Is Panama City Beach Good for Families? Discover the Family-Friendly Side of Panama City Beach

Have you been looking for a family-friendly vacation spot that offers tons of fun and excitement for everyone? Well, look no further than Panama City Beach! This beautiful coastal town boasts some of the most stunning beaches in Florida, with crystal-clear waters and pristine white sand. But it’s not just the natural beauty that makes Panama City Beach the ultimate destination for families – there’s also a plethora of activities and attractions that’ll keep everyone entertained throughout their stay.

Whether you’re traveling with little kids, teenagers, or grandparents, there’s something for everyone in Panama City Beach. From waterparks and amusement parks to museums and wildlife parks, the options are endless. If you’re into water sports, you’ll love the variety of options available, from jet skiing and parasailing to snorkeling and diving. Or, if you’re more of a landlubber, you’ll enjoy the many shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment venues scattered throughout the area.

In short, if you’re wondering whether Panama City Beach is good for families, the answer is an emphatic yes! With its stunning natural beauty, incredible range of activities and attractions, and friendly, welcoming atmosphere, it’s the ideal vacation spot for families of all ages and interests. Whatever your family’s preferences and interests may be, Panama City Beach is sure to please – so start planning your trip today!

Family-friendly activities in Panama City Beach

No vacation is complete without some exciting activities suitable for everyone in the family. Panama City Beach is a perfect destination for families, offering a wide range of options guaranteed to create memories that will last a lifetime. Here are some of the best family-friendly activities in Panama City Beach:

  • St. Andrews State Park: This park is the perfect place to get close to nature and experience marine life up close and personal. With over 1.5 miles of pristine beach, this park offers a range of activities such as fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, and canoeing. The park is also home to a Nature Center, where kids can learn about local wildlife and conservation efforts.
  • Gulf World Marine Park: Located in the heart of Panama City Beach, Gulf World Marine Park is a must-visit for families interested in getting up close and personal with marine life. The park offers a range of experiences, such as swimming with dolphins, watching sea lion shows, and feeding stingrays. Kids will love the interactive touch pools, where they can touch and learn about sea urchins, starfish, and more.
  • Pirate Cruise: Set sail on a pirate adventure on the Sea Dragon pirate ship. This 2-hour family-friendly cruise is perfect for families with kids, featuring activities like face painting, pirate storytelling, and treasure hunting. You’ll even have the chance to see dolphins and other marine life during the trip.

Family-friendly restaurants in Panama City Beach

Exploring the local dining scene is an important part of any vacation experience. Panama City Beach offers plenty of family-friendly options guaranteed to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.

One popular spot is Pineapple Willy’s, a waterfront restaurant known for its seafood dishes and live music. Kids will love the fun atmosphere, and parents will appreciate the stunning views of the Gulf.

The Wicked Wheel Bar & Grill is another great option for families, featuring a casual atmosphere and delicious comfort food. With a diverse menu that includes burgers, salads, and seafood dishes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Donut Hole Bakery Cafe is a perfect spot for a sweet breakfast or lunch. The bakery is known for its award-winning donuts and pastries, and also offers a range of sandwiches and salads.

Family-friendly accommodations in Panama City Beach

Choosing the right accommodation is essential for a stress-free family vacation. Panama City Beach offers a range of family-friendly options, such as:

Name of Accommodation Description Price Range
Holiday Inn Resort Panama City Beach Located on the beachfront, this resort offers a range of family-friendly amenities such as a kids’ activity program, a lazy river, and an arcade. The resort also has a variety of room options to fit families of all sizes. $100-$300 per night
Legacy by the Sea This hotel is located directly on the beach and features an outdoor pool and a fitness center. The hotel also offers free beach chairs and umbrellas to guests. $80-$250 per night
Beachcomber by the Sea This hotel offers spacious suites with full kitchens, making it a great option for families. The hotel also features a heated pool and direct beach access. $100-$300 per night

No matter what your family’s interests or budget may be, Panama City Beach is sure to provide a memorable vacation experience. From outdoor adventures to delicious dining and family-friendly accommodations, this city has something for everyone.

