We asked the well-travelled Dr. Cacinda Maloney of PointsandTravel to tell us her top secrets on the most sought-after attractions and hotels in Panama City Beach, Florida. Here’s the scoop!
In Bay County, Florida lies the charming beach town of Panama City Beach along the Gulf Coast in the USA. Panama City Beach is a resort city that is nicknamed for having “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” But don’t just take my word for it, as according to Southern Living Magazine, two Florida beach towns are among the very “Best Beach Towns in the South of 2019.” And, of course, Panama City Beach is one of them! If you are wondering, the other Florida Beach destination was Destin, Florida. This honor was given based upon the votes of the readers of Southern Living Magazine. And after my visit, I concur with these readers, as Panama City Beach has some of the most gorgeous miles of sugary white sand I have ever seen.
It is no surprise that Florida is also nicknamed the “Sunshine State”, with an average of 128 days of clear sunny days. And like most of Florida, Panama City Beach has a tropical savanna climate. Unfortunately, Panama City Beach recently took a hard hit when Hurricane Michael blew through this resort beach city in October 2018. But the hurricane only strengthened the community resolve of Panama City Beach. These residents are now ready to invite tourists back to its sunshine, sugary white sands, and salty air! I recently visited Panama City Beach and had a few travel experiences that I want to share with you. So let me introduce you to Panama City Beach hotels and a few things to do when you visit:
#1 Enjoy the Beach: Visit Shell Island
Save a day of your vacation to rent a pontoon boat (with or without a captain) to go out to Shell Island! This gorgeous 7-mile stretch of sugary white sand is an uninhabited island where you and your friends and family can hang out for the day. You can enjoy the sun, the sea, and miles of the beach all to yourself. Call up Lagoon Pontoon and make a reservation, as they provide everything you need for a great day on the island. They have double decker pontoons with slides that go into the ocean! On board, you will find plenty of room in the sun or the shade during your ride out to the island and back. They also have loads of beach chairs, towels, food, and drink, so it truly is the perfect day.
#2 Rent an Evening with a Beach Bonfire!
What a blast my group and I had on our bonfire night… but what is a bonfire night? We all know what a traditional bonfire is, but this is even better. In Panama City Beach, they have a company called Endless Beach Rentals that sets up everything for you! They bring out all the beach chairs, the fire pit, hammocks, as well as a table with all the s’mores fixins’ you need, and they set up the music (you decide who you want to listen to). Honestly, it couldn’t be more perfect!
Once you arrive, have a drink or two, chat with your family and friends, then watch the sunset, hang out in the hammocks, put your marshmallows for s’mores in the fire, listen to music, and enjoy the evening. It doesn’t get much easier than this! Once you are done, all you have to do is call the company and they will come and clean up everything and take it away! It is the perfect evening in Panama City Beach!
#3 Take a Sunset and Dolphin Cruise
One thing you will definitely want to do is take a sunset cruise and spend some time aboard Island Time’s sailboat in the Grand Lagoon. Then you will sail past the magnificent houses and into the Gulf of Mexico to search for dolphins over the next few hours. I am sure you will spot a few dolphins frolicking in the waters! In the meantime, you will enjoy seeing Panama City Beach’s views, the aqua green waters, and the sunset.
#4 Enjoy the Beaches and Parks of Panama City Beach
Be sure and rent a car and drive around the city to the gorgeous beaches in the area. Rick Seltzer Beach has a simple boardwalk with emerald green waters. There are also two piers known as the “city” and the “country” piers with boardwalks. They were both built within a year from each other and provide public access for fishing. Both extend out 1500 feet into the Gulf of Mexico and were built to withstand hurricanes. They are Russell Fields Pier (the city pier) and M.B. Miller Pier (the country pier).
Panama City Beach Hotels: Where to Stay?
With so much to do, you will need to find a place to stay. While in Panama City Beach, you will have many options. They have everything from vacation rentals to traditional hotels. There is everything from budget to luxury, depending on what you are looking for.
The Best Panama City Beach Hotels:
Seychelles Beach Resort by Wyndham Vacation Rentals – With easy access to the beach, a stay here can never go wrong. They have one bedroom apartments with king-sized beds, built in twin beds for kids, two baths, a living area, a mini-kitchen, which will cut down on the cost of eating out. There are also stunning views from the outdoor patio. They have two pools and a lounge chair and umbrella set up daily on the beach.
Aqua Resort is a 22-story luxury resort right on the water with expansive views and great amenities. With their whirlpool spa grotto and tropical pool deck, it is a perfect getaway for couples.
Splash Resort by Sterling Resorts is perfect for couples with kids, as it has beachfront condos that are family-focused with 1-3 bedrooms. With children’s interactive aqua pools and slides, as well as dive-in movies, there is no way the kids will get bored.
Chateau by The Sea is a charming beachfront hotel along Front Beach Road that includes a perfect ocean view and is in close proximity to M.B. Miller Pier, better known as the “country” pier.
Coastal Living Beachfront Home will exceed your expectations with a beachfront home that has a kitchen, living area, washer/dryer, private pool, and stunning views. It is perfect for a romantic getaway or for a trip with the family, as it hosts up to 16 people.
Marriott’s Legends Edge at Bay Point features spacious two-bedroom villas with a fully-equipped kitchen, separate living and dining area, as well as great views of the Grand Lagoon. They even have washer-dryers and oversized soaking tubs.
Panama City Beach, Florida is the perfect beach in the South to enjoy. It is safe, easily affordable, and there is so much to do! The blue-green ocean water and sugar sandy beaches create the perfect vacation. It definitely stands out from the other beaches along the Florida Gulf Coast.
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