Best Panama City Beach Florida Attractions in 2023
You will be thrilled with the best Panama City Beach Florida attractions in 2023 that are perfect for beach goers, families and all types of travelers who are interested in having fun. While you are visiting the area you can visit 27-miles of white sand beaches, lounge on the undeveloped Shell Island and visit the natural beauty at St. Andrews State Park or hike the trails within Conservation Park. When you want to learn about the wild and marine life of the area then stop at the ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory, Water Planet and you can swim with dolphins at Gulf World Marine Park. Families will enjoy adrenaline packed places like Coconut Creek Family Fun Center, Race City PCB and Shipwreck Island Waterpark. Other exciting options include a day of oddity at Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, fishing at the Russell Fields City Pier and you can relax at the Panama City Beach Winery. Read on for a variety of Panama City Beach points of interest.
Gulf World Marine Park
One of the best Panama City Beach attractions for all types of travelers that like to learn and interact with various species of marine life is to plan a stop at the Gulf World Marine Park. Located along Front Beach Road just north of the Beach at Panama City, the Gulf World Marine Park is packed with various activities that range from swimming with dolphins to educational lectures about the sea to entertaining shows where the marine life will make you laugh and smile. There are three main areas at Gulf World Marine Park which offer several interactive events with various marine life like feeding sharks and turtles; swimming with dolphins; snorkeling with stingrays and you can even pet a penguin. The Gulf World Marine Park boasts numerous shows throughout the day which include performances from sea lions, dolphins, sharks and other marine life. The Gulf World Marine Park is a great place for families to learn more about conservation efforts and about the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico.
When you are ready to spend a day on a pristine beach area with a beautiful natural environment then a great Panama City Beach attractions for you is to plan a trip to Shell Island. Located southeast of St. Andrews State Park across St. Andrews Pass, Shell Island is situated on 700-acres of pristine environment that is accessible only by water whether by shuttle, boat, canoe or kayak. Once at Shell Island you will be delighted with pure white sand that is as soft as sugar while you walk the coastline trying to find that perfect place to relax. When you are lounging on the sand you can spot dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, look for shells, go snorkeling in the incredible turquoise waters and swimming is great off the coastline. There are nature trails for you to enjoy that will bring the natural wildlife of the island to your eyes. During the high-season there is a concession boat offshore that rents kayaks and has some food as well as beverage options but Shell Island is completely undeveloped without services like restrooms so whatever you need for the day make sure you bring the items with you.
Ripley's Believe it or Not!
The Ripley’s Believe it or Not! is one of the more odd Panama City Beach attractions but for travelers who like odd items this is a great place to spend some time. Located along Front Beach Road adjacent to Wonderworks, the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! has over 500 exhibits of some of the strangest things known to mankind. Once inside the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! you will be surprised by what is really inside the Odditorium which includes items such as shrunken heads, a vampire killing kit from the 19th century, photographs of the world’s tallest man, the Mexican Vampire Woman and lots of one-of-a-kind artifacts as well as sculptures. Other exciting options inside Ripley’s Believe it or Not! are a 7D movie theater, the Ripley’s Impossible LaseRace and an unbelievable Mirror Maze as well as a unique kid’s corner filled with tons of interactive activities.
Beach at Panama City
One of the most popular Panama City Beach attractions for beach goers as well as travelers is to plan a day at the Beach at Panama City. Located along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, the Beach at Panama City has white sugary soft sand that is wonderful to help you relax or play numerous beach games. Once at the Beach at Panama City you can walk for miles along the shoreline collecting shells and enjoy a plethora of watersport activities that range from swimming to snorkeling to wind surfing to kite boarding. You will find plenty of vendors with rental equipment such as chairs, umbrellas and cabanas. The Beach at Panama City is an ideal place to lounge under the sun while soaking up the sounds of the Gulf of Mexico and you can even visit the Russell Field City Pier where you can go fishing or have a great lunch of fresh seafood.
St. Andrews State Park
One of the most popular Panama City Beach attractions for outdoor lovers that like to immerse themselves in the natural environment while enjoying numerous activities is to plan a stop at the St. Andrews State Park. Located on the eastern end of the peninsula 3-miles away from Panama City Beach, the St. Andrews State Park is nestled between the Grand Lagoon on the north, the Gulf of Mexico to the south and St. Andrews Pass on the east. St. Andrews State Park is situated on 1,900-acres which includes 1.5-miles of white sand beaches and boasts a plethora of watersport activities from fishing off of two piers to snorkeling to scuba diving to kayaking. Within St. Andrews State Park you will find two nature/hiking trails, an environmental interpretive center where you can watch several interactive exhibits to help you understand the ecosystem and there are 2-miles of paved bicycle paths. The park also has a campground, a boat marina, a concession stand with watersport rentals as well as numerous picnic areas and a playground. Another exciting item at St. Andrews State Park is a geocache game where you can search for your treasures by finding several way points.
