Panama City Beach is a shining gem on the Emerald Coast, beckoning families with its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters like a siren song.
The coastal town is a favorite among vacationers seeking a family-friendly getaway, thanks to its plethora of activities tailored specifically to children.
From beaches to amusement parks, Panama City Beach offers something for everyone.
In this post, we’ll explore the best things to do in Panama City Beach with kids, ensuring that your next family vacation is both memorable and entertaining.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor to the United States or a seasoned traveler, this guide will provide valuable insights into the top family-friendly attractions in the area.
So, if you’re planning to visit Panama City Beach with kids and looking for the best places to stay, including Airbnb options, read on!
How to Get to Panama City Beach
Families with kids have several transportation options for getting to Panama City Beach. The easiest and most convenient way to get there is by car.
If you’re driving from out of state, the beach is located just off the major highway I-10, making it easily accessible.
The beach is approximately 90 miles southeast of Pensacola and 100 miles southwest of Tallahassee, two of Florida’s major cities.
If you’re flying into the area, the closest airport is Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, located about 20 miles from the beach.
Several major airlines offer flights to this airport, including Delta, Southwest, and United. Once you arrive at the airport, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to your hotel or vacation rental.
Another option for families is to take a bus to Panama City Beach. Greyhound and other bus companies operate services to the area, although this may not be the most convenient option if you have small children or a lot of luggage.
How Many Days to Spend in Panama City Beach
The amount of time you should spend in Panama City Beach can vary depending on your interests and preferences, but generally, a minimum of three to four days is recommended to fully enjoy the area’s top attractions.
This amount of time allows you to visit popular destinations such as the beach, Gulf World Marine Park, Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and WonderWorks, and still have time to explore the surrounding areas.
However, if you want to take your time and experience everything the area has to offer, a week-long stay is ideal.
You can spend your days lounging on the beach, taking part in water sports, and visiting local attractions, and then enjoy the area’s nightlife in the evenings.
With a week-long stay, families can also take day trips to nearby destinations such as St. Andrews State Park or the historic city of Pensacola.
Best Places to Stay With Your Family
When planning a family vacation to Panama City Beach, finding the right accommodation is crucial to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Fortunately, there are plenty of family-friendly lodging options available in the area. Here are some of the best places to stay with your family while vacationing at Panama City Beach:
- Beachfront Resorts: Staying at a beachfront resort is the perfect option for families who want easy access to the beach and a range of amenities. Many of these resorts offer swimming pools, children’s activities, and on-site dining options.
- Condos: Condos offer more space than traditional hotel rooms, making them an excellent choice for families. Most condos come equipped with full kitchens, allowing families to save money by preparing their meals.
- Vacation Rentals: Vacation rentals offer the ultimate flexibility and privacy, making them an ideal choice for families who want more space and independence during their vacation. Many vacation rentals come equipped with full kitchens, multiple bedrooms, and private pools.
- Campgrounds: If your family loves the outdoors, camping can be a great option. There are several campgrounds in the area that offer a range of amenities, including swimming pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
- Airbnb: Renting an Airbnb can be an excellent choice for families who want a unique and personalized vacation experience. Airbnb rentals range from cozy beach cottages to luxurious villas and can offer more space and privacy than traditional hotels
1. Panama City Beach
If a vacation were a pizza, Panama City Beach would be the ultimate family-friendly topping. It’s a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty that caters to families with kids.
Here are some reasons why Panama City Beach is an excellent choice for families with kids:
- Endless Beach Fun: The beautiful, white sand beaches of Panama City Beach are perfect for kids of all ages. They can build sandcastles, play in the waves, and collect seashells.
- Family-Friendly Attractions: Panama City Beach offers a wide range of family-friendly attractions, from Gulf World Marine Park to Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and WonderWorks.
- Outdoor Adventures: Families can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in Panama City Beach, such as hiking, biking, and kayaking.
- Delicious Dining: Panama City Beach is home to a wide range of dining options that cater to families with kids. From seafood restaurants to casual cafes, there’s something for everyone.
