The snow-white beaches of Florida’s Emerald Coast bring in over 13 million visitors a year for a good reason. Warm calm water, beautiful beaches, and the perfect combination of nightlife and solitude. We found the best of both worlds at Panama City Beach from the natural solitude of Shell Island and Saint Andrew’s State Park to fine dining and recreation back in town. We’re bringing you our favorite photos to inspire you to head to Panama City Beach for your next getaway.
Water, Sand, and Condos Along Panama City Beach
This is the view of Panama City Beach from Saint Andrew’s State Park. It shows the three main ingredients of an amazing vacation. Miles and miles of sugar sand beach sandwiched between Gulf Waters and vacation condos create a satisfyingly simple holiday.
Come in, Sit down, and stay a while at Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort
Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort gives Panama City Beach its only full- service beach resort. They offer a variety of vacation rental options, activities, and amenities. We enjoyed our fully-equipped kitchen and outstanding beach views. Edgewater offers 18 holes of golf, 11 pools, 10 tennis courts, 4 hot tubs, and one gigantic chair.
View From our Room at Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort Beach
You know what the best part of having a view like this? You never need to leave your room to be at the ocean. We enjoyed this view as we cooked in our (have we mentioned?) fully-equipped kitchen or relaxed and enjoyed some much needed down-time in the cool air conditioning. It greeted us every morning for sunrise, and we never missed a sunset. In real life, we can’t afford to live on the beach, but on our holiday, we can have a view straight from the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Playing on Panama City Beach
Imagine walking on this beach. The fluffy white sand squeaks under your feet like the squeaky cheese in a traditional Quebec bowl of poutine….and don’t even get us started on the water. I felt like my stress melted away with each step I took into the Gulf. Perhaps the Gulf of Mexico is Florida’s real fountain of youth.
Swimming in the Lagoon Pool at Edgewater
If you’re feeling salty from the sea, take a dip in the fresh water of one of Edgewater’s 11 pools. The enormous lagoon pool is a great place to splash with your friends and family, enjoy a cocktail under an umbrella, or stay up late with dancing and live music.
Golf on the Gulf
Beautiful views surround you no matter where you look. After all, we were staying, at the Edgewater beach AND golf resort. You only need to cross over the pedestrian walkway to reach the adjoining greens. In my millionaire fantasy, I have that beach view from my bedroom, the lagoon pool with a waterfall in my backyard, and this golf course as my front yard.
Casual Elegance at Firefly Restaurant
The word of the day at Firefly is magical. A large oak tree dominates the interior dining room in an homage to the restaurant’s predecessor – Canopies. Patrons at Canopies enjoyed Mediterranian fair on an outdoor patio. Firefly adds local seafood and first-rate sushi to an evolving and fresh menu. From $5 Martini Happy Hour and Tini Tuesdays to decadent desserts, your evening will undoubtedly be magical.
Just Right Attractions
Shipwreck Island is a fun little water park. Free parking, well-priced drinks, and reasonable lines make this a fun day out, but the fun doesn’t stop there. The area also features Gulf World Marine Park, WonderWorks indoor amusement park, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and a bevy of miniature golf courses. If you’re into attractions, you’ll find them in Panama City Beach.
Shopping, shopping, shopping
If you love shopping, you have to check out Pier Park, a premier shopping, and entertainment destination. Featuring over 120 stores ranging from national chains to local boutique goods. More than just shopping, Pier Park’s entertainment offerings range from the Grand IMAX movie theater to laser tag and live music. Pier Park makes a fabulous destination for fun, food, and fantastic shopping.
Russell-Fields Pier sits just outside of Pier Park and features stunning sunsets. Of course, the entire beachfront at Panama City Beach faces the setting sun, so there are no bad seats to Mother Nature’s most beautiful show.
Panama City Beach Boat Tours
Do you know what the #1 thing to do in Panama City is? Boat tours!! This shot comes from our dolphin and sightseeing tour. (BTW swimming with dolphins in the wild is an amazing experience you have to try once in your lifetime!!). On this one dock, you can also see rental jetskis for tours around St Andrew’s Bay and the family-friendly Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Panama City Beach isn’t known for surfing. Usually, it takes a hurricane to get the surf pumping. A few summer storms gave this SUP’er hope…but we never saw him catch a wave. Regardless, it inspired us to bring our paddleboards on our next visit to explore the backwaters of the bay.
Snorkeling on Shell Island
The Gulf of Mexico is known for its warm, clear water. Guess what’s under that water? Hordes of colorful tropical fish. The rock jetties along Saint Andrew’s State Park and Shell Island give snorkelers chances to discover this underwater world from the shore. You never know what you will find, but you’re sure to have fun trying.
Nature surrounds you at Panama City. Although we didn’t take a turtle trek like we did in Fort Lauderdale, we still love seeing the turtle nests on the beach. On our trip, we swam with dolphins in the bay, searched for alligators in Saint Andrew’s State Park, and did a little bird watching on Shell Island.
Feed Your Wild Side
News flash – spring break is a thing of the past at Panama City Beach, although for those looking to have a good time, Club La Vela offers you a chance to get your party on with thousands. If that’s your thing, this is your place. It’s the largest nightclub in America.
Escape to Shell Island
We end our inspirational virtual trip to Panama City Beach the same way that we began with the incomparable natural beauty of Shell Island. Armed with visions of crystal white sand and turquoise blue waters it is time to turn these daydreams of paradise into reality and plan your own Panama City getaway. So…when are you leaving?
As always, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own, and we only recommend brands and destinations that we 100% stand behind.