Photo by Karsun Designs
When you are interested in finding the best shopping in the area that includes numerous retailers, restaurants and other entertainment venues then the best Panama City Beach attraction for you to visit is Pier Park. Located adjacent to Aaron Bessant Park along Front Beach Road, the Pier Park boasts more than 800,000 square feet of shopping and entertainment from over 125 venues. Shopping venues at Pier Park range from J.C. Penney to Forever 21 to Target and there is a Dillard’s anchor store. Other shopping opportunities exist at American Eagle Outfitters, Victoria Secret, Bath and Body Works, Marshalls as well as Old Navy and there is a Nike Factory Outlet. When you get hungry you can have fun at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, the Back Porch prepares seafood and Dick’s Last Resort has a lively atmosphere. For adults in the evening you can indulge in a libation at Tootsies Orchid Lounge while the children experience the Dark Ride XD or play a game of laser tag at Pirate’s Quest.
If you are a nature lover and like to get outdoors then the best Panama City Beach attraction for you to experience is the superb hiking at Conservation Park. Located between the West Bay and Sunnyside areas just northwest of downtown, the Conservation Park is situated within 2,900-acres of wetlands and pine forest that boast over 24-miles of hiking/biking trails as well as 1-mile of boardwalk to help you explore the park. Conservation Park is the perfect spot to exercise while experiencing an incredible landscape that is packed with wildlife, flora and fauna that is native to Florida. There are 12 different hiking/biking trails that range from 0.6-miles to 11-miles where you can be engulfed in the outdoors while watching the numerous bird and animal species. While at Conservation Park you can relax on one of the many benches, at one of the watering stations or in one of the numerous picnic areas that help you enjoy a fun filled day in the great outdoors.
Photo by g - s - h
Russell Fields City Pier
The Russel Fields City Pier is one of the most popular Panama City Beach attractions for all types of travelers that want to experience a breathtaking sunset as well as have a chance to catch some fish. Located across the street from the Aaron Bessant Park along Front Beach Road, the Russell Fields City Pier was constructed in 1977 and is the longest pier stretching into the Gulf of Mexico at 1,500-feet. The Russell Fields City Pier is a perfect place for people that want to have a panoramic view of the surrounding coastline from a vantage point in the Gulf of Mexico and there are numerous benches along the pier for relaxation while you watch the blue sky turn into a canvass of pastel colors at sunset. The Russell Fields City Pier is the ideal place to go fishing where you can catch the fish of your dreams such as a bonita, a king mackerel, pompano or a flounder. There are daily fishing licenses available at the pier and you can find all the fishing equipment like rods, reels, tackle as well as bait for rent or purchase.
Race City PCB
The Race City PCB is a Panama City Beach attraction that is a great way to spend some quality family time while experiencing activities from kid-friendly thrill rides to miniature golf to adrenaline filled rides for adults. Located just east of downtown along Front Beach Road, the Race City PCB offers eight thrill rides that are ideal for families, a go-kart track, miniature golf, an arcade, a sea maze and an incredible SkyCoaster. Once at Race City PCB your family will be delighted with the family-friendly thrill rides that are great for children and your teen age kids will like the SkyCoaster that has you free-falling from 137-feet at speeds of 60 miles per hour. The miniature golf course is lighted with black lights and makes for a cosmic atmosphere. There are four distinct go-kart tracks that will have the family racing each other around hairpin turns and fast straightaways. The Sea Maze is a fabulous look at the underwater world where you can search for pirate treasure while other attractions include a roller coaster, bumper boats, a10,000-foot arcade and the Spin Zone will have you dizzy while thumping your family members in a crazy bumper car.
Slingshot and Indy Speedway
The Slingshot and Indy Speedway is an ideal Panama City Beach attraction for families and thrill seekers that are looking to combine adrenaline with a fun time. Located along Thomas Drive less than 1-mile south of downtown the Slingshot and Indy Speedway features three distinct adrenaline filled rides that will please everyone in the family. The Vomatron is fashioned after a N.A.S.A. training exercise and resembles the 200-foot arm that spun astronauts in circles reaching speeds of 70 miles per hour which creates up to 5G’s of force that is filled with pure adrenaline. The Slingshot will catapult your body 300-feet vertically into the air while reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour as you scream for mercy from the 40 tons of force that is created by the 200 plus springs. Families can also go racing on some of the fastest go-karts in the country on a 360-foot bean shaped track which is ideal for racing your family members to the finish line at high speeds. Once at the Slingshot and Indy Speedway there are a variety of packages to help make your day fun filled with excitement.
