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Sun, Sea, Sports, and Spa - What to See and Do in Panama City Beach

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Panama City Beach, Florida has secured its place as a top destination for sun worshippers, proven by the influx of college students who flock to its powder-white beaches each spring. Set on the Gulf of Mexico, this seaside city offers a long list of fun activities both in the water and back on shore.



A major draw to Panama City Beach is the abundance of fishing opportunities. From the city shoreline to the massive Russell-Fields Pier (also known as City Pier), which juts out more than 1,500 feet into the ocean, novices and experienced anglers alike are spoiled for choice. Cast for redfish, trout, and flounder on St. Andrew Bay. Or book a spot on a charter boat for a deep-sea fishing trip, lasting anything from hours to days.


  • Russell-Fields Pier (City Pier), 1629 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, FL 32413; Tel: +1 850 233 5080; Website: Russell-Fields Pier (City Pier)

  • Bayside Marina, 6327 Big Daddy Drive, Panama City Beach, FL 32407; Tel: +1 850 234 7650; Website: Bayside Marina

Water sports


The ocean is Panama City Beach's star attraction, and water sports entice everyone from stand-up paddleboard enthusiasts to deep-sea divers. In fact, the city has been called the “Wreck Diving Capital of the South” due to its underwater delights. Sunken points of interest include historic wrecks like the WWII Liberty Ship, artificial reefs made from fighter jets, and 100-foot-tall natural reefs. Snorkelers, water skiers, surfers, kite boarders, and parasailing buffs will have plenty of fun on the ocean’s surface. Seaside establishments offer equipment rentals, lessons, and guided trips to the best spots.


  • Panama City Diving, 5512 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach, FL 32408; Tel: +1 850 588 8077; Website: Panama City Diving

  • Walkin’ On Water Paddleboards, 108 Carillon Market Street, Panama City Beach, FL 32413; Tel: +1 850 588 6230; Website: Walkin’ On Water Paddleboards


Hiking and wildlife viewing


Thanks to comprehensive local preservation efforts, Panama City Beach's parks include immaculate recreation areas with great hiking trails. Visitors to St. Andrews State Park can hike 2 trails while viewing migratory birds like egrets, blue herons, terns, and snowy plovers, as well as other animals like coyotes, alligators, and white-tailed deer. The swamps and marshland of Conservation Park’s thick cypress and pine forests are also teeming with wildlife. A convenient system of 12 trails includes boardwalks, dirt paths, and paved roads for hiking and cycling, ranging from a half-mile to 11 miles long.


  • St. Andrews State Park, 4607 State Park Lane, Panama City Beach, FL 32408; Tel: +1 850 233 5140 x5141; Website: St. Andrews State Park

  • Conservation Park, 100 Conservation Drive, Panama City Beach, FL 32413; Tel: +1 850 233 5045; Website: Conservation Park




As Florida is home to more than 1,000 golf courses, it should come as no surprise that Panama City Beach has 5 of them. For most of the year, local temperatures stay quite comfortable for teeing off, and golf aficionados take full advantage. Make it a point to check out the Nicklaus Course at Bay Point Resort, the only course designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus’s design firm.


  • Nicklaus Course at Bay Point Resort, 4701 Bay Point Road, Panama City Beach, FL 32408 ; Tel: +1 850 235 6950; Website: Nicklaus Course at Bay Point Resort

  • Holiday Golf Club, 100 Fairway Boulevard, Panama City Beach, FL 32407; Tel: +1 850 234 1800; Website: Holiday Golf Club




While Panama City Beach is packed with energizing activities, there are also many ways to simply unwind. Besides spending a day lazing seaside, you can check into My Massage Clinic for ashiatsu, deep tissue, and sports massages from 30 minutes to 2 hours. They also offer innovative detox techniques like vacuum therapy and myofascial release. A short walk from the beach, Dream Day Spa has daily discounts on spa services like microdermabrasion, skin peels, and Swedish and hot stone massages, as well as aloe vera herbal body wraps.


  • My Massage Clinic, 17320 Panama City Beach Parkway, Suite 207, Panama City Beach, FL 32413; Tel: +1 850 249 3988; Website: My Massage Clinic

  • Dream Day Spa, 15900 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, FL 32413; Tel: +1 850 249 3270; Website: Dream Day Spa