Things to do in Panama City Beach with Kids
This was our first visit to Panama City Beach Florida. For some reason, traveling to Florida with kids from Vancouver or Seattle seemed like a nightmare. It seemed easier to fly overseas than make the trek from the Pacific North West to the US South West. But once we saw the flight options, my fears were unfounded. Panama City Beach was an easy trip from Vancouver to Atlanta then a short layover and a short flight to Panama City Beach and the Gulf of Mexico.
Where is Panama City Beach?
When I told friends that I had three days of fun things to do in Panama City Beach, their first question was “Where is Panama City Beach?” The easiest answer was, in Florida, on the Texas side, but on the Gulf of Mexico.
Panama City Beach Map
We arrived into PCB to rain! Yes rain, rain rain! But the weather was still pleasantly warm and muggy, the ocean was warm like a bath and I didn’t mind the rain drops as Markus, my four year old played in the waves crashing on the beautiful white sandy beach outside the Edgewater Beach resort. It was the perfect resort choice for a family holiday! A full one bedroom suite overlooked the ocean, we had a full kitchen and washer/dryer and plenty of space! The Edgewater Beach Resort ticked off all of the boxes for our family hotel musts! It was for sure, one of the best places to stay in Panama City Beach.
Activities in Panama City Beach Fl
There is so much to do in PCB. It amazed me for a small town, every block had somewhere to stop, whether it was mini golf, waterslides, gulf world marine park, shopping, or a kayak rental!
It is the perfect beach vacation for families, from those with young children, to those with teens! While I visited with my four year old, I was amazed at the number of things to do.
I have to start with Panama City Beach! It is beautiful and it is one of the Free things to do in Panama City Beach. The White sand feels like you are walking in flour. It was amazingly soft. The surf can be dangerous however. Always look for the flags on the beach indicating the potential hazards. There can be a bad rip current, but we mostly stayed on shore, while markus jumped and splashed in the waves. There were however, dozens of people enjoying the warm gulf of mexico waters!
The Edgewater Beach resort boasts 11 pools and four hot tubs! It made for hours of fun as markus jumped and swam in the warm pool! I love how the pool can give parents some downtime lounging in a lawn chair while the kids can play for what seems like hours!
Shipwreck Island WaterPark
This 20 acre waterpark in Panama City Beach is great for a few hours or a whole day of fun! There was plenty for my preschooler to do at this tropical themed waterpark and there are plenty of slides for the big kids too! They have lots of seating, lockers, food and drink options. Note that they are open seasonally, check them out at http://www.shipwreckisland.com
Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, you will never run out of things to do in PCB. You can take a boat cruise, go fishing, go snorkelling or diving. You can rent a jet ski, paddle board, or try out kite boarding, surfing or parasailing. Have you ever ridden one of those big yellow bananas in the ocean? Well that is another of the popular panama city beach activities if your kids are a bit older than mine! I love that Panama City Beach is so encompassing when it comes to entertainment. From toddlers to teens, they will not get bored!
Check out this Guide to Snorkeling before your trip to Panama City Beach!
Tired of the Water yet? There are plenty of things to do with kids in Panama City Beach that are away from the water or indoors.
One of the popular things to do in Panama City Beach when it rains is to visit Wonderworks. It has over 35 000 square feet of “edu-tainment” and is a mix of amusement park type rides, to cool science activities and is great for kids from preschool age to about 10 I would imagine. They also have laser tag and a ropes course for kids 5 and up! Not raining? No problem, Wonderworks is also a great one of the pub attractions to beat the heat on those hot sunny days! And the entertainment is not just inside! Both of my boys said “whats that big upside-down building!”
Gulf World Marine Park
Kids and animals often go hand in hand. Exploring Gulf World for a few hours was load of fun for markus. He constantly watched the sharks and sea turtles and learned about marine conservation. Gulf World strives to rehab and release as many animals as they can.
I am always up for saving a couple bucks. Traveling with kids can be expensive! If you are looking for discounts on on Gulf World Marine Park click here.
Fancy shopping and Entertainment?
I am a shopper. But not usually with my kids in tow. Pier Park is one of those things to do in Panama City Beach for adults. But the kids will have plenty of things to keep them busy as well! Hungry, you don’t have to look too far, as there are lots of restaurants! We tried Pompano Joes and it was great! The gulf coast menu with Caribbean flavour was excellent. Have I mentioned the places to eat in Panama City Beach yet? There are Plenty!
Where to Eat in Panama City Beach
When I am on vacation, eating is one of those things I like to do. Over our 4 days we were able check out plenty of great places to eat in Panama City Beach. For breakfast, Thomas Donuts and Snack Shop offered the best breakfast sandwiches I have ever had! And you know, who doesn’t love a donut and coffee in the morning. Andy’s Flour Power is also great!
I loved dinner at the Grand Marlin and their daily menu! Although upscale, they had great options for kids. And their drink menu had plenty of fun choices. Pompano Joe’s was another winner for gulf seafood!
Panama City Beach Front Hotels
We thoroughly enjoyed the Edgewater Beach Resort on Panama City Beach’s waterfront. The white sand right out of the tower and the pools and jacuzzis were great for the kids! We didn’t wander over to the golf course side, but the Edgewater resort has full suites with kitchens and washing machines!!! (every parent’s dream, right?)
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If you are looking for more great holiday destinations, check out this post on Fabulous, Family Summer Holidays
We are often asked how to travel more as a family. Have a read of this post for some ideas
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Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She left her career in Canada to share her love of travel with her two young boys. She is passionate about sharing adventure travel activities for families and to encourage others to explore the world. She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.