- Affordable: Panama City Beach is an affordable vacation destination, making it an excellent choice for families on a budget.
2. Pier Park
Pier Park is a massive outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment center that offers a variety of attractions that cater to families with kids. Here are some reasons why Pier Park is a great destination for families with kids:
- Variety of Stores and Entertainment: Pier Park has over 120 stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues, offering a variety of options for families with kids. The center features popular retailers such as Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as unique boutiques and specialty shops.
- Amusement Rides: Pier Park is home to several amusement rides, including a Ferris wheel, carousel, and train. These rides offer a fun and exciting way for families with kids to experience the center and take in the beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Kid-Friendly Activities: Pier Park has several kid-friendly activities, such as a splash pad, playground, and arcade. These activities provide a safe and fun environment for kids to play and enjoy themselves.
- Delicious Dining: Pier Park is home to a variety of restaurants that cater to families with kids. From fast-food chains to sit-down restaurants, there’s something for every taste and budget.
- Free Entertainment: Pier Park offers free entertainment throughout the year, including concerts, movies, and festivals. These events provide families with kids with an opportunity to enjoy the center’s vibrant atmosphere and have fun without breaking the bank.
3. Panama City Beach Wine
Are you a wine lover planning a family vacation to Panama City Beach?
You’ll be happy to know that Panama City Beach is not just a family-friendly destination, but also a wine lover’s paradise.
Here are some reasons why Panama City Beach wine is good:
- Award-Winning Wines: Panama City Beach is home to several award-winning wineries, producing a variety of delicious wines that cater to different tastes.
- Wine Tastings: Many of the wineries in Panama City Beach offer wine tastings, allowing visitors to sample a variety of wines and learn about the winemaking process.
- Beautiful Vineyards: The wineries in Panama City Beach are located in beautiful vineyards, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
- Food Pairings: The wineries in Panama City Beach offer food pairings, allowing visitors to sample delicious local cuisine that complements the wines.
- Unique Souvenirs: Many of the wineries in Panama City Beach offer unique souvenirs, such as wine glasses, bottle stoppers, and wine-themed apparel.
4. Gulf World Marine Park
Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach is like an underwater treasure trove that offers a fascinating and educational experience for families with kids. Here are some reasons why Gulf World Marine Park is a great destination for families with kids:
- Marine Life Exhibits: Gulf World Marine Park features several exhibits that showcase a variety of marine life, including dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and tropical fish.
- Animal Interactions: Gulf World Marine Park offers several opportunities for families with kids to interact with the animals, such as swimming with dolphins, feeding stingrays, and petting sea lions.
- Educational Programs: Gulf World Marine Park offers educational programs that teach families with kids about the importance of conservation and preservation of marine life.
- Live Shows: Gulf World Marine Park features live shows that showcase the animals’ talents and abilities, such as dolphin and sea lion shows.
- Conservation Efforts: Gulf World Marine Park is committed to conservation and preservation efforts and actively supports several conservation initiatives.
5. St. Andrews State Park
St. Andrews State Park is an excellent destination for families with kids for several reasons.
First, the park offers a wide range of outdoor activities that are perfect for kids of all ages. Whether your family is interested in swimming, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, or hiking, St. Andrews State Park has something for everyone.
One of the most popular activities at the park is swimming, with two beautiful beaches that are ideal for families with young children. The water is clear, calm, and shallow, making it safe for children to play and swim. There are also several picnic areas and playgrounds throughout the park, providing families with a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery.
In addition to the outdoor activities, St. Andrews State Park also has educational opportunities for children. The park offers ranger-led programs, where kids can learn about the local wildlife, plants, and ecosystem. The programs are designed to be interactive and engaging, providing kids with a hands-on learning experience.
Finally, St. Andrews State Park has a variety of accommodations for families with kids. There are campsites, cabins, and even a lodge for families to stay in while they explore the park. With plenty of amenities and facilities, families can enjoy a comfortable and enjoyable stay at the park.
6. ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory
Visiting the ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory is like taking your kids on a wild adventure that they will never forget. It is an excellent destination for families with kids because of the many unique and exciting experiences that it offers.
First, the ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory is home to a vast collection of animals from all over the world. Kids will have the opportunity to see animals up close that they may have only seen in books or on television. The conservatory also provides educational programs and animal encounters, where kids can learn about the animals and their habitats, making it a fun and engaging learning experience.
Moreover, the conservatory has interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that are perfect for kids. Kids can participate in feeding the animals, petting the goats and llamas, and even having a personal encounter with a sloth. These activities will not only entertain but also educate and inspire children to develop an appreciation for animals and conservation.
Additionally, the conservatory has a beautiful botanical garden, which is perfect for a family stroll. The garden features a variety of plant species, including many exotic species, which can be a great opportunity to teach children about the importance of plants in the ecosystem.
Lastly, the ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory offers a range of amenities and facilities to make the experience comfortable for families with kids. There are restrooms, food stands, picnic areas, and a gift shop, making it easy to spend an entire day exploring the conservatory.
7. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
Ripley’s Believe It or Not is like a treasure trove of oddities and curiosities, making it an ideal destination for families with kids.
Just like how children are naturally curious and love to explore and discover new things, Ripley’s offers an immersive experience that sparks their imagination and sense of wonder.
The attraction features a diverse collection of artifacts and exhibits from all over the world, including bizarre artwork, unusual natural phenomena, and strange cultural practices.
It’s an educational and interactive experience that encourages children to learn while having fun.
Additionally, the attraction offers a range of activities and experiences, such as interactive exhibits, virtual reality, and themed galleries, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
8. SkyWheel Panama City Beach
SkyWheel Panama City Beach is like a gateway to a magical world in the sky, making it an excellent destination for families with kids.
Just like how a gateway can transport you to a different place, the SkyWheel takes you high above the city and provides a breathtaking view of the surroundings.
It’s an immersive and exciting experience that sparks the imagination of children and allows them to see the world from a new perspective.
The attraction features 30 air-conditioned gondolas, each providing a unique view of the city and the coastline.
Moreover, it offers a range of activities and experiences, such as a light and music show and VIP gondolas with glass bottoms, providing a truly memorable experience for families.
9. Shell Island
Shell Island is like a hidden gem waiting to be discovered, making it a fantastic destination for families with kids.
Just like how gems are precious and rare, Shell Island’s pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters are a natural wonder that children will love to explore.
It’s a secluded and tranquil oasis that provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The island features an abundance of marine life, including dolphins, sea turtles, and exotic fish, making it a great destination for snorkeling and wildlife watching.
Additionally, the island offers a range of activities, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
10. Coconut Creek Family Fun Park
Looking for a fun and exciting destination for families with kids?
Look no further than Coconut Creek Family Fun Park! This attraction offers a range of activities that are perfect for families with children.
With two 18-hole mini-golf courses, a challenging ropes course, and a thrilling zipline ride, there’s plenty of excitement to be had.
Additionally, the park features a giant maze, a gem mining experience, and a playground, ensuring that there’s something for children of all ages to enjoy.
It’s a great destination for families looking to spend quality time together and create lasting memories.
Final thoughts on things to do in Panama City beach with kids
Panama City Beach is a wonderful destination for families with kids, offering a wide range of activities and attractions that are sure to keep everyone entertained.
From exploring the beautiful beaches and waters to enjoying thrilling adventures at family-friendly parks, there’s something for every age group and interest.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Panama City Beach has it all.
So, if you’re planning a family trip, be sure to consider this beautiful destination.
Have you been to Panama City Beach with your family?
What were some of your favorite activities?
Let us know in the comments below!
1 thought on “Top 10 Authentic Things Families With Kids Can Do In Panama City Beach (The Ultimate Guide)”
It is very difficult to travel with children, but Panama seems like a suitable place. I will probably go here