13 Fun Things To Do In Panama City Beach, FL - Updated 2021

things to do in panama city beach florida

Panama City Beach, Florida, United States, is a popular beach town for spring breakers since it is known as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. It is not just for them, though. It is also a great place to enjoy with family. And if you’re looking for the best places to stay in Panama City Beach, plenty of amazing options are available here - from top luxury resorts to the best Vrbo beach houses with a pool. Now that you accommodation is sorted, go our and explore the city! Check out these 13 fun things to do in Panama City Beach, FL.

Where to stay in Panama City Beach, Florida

Miles of sandy beaches, rolls of waves, and glorious Florida sun are only some of the things that await you in Panama City Beach. While the city is great for all types of visitors, it is generally a pleasant treat for families who are looking for an unforgettable vacation. Aside from beaches, you can also visit zoos, nature parks, waterparks, eco trails, and amusement and theme parks that your whole family can enjoy. While in the city, don’t forget to book accommodations that suit your needs. You can opt for family-friendly hotel rooms which come with access to the hotel’s amenities. If your family prefers private stays, you can book spacious condominiums where you can wake up to stunning views of the sea. There are also luxury apartments available right by the beach.

Here are our top recommendations on where to stay:

1. Go shopping at Pier Park

The mall is open today. We are monitoring the weather throughout the day and will provide an update should there be any change in mall hours.

Posted by Pier Park on Thursday, 1 September 2016

Reminder that we are open late now that the summer time has arrived! The Boardwalk is open until 10 p.m. and the Town Center until 9 p.m. every day of the week!

Posted by Pier Park on Monday, 8 June 2015

Pier Park is an outdoor shopping complex that opened to the public in 2008 and people have been enjoying shopping and hanging out here ever since then. It is quite popular with the locals and tourists alike. There are a total of 124 stores where you can find anything from jewelry to women’s clothes. Some stores that you will find are: Target, JcPenny, and Marshalls. There are lots of places to eat and relax as well. Last, but not least, there is a Grand IMAX theatre here, so be sure to catch a movie while here.

Pier Park

Address: 600 Pier Park Drive, Panama City Beach, FL

Website: Pier Park

2. Enjoy water activities at Water Planet

Even though the weather is yucky and cold on the Emerald Coast today, we have great hopes for the new dolphin season,...

Posted by Water Planet on Thursday, 3 February 2011

Posted by Water Planet on Saturday, 10 September 2016

Posted by Water Planet on Friday, 21 August 2015

This is a smaller, yet fun marine park in Panama City Beach. You can swim with dolphins here as well, but what is unique about this specific place is that is offers Dolphin Therapy Programs for children with special needs as well as emotionally challenged and fragile children. These kids get to interact with the beautiful dolphins and these programs are designed to make them feel comfortable doing so. It is nice to see the care and love put into these programs.

Water Planet

Address: 5709 N Lagoon Drive, Panama City Beach, FL

Website: Water Planet

3. Splash into fun at Shipwreck Island Waterpark

The friends are lined up with the season pass holders who brought them. All we need now is you.

Posted by Shipwreck Island Water Park on Sunday, 18 June 2017

Things really seem to be clearing up nicely. You know what that means. When it rains in the morning, the afternoons are fantastic and are a better bargain, because the lines are always shorter.

Posted by Shipwreck Island Water Park on Monday, 5 June 2017

We're open Saturday, then Labor Day weekend. Four days to play, so don't miss a one.

Posted by Shipwreck Island Water Park on Tuesday, 23 August 2016

This is a fun waterpark for kids and families that is a popular tourist attraction. For little kids there is a shallow pool named Tadpole Hole. The older kids will enjoy the tipping bucket and the large pool. You will also find a few family slides and challenging slides. Last, but not least, for those who want to relax there is a lazy river and a wave pool here.

Shipwreck Island Waterpark

Address: 12201 Hutchison Boulevard, Panama City Beach, FL

Website: Shipwreck Island Waterpark

4. Be awed by the attractions at WonderWorks

Posted by WonderWorks Panama City Beach on Thursday, 16 April 2015

Posted by WonderWorks Panama City Beach on Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Posted by WonderWorks Panama City Beach on Monday, 9 May 2016

When you are in Panama City Beach, you will notice an upside-down building. This is the place called WonderWorks, which is a really great attraction for families. It is an indoor amusement and theme park, a laser tag center and a historical landmark that offers more than 100 interactive exhibits for kids and adults alike. Some of the exhibits you will find here include: an imagination lab, a physical challenge zone and a light and sound zone. You will have loads of fun exploring the many interactive exhibits at this place.


Address: 9910 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, FL

Website: WonderWorks

5. Visit Shell Island

Posted by Shell Island - Panama City Beach, Florida on Friday, 9 July 2010

Posted by Shell Island - Panama City Beach, Florida on Saturday, 28 May 2011

This is a natural, undeveloped island which lies between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay. The sand dunes here are about seven miles (11.2 kilometers) long. The world’s highest concentration of bottle-nosed dolphins resides in this beautiful island, so be sure to pay them a visit as well as the various wildlife. Also, here you can snorkel, fish and bird watch or just enjoy a relaxing day on the beach. If you do plan to spend the day, be sure to pack a picnic lunch.

Shell Island

Address: 3601 Thomas Dr, Panama City Beach, FL 32408

Website: Shell Island

6. See the animals at Zoo World

Here's an update, finishing touches should be completed on Monday

Posted by Zooworld Panama City Beach on Thursday, 2 February 2017

Posted by Zooworld Panama City Beach on Sunday, 8 March 2015

Look who's new to the zoo! Our lion cubs have made their debut. Visit today and see a few.

