Panama City Beach may be known for its 27-mile stretch of sugar white sand, turquoise green waters, and year-round sunshine, but what may be surprising to the average visitor is the wide variety of activities and amenities the destination has to offer. Whether you are looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure, a romantic weekend away, a fun-packed family vacation, or looking to take a break in nature, the “Real.FUN.Beach” has you covered. Visitors from all over the world choose to come the area for our beaches, but there is much to be discovered beyond the shoreline. If you are looking for a little action on your next trip, we have a list of exciting and unique activities for you to explore.
If you have been called a thrill-seeker, a dare devil, or have a thirst for adventure, your vacation may not be spent lounging by the pool, or napping under an umbrella. Chart your own course by jumping on a jet ski or renting a pontoon boat to travel the gulf waters. Shell Island, located in between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay, is a seven-mile long, undeveloped barrier Island enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. Filled with protected sand dunes, coastal scrub forest, and an inland lake, Shell Island makes for the perfect place to cruise the open waters, and explore its undiscovered treasures. You might even make a few friends along your trip, as dolphins, deer and sea turtles are known to visit the island.
Rated one of the top destinations for snorkelers in the world by TripAdvisor, Panama City Beach is a hot spot for underwater discovery. For beginners, snorkeling at the jetties of St. Andrews State Park is the perfect place to get your feet wet. Sheltered by a thick row of rocks, the seven to 15-foot deep pool allows for calmer waters to see a variety of fish and sea life. If you are lucky, you may even see a raccoon or two trying to steal the bait from the fisherman along the jetties! For the more experienced diver, there are a wide array of dive shops throughout the area, providing every piece of gear and gadget to rent or purchase for the perfect dive. Open water scuba certifications are available, as well as mixed gases diving or cave diving courses for the advanced diver in your crew.
On the other side of Panama City Beach lies a whole new terrane. The area known as “West Bay” serves a different type of boat exploration — one that may be a little faster than your typical sunset cruise. Airboat tours to see the lesser known parts of the beach can be found right at the foot of the Buchanan Bridge. The 635-horsepower engine will propel you through the Florida salt marshes to visit the alligators nestled deep in the swampy waters. It is not uncommon for riders to see alligators sunbathing on the grass, or dolphins swimming through the channel.
Whether you are traveling with little ones or a kid at heart, visiting a water park is always a good idea. A 65 foot slide, a 500,000 gallon wave pool and acres of pools and attractions are sure to satisfy your craving for adrenaline. Shipwreck Water Park, located on Middle Beach, has three MILLION gallons of water soaking visitors each day and providing attractions the whole family will enjoy. Rated as one of the Best Water Parks in America, Shipwreck will keep you cool for a full of fun and sun — so “water” you waiting for?
While the water provides plenty of action for our visitors, but there is fun to be had on dry land, too! Full throttle options such as rollercoasters, go cart racing and the world famous Slingshot are all available to you on your next trip to Panama City Beach. Take drive down Front Beach Road during any time of day and you will see visitors from all over enjoying these wild attractions.