself in.
If you’d rather have a little history try Panama City Beach museums. For diving buffs, The Museum of Man in the Sea is a gallery of the history of the sport with displays of equipment and even some underwater vehicles. Art lovers will find galleries galore in Panama City Beach.
As always, contact the experts at Vacations Perfected to make sure events and facilities will be operating when you arrive. To make sure you have the time of your life on your fall in Panama City Beach, plan ahead and book in advance.