Best beaches for families in Panama City Beach

If you’re planning a trip to Panama City Beach with your family, it’s important to know where the best beaches are for your little ones to enjoy. Here are our top picks:

  • St. Andrews State Park Beach – With its calm turquoise waters and soft white sand, this beach is perfect for families looking for a relaxed day by the water. There are plenty of picnic areas and nature trails to explore as well.
  • Shell Island – You’ll need to take a short boat ride to get to this secluded island, but the stunning views and crystal-clear water make it well worth the trip. The beach is perfect for a family day out, and you might even see dolphins swimming nearby.
  • Pier Park Beach – This beach is located right next to the popular Pier Park shopping center, so it’s a great spot for families looking to do some beachside shopping and dining. The water is clear and calm, and there are lifeguards on duty for added peace of mind.

Family-friendly activities at Panama City Beach

Aside from the beautiful beaches, there are plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy in Panama City Beach:

  • Gulf World Marine Park – This aquarium and theme park offers up-close encounters with marine animals such as dolphins, sea lions, and sharks. There are also daily shows and exhibits to enjoy.
  • Shipwreck Island Water Park – This water park features plenty of slides, pools, and attractions for all ages. Kids will love the pirate-themed areas and giant tipping bucket.
  • WonderWorks – This interactive science museum is a must-visit for families. With over 100 hands-on exhibits, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. From virtual reality experiences to laser tag, you won’t run out of things to do here.

Beach safety tips for families

It’s important to always keep beach safety in mind, especially when you have young children. Here are a few tips:

First and foremost, always keep a close eye on your kids – it only takes a few seconds for an accident to occur. Teach them to stay in shallow water, and always wear a life jacket when boating or kayaking.

Tips for beach safety with kids:
Apply sunscreen regularly and liberally
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
Teach kids to stay away from any marine life they may encounter
Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit in case of any injuries

By keeping these tips in mind and choosing the right beach for your family, you’re sure to have a safe and enjoyable time in Panama City Beach.

Accommodation Options for Families in Panama City Beach

When planning a family vacation, one of the crucial decisions to make is choosing the perfect accommodation that caters to everyone’s needs. Panama City Beach boasts a vast array of accommodation options that provide comfort, convenience, and entertainment for families. Below are some of the top accommodation options for families visiting Panama City Beach.

  • Condo Rentals: Condos offer ample living space, fully-equipped kitchens, and stunning views of the beach. They are perfect for families seeking privacy, comfort, and a home-like atmosphere. Bookings range from studios to multi-bedroom units that accommodate large families. Condo rentals often come with amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and outdoor grills.
  • Beachfront Resorts: Panama City Beach has numerous beachfront resorts that provide luxury, comfort, and convenience for families. Apart from the magnificent views of the Gulf of Mexico, beachfront resorts offer amenities such as water parks, kids’ activities, and private beaches. The rooms are spacious and equipped with all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay.
  • Campgrounds: For families that want to experience the great outdoors, Panama City Beach has several campgrounds that provide an affordable and memorable experience. Campgrounds range from primitive tent sites to RV parks that offer full hookups. Many campgrounds have amenities such as playgrounds, swimming pools, and picnic areas. Families can enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and kayaking.

Choosing the right accommodation option for a family vacation can be overwhelming. However, Panama City Beach offers various accommodation options that cater to different preferences and budget ranges. Whether you choose a condo rental, beachfront resort, or campground, make sure it provides the necessary amenities to make your family vacation an unforgettable experience.

Safety Tips for Families Visiting Panama City Beach

Family vacations are meant to provide the perfect balance of excitement, relaxation, and bonding experiences. Panama City Beach has many attractions and activities that cater to families, making it the ideal destination for the ultimate family vacation. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety when traveling with the family. With that said, here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind when visiting Panama City Beach.

Beach Safety Tips

  • Always swim near lifeguard stations.
  • Never leave children unattended in or near the water.
  • Teach children to swim and never let inexperienced swimmers go into the water without supervision.

Sun Safety Tips

The sun shines bright in Panama City Beach, and it’s essential to take precautionary measures to avoid sunburns and skin damage.

  • Apply sunscreen continuously with a high SPF throughout the day.
  • Wear hats with a broad brim to protect your face, ears and neck from the sun.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes from harmful sun rays.

Pool Safety Tips

If staying in a hotel or resort with a pool area, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure safety.

  • Teach children basic pool safety rules, such as “no running around the pool” and “never swim alone.”
  • Always supervise children when near or in the pool.
  • Ensure that the pool area has appropriate safety equipment, such as life jackets, flotation devices, and a first aid kit.

