panama city beach travel guide

Escape the crowds at Shell Island. (Photo: Getty Images)

Beach Travel

Plot Your Visit With the Ultimate Travel Guide to Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach is a popular vacationing spot for everyone from retirees to families to couples. The pristine white sand beaches and many miles of oceanfront across the famed Emerald Coast are just a few of the reasons why visitors come here year after year. Follow our PCB travel guide to get the most out of your next trip:

Great Weather

Northwest Florida boasts an idyllic climate for fall and winter travelers. With a temperate, coastal climate, Panama City has warmer days and cooler nights, making it a great destination for the holidays.

PCB’s yearly average high temperature is a comfortable 77 degrees with a low temperature of 59 degrees. July is the hottest month at a 90 degrees average, but ocean winds keep it comfortable, as will all your water-based excursions.


Panama City’s Beaches are more than just a destination; they are a beautiful sight and backdrop for any occasion. The oceanfront is lined from start to finish with famous stark-white sandy beaches. Shell Island, a seven-mile-long uninhabited island, is a favorite of locals and visitors alike.

You might be lucky enough to come across endangered loggerhead and green sea turtles, deer, nesting shorebirds and crabs.

Festivals and Annual Events

Plan your vacation around some Panama City Beach’s famous attractions including festivals, ecotourism and golf:

Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam: Held in late August, this event attracts a star-studded line up of top country performers.

Pirate Festival: Ahoy Matey! Bring ye’ family and kids to the Pirates of the High Seas Fest in October to hear live music, watch a magic show and fireworks, and participate in pirate-themed activities you never thought you’d come across.

Beach Home for the Holidays: In addition to its private beach, for fun holiday events starting Thanksgiving weekend through the Beach Ball Drop on New Year’s Eve, check out Sheraton Bay Point Resort’s event schedule, perfect for the whole family.

panama city beach travel guide
Experience nature at Camp Helen State Park. (Photo: Getty Images)

Nature Excursions

Ecotourism has become quite popular in Panama City, and there are countless opportunities to participate in fun outdoor activities.

St. Andrews State Park: There is something for everyone to do at this park. Fish from the pier or cruise the St. Andrews Bay/Gulf of Mexico by pontoon boat and soar across stunning open waters. Wind through nature trails and diverse coastal plant communities with a chance to see a variety of birds. Your second stop is Shell Island, with its 700-acre natural habitat home to a variety of aquatic life: sea turtles, deer, sandpipers, gulls and snowy plovers.

Gayle’s Trails: Run, bike or walk the trail system that spans the entirety of PCB. See the natural beauty first hand when you cross the cypress swamp boardwalk or mountain bike through the nature and greenery.

Camp Helen State Park: This hidden gem lies on the western border of PCB, sitting between the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Powell. The park offers coastal dunes, salt marshes, freshwater wetlands and scrub oak forests.


Once the sun goes down, extend the fun to all the famous night spots PCB has to offer. There’s no mandatory dress code, but flip flops are encouraged. Dance all night long to your favorite country music at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge (sister club to Nashville’s famous Honkey-Tonk) or Splash Bar. Prefer to belt it out? Head over to some of the nation’s best beach karaoke bars under the Newby’s banner. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

Food & Drink

You’ve clearly worked up an appetite during all these adventures, so make sure to hit up some of the best eats in PCB.

Dee’s Hangout: This seafood-centric spot offers a fun, relaxed atmosphere, affordable food and great drink specials each day. Try some Southern favorites, like fried catfish and jambalaya.

Eat My Pasty: The menu items are inspired by the U.K. at this restaurant but sourced from local ingredients. Don’t miss your chance to taste truly authentic English dishes like fish and chips and a Cornish pasty, a “fast food” item similar to a hot pocket.