10 Things to Do in Panama City, FL for First Time Visitors

The Florida Panhandle is full of small city gems, and one of the best ones in the area is Panama City. Panama City is known for its white sand beaches and true tropical vibe. This area is so stunning that millions of tourists flock the area each year. There are literally miles upon miles of gorgeous shoreline, and the sunsets here are a sight to behold every single day. If you’re looking for a different kind of a Florida vacation, skip the rest of the state and head straight for the Panhandle and right into Panama City. Here are the 10 things you must do there if you’re visiting for the first time.

1. Panama City Beach

With about 27 miles of shoreline at Panama City Beach, you’ll never feel the crowd get thick regardless of how many people are actually there. If you’re hanging out by the water, you can enjoy plenty of activities right on the water or right off of it.

2. Shell Island

Take a quick trip off the mainland to Shell Island using the Shell Island Shuttle. There are plenty of snorkeling opportunities over at Shell Island, but make sure you set a little bit of time to actually go shelling. You can also take nature walks and breathe in the freshest air. Make sure you keep your eyes open for some dolphins jumping out from the open water.

3. Dolphins and Whale Watching

Panama City is a great place for dolphin and whale watching. We highly recommend Island Time Sailing for a different experience on the water. The sunset cruise is something that’s a must if you’re visiting Panama City. It’s going to make you fall in love with the beauty of the area even more.

4. Bear Creek Feline Center

Florida wildlife is quite unique. There are plenty of animals in the cat family that you can find in the Florida wilderness, but you don’t have to go out into the wild in order to see them all. Take a tour at the Bear Creek Feline Center and learn all about these wonderful felines and all the conservation efforts around the area.

5. Oaks by the Bay Park

There’s nothing like spending some quality time with nature; and if you want to see and walk through an abundance of glorious oak trees, the best place to go is at Oaks by the Bay Park. This also happens to be one of the oldest areas in Panama City.

6. Museum of Man in the Sea

The ocean is largely what makes Panama City as unique of a city as it is. This museum is all about the history of diving, and the exhibits you’ll see here of old and new technologies are just impressive. It’s a quick tour, but it’s very much enjoyable.

7. Panama City Marina

Oceanside living is all about the boat life as well. At the marina, you’ll get a glimpse of all the different types of boats that call Panama City home. It’s definitely a nice stroll at any time of the day because of the nice salty breeze that comes through from the gulf.

8. Saint Andrews State Park

When you’ve got the gulf on one side and St. Andrews bay on the other, you’ve really got the best of both worlds. Enjoy picnicking, sunbathing, and everything else in the water and under the sun. The park also has areas for camping if you wish to spend some time under the starry night skies of Panama City.

9. Gulf World Marine Park

If you’re looking for a fun and interactive experience with animals, a visit to the Gulf World Marine Park should do you good. You can enjoy animal shows, swim with dolphins, feed stingrays, and many more. It’s a great option if you’re looking to do something different than sitting by the beach all day.

10. Helicopter Tour

Experience a different view of Panama City and enjoy a helicopter ride through Panhandle Helicopter Tours. This could be a great activity for the entire family, or it could also be a romantic option for you and your special someone. Try it during sunset, and you’ll see just how beautiful Panama City truly is.


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