Boating Safety Tips

While renting boats or taking boat tours can be a wonderful experience and a great way to see the Gulf of Mexico, it’s crucial to keep safety as a top priority.

  • Listen carefully to all safety instructions provided before taking off on the water.
  • Ensure that everyone on board wears a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Check the weather forecast and avoid boating during severe weather conditions or strong winds.

Emergency Contact Numbers:



Panama City Beach, FL 32413, USA

Panama City Beach Police Department: (850) 233-5000

Gulf of Mexico

Panama City Beach Fire Service: (850) 233-5120

In conclusion, Panama City Beach is an excellent destination for families looking for a memorable vacation experience. While having fun in the sun, safety should always be a top priority. By following these safety tips, families can enjoy a fun and safe stay in Panama City Beach.

Amusement parks and entertainment for families in Panama City Beach

When it comes to family vacations, one of the top considerations is finding destinations that offer fun and exciting experiences for all ages. Fortunately, Panama City Beach in Florida has plenty of amusement parks and entertainment options that can keep families entertained throughout their stay.

Here are some of the top amusement parks and entertainment options that families can enjoy in Panama City Beach:

  • Gulf World Marine Park: This park offers a variety of marine experiences for families, including live shows featuring dolphins, sea lions, and other marine animals. Visitors can also take part in animal encounters, such as swimming with dolphins or interacting with stingrays.
  • Shipwreck Island Waterpark: With over 20 acres of water attractions, Shipwreck Island Waterpark is a popular choice for families. The park features attractions such as lazy rivers, water slides, and wave pools, as well as a special area for younger children.
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not: This interactive museum features exhibits that are sure to fascinate both kids and adults. From shrunken heads to a 24-carat gold Cadillac, the museum offers a unique and entertaining experience for the whole family.

In addition to these amusement parks, Panama City Beach also offers other forms of entertainment for families:

Fishing charters: For families who love to fish, Panama City Beach offers a variety of fishing charters that can take them out to sea to catch a wide range of fish species. This is a great way to bond with family members while enjoying the beautiful waters of Panama City Beach.

Miniature golf: With several miniature golf courses in the city, families can enjoy a round of mini-golf while taking in beautiful views and enjoying a fun-filled game with the whole family.

When planning a family vacation, it’s important to find a destination that offers something for everyone. Panama City Beach does just that, with a variety of amusement parks and entertainment options that can keep families entertained throughout their stay. Whether you’re looking for marine experiences, water attractions, museums, fishing, or mini-golf, there’s something for everyone in Panama City Beach.

Family-friendly dining options in Panama City Beach

When it comes to family-friendly dining options in Panama City Beach, there is no shortage of restaurants that offer something for all ages. From upscale establishments to casual eateries, the dining scene in this beach town caters to families looking for tasty and affordable options.

Here are some of the top family-friendly dining options in Panama City Beach:

  • Pineapple Willy’s: This iconic restaurant is known for its seafood, live entertainment, and beachfront location. Their kid’s menu has a variety of options, including grilled cheese and chicken tenders.
  • Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant: Located right on the beach, Sharky’s offers a laid-back atmosphere perfect for families. They have a kid’s menu with classic choices like mac and cheese and burgers.
  • Firefly: While Firefly may be a bit more upscale, it still caters to families. They have a kid’s menu with options like chicken and waffles, and their outdoor patio is a great place to enjoy a meal with a view.

These are just a few of the family-friendly dining options in Panama City Beach. Other notable mentions include the family-owned and operated Bayou Joe’s, the indoor/outdoor pizza joint Mellow Mushroom, and the popular seafood spot, Captain Anderson’s.

Kid’s Eat Free Deals

If you’re looking to save some money, many restaurants in Panama City Beach offer kid’s eat free deals. For example, at Fatty Patty’s Cakes & Cafe, kids eat free every Monday after 4 pm with the purchase of an adult entree. Be sure to check with individual restaurants for their promotions and deals.

Top 3 Ice Cream Shops

No family vacation is complete without a visit to the local ice cream shop. Here are the top three ice cream shops in Panama City Beach:

Shop Best flavors Location
Thomas Donut & Snack Shop Key lime pie and peanut butter cup West Panama City Beach
The Yard Milkshake Bar Cookies and cream and s’mores Pier Park
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream Mint chocolate chip and peach cobbler East Panama City Beach

These three ice cream shops offer a diverse range of flavors and are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Just be prepared for long lines during peak vacation season!

