Panama City Beach Travel Guide

USA  #6 in Best Florida Beaches
Credit

Courtesy of Genna Di Franco / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

Free Things To Do in Panama City Beach

If you have extra time, Pier Park is worthwhile.
  • #2
    Things to do in Panama City Beach
    View all Photos
    #2 in Panama City Beach
    Beaches, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    With 27 miles of beaches and nearly 100 access points, PCB is a beach bum's paradise. You won't have a difficult time finding a stretch of sand to park your towel; in fact, you may have a harder time deciding on what shoreline to relax.

    If you want to stay close to the downtown area, head to Front Beach Road. From here, you'll find a bevy of convenient Panama City Beach access points and street parking. To experience Florida's coastal beauty at its most natural, hop a shuttle boat to Shell Island. This barrier island off of St. Andrews State Park is undeveloped with few crowds and a peaceful atmosphere, according to recent visitors. Plus, it's a haven for dolphins. For even more undeveloped land, head to Camp Helen State Park, which sits on the far western border of Panama City Beach. Along with a quiet beach, it's also home to trails that snake through dunes and scrub oak forests, not to mention a rare dune lake.

  • #5
    Conservation Park
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    #5 in Panama City Beach
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    When you're ready to explore more of PCB's nature, head to Conservation Park. As a safeguard for wetlands, wildlife and pine forest, the park is a natural filter, balancing treated water before it travels to the St. Andrews Bay. This nearly 3,000-acre park features 12 different trails of varying difficultly and eight boardwalks totaling more than a mile in length. Bring binoculars – you'll likely spot plenty of birds and wildlife in the wetlands area.

    According to recent visitors, the park's well-maintained, flat trails are perfect for hiking or biking. One word of caution from reviewers: Bring plenty of sunscreen and water. Though some said the park was a bit out of the way compared to other top attractions (it's about 10 miles west of downtown Panama City Beach and best reached by car), travelers also enjoyed that its location away from the beach crowds made it incredibly peaceful.

  • #8
    Pier Park
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    #8 in Panama City Beach
    Amusement Parks, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    PCB is first and foremost a beach destination. But when you need a break from the sun and surf (or if some clouds thwart your plans), the area has a bevy of attractions to keep you entertained away from the shoreline. Case in point: Pier Park. An outdoor retail, dining and entertainment hub, Pier Park is home to familiar chain restaurants like Olive Garden, Subway and Five Guys, along with popular stores like Charming Charlie, Dillard's and Old Navy, among others. When you need a reprieve from shopping, head to Pier Park Amusements, the on-site theme park (a hit with recent visitors). It features a giant slide, a small roller coaster and a free-fall ride, along with more gentle attractions for young children

    Along with the variety of stores and activities, visitors particularly liked how clean and safe the area is.

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