Posted by Zooworld Panama City Beach on Wednesday, 15 March 2017

This is a zoo and wildlife sanctuary where you can get hands on with wild animals and get close up to the many exotic creatures from around the world that reside here. Basically, you will have a chance to see animals in their natural environment and you can also play with them. I mean you can actually do really fun things here like kiss a giraffe, hug a lemur, hold an alligator or even pet a porcupine! If you want to, that is.

Zoo World

Address: 9008 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, FL

Website: Zoo World

7. Unwind at Camp Helen State Park

Beautiful at Camp Helen State Park SoWal.com/Parks

Posted by SoWal on Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The lodge at Camp Helen State Park. SoWal.com/Parks

Posted by SoWal on Tuesday, 27 June 2017

This is one beautiful park, I have to say. It is a nice place to fish, kayak, have a picnic, swim or just walk and take in the natural beauty. The park offers some really breathtaking scenic views and that is why people enjoy hiking here or just spending the day at the park. You may spot some interesting animals here as well. Be sure to stop here with family.

Camp Helen State Park

Address: 23937 Panama City Beach Pkwy, Panama City Beach, FL

Website: Camp Helen State Park

8. Interact with marine life at Gulf World Marine Park (from USD 24.0)

If you’re looking for interesting Panama City Beach activities, then make your way to Gulf World Marine Park. This is a marine park like Sea World, but not as big, where you can swim with the dolphins, interact with them and also spend the night at the marine park. Also, there are daily live shows to enjoy. There are also turtles, birds, harbor seals and penguins here. This place hosts special events on Halloween, mother’s day and father’s day to name a few. A really fun place to interact with beautiful creatures.

Gulf World Marine Park Tickets in Panama City Beach

9. Enjoy a sunset catamaran cruise (from USD 37.0)

For a romantic activity to do with your partner, how about embarking on a Sunset & Dolphin Catamaran Cruise in Panama City Beach? Hop aboard a lovely catamaran and enjoy a cruise on Grand Lagoon while taking in gorgeous sunset views. Watch pods of dolphins swim by, listen to the beautiful music onboard, take in views of elegant homes and sail past St. Andrews State Park. Hold your partner close and enjoy a magical evening on this two-hour cruise.

Sunset & Dolphin Catamaran Cruise in Panama City Beach

Duration: 2 hours

4 reviews

10. Embark on an eco tour (from USD 113.0)

For a fun day out on the water, book this Cold Spring Eco Tour that lets you explore the beauty of Cypress Springs. Choose from a kayak, canoe or paddleboard to make your way to Cypress Springs across Holmes Creek. Once there, your guide will provide you with all snorkeling equipment, including underwater scooters which take all the effort out of snorkeling so you can be relaxed and take in all the marine life views. A sandwich lunch and drinks are also included in this tour.

Cold Spring Kayak or Canoe Eco Tour with Snorkeling, Swimming

Duration: 5 to 6 hours

1 review

11. Try out various beach adventures (from USD 65.0)

Those looking for adventurous activities to enjoy in the water should consider joining Panama City Beach Adventure Catamaran Sail. This catamaran adventure combines sailing with water activities like snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and more. Sail to Shell Island and enjoy splashing about and having fun on a giant trampoline, a see-saw ball, a water slide, a climbing wall, and more.

Panama City Beach Adventure Catamaran Sail

Duration: 3 hours

10 reviews

12. Check out Ripley's Believe It Or Not

Ripley's Panama City
Source: Photo by Flickr user Richard Elzey used under CC BY 2.0

A popular tourist attraction in almost any city that it is located in, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is a must-visit spot in Panama City Beach too. With a quirk exterior resembling a ship sinking into the ground, the museum can be spotted from afar. Inside, all manner of odd objects and artifacts are on display, including Titanic memorabilia, weird animal and human skeletons, artwork and wax figurines. You can also check out a mirror maze, a 7D-theater, a laser race challenge, and more.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not

Address: 9907 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407, United States

Website: Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 10.99 USD onwards

13. Spend a day outdoors at Coconut Creek Family Fun Park

Mini golf club in Napier - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thajsko used under CC BY 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

For a fun day out with your family in Panama City Beach, visit Coconut Creek Family Fun Park. Spread across a large area, this beautiful park has many places to explore, enjoy or simply relax in. The highlight, however, are two 18-hole mini-golf courses and a giant maze. Enjoy a round of golf in beautiful green surroundings or find your way out of the maze. The latter attraction is perfect to play individually or as a team too. You can also take a stroll through the beautifully landscaped park that has a lake, bridges, waterfalls, and more.

Coconut Creek Family Fun Park

Address: Dummy address

Website: Coconut Creek Family Fun Park

Opening hours: 9am - 11:30pm (daily)

Price: 13.50 USD onwards

Some last words about Panama City Beach, Florida

Emerald Coast
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bart Everson used under CC BY 2.0

Panama City Beach, Florida, is a fun city that has a beautiful beach. Known also as the Emerald Coast, this is certainly is a place where you can spend the whole day just relaxing on the beach. But, Panama City Beach has much more to offer and see. Whether you’re looking for family attractions or things to do in Panama City Beach for free, you are sure to find them all here. The places mentioned here provide fun for all ages, so be sure to enjoy the town with family and/or friends.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Tabassum Rahmani is a technical writer, who was born and raised in the USA to Indian parents. She loves to write and has been doing so for over a decade now. She enjoys travelling, especially with...Read more

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