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Panama City Beach

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Florida Panhandle : Emerald Coast : Panama City Beach
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Panama City Beach is a city in the panhandle of Florida located within Bay County. It is approximately halfway between the state capitol, Tallahassee, and Pensacola.

Understand[edit]

Panama City Beach, Florida

The area including Panama City Beach is known as the Emerald Coast, as well as the Redneck Riviera, due to a large number of regional tourists. While many people call Panama City Beach, Panama City, it should be noted that they are separate cities, separated by a St. Andrew's Bay, with the beaches and a large proportion of tourist activities being in Panama City Beach, and more business-oriented activities being in Panama City.

History[edit]

The St. Andrews Bay area was home to Native Americans before it was settled as a community in the 1800s. Pirates found the deep pockets of the Bay ideal to lie in wait for merchant ships in route to Mexico or Spain. Legend has it that many a pirate buried his share of treasure at Spanish Shanty Point on Shell Island.

Another area teeming with history in Panama City Beach is St Andrews State Recreation Area. During World War II, it was part of the St. Andrews Sound Military Reservation. Circular cannon platforms are still in place near the jetties. Opened in 1951, the park now covers more than 1,200 acres.

For quite some time Panama City Beach has been a popular vacation destination, especially among people in the Southern United States. The city is also a very popular spring break destination, sometimes being referred to as "The Spring Break Capital of the World," with over 500,000 college and high school students who arrive during the months of March and April. Many local businesses create secondary websites specifically to appeal to this large Spring Break market, to avoid polarizing their year-round traffic by using content targeted towards a younger audience, such as www.springbreakfunplace.com [1].

Well-known locations in the city were places such as "The Hang-Out" at the Long Beach Resort motel and the now closed Miracle Strip Amusement Park. There has recently been a construction boom and the cityscape is now characterized by high-rise hotels and condominiums.

Panama City is a very popular family vacation spot due to its many attractions, shops, and white sand beaches.

Climate[edit]

noframe

Check the weather forecast for Panama City Beach from NOAA.


Panama City Beach has a humid subtropical climate, with wet, humid summers having an average high of 94F and low of 77F, and dry, cool winters with average high of 57F, and low of 42F. Fall and spring are moderate, with temperatures generally in the 70sF during the day, 55-65F at night, and lower humidity. During fall, the region can be vulnerable to tropical cyclones and hurricanes.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Panama City Beach is served by the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (IATA: ECP) [2] in neighboring West Bay. NFBIA, while international in name, currently does not offer any regularly scheduled international flights. Delta Air Lines offers daily non-stop service under the Delta Connection brand from Atlanta. Southwest also has flights from Baltimore, Houston-Hobby, Nashville, and St. Louis (seasonal). From the airport it is a short drive to the east end of the Panama City Beach, but due to the long shape of the beaches, it can take a bit longer to reach the west

By car[edit]

Travelers headed to Panama City Beach often drive to the destination, due to the strong regional appeal the area has. There are several routes to take depending on which direction a traveler is coming from. If coming from the North, US Highway 231, State Route 77, State Route 79 are all excellent roads into the area. US Highway 98 is the major East-West Highway along the coast and with the Alternate route the only long distance East-West roads in Panama City Beach.

Arriving by US 231 or SR 77, turn onto 23rd Street in Panama City. Travel the length of the highway until you reach Port Panama City/Gulf Coast Community College and then turn right onto US 98. A few moments later you will be across St. Andrews Bay and in Panama City Beach.

Arriving by US 98 or SR 79, there is nothing more to do to reach Panama City Beach as these two highways take travelers directly to the beaches, with SR 79 terminating at the beach.

If using Interstate 10 to reach Panama City Beach, there will be several exits to take depending on your direction of travel. If arriving from the East, use the exit for US 231. From the exit it is a 50 mile drive to Panama City. If arriving from the West, exit at SR 79. As an alternative you can exit at US 331/DeFuniak Springs in Walton County and head south. US 331 terminates at US 98 and from there is a short drive to Bay County and Panama City Beach.

By bus[edit]

Panama City Beach itself does not have a bus terminal. However, neighboring Panama City does have one that is served by Greyhound [3].

