For many people, finding that ever-elusive work/life balance can prove to be tricky. Between the demands of daily life, work responsibilities, and family needs, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget how important it is to step back, find time to be inspired and relax! One of the very best routes to achieving the mental and physical balance that’s so important in life is to carve time out of busy schedules to plan a vacation that’s as scenic and exciting as it is viable for a relaxing and restful getaway when life calls for that as well.
For some who are in need of a well-deserved getaway, an ideal vacation is centered around mountain slopes and opportunities to explore the fresh powder in perfect ski style. For others, planning the perfect vacation starts with setting their travel sights somewhere that pairs endless blue skies with red desert rocks and sands. However, for those who dream of turning tropical plans into a reality complete with white-sand beaches and emerald waves, there’s no place on the map that beckons quite like Panama City Beach, Florida.
Featuring an impressive 27 miles of sugar-white shorelines and seamless access to the mesmerizing waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Panama City Beach has long been a warm-weather enthusiast’s dream destination come true. Visitors head this way year-round to make the most of pristine beaches, savor time at waterfront restaurants, enjoy afternoons spent on the water, and make the most of a variety of exciting attractions to check out.
The versatile lineup of scenery, entertainment, flavor, and fun make Panama City Beach a great place to enjoy as a solo traveler, couple on a romantic escape, alongside family, or in the company of a large group of friends. While some inevitably come for the scuba, snorkeling, and fishing, others feel drawn to Panama City Beach in the name of working on that golden Florida-inspired tan. No matter what it is that brings you here, from the sunshine to the sensational options for adventure, this is a destination that really comes to life in the summer and fall. The following are just a few of the many options to pick and choose from when you’re ready to put the finishing touches on that one-of-a-kind Panama City Beach travel itinerary this year.
Things to Do While You’re in Town: From State Parks to Waterparks
With an average high of 90 degrees Fahrenheit in July and an average high of 87 degrees Fahrenheit in September, both summer and fall trips to Panama City Beach promise to be ideal for making the most of outdoor adventures. For the traveler with an insatiable taste for fresh-air fun, Panama City Beach is brimming over with opportunities to get outside, enjoy nature at its finest and see some exciting things along the way as well. If you’re up for exploring beautiful state parks while you’re in the area, Camp Helen State Park is a great place to start. Located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, Camp Helen State Park is both a regional gem and a historic site that encompasses the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Powell. Endlessly rich natural landscapes make up this 180-acre park which is open to the public daily between 8:00 am and sunset for enjoying. Accessing the park requires $4 per vehicle and $2 per pedestrian or cyclist depending on how you prefer to do your state park sightseeing. Either way, you’re in for a treat.
One of the biggest and perhaps most appealing features of Camp Helen State Park is the fact that it’s home to a beautiful and rare coastal dune lake that’s found in few other places across the planet! While many visitors come to Camp Helen State Park to make the most of their time in the outdoors hiking the trails, swimming in designated areas, beachcombing, fishing, or searching for seabirds, it’s also a place that’s filled with historical landmarks. Here, you might just stumble upon a prehistoric mound that many experts believe date this area back nearly 4,000 years into the past.
A stop at St. Andrews State Park is also well worth your time when you make your way towards Panama City Beach in the summer or fall in pursuit of well-deserved fun! Situated at 4607 State Park Lane, St. Andrews State Park covers a breathtaking 1,200 acres of land along U.S. 98. This state park in particular is renowned for hosting no less than five distinct ecological landscapes within one beautiful location! Seated between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay, this state park is the ideal place to find yourself when you’re craving time snorkeling, swimming, surfing, and exploring. Complete with jetties, picnic pavilions, hiking trails, and shuttle access to Shell Island, St. Andrews State Park is open from 8:00 am until sunset daily and can be accessed for $8 per vehicle.
While exploring one-of-a-kind state parks in Panama City Beach is sure to be inspiring, a trip this way with little ones in tow may mean that you’re in for a stop at a park of another kind entirely: a waterpark! Shipwreck Island Water Park is one of Panama City Beach’s most notorious and highly anticipated stops for those that are in town with family and have little ones of all ages that are needing to be entertained outdoors. This oasis of family fun is found at 12201 Hutchison Boulevard and is open to the swimming public daily between 10:30 am and 5:00 pm. Shallow pools perfect for little ones are paired with high-energy waterslides, rides, and fountains that are suitable for everyone in the family. From the Tipping Bucket and Lazy River to the Raging River and the Ocean Motion wave pool, visitors to Shipwreck Island Water Park are sure to find something that sparks their interest.
