Ever since I was a toddler, my parents have been taking my sister and I on family vacations to Panama City Beach, Florida. The city has been engraved into my memories for decades – I know it like the back of my hand! The tradition started when my grandparents began taking my dad to PCB when he was a child, and it just seemed to stick. Now, I hope to one day continue the tradition with my own kids, as they learn to love the city, beaches, and atmosphere of PCB just like my husband and I do!
Since I’ve spent quite a bit of time here, I wanted to lay out some of my personal favorite places to stay, eat, and play! If you have any others to add, I would love to hear them in the comments!
Edgewater has ALWAYS been my families’ go-to when it comes to where to stay in Panama. They have (what we believe to be) the best pool on the entire beach. The resort offers beautiful views of the 11,000-square-foot Polynesian-style lagoon pool, with two jetted hot tubs for the cooler nights! Many of the rooms at the Edgewater are privately-owned, and we typically rent from owners that we’re familiar with from past trips! You really can’t go wrong with this place. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available daily for rent!
One of the prettiest rooms I’ve ever stayed in was at Long Beach. Although it’s been awhile since I’ve stayed here, it’s only a few resorts down from the Edgewater, and located right on the main strip. Another convenience is that it’s located almost directly on top of the Front Beach Road/Thomas Drive split, so you’re located right next to a ton of main attractions!
Although it may be the “spring break capital” of PCB in March, it truly is a great resort that actually does a great job of accommodating families any other time. The pool is pretty impressive, and the resort always seems to be pretty budget-friendly, especially if you’re looking to stay right on the beach.
The Sterling Breeze is just plain stunning. Also located directly off of Front Beach Drive on the beach, the rooms overlook the ocean and stunning white sand, and are all mainly updated. It’s only a half mile from Pier Park, and features a heated infinity pool and spa tub! Oh, and did I mention that there’s a poolside wine bar!? 🙂
Aqua is one of the new condominium resorts in PCB, and the rooms are exquisite. If you are looking for something that is a little more modern and updated, right next to the main attractions, and overlooking the beach, this may be the one for you!
I had been dying to come here ever since it opened in October of last year! I saw an advertisement for their outrageous “Category 5 Shakes” on Facebook and it was over from there! This was the first place that we stopped when we landed in PCB, and it was WELL worth the visit. I got the “Sugar Rush” Category 5 shake for desert and even got to take the cute little mason jar home as a souvenir!
For one of the best meals of your life, guaranteed, visit Captain A’s! This restaurant is located right on the the Marina, and also offers a really fun dining experience with a full view of the boats coming into the Marina! Be advised, it is a little pricey, and more of what I would call a fine dining experience.
Another great fine dining experience is Angelo’s! Talk to anyone about PCB, and chances are they will tell you to pay Angelo’s a visit – famous for it’s huge, fresh steaks! And don’t forget to take a picture by the infamous “Big Gus” outside the restaurant. 🙂
Hammerhead Fred’s has one of the best atmospheres on the beach. Definitely a great place to go if you’re looking for a good frozen drink, and a wide variety on the menu! I had the Lobster Tacos and they were delicious!
Pineapple Willy’s is just one of those places that you have to make a priority in your time at PCB. Located directly on the beach, the views are stunning and the food is pretty good, too! If you order a Pineapple Willy’s drink in a souvenir cup, you can go back for refills all week long! A fun visit for sure, with a great gift shop!
One of my most favorite things about PCB is Pier Park. The park is actually a Simon Mall, and features several different restaurants, including Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville (which is a must!), The Back Porch, Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Hofbrau Beer Garden, and many more. The outdoor shopping is so much fun, and it’s always a lively atmosphere. You have to visit Pier Park if you’re in Panama City!
Race City Amusement Park always makes me real nostalgic because of the many memories I made at a similar place – the Miracle Strip Amusement Park, which closed down in 2003. Race City has done a good job of putting the fun back into PCB. It features two different go-cart race tracks, and a rollar coaster, several different rides, and a huge arcade! Such a fun place.
Located directly across the street from Race City, Pirate’s Island Adventure offers two different courses (one a little easier than the other) and fun for the whole family. It was neat getting to see how unique each hole was, while taking in the beautiful Florida weather and scenery while we played! Definitely a must for a fun date night, or a place to take the kids!
One of my husbands favorite things to do – jet skis. There are many different rental sites along the beach, so if you’re interested in spending some time on a jet ski, it should be a pretty easy find!
I rode this crazy thing during Spring Break in 2013 and lived to tell about it. It was most definitely the CRAZIEST ride I’ve ever rode in my entire life, but if you’re a thrill-seeker, you’ll love it! The Vomatron is powered by six huge electric motors (the first of its kind), it rotates the giant 200 foot arm at speeds of more than 70 miles per hour. Throwing the capsules into extreme spins putting up to 5gs of force upon it’s unwary passengers. Then just as you thought it was over …it spins in reverse with the same degree of pure torture as before!! So fun.
I’d love to hear your feedback and comments. Whether you’ve been to Panama City Beach before and would like to share your experience, or have always wanted to visit, let me know! 🙂
You have truly become your own woman. I love all of your up-to-date modern information. Such great tips.
Thank you, Karyn! I’m glad you enjoyed it!