Get around[edit]

Public transportation[edit]

Panama City Beach is served by the Bay Town Trolley [4], which serves routes throughout Bay County. Service is limited on the beach with two routes: Route 8 running from the west end of Front Beach Road to the Panama City Beach Senior Center on Middle Beach Road and Route 7 which runs from the Panama City Beach Senior Center along Middle Beach Road to Thomas Drive to the Gulf Coast Community College transfer station. If you miss the trolley, you can expect to be waiting for a while before the next one comes by. This is a common complaint with the system and has been helped slightly with the splitting of Routes 7 and 8 to provide more frequent service. One-way fare is $1.50.

Car Rentals[edit]

On Panama City Beach there is an Enterprise Rent-a-Car located in the Shoppes at Edgewater next to the Waffle House. If you are arriving by air, all of the major care rental companies (Hertz, Avis, Budget, National, Alamo, and Enterprise Rent-a-Car) are located at the airport, just across from baggage claim.

Other Rentals[edit]

Many visitors to Panama City Beach rent scooters or electric cars to drive along Front Beach Road. There are several different companies and locations to rent from, most of them located along Front Beach Road and Thomas Drive. Check the local phonebook under motorcycle rental for listings. Remember always compare prices and check your hotel lobby for money saving coupons while in Panama City Beach. Enjoy your vacation and be safe!

  • Classic Rentals, 13226 Front Beach Rd., (850) 235-1519.  edit

See[edit][add listing]