Places to Shop
When you find yourself in Panama City Beach in the summer or fall and can’t wait to indulge in a bit of retail therapy, there’s no reason to put off your plans. Pier Park Mall is by far the area’s most exciting and comprehensive shopping stop, offering up visitors plenty of options when it comes to brands, storefronts, and a vibrant atmosphere to enjoy along the way. A giant archway lets you know you’ve reached this unique open-air destination which hosts over 125 stores and restaurants in total! Whether you plan on spending a few hours here or an entire day, it’s likely to be a place you’ll find yourself wanting to return to time and again. While shopping enthusiasts will love the combination of big-name brand stores and unique boutiques, those who are more inclined to look for entertainment will love that the complex hosts a laser tag arena a well as movie theaters to enjoy.
The waters that surround Panama City Beach are pristine and appealing. It’s hard to resist the urge to jump in and enjoy encounters of the marine kind while you’re in town. While snorkeling is a popular activity to enjoy in this area and there are plenty of boat rental companies ready to get you out on the waves and enjoying your day—there’s something to be said about diving that calls to travelers with a passion for adventure.
Be sure to plan time to partner up with Panama City Diving while you’re here in the summer or fall and are looking to take your underwater fun to the next level of excellence. Panama City Diving offers certification courses taught by enthusiastic and experienced divers that provide you with the option to head for open and deeper waters if you don’t already hold your certification credentials. More experienced divers can book chartered dives that give them a chance to explore prime locations alongside an experienced Panama City Beach travel guide. Trips are limited to just 14 divers at a time, making for an intimate and more meaningful experience overall. If you’re looking for even more to enjoy, this company can pair dive excursions with spear fishing tours upon request.
Unique Stops and Attractions from Our Panama City Beach Travel Guide
For all of its natural beauty and eco-friendly appeal, Panama City Beach is also an amazing place to find yourself if you’re looking for more off-the-beaten-path entertainment. For many summer and fall travelers, it’s best showcased with a stop at Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Conveniently located at 9907 Front Beach Road, Ripley’s Believe It or Not is an entirely unique, and family-fun museum that’s both interactive and mind-bending! The museum itself is designed to look like a colorful sinking ship, and stepping inside, the wonder only increases for guests. Enjoy taking time to browse a collection of displays and exhibits that are designed to perplex and impress.
Oddities are celebrated at every turn from exhibits that showcase how you might compare to the world’s tallest man, to those that feature mysteries related to shipwrecks and dinosaurs alike. In addition to the mesmerizing display floor, guests to Ripley’s Believe It or Not can enjoy exploring the on-site mirror maze, enjoying a 7D movie theater experience, and giving the impossible laser race a try.
A Focus on Conservation
If you’re interested in incorporating some education and insightful natural interactions into your Panama City Beach experience, planning for time at ZooWorld—Zoological and Botanical Conservatory is a good idea. Situated at 9008 Front Beach Road, this stop is a great place to learn more about wildlife conservation efforts locally and abroad while enjoying the fact that you’re surrounded by more than 260 amazing creatures right on-site! The setting in ZooWorld is decidedly tropical and the staff are more than willing to offer up insight into the care provided to rehabilitated animals and those that have found a permanent home at ZooWorld too. From giraffes and lemurs to alligators and porcupines, visitors will get a close look at some of the world’s most intriguing creatures while simultaneously learning what it takes to keep them thriving in the wild despite all of the natural and human-based challenges they face.
Restaurants to Enjoy in Panama City Beach
Whenever you go on vacation, finding savory stops to enjoy is always a highlight and a trip to Panama City Beach is no exception to the rule. Sharkey’s Beachfront Restaurant is a great place to add to your savory itinerary for those nights when you’re in the mood for seafood while Nick’s Slice of Brooklyn Pizza will cater to any craving for New York Style fare while you’re enjoying warm and shoreside settings. Firefly is a choice eatery for those excited to make the most of a romantic night out at an elegant steakhouse while the Pink Pelican Ice Cream Bar is a must when you’re just looking for something to satisfy a sweet tooth on a hot afternoon.
Places to Stay While You’re in Town
For all of the fun and adventure that’s waiting to be found in Panama City Beach, knowing you’re booked into a vacation rental that not only keeps you close to the fun but guarantees comfort, convenience, and luxury at every turn is a sure way to elevate your experience from start to finish.
When you’re ready to transition from vacation dreaming into vacation planning, partnering with the property professionals at Vacations Perfected makes the process easier than you ever imagined. Guests who book with Vacations Perfected will enjoy access to a versatile portfolio of area rentals that are beautiful, inviting, and come furnished with the essentials and luxurious details that every traveler deserves to enjoy! If tasteful furnishings, fully equipped kitchens, spacious floor plans, and unsurpassed views are your idea of a great experience, our rental options are sure to please. Many of our properties are located in prime areas that make access to both the beach and in-town entertainment a breeze. From properties with access to wi-fi to those that feature fantastic multi-level balconies to maximize the view, Vacations Perfected is here to make sure every guest enjoys a customized Panama City Beach stay from the moment they step through the front door. Reach out today to learn more!