Family Activities Ideas in Panama City Beach, Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida is one of our family’s very favorite beach getaways. But, what do you do in Panama City Beach, Florida with kids?
For some, Panama City Beach may conjure images of late night clubs over spring break, lazy mornings, and even lazier afternoons. But, taking kids to the beach is no easy task, and requires a fair amount of planning and gear.
Are there really fun things to do in PCB for the whole family? YES!
From the white sand beaches to the emerald and turquoise waters, Panama City Beach boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Plus, because it has become such a tourist destination, there is no shortage of great things to do with the entire family. Some of the best things to do in PCB on family vacation are free, educational, and fun for everyone!
This makes Panama City Beach a perfect place for a relaxing vacation destination for both younger and older children.
Your vacation to the beach with kids might look a little different than your beach trips pre-kids! Yet, don’t fret; Panama City Beach is a great family-friendly destination. Here are a ton of suggestions for visiting Panama City Beach, Florida with your family and children.
1. THE BEACH!
Of course, if you are looking for what to do in PCB with kids, then you can’t go wrong with the beach. If your accommodations are not located along the beach, you will be pleased to know that Panama City Beach has tons of public access sites to public beaches.
Our favorite beaches are between access points 21 and 34 (near the pier).
We regularly see pods of dolphins, sting rays, jellies and more in those areas.
Or better yet, take a trip out to Shell Island.
On your trip out to Shell Island you are almost guaranteed to see bottlenose dolphins, find some great shells, hunt for sand dollars, and watch fish and turtles in their natural habitat.
However, locals love St. Andrews State park for a beach that is largely untouched by commercial development and crowds. This can be one of the best places to enjoy a beach day!
2. Shell Island
Shell Island is a natural preserve located just off the coast of Panama City Beach, Florida. It is accessible by rental boat, private captain, or even ferry.
Our family likes to take the Shell Island Shuttle for a hassle-free trip, but we also love to rent a pontoon boat from Shell Island Pontoons.
The island is a great way to explore local nature, get away from the crowds, and have some fun out on the water.
3. Ripley’s Believe it or Not or WonderWorks
If you find yourself in Panama City Beach Florida on a rainy day, or if the heat is just too much, and you need a break from the elements, you can take your family to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not! is a spectacle of oddities just across the street from WonderWorks.
Gawk at the strange sights, play in the interactive exhibits, and get lost in the mirror maze.
Wonderworks is located in an upside down building across from the Titanic of Ripley’s Believe It or Not and is an interactive “edutainment” attraction!
Both attractions are a fun way for kids to have an interactive day out of the sun or rain!
4. Miniature Golf
Another great family outing is mini golf or putt putt. At least half a dozen mini golf courses are within walking distance of the beach and even more are located throughout Panama City and Pier Park.
Play an 18 hole mini golf course with your kids for a great family-friendly after dinner activity!
If your kids need some outdoor activity away from the sand, mini golf is a great way to spend an evening after dinner or donuts in Panama City Beach.
5. Donut and Pastry Tour!
Several local roasters and bakeries are in and around Panama City Beach, Florida.
The Pour, The Press, Parlour, Finns Barista Shack, and more are all places that our whole family love to visit.
Take a tour of the local donuts, coffees, pastries, and even vegan treats at these locations.
Some even offer live music! Both the Pour and Finn’s have a stage for local performers.
6. Boating! Or Jet Skis!
Jet Skis and boats are super fun for the whole family. Our family recommends Shell Island Pontoons for a simple pontoon or even a double decker pontoon with slides!
If you want something a little more adventurous, rent jet skis from Shell Island Pontoons for a fun afternoon on the water with your littles!
7. Swim with a Dolphin at Gulf World and Visit with exotic animals at Zoo World
The exotic land and marine life in and around the Gulf of Mexico is really unique. For an experience up close and personal with Gulf animals, spend a day at Gulf World marine park with your children.
Not quite your ordinary zoo, Gulf World (Zoo World) is one of the only places where you can even swim with dolphins in their world famous dolphinarium.
Interact with sea turtles, pet a stingray, and learn about marine preservation at Gulf World with your kids!
8. Pier Park
Pier Park is tourist central. With boutique shops, fine and casual dining, and family attractions, you can find something for everyone at pier park.
Of course, our kids’ favorite store is the giant candy store, my husband loves the hot sauces, and I enjoy the beach clothing boutiques where you are sure to find brightly colored coverups and wide straw hats!
Plus, Pier Park is the home of Skywheel Panama City Beach –an enormous Ferris wheel that will give you great views of Pier Park and the ocean.
9. Walk the Pier
Pier park is aptly named as it leads into one of Panama City Beach’s busiest piers –Russell-Fields Pier. Watch the boats go by, see the sunset, or even catch a glimpse of seasonal fireworks from the pier.
Or take a calmer stroll down M.B. Miller County Pier where there is public parking, a view of the open water, and tons of fishermen to keep you entertained.
M.B. Miller Pier does have a small entrance fee, but it is well-maintained, and many people spend their entire day fishing there.
What better way to play 18 than with a view of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico?
Edgewater Golf resort is just one of the several golf courses located in and around Panama City Beach, Florida.
Or, check out this long list of public golf courses in and near Panama City Beach.
Many have family play times for younger children, lessons, and even beachside holes! Of course, the sand traps are aplenty.
While golf might be limited to older children, even our 3 and 4 year olds enjoy spending time at the driving range.
Some of the fairways are so close to the road or beach that you might want to watch for stray balls as you walk or jog through Panama City Beach. My husband and I were nearly hit by a golf ball coming over the hedges on a morning walk!
Panama City Beach, Florida with Kids and Families!
Panama City Beach is such a family and child friendly destination. With no shortage of family activities and even free entertainment, you can find tons to do.
However, if you are having trouble finding family activities, I hope that this list gets you started!
If you are looking for a huge list of free things to do in and around Panama City Beach, Florida, check out this list of 50+ FREE family-friendly attractions around Panama City Beach and ideas for a great beach day!
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