Panama City Beach is the quintessential Florida getaway. Pearly white beaches? Check. Subtropical climate? Check. Bottlenose dolphins playing in the surf? Check. Situated in northwest Florida, about 47 miles east of Destin and around 100 miles southwest of Tallahassee, Panama City Beach is perhaps best known as a college spring break destination. But after new laws were introduced banning alcohol on the beach during the month of March, the city quickly saw a decrease in the bacchanalia – great news for families and couples in search of an affordable, warm-weather escape.
Though the alabaster beaches (all 27 miles of them) are what initially draw many to this vacation haven, that's not all Panama City Beach has going for it. Bordered on either side by two state parks (St. Andrews and Camp Helen) and home to one of the largest sport fishing fleets in the world, not to mention one of the world's highest concentration of bottlenose dolphins, PCB is a nature and wildlife lover's paradise.
The best time to visit Panama City Beach is from May through October. Though the area boasts an average of 320 days of sunshine per year, late spring, summer and early fall offer some of the warmest air and water temperatures. Plus, by avoiding a visit in March or April, you'll dodge the deluge of college students who descend on the area's ivory sands every year for spring break. You'll save on lodging prices during the area's low season (November to February), but it'll likely be too chilly to enjoy the ocean.
Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center
It should come as no surprise that seafood is the main ingredient many PCB menus are built around. Whether it's chargrilled grouper, Apalachicola oysters or Gulf shrimp stuffed with blue crab, you'll have your pick of delicious sea creatures to choose from. And you don't even have to go to a restaurant to enjoy the city's bounty: some of the best eateries are actually seafood markets that steam and season their freshest catches right in front of you. Anderson Seafood Market and Buddy's Seafood Market both come recommended by recent visitors.
If you're looking for a more formal environment, Saltwater Grill (which boasts a 25,000-gallon tropical saltwater aquarium inside the restaurant) and Capt. Anderson's Restaurant & Waterfront Market both received high marks from recent diners. Firefly is another local and traveler favorite thanks to its unique setting: the restaurant is arranged around a giant lit-up oak tree.
You'll also find plenty of casual beachfront eateries (try Schnoors or Sharky's). Though they cater mainly to tourists, it's hard to deny their prime locations, especially if you want to catch a classic Panama City Beach sunset.
Search for the best flight deals across Orbitz, Expedia, Kayak and more.
Dec 13, 2018
These tips can help you see the world at prices you can afford.
Dec 11, 2018
Create priceless honeymoon memories without breaking the bank.
Dec 04, 2018
You don't have to travel to a big city to experience nonstop Christmas fun.
Nov 26, 2018
These family-friendly mountain resorts offer exceptional snow sports and activities for all ages.
Nov 19, 2018
Get away to enjoy the views and activities at these properties around the world.
Nov 13, 2018
Find out which lines will help you save big on your next cruise vacation.
Nov 13, 2018
See how cruise lines are raising the bar with tech-savvy touches and improved luxury experiences.
Nov 13, 2018
Find out how taking a cruise can support your health, fitness and nutrition goals.
Nov 08, 2018
These tips can help you snap stunning and creative images without a fancy camera – or any experience.
Oct 22, 2018
Learn more about these accommodations and why they are so popular.