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Home to 27 miles of sugar white beaches and a long list of family-friendly attractions, Panama City is a great place to entertain the entire family. Attracting surfers, divers and nature lovers from around the state, here you’ll find plenty of memorable outdoor adventures. From undisturbed state parks to thrilling water slides, read on to discover the best things to do in Panama City.
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Most likely the first stop on any Panama City adventure, the miles of pristine shoreline at Panama City Beach attracts people from all over the state. Dig your toes in the signature sugar white sands, while the calm, azure water cools serves as a postcard-perfect backdrop to any summertime escape. Find your own stretch of sand to park your towel, or indulge in the handful of water-based activities on offer.
Popular with overnight campers, St. Andrews State Park is a beautiful barrier island that offers miles of undeveloped and uncrowded shoreline. Offering a peaceful escape from the tourist crowds, the white sand and emerald green waters are sure to melt any stress away. Swimming, snorkeling, diving, and kayaking are popular water-based activities, while a variety of biking and hiking trails also wind throughout the park.
Designed for kids of all ages, the Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida is a children’s museum that created its programs to introduce the topics of history, technology, and science in an interactive and fun fashion. An attraction that you can explore both indoors and outdoors, you can walk on the nature trail through marshy areas, experience animal encounters, and get hands on with a range of engaging exhibits.
Considered a Panama City icon, Shipwreck Island Waterpark has been a summer destination for over 30 years. Thrillseekers looking to test their courage can brave the park’s Tree Top Drop, where two slides come off a 65-foot tall platform that drops into a gripping free fall slide, or zip line off a 17th-century sailing ship into a lagoon pool. Take the little ones to the miniature slides, or float in the lazy river and wave pool.
A favorite getaway with locals, Shell Island is an undeveloped 7-mile long barrier island only accessible by boat. You’ll discover a quiet place to swim and sunbathe, where its beautiful landscapes of rolling sand dunes and the chance to spot loggerhead and sea turtles appeal to all ages. With plenty of unique vegetation and miles of pearly white sand, this remote island is an ideal destination for those who truly want to get away from it all.
A great place to enjoy some of Florida’s natural beauty, Conservation Park is home to wetlands, wildlife, and pine forest. A sprawling 3,000-acre park, outdoor enthusiasts have their pick of over 12 different trails with varying difficulty, where you can hike or bike through scenic areas and spot some of Florida’s local wildlife and birds in their natural habitat.
A zoo that emphasizes on conservation, the Zoo World Zoological Conservatory is home to a range of exotic animals from the around the world. It’s here that you can have up close encounters with lions, tigers, bear, and reptiles, or choose from a menu of private animal experiences, such as feeding giraffes, snuggling with lemurs and walking through a free-flight aviary.
An excellent break from the sun and surf, Pier Park offers a wealth of entertainment options, from outdoor retail shops to familiar chain restaurants and family-friendly attractions. Shoppers will find plenty of souvenirs to take home, while those looking for an adrenaline rush can take a whirl on the giant slide, roller coaster, and free-fall ride.
Nature lovers will delight at the environmentally rich landscapes at Camp Helen State Park, offering a tranquil beach area with excellent shelling. Bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Powell and one of the largest coastal dune lakes in Florida, you’ll find plenty of lush vegetation wildlife viewing opportunities here. Perfect for a day of swimming, beachcombing, hiking, and fishing, this 180-acre park is a true hidden gem off 30A.
A great destination if swimming with dolphins is on your bucket list, Gulf World Marine Park also gives guests a chance to interact with stingrays, sea lions, and tropical birds. The park hosts a variety of kid-friendly educational shows, while a range of indoor and outdoor exhibits showcase penguins, flamingos, sharks and sea turtles.
A daytime activity for the entire family, the Coconut Creek Family Fun Park packs a lot of a punch for its size, where you can play unlimited rounds of mini-golf on its well-maintained safari themed course. A challenge for visitors of all ages, the park is also home to a football field size maze that is not only fun but teaches orienteering skills.
Founded in 1976 by the Institute of Diving, the Man in the Sea Museum was created by former Navy Seals and marine scientists. An ideal attraction for history buffs and underwater enthusiasts, here you can explore interactive exhibits and admire displays that highlight techniques that divers once used for breathing underwater. You can browse the museum’s fascinating artifacts and discover a range of historic submarines, diving pods, and underwater living facilities.
You simply cannot be bored at Race City, Inc., as it boasts endless entertainment, with exciting fairground rides, a haunted house, arcade game room and bumper boats. Home to the largest amusement center in Panama City, here you’ll find the fastest, tallest and steepest go kart tracks on the beach, where both kids and kids at heart will find themselves spending hours enjoying everything that is on offer.