Outdoor recreational activities for families in Panama City Beach

If you’re planning a family vacation, Panama City Beach in Florida is an excellent destination. Known for its pristine white sand beaches, emerald green waters, and warm weather, Panama City Beach has plenty of outdoor activities the whole family can enjoy. Here are some of the best outdoor recreational activities for families in Panama City Beach:

  • Beach Fun: With 27 miles of white-sand beaches, Panama City Beach is a perfect place for families to enjoy some fun in the sun. You can build sandcastles, play beach volleyball and football, or simply relax on the sand and soak up the sun.
  • Water Sports: Panama City Beach offers various water sports activities such as parasailing, banana boat rides, kayaking, and jet skiing. The Gulf of Mexico is calm, warm, and crystal clear, creating an ideal environment for water activities.
  • Dolphin Cruises: A dolphin cruise is a must-do activity when you’re in Panama City Beach. You can spot dolphins swimming in their natural habitat and enjoy a scenic ride along the coast.
  • Fishing: Panama City Beach is renowned for its fishing opportunities. You can take a family-friendly fishing trip, target different fish species such as trout, redfish, and snapper and create unforgettable memories.
  • Gulf World Marine Park: Gulf World Marine Park is a family-friendly venue that features various sea creatures from dolphins and sea lions to alligators and penguins. You can watch feeding shows, pet stingrays, and learn about marine animals’ nature and ecosystem.
  • St. Andrews State Park: St. Andrews State Park is one of the unique parks in the area that offer nature trails, secluded beaches, and a calm bay for paddleboarding and kayaking. You can also camp, fish, and explore the park’s biodiversity.
  • Go-Karts and Mini Golf: If you’re looking for a fun, casual activity, head to the Pirates Island Adventure Golf Parks or Race City for a game of mini-golf or go-kart racing. These venues are suitable for all ages, and it’s perfect for family activities during the evening hours.

Overall, Panama City Beach is an excellent destination for families who love outdoor activities. Whether it’s enjoying the beach, participating in water sports, or exploring the natural beauty of parks, Panama City Beach has it all.

Educational opportunities for families in Panama City Beach

Visiting Panama City Beach with the family doesn’t have to be all about fun in the sun – there are plenty of educational opportunities to explore as well. Here are some of the top educational activities to consider on your next family vacation:

  • Gulf World Marine Park: This marine park is home to a variety of marine life, including dolphins, sea lions, and stingrays. Families can watch live shows, interact with the animals, and learn about their habitats and behaviors.
  • Russell-Fields Pier: Take a stroll down this scenic pier and enjoy the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Kids can also learn about the fish species commonly caught in the area and even try their hand at fishing.
  • Science & Discovery Center of Northwest Florida: This hands-on museum features interactive exhibits on topics such as physics, engineering, and natural history. Kids can learn about everything from robotics to fossils.

If you’re looking for a more structured educational experience, there are also plenty of camps and classes available for kids in Panama City Beach. The following are just a few examples:

  • Bay County Audubon Society: This organization hosts a variety of educational events, including birding walks and workshops on topics such as butterfly gardening and marine biology.
  • Gulf Coast State College Kids College: This summer camp program offers classes on everything from art and music to science and technology. Kids can even take classes on marine biology and water sports, perfect for a beach vacation!
  • Shipwreck Island Water Park: This popular water park offers a Junior Lifeguard program for kids age 9-13. Participants will learn basic CPR and first aid skills, as well as techniques for water rescue and pool supervision.

Overall, Panama City Beach offers a wealth of educational opportunities for families looking to combine fun and learning on their next vacation.

Activity Description
Gulf World Marine Park Live animal shows and opportunities to interact with dolphins, sea lions, and more.
Russell-Fields Pier Learn about the fish species in the area and try your hand at fishing.
Science & Discovery Center Hands-on exhibits on physics, engineering, natural history, and more.
Bay County Audubon Society Hosts birding walks and workshops on topics such as marine biology and butterfly gardening.
Gulf Coast State College Kids College Summer program offering classes on art, music, science, technology, marine biology, and more.
Shipwreck Island Water Park Junior Lifeguard program Learn basic CPR and first aid skills, as well as water rescue and pool supervision techniques.

