Panama City beach is about long stretches of sandy beaches juxtaposed with the best in modern means of amusement. Read on about the attractions and hotels at this playground by the sea.
In Panama City beach, days turn into an amusement park ride and lolling along long stretches of beach, thus two of the best pleasures of life come together in a single, large playground. A favorite spring and summer vacation spot for families, some of the Panama City beach attractions include a variety of parks that offer miniature golf, water entertainment, a maze, laser tag, paintball, batting cages, go-kart tracks, and rides for kids.
Equal in variety and number are the water-sport activities that are on offer such as wave-running, kayaking, parasailing, scuba diving, fishing in the deep-sea, tours in glass-bottom boats, or whatever else you may envisage doing in the water. From a leisurely sailing trip on board a dinner cruise yacht or a pirate ship to a high-velocity powerboat ride, you’ll find them all to choose from at Panama City beach. Another special attraction of this beach resort, especially for divers, is the shipwrecks that date back to World War II.
Must See Attractions in Panama City Beach
Gulf World Marine Park
This popular marine attraction, designed as a landscaped tropical garden, conducts shows that feature talented displays by penguins, sea lions, dolphins, and many more. Competing with them to steal the show are parrots which perform every day too. The crowds are also kept entertained by underwater shows, shark feeding displays, and scuba demos. The park also features unique interactive attractions like a meet-the-dolphins tour, dolphin encounter, and trainer-for-a-day. It is recommended to allow at least 3½ hours in order to experience all these attractions, and more if you choose any of the encounters.
ZooWorld Zoological & Botanical Park
Located in a pine forest, this entertaining as well as educational zoo participates actively in the Species Survival Plan, which helps in preserving endangered animals by implementing specific programs for housing and breeding them. Some of the 350 species that are housed here include primates like orangutans; various reptiles like alligators; and big cats like leopards, tigers, and lions. The Tilghman Infant Care Facility is the zoo’s most cherished and latest attraction. It is a nursery facility where you can see the infant animals born at this zoo. The visiting hours are from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm every day, except in winter when it is only up to 4:30 pm.
Museum of Man in the Sea
This museum, which the Institute of Diving owns, showcases treasures that have been recovered from shipwrecks, underwater world historic displays that date back to 1500, and antique souvenirs from the early days of scuba diving. Hands-on displays inform about how diving bells work, the refraction of light, and the principles involved in air and water pressure. Visitors, both adults and kids, can walk through a submarine to view sea creatures in a pool. Aquariums and videos give information about the sea life that inhabit the St. Andrews Bay.
Panama City Beach Hotels and Resorts
Panama City beach has been lauded for its silky, white sandy beaches along with a large number of family friendly hotels by being given the accolade ‘Best Beach’ by the award-winning travel magazine, Conde Nast Traveler. Also called ‘Beach Lovers Beach’, many hotels dot the 27-mile long beaches which skirt the sparkling azure blue waters of the St. Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Given below are some of the hotels and resorts at Panama City Beach.
Marriott’s Bay Point Resort Village
Apart from ranking among the country’s top tennis and golf resorts, this sybaritic vacation haven, located at 4200 Marriott Dr, is also an extraordinary asset for Florida. Despite guests having to pay extra for most of the activities, the rates of the rooms are among the best deals in the state. The rates would have been higher if the property had been located by the Gulf; however, it forms the center of a sprawling 1,100-acre well-kept real estate which houses a wildlife sanctuary, and is bordered by the Grand Lagoon and St. Andrews Bay.
Positioned right by the lagoon, this vividly coral colored stucco hotel is environed by oaks, magnolias, palm trees, and gardens. The window walls, located in the elegant three-story lobby, look out on picturesque views of the water as well as two pools, one of which is contained in a glass-enclosed construction.
The guest rooms, which have been renovated, spell luxury and spaciousness, with dark wood furnishings, with each of them having patios or balconies. Novices can take advantage of the Club Meadows golf courses and Lagoon Legends. Water-sports are available at the Grand Lagoon Beach, which can be accessed by the long pier of the hotel. There are also free shuttle services available to-and-fro the Gulf beaches.