Gator Country Alligator Park
When you are looking for an excitement filled with Florida wildlife and interesting educational experiences then a great Panama City Beach attraction to visit is the Gator Country Alligator Park. Located along the shores of West Bay, the Gator Country Alligator Park is less than 8-miles from Panama City Beach and provides for a perfect day in the outdoors. You will be pleased with riding on a state-of-the-art authentic air boat that glides just inches above the water while filling your tank full of adrenaline. At the Gator Country Alligator Park you will learn from a trained naturalist about the ecosystem of the Florida Everglades and you will have plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife that ranges from alligators to dolphins to manatees to bald eagles. There are several excursions that are ideal for families that include times during the day and even a sunset cruise which is perfect for spotting many of the unique animals in the area.
Panama City Beach Winery
The Panama City Beach Winery is a great Panama City Beach attraction that is ideal for adults looking for something special for a wine or as a souvenir which offers a distinctive different taste of joy. Located on the upper end of the peninsula just east of the Beach at Panama City along Thomas Drive, the Panama City Beach Winery specializes in splendid wines that are made from various fruits for an exceptional taste and twist on traditional wines. The Panama City Beach Winery boasts wine made of blueberry, peach, mango, key lime, blackberry and other delightful fruits. You can also indulge in eight flavors of wine slushies that are perfect for a hot summer day on the beach or back home on your patio. While you are visiting the Panama City Beach Winery be sure to take time out to attend one of their tasting parties which are available daily at various times during hours of operation.
If you are searching for a unique Panama City Beach attraction that puts you in the water with wild marine life and teaches you the importance of stewardship towards the ocean as well as marine life then visiting the Water Planet is an excellent idea. Located 3.5-miles away from Panama City Beach across the Grand Lagoon, the Water Planet is an institution that has several programs dedicated to dolphin therapy to help disabled and emotionally challenged children. When you are at the Water Planet there are numerous ways for your child to have fun in a therapeutic way to help them feel better about life and the marine world we exist around. Therapy programs range from swimming with dolphins to dolphin massages to cranio-sacral to music and there are opportunities to learn more about marine life conservation and protection. The Water Planet offers excursions that allow for shipwreck viewing, exploring Shell Island and entering a marine ecology wet lab that brings everything together in a safe and therapeutic way for children as well as their parents.
Coconut Creek Family Fun Park
When you want to find a great family-friendly Panama City Beach attraction that involves a challenging setting of miniature golf and a large maze to navigate then the Coconut Creek Family Fun Park is perfect. Located just east of Gulf of Mexico along Front Beach Road, the Coconut Creek Family Fun Park has two 18-hole miniature golf courses and a football field sized maze for you to enjoy. While playing on one of the two miniature golf courses you will be delighted with the landscape that includes waterfalls, bridges, flower gardens and numerous animal sculptures that range from elephants to tigers to alligators. The two courses are designed to be challenging yet fun for the whole family as everyone tries for the low score of your group. The Human or Gran Maze is superb for learning how to navigate through an intricate maze that offers only one way out for guests. The maze is ideal fun for people of all ages from babies to senior citizens as everyone tries to get out first or you can work as team trying to accomplish the difficult maze.
Shipwreck Island Waterpark
If you want to experience one of the most family-friendly Panama City Beach attractions that offer plenty of excitement and wet fun for everyone, then you should plan a trip to the Shipwreck Island Waterpark. Located north of the downtown beach area along Hutchison Boulevard, the Shipwreck Island Waterpark is situated on 20-acres that has over 3 million gallons of water and eleven outstanding water activities that are ideal for the whole family. When you are at Shipwreck Island Waterpark you can experience the thrill of the 65-foot high Tree Top Drop or race at speeds up to 35 miles per hour while on the Pirate’s Plunge Racing Slide. Other exciting options include a 500,000 gallon wave pool, a 400-foot White Knuckle River ride on inner tubes and the Great Shipwreck which features a cable drop into the lagoon. Children will be pleased with the Tadpole Hole that is complete with several water features, a wave pool for kids and a yellow submarine. While at the Shipwreck Island Waterpark you can indulge in amusement park style food and drink that ranges from funnel cakes to hot dogs to Dippin Dots to pizza.
ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory
One of the most popular family-friendly Panama City Beach attractions is to take the family to the ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory where you will experience an incredible interactive time with hundreds of animals. Located in the downtown area along Front Beach Road, the Zooworld Zoological Conservatory is within 7-acres of a manicured botanical garden and features over 200 animals for your family to watch in a surreal natural habitat. The ZooWorld Zooligical Conservatory has several unique experiences for your children that include numerous opportunities to feed animals such as giraffes and alligators as well as get up close to lemur or a sloth. When you are strolling through the grounds you will be delighted with viewing animals like peacocks, tigers, iguanas, lions and several reptiles such as a red tailed boa. Other options like visiting the petting zoo which is filled with traditional farm animals like goats or you can listen to an informative presentation by one of the zookeepers about the ongoing conservation efforts in the Panama City Beach area.