Don’t miss out on these exciting and educational opportunities in Panama City Beach!

Shopping options for families in Panama City Beach

For families vacationing in Panama City Beach, shopping can be a fun activity and a great way to spend the day. The city offers a variety of shopping options that cater to families, and these options are sure to satisfy everyone’s preferences.

  • 1. Pier Park
  • Pier Park is the ultimate shopping destination in Panama City Beach. The outdoor mall has over 125 stores, including major retailers like Target, Dillard’s, and JCPenney, as well as specialty shops and restaurants. The children’s playground, splash pad, and an amusement park make Pier Park perfect for families with children.

  • 2. Beachfront Markets
  • The Beachfront Markets, located at the Grand Panama Beach Resort, is another family-friendly shopping option in the city. The market features local vendors who sell handmade crafts, jewelry, and accessories. There are also food vendors selling sweets, ice cream, and other snacks. It’s a great place to visit during the evening and watch the sunset.

  • 3. Thomas Donut & Snack Shop
  • Located on Thomas Drive, Thomas Donut & Snack Shop serves homemade donuts, pastries, and coffee. The shop has been around since 1971 and is a local favorite for breakfast or a mid-day snack. The seating area is cozy and welcoming, and the colorful donuts are sure to delight children.

In addition to the shopping destinations, Panama City Beach also hosts several events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Seabreeze Jazz Festival and the Emerald Coast Cruizin. Attendees can shop the vendor booths and enjoy live music and entertainment.

For families who want a more personalized shopping experience, there are a few independent shops that cater to children and families. These shops offer unique gifts, toys, and souvenirs that can’t be found at major retailers. Some of the local shops include Beach House Marketplace, Little Village, and Alvin’s Island.

Shopping Destination Location Features
Pier Park 600 Pier Park Drive Outdoor mall, major retailers, restaurants, amusement park
Beachfront Markets 11800 Front Beach Road Local vendors, handmade crafts, food vendors
Thomas Donut & Snack Shop 19208 Front Beach Road Homemade donuts, cozy atmosphere

No matter what kind of shopping experience your family is looking for, Panama City Beach has something to offer. From major retailers to local vendors, there’s a vast variety of stores and events to explore. Remember to take some time to enjoy the beautiful beaches and family-friendly attractions.

Transportation options for families in Panama City Beach

Families visiting Panama City Beach often have questions about transportation options in the area. There are a variety of ways for families to get around and explore all that this beautiful destination has to offer.

Here are some of the best transportation options for families in Panama City Beach:

Public Transportation

  • The Bay Town Trolley is an affordable and convenient way for families to get around Panama City Beach.
  • Children under 6 ride for free on the trolley, and kids aged 6-12 ride for a discounted rate.
  • The trolley operates daily from early morning until late at night, and stops at popular destinations like the beach, shopping centers, and restaurants.

Renting a Car

If your family needs more flexibility and privacy, renting a car is a great option. There are many car rental companies located in Panama City Beach, with affordable rates and various car models to choose from. Additionally, renting a car allows families to explore the area at their own pace.


Biking is a great way for families to get some exercise while exploring Panama City Beach. There are plenty of bike rental companies in the area, with a variety of bike models to choose from. Plus, many hotels and resorts offer bike rentals to their guests.


Finally, walking is a great (and free!) option for families who want to explore Panama City Beach at a slow pace. The area is very pedestrian-friendly, with plenty of sidewalks and scenic walking routes. Families can enjoy a leisurely stroll on the beach, or walk through nearby neighborhoods and parks.

Transportation Option Cost Pros Cons
Bay Town Trolley Affordable (children under 6 ride for free) Easy to navigate, stops at popular destinations Only runs until late at night
Car Rental Varies Flexible, private Requires additional expense
Biking Varies Great exercise, scenic Depends on weather, additional expense
Walking Free Great exercise, can explore at a slow pace May not be practical for longer distances or certain areas

Overall, there are plenty of transportation options for families in Panama City Beach, making it easy to explore all that this beautiful destination has to offer.

Bring the Whole Family to the Beach

Well, there you have it folks! Panama City Beach is definitely a great spot for families to enjoy quality time. With exciting attractions and activities, pristine beaches, and delicious food, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So why not plan your next vacation here? Book a trip with your loved ones, soak up the sun and make unforgettable memories. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to come back soon for more exciting travel articles!