The amenities inside the rooms include: TV; A/C, refrigerator; coffeemaker; iron; hair dryer; and dataport. While the facilities the hotel provides are: indoor pool; 3 outdoor pools that are heated; 2 bars; 2 restaurants; Jacuzzi; health club; 4 tennis courts; 2 golf courses; bikes on rent; water-sports equipment on rent; business center; concierge service; massage service; limited room service; laundry service; babysitting service; coin-operated washers and dryers; and rooms at the concierge level.
Beachcomber by the Sea
Built in 1998 at the juncture of FL. 79 and Front Beach Road, this 8-story resort comprises only suites, each of which is graced with splendid watercolors created by Paul Brent, a local artist. Each of the suites also has balconies which overlook a pool of the Gulf side as well as a hot tub bounded by a concrete deck punctuated by palm trees. The suites, which are well-equipped, are available in two sizes.
The larger sized suites have a living room with a sleeper sofa, bathroom, kitchenette, and a bedroom equipped with either two double beds or a single king-sized one. Both the living room and the bedroom are air-conditioned. The smaller sized suites are more akin to motel rooms, although they do come with microwaves. Two of them even have whirlpool tubs. Although there are no restaurants in this hotel, there are many close by, plus, a continental breakfast that is free of cost is provided in the lobby every morning.
The amenities in the rooms are: TV; A/C; coffeemaker; refrigerator; dataport; iron; and hairdryer. The facilities provided are: access to a health club close by; an outdoor pool that is heated; game room; Jacuzzi; and coin-operated washers and dryers.
Edgewater Beach Resort
This private, gated, sports-oriented 110 acres of landscaped land, situated on a picturesque beachfront location, located at 11212 Front Beach Road, is considered to be one of Florida’s biggest condominium resorts. The living units in five towers, facing the Gulf, provide spectacular vistas of dazzlingly beautiful sunsets and aquamarine waters from balconies provided in each. A pedestrian overpass goes across the Front Beach Road towards the town homes and low-rise apartments that fringe the fairways and ponds of the 9-hole golf course in the resort.
A shuttle that is operated during the day goes around the resort to the golf course, tennis center, whirlpools, and pools. The guests of this resort also have the privilege of using the Hombre Golf Club, with an 18-hole course, about a quarter of a mile in the north. Plus, the resort boasts a Polynesian-style pool, which is 11,000-square-foot in size, which has islands, waterfalls, and a deck where live entertainment is provided every day from 11 in the morning to 4 in the evening.
Amenities in the rooms include: TV; A/C; coffeemaker; kitchen; dataport; iron; and hairdryer. The facilities available are: 2 bars; 2 restaurants;11 tennis courts; 9-hole golf course; Jacuzzi; health club; children’s programs; water-sports equipment on rent; a desk for car rentals; concierge service; babysitting service; limited room service; and coin-operated washers and dryers.
Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort
Practically rubbing shoulders with the Edgewater Beach Resort, this 15-story edifice is one of the topmost full-service hotels facing the Gulf. Designed in the form of an arch, all the balconies of the rooms overlook the beach, where a deck and a lagoon-style heated pool are partitioned off from the sand by a line of Polynesian torches and palms.
Architectural awards have been won by this hotel because of its magnificent lobby which has a waterfall along with the Fountain of Wishes (the coins strewn there are given to charity). The spacious and attractive guest rooms are equipped with two roomy vanity areas, a microwave, and a refrigerator. The tiled floors and the pastel shades used are evocative of resorts in the Caribbean.
The amenities in each room include: TV; A/C; coffeemaker; fridge; dataport; safe; iron; and hair dryer. And the facilities available are: an outdoor pool that is heated; bar; 2 restaurants; Jacuzzi; exercise room; game room; water-sports equipment on rent; limited room service; concierge service; laundry service; babysitting service; and rooms at the concierge level.