Panorama of Panama City Beach
  • Miles of white sandy beaches with beautiful emerald green waters. It's considered to be part of the, "World's most beautiful beaches" beacause of the spectacular white sand and glistening emerald green waters. It is so soft it literally squeaks under foot. You will be spoiled forever after experiencing this. (However, this applies more to nearby Destin and Okaloosa Island today, Panama City's beaches tend to be a bit dirtier - Panama City is generally known as more of a concert or college partying place rather than a 'pristine beach' place.)
  • St. Andrews State Park, 4607 State Park Lane, (850) 233-5140, [5]. 8AM-Sunset. St. Andrews State Park is on the east end of Panama City Beach along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, St. Andrews Bay, and the Grand Lagoon. The park has plenty of pristine white beaches that the area is known for, but also has a few short trails that snake around in the dunes. The park features multiple stores to buy supplies for the day, and plenty of parking. There is camping available, mostly facing the Grand Lagoon, but there is also a Primitive campsite that faces both the Lagoon and Bay. There is an entrance fee required, which is currently set at $5 per vehicle. Other fees are listed on the park’s website. $5 Entry Fee.  edit
  • Pine Log State Forest, 5583-A Longleaf Road, Ebro, (850) 535-2888, [6]. Pine Log State Forest is a short drive from Panama City Beach going north on Highway 79. This state forest which spans two counties has numerous recreational opportunities such as camping (developed and primitive), multiple trails including a segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail, and a horse trail as well. The fees vary and are usually based on the honor system. Please check the forest's website for more information.  edit
  • Camp Helen State Park, 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, (850) 233–5059 (fax: (850) 236–3204). 8AM-Sunset. The newest state park in Panama City Beach, is located at the far west end of the beaches right before the county line. Camp Helen is a small park but does manage to offer opportunities for hiking, fishing, picnics, boating, as well as a portion of the beach that is much more quiet than other areas of the beach. Camp Helen also features many buildings that are reminiscent of the history of the site as well. The entry fee is paid into an honor box upon entering. $4 per vehicle, $1 per bicycle/pedestrian.  edit
  • Frank Brown Park, 16200 Panama City Beach Parkway, (850) 233-5045 (, fax: (850) 233-5161), [7]. Sunrise-Sunset. Frank Brown Park is a city park of Panama City Beach, that is located near the intersection of US 98 (Back Beach Road) and SR 79. This is the city's main park and as such as expansive facilities including soccer fields, baseball/softball fields, trails, walking paths, a youth fishing pond, and the newly opened Panama City Beach Aquatic Center. Free.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Adventures at Sea, 5711 North Lagoon Drive Panama City Beach, (850) 235-0009 (), [8]. 7AM-7PM. The Shell Island Tour is a favorite of many. Also offers parasailing rides, pontoon boat rentals, jet ski rentals, boat cruises, lounge chair rentals, charter fishing trips, banana boat rides, and sailboat rentals.  edit
  • Reel Commocean, 5325 North Lagoon Drive (On docks behind Boatyard restaurant), (850) 780-0007, [9]. Join Reel Commocean for an offshore excursion and we'll travel into the open waters to bottom fish the deep blue for grouper, snapper, tiggers, amberjack and more.  edit
  • AAA Jet Ski Rentals and Tours, 5611 W, Highway98 (at the foot of the Hathaway Bridge), 850-541-6879, [10]. 8AM til Sunset. See Shell Island and St. Andrews State Park from the water while you captain your own Waverunner, no guide required! Half hour to half day (4 hours) rentals available the only rental company that allows you this much freedom. Also home of the famous Sunset Dolphin Tour. Open daily year round, reservations required for all activities. Visit our website @ aaajetski.com Prices start at $50 per person.  edit
  • Aquatic Adventures, 5325 N. Lagoon Dr.; On the beach behind multiple resorts and hotels (Contact us for locations), (850) 235-8051 (), [11]. Aquatic Adventures has it ALL, from Wave runner Dolphin Tours, Parasailing, Pontoon Boat Rentals, Banana Boat rides, wave runner rentals, Snorkel trips, Fishing Boat rentals, beach chairs and a FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE for our customers!  edit
  • Jason, 3901 (inside Pirates cove marina off thomas drive), 850-249-0990, [12]. Water sport activities jet ski rentals, waverunner tours, dolphin boat cruises, shell island tours, parasailing, banana boat rides.  edit
  • Sunshine Water Sports of PC, 3901 Thomas drive located inside Pirates cove marina., (850) 215-7046, [13]. 8AM-8PM. Offers jet ski rentals, dolphin tours, parasailing, banana boat rides and beach chair rentals. Shell island dolphin tours to encounter wild dolphins, you can do the dolphin boat cruises or the jet ski waverunner dolphin tours to shell island this is the best thing to do in panama city beach, so be sure to go with the best and most experience over 15 years.  edit
  • St. Andrew Bay Ferry Company (www.sabferry.com), 1213 Beck Avenue (Two miles east of Hathaway Bridge, turn south on Beck Avenue, located next to The Shrimp Boat Restaurant), 850-615-1477, [14]. Year Round. Specializes in professional, family oriented Shell Island, Dolphin, Sunset & Historic Harbor Cruises. The company is pet-friendly, coolers are welcome and B.Y.O.B. adult beverages are permitted on all cruises, including to Shell Island. $14.95. (30° 10.224' N,085° 42.090' W) edit
  • Gulf World Marine Park, 15412 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32413, 850-234-5271, [15]. Welcome to Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach, Florida, a place for the whole family to explore. Enjoy daily live shows featuring dolphins, sea lions, reptiles and tropical birds. Explore fascinating exhibits showcasing penguins, flamingos, sharks, alligators, sea turtles, iguana and more. Your adventure begins here.  edit
  • Dolphin and Snorkel Tours, 3824 Hatteras Lane (Bay Point Marina), (850) 866-8815, [16]. Wild dolphin encounters, snorkeling, free diving, shell island eco tours, lunch cruises, dinner water limo cruises, underwater photography, listen to dolphins with new technology, music, personal private tours, educational historic and wildlife narrations, refreshments, binoculars, full gear included.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Alvin's Island, [17]. The ever-popular tropical department store chain, with six locations in Panama City Beach providing all your beach needs.  edit
  • Pier Park, Between Front Beach and Back Beach Roads, [18]. Pier Park is a huge outdoor shopping complex being currently built by Simon. As it is under construction there are a limited number of businesses open at the time. A Target, Panera Bread and the 16-screen Grand Theatre are all currently open. There is also a city park across the street from the theatre with a a few short trails, a local veterans memorial, and an ampitheatre for concerts in the summer.  edit
  • The Shops at Edgewater, Intersection of Beckrich Road and Front Beach Road, [19]. The Shoppes at Edgewater is one of Panama City Beach's most established shopping centers. Located here are several restaurants, a ten screen theatre, Rock-it Lanes (a bowling alley, arcade, roller skating rink and sports bar in one), a spa and more.  edit
  • Panama City Flea Market, 253 W.15th. St. (Corner of 15th & Jenks Ave. Inside Lincoln Center), 8505714842, [20]. W-Su 8AM-5PM. Panama City Flea Market is Panama City's newest indoor flea market. The shops offer Collectibles, Jewelry, Watch Repairs, Alterations,Gift Shops, Novelty Shops, Country Market, Hair Salon and Harley Davidson licensed products to name a few. Local vendors also sell crafts on tables throughout the flea market. Vendors change daily so you never know what you can find from day to day.  edit
  • Pier Park, 600 Pier Park Dr, [21]. 10am-9pm. Excellent shopping and dining. Outdoor mall. Over 120 stores, movie theater, entertainment, and dining options like Jimmy Buffet's Margarittaville, Tootsies, the Back Porch, and many more!  edit


Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Angelo's Steak Pit, 9527 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 234-2531
  • Applebees Bar & Grill, 10071 Hutchison Blvd. Tel.: +1 850 234-3600
  • Beachside Deli at the Sandpiper Beacon, 17403 Front Beach Road, 800 488 8828, [22]. 8:00 - 11:00. Open from 8am - 11pm (seasonally) serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Delicious meals are freshly prepared on-site each day. With a huge menu, you can choose from LOTS of tasty options! Enjoy the cool tropical breeze, and an ice cold drink. Enjoy the panoramic views of Panama City Beach, with your toes in the sand. $$.  edit
  • Boar's Head Restaurant, 17290 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 234-6628
  • Boat Yard, 5323 N Lagoon Dr. Tel.: +1 850 249-9273
  • Boatyard Restaurant, 5325 N Lagoon Dr. Tel.: +1 850 249-9273
  • Bonefish Grill, 11535 Hutchison Blvd. Tel.: +1 850 249-0428
  • Breakers Restaurant, 12627 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 234-6060
  • Calypso Beach Cafe, 15812 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 234-6788
  • Captain Anderson's Restaurant, 5551 N Lagoon Dr. Tel.: +1 850 234-2225
  • Captain Crabby's, 3605 Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 234-8881
  • Carrabba's Italian Grill, 13800 Panama City Beach Pkwy. Tel.: +1 850 230-4522
  • Coyote Ugly Saloon, 10512 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 236-5965
  • Dirty Dick's Crab House, 9800 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 230-3425
  • Hooters, 12709 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 230-9464
  • Hunt's Oyster Bar & Seafood Restaurant, 1150 Beck Ave. Tel.: +1 850 763-9645
  • Montego Bay Seafood House, 473 Beckrich Rd. Tel.: +1 850 233-6033
  • Montego Bay Seafood House, 4920 Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 234-8686
  • Pompano's, 10292 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 233-9080
  • Saltwater Grill, 11040 Middle Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 230-2739
  • Schooners: Restaurant, 5121 Gulf Dr. Tel.: +1 850 235-3555
  • Sharky's Seafood Restaurant, 15201 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 235-2420
  • Spinnaker, 8795 Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 234-7882
  • Terrace Restaurant, 13741 E Emerald Coast Pkwy. Tel.: +1 850 231-5202
  • Tasty Waves Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt, 17403 Front Beach Road (Located at the Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort), 800 488 8828, [23]. Indulge yourself, and enjoy a few scoops of real dairy ice cream, fat-free frozen yogurt, or crisp fruit flavored sorbet, and create the perfect experience by adding your own toppings. Over 44 to choose from. The Ice Cream parlor also doubles as a business center with free wifi and wireless printing. Also serving fresh pizza by the slice, nachos, freshly baked pretzels, and hot dogs! $$.  edit
  • Andy's Flour Power Cafe & Bakery, 3123 Thomas Dr, 850-230-0014. Great breakfast Great Staff Great Prices  edit
  • Dusty's Oyster Bar, 16450 Front Beach Rd. (2/10mi w of Pier Park FBR), 850-233-0035. 11 - ???.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • 2 Le Monde Pub Bistro, 7328 Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 249-2583
  • Beach House Bar & Grill, 19952 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 230-1977
  • Big Kahuna Bar & Grill, 14896 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 233-5706
  • Blue Moose Saloon, 9450 S Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 230-4679
  • Coyote Ugly Saloon, 10512 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 236-5965
  • Dusty's Oyster Bar, 16450 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 233-0035
  • Euphoria Tavern, 13312 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 233-9505
  • Foghorn's Liquors, 8011 Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 235-1243
  • Fun-Land Arcade & Snack Bar, 14510 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 234-3693
  • Golden Anchor Restaurant & Lounge, 11800 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 234-1481
  • J Michael's Bar & Grill, 3210 Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 233-2055
  • Lime's Dockside Bar & Grill, 4200 Marriott Dr. Tel.: +1 850 236-6076
  • Mikato Japanese Steak House, 7724 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 235-1338
  • Patches Pub, 4723 Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 233-8879
  • Rupert's Sports Bar, 2907 Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 636-7239
  • Salty's Bar & Grill, 10908 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 249-7223
  • Shuckum's Oyster Pub & Seafood, 15618 Front Beach Rd. Tel.: +1 850 235-3214
  • Splash Bar, 6520 Thomas Drive. Tel.: +1 850 236-3450
  • Time Out Sports Bar & Grill, 2903 Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 249-0086
  • Wahoo's Restaurant & Sports Pb, 8503 Thomas Dr. Tel.: +1 850 233-7477
  • World Famous Tiki Bar, 17403 Front Beach Road, 800 488 8828, [24]. The World Famous Tiki Bar located at the Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort is a tropical beach bar directly on the sugar white sands. Featuring tropical decor and a laid back, relaxed atmosphere, the Tiki Bar comes alive during special events like the Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally, where international live bands perform for free. Serving tropical drinks (with and without alcohol), and a huge selection of domestic and imported beers. $$.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

