12 Awesome Things to Do in and Around Panama City, Florida

12 Awesome Things To Do In and Around Panama City, FloridaPlanning a visit to the Florida panhandle? Have you considered Panama City, Florida, for your itinerary? We’ve researched this location as a potential destionation and turns out that along with the surrounding area, this city offers a lot to visitors. What are the things you can do in Panama City, then, that are unique to the area?

Panama City is home to a number of localized attractions, including:

  • Ripley’s Believe it or Not
  • Capt. Anderson’s Marina
  • Cobra Adventure Park
  • Bear Creek Feline Center
  • Carillon Beach
  • Oaks by the Bay Park
  • Museum of Man in the Sea
  • Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida
  • SeaDragon Pirate Cruise
  • Rick Seltzer Park
  • ZooWorld Zoological and Botanical Conservatory
  • Coconut Creek Family Fun Park

Regardless of the time of year, Panama City opens its arms to everyone, offering sunny summers and temperate winters to families and couples alike. This resort town that will meet all of your R&R needs without putting you up against bustling crowds of tourists. Enjoy amusement parks, long walks on the beach, and plenty of localized entertainment while you kick up your feet and enjoy your time away from your everyday hustle and bustle.

Why visit Panama City, Florida?

Located in the Florida panhandle (about a couple of hours away west of Talahasee), Panama City is a vibrant urban center and the county seat of Bay County, Florida. While the city itself is home to only just over 35,000 people, its metro area is home to over 200,000 inhabitants. That includes the personnel from two large military bases and their families.

This large concentration of population, along with its location in the gorgeous Saint Andrew Bay, make Panama City a great destination. You get that great Florida mix of beaches, nature and plenty of activities, making this a great destination for a stop along a road trip, or a family weekend.

Summer is the rainy season here, just like elsewhere in Florida, with temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s. Winter is therefore the best season for visiting Panama City, so plan accordingly.

12 Things To Do In Panama City, Florida

If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind entertainment, relaxation, and adventure, then you’ll find it waiting in Panama City. Let’s dive into some of the city’s most notable attractions so you can start putting together your travel itinerary.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not

Ripleys Believe it or Not
Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in Panama City, Florida | Photo by Richard Elzey

The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museums can be found all around the United States, but each has exhibits that are entirely unique to their location. All the more reason, then, to take the kids inside when you visit Panama City. These museums are designed for the curious, as they teach children and adults alike all about different cultures and cultural phenomenon.

The museum is open Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 10 AM and 5 PM. You can also visit on Fridays and Saturdays between the hours of 10 AM and 7 PM. Ticket prices will vary based on any combo packages you may be interested in.

For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

Capt. Anderson’s Marina

Opened in 1957, Capt. Anderson’s Marina is a playground meant for the sea-loving tourist. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to take one of 30 charter boats, 4 dive boats, or 5 party fishing boats out for a spin in the Gulf of Mexico. Whether you want to rent a boat for your own family or head out on a guided tour, the folks at Capt. Anderson’s Marina will help you find a package to suit your interests.

Different trips include narrated tours of Shell Island, sunset dolphin tours, an express ferry to Shell Island, and a double-decker, glass-bottom tour. Prices for these tours will vary based on the time of year you’re visiting Panama City and the number of passengers you intend to take aboard with you.

Capt. Anderson’s Marina has boating opportunities for everyone. For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

Cobra Adventure Park

Do you have any thrill-seekers in your family? If so, you’re going to want to head over to Cobra Adventure Park. This independently-owned and operated amusement park is one of a kind. Here, you’ll find a go-kart track and mini-golf for days alongside thrill rides like the Wild Thing and Vertical Accelerator.

Cobra Adventure Park offers each visiting family their option of packages, meaning that prices will vary. The park is open on a daily basis from 10 AM to midnight. For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

Bear Creek Feline Center

Any animal lovers in Panama City with you are going to want to visit Bear Creek Feline Center. Here, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with a number of exotic cats who have been saved from inappropriate homes. Because these cats can no longer survive in the wild, the staff at Bear Creek Feline Center has helped them adjust to life around other cats.

Tours start at a minimum of $100 are limited to 4 people, depending on the adventure you choose to undertake. Bear Creek Feline Center is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and is only accessible to guests who have made an appointment with a center representative. For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

Carillon Beach

Adventurous souls who want to spend more time on Florida beaches will love Carillon Beach. Whether you want to spot Florida’s turtles and birds in action or you want to tour the stunning architecture on the sides of the water, this 104-acre beach will give you plenty of opportunities to explore.

For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

Oaks by the Bay Park

For a less intimidating beach, you’ll want to head down to Oaks by the Bay Park. This 5-acre park leads out to Panama City’s waterfront while also providing you with gentle shade from native oaks and the world’s only four-headed palm tree.

For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

Museum of Man in the Sea

History buffs and pirate lovers alike will have a blast at the Museum of Man in the Sea. Visit here and you’ll learn all there is to know about humanity’s exploration of the ocean’s depths. View recovered treasures, naval equipment, and watery habitats that are both native to Florida and as exotic as they come.

The Museum of Man in the Sea is open Thursday through Sunday every week, and you can visit between 10 AM and 5 PM. Admission costs break down as follows:

  • Adults (18 to 64): $$7
  • Children (6 to 17): $5
  • Children (5 or younger): Free
  • Seniors (65 or older): $5.50

For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida

The Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida is one of the most unique children’s museums in Bay County. Take your kids here to escape the heat and to learn more about everything from pirate ships to dinosaurs.

The Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida is open every day of the week except for Monday, with hours varying based on ongoing refurbishing efforts. Admission breaks down as follows:

  • Adults: $7
  • Children (2 to 18): $6
  • Seniors (65+): $6

For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

SeaDragon Pirate Cruise

Are you or your kids fascinated with pirate history? Then you’ll want to book a ticket with “Sea Dragon” Pirate Cruise. This simulated pirate adventure will take you out into the waters of the Gulf. While the children sword fight, fire fake canons, and learn sea shanties, the animated captain will provide you with a guided tour of St. Andrews Bay.

The cost of riding with the pirates aboard the Sea Dragon will vary based on the size of your party. For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

Rick Seltzer Park

If you’ve put up your feet at a hotel without beach access, you can always head down to Rick Seltzer Parks. This public access beach provides you with:

  • Picnic Areas
  • A Pavillion
  • Restrooms
  • Water Fountains
  • Swimming Areas

Parking near Rick Seltzer Parks will vary based on how close to the parks you get. For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

ZooWorld Zoological and Botanical Conservatory

If Bear Creek Feline Center didn’t expose you to enough exotic animals, you can spend the day at ZooWorld Zoological and Botanical Conservatory. Here, you’ll be able to pet sloths, porcupines, lemurs, alligators, and more. Visitors more interested in exploring Florida’s wildlife can tour the on-site habitats and gardens meant to entertain the exotic residents.

ZooWorld Zoological and Botanical Conservatory is open every day between 9:30 AM and 4 PM. The last admission of the day is at 3 PM. Admission breaks down as follows:

  • Adults: $19.95
  • Children (2 to 12): $13.95
  • Children (2 or younger): Free
  • Seniors (65+): $18.95

For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

Coconut Creek Family Fun Park

If you want to visit a fun park that’s light on the thrill rides, take the kids to Coconut Creek Family Fun Park. Here, you’ll be able to spend the day playing mini-golf on two separate courses. Alternatively, navigate your way in and out of the Gran Maze, a Captain Cook-themed maze the size of a football field.

Admission to Coconut Creek Family Fun Park will vary based on the package you choose. The park is open from Thursday to Sunday between the hours of 10 AM and 10:30 PM. You can also visit on Fridays and Saturdays between 10 AM and 11 PM.

For more information about this Panama City attraction, you can visit its website.

Best Things To Do In Panama City, Florida With Kids

Planning a family trip? Luckily, Panama City is home to several attractions that appeal to visitors of all ages, including:

  • Ripley’s Believe it or Not
  • Cobra Adventure Park
  • Bear Creek Feline Center
  • SeaDragon Pirate Cruise
  • Coconut Creek Family Fun Park

Whether you’ve got an animal lover or adventure seeker on your hands, you’ll find something in Panama City for the kids to get excited about.

Most Romantic Things To Do In Panama City, Florida

What is there to do in Panama City if you’re looking to have a romantic vacation with your partner? Take some time away from the bustle of your everyday stresses, and you’ll find that the area is the perfect romantic getaway, with attractions like:

  • Carillon Beach
  • Oaks by the Bay Park
  • Rick Seltzer Park

Take a walk down the beach and watch the sunset over the water. You’ll not only fall in love with your partner all over again, but you might just fall in love with the area.

Where To Stay In Panama City, Florida

If you’re convinced that Panama City is the vacation spot for you, then you’re going to need to find a place to stay. You’ll find several hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and more in the area. Choosing the best for you will depend on what kind of Panama City experience you’re looking for.

Catalina Motel

The Catalina Motel opened in 2019, making it one of the newest motels in Panama City. The amenities here are up to date, and the motel is small enough to let families and couples alike feel as though they’re in their own harbor, safe from the rush of the rest of the world. Here, you’ll find an outdoor swimming pool, free parking, and a guest garden that you can walk through at your leisure. The rooms at the Catalina Motel were made with families in mind.

To book one for yourself, you can visit Booking.com.

Beachcomber by the Sea

If you want a room with a Gulf-side view, then you’re going to want to stay at Beachcomber by the Sea. This hotel rests directly on the beach and provides its guests with access to private balconies upon request. There’s more to the hotel though than the view. Each room at Beachcomber by the Sea comes equipped with a cable television, refrigerator, microwave, and pull-out sofa bed.

When you’re not exploring the rest of Panama City, you’ll be able to spend time by Beachcomber by the Sea’s outdoor pool and hot tub. You can also rent beach chairs, wave runners, and parasailing equipment from the front desk. If you want to get the sand out of your clothes, you’ll even have access to an on-site laundry facility.

To book a room at this location, you can visit Booking.com.

Ocean Breeze by the Sea

Families or couples looking for a more urban experience in Panama City will want to find their way to Ocean Breeze by the Sea (are you noticing a naming theme?). This resort guides you directly from your room to the beach, where the Gulf of Mexico is waiting to greet you. This is the perfect hotel for party-lovers to stay at while on vacation, as the popular Club La Vela is only 1.7 miles away.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Ocean Breeze by the Sea isn’t ideal for visiting families. Each room at Ocean Breeze by the Sea comes with access to free Wifi, a refrigerator, and a microwave, with additions available upon request. You’ll have access to complimentary tea, coffee, and juice 24 hours a day. If you’re feeling peckish, all you need to do is cross the street to head to the hotel pool and affiliated restaurant, Barefoot on the Beach Bar and Grill.

To book a room at this location, you can visit Booking.com.

We hope you found this guide helpful! If you’ve ever visited this destination – or perhaps you live there? – leave us a comment and let us know what you think of the list. Did we miss anything important? Share that in the comment too!

12 Awesome Things To Do In and Around Panama City, Florida

Leave a Reply

Close Menu