See also Panama City

  • Edgewater Beach Resort, 11212 Front Beach Road, (800) 874-8686, [26]. One of the largest and well known resorts in Panama City Beach, Edgewater offers a variety of lodging options on the property ranging from the high-rise towers facing the beach to the villas across the street. There are several onsite amenities including restaurants, pools, beach activities, spa and more.  edit
  • Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, 11127 Front Beach Road, (850) 234-1111, [27]. The Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort is located along Front Beach Road and is popular with spring breakers. There are a host of onsite amenities and varying room types.  edit
  • Legacy by the Sea, 15325 Front Beach Road, (850) 249-8601, [28]. Legacy by the Sea is a fairly new beach front luxury hotel that is centrally located. It is located next to Beachbreak By The Sea, as well as near the same attractions.  edit
  • MainStay Suites, 7909 Panama City Beach Pkwy , Panama City Beach, Phone: (850) 233-7829 Fax: (850) 249-2630, [29]. checkin: 4PM; checkout: 12PM. The MainStay Suites extended stay hotel provides easy access to all the best the Panama City Beach area has to offer.  edit
  • Marriott Bay Point, 4200 Marriott Dr., [30]. This resort overlooks the beautiful St. Andrew's Bay in Panama City Beach. The resort houses a spa and fitness center, and offers guests an array of activities in the area including world-class golf courses, water sports, deep sea fishing.
  • Marriott Legends Edge Resort, 4000 Marriott Drive, 1-850-236-4200. Spacious two-bedroom villas overlooking St. Andrews Bay. [31]
  • Sugar Sands Inn & Suites, 20723 Front Beach Road, 800.367.9221, [32]. Located on the white sands of Panama City Beach, the Sugar Sands Inn and Suites is convenient to many local activities including scuba diving, boating, and fishing, Shipwreck Island Waterpark, Zoo World and more.  edit
  • American Quality Lodge Panama City, 4810 West Highway 98, [33]. Just minutes from local beaches, American Quality Lodge is close to Pier Park Shopping Complex, Zoo World, Shipwreck Island Waterpark, St. Andrews State Park, and numerous golf courses.  edit
  • Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort, 17403 Front Beach Road, 850 234 2154, [34]. Located directly beachfront, this pet-friendly resort-hotel offers fun activities amenities and entertainment year-round. Specializing in family-fun as well as special events like Spring Break and Thunder Beach. On-site amenities include Tiki Bar, waterslides, indoor/outdoor heated pools, mini-golf and more. The tiki bar is open to the public. $$. (30.227506,-85.900262) edit
  • Osprey on the Gulf Motel, 15801 Front Beach Road, [35]. Family owned and operated. Great older property right on the beach. Every room has balcony and kitchen. Tiki Bar at beach level. Located within walking distance to Pier Park.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Tallahassee is the state capital of Florida and is a short two-hour drive to the east. Also located in Tallahassee are two major state universities, The Florida State University and Florida A&M University.
  • Destin is located roughly one hour west of Panama City Beach located in Walton and Okaloosa Counties. There are plenty of shopping opportunities (Destin Commons, Outlet Center, and other smaller venues) as well as golfing at the Sandestin Resort and many other activities.
  • Pensacola is two hours to the west by way of Highway 98. Pensacola is home to NAS Pensacola, which is home to the Blue Angeles flight demonstration team, and the National Naval Aviation Museum. Also, Pensacola is considered to be the oldest European settlement in America, unlike St. Augustine it was not continuously settled from first settlement. There are many historic sites relating to the Spanish Colonization, which includes a series of forts.
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