Panama City is a culturally rich and beautiful city in Bay County, Florida. While it is not among the most popular tourist destinations in the state, perhaps it should be. It offers miles of gorgeous white sand beaches, a plethora of entertainment options, pristine parks, and world-renowned museums. You can find cheap flights to Panama City, and accommodations are within reach of travelers of any budget. Here are some of the reasons why Panama City is a must-see destination for tourists of any age.

Revel in the Wonders of St. Andrews State Park

If you love enjoying the great outdoors, there is no better place to explore than St. Andrews State Park. This picturesque park lies on a peninsula in the easternmost part of Panama City, and it offers beaches for water sports as well as plenty of trails for watching wildlife. Bikes, kayaks, and canoes can be rented within the park, and you can even take a shuttle to explore the nearby Shell Island. If you’d like to stay near St. Andrews State Park, you may opt to stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Panama City Beach – Pier Park Area, which offers such amenities as a fitness center, a business center, and an on-site swimming pool.

Explore the City’s Cultural Attractions

If you love to learn a lot about your destination as you travel, there are plenty of opportunities to do this and so much more in Panama City. The Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida displays exhibits that focus on Panama City as well as national exhibits. It also hosts special events with original artists. The Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida has a wealth of hands-on, interactive exhibits as well as educational programs for children and adults. The Man in the Sea Museum displays the progress of underwater technology over the years.

Take the Time to Play

There are also plenty of opportunities to just let loose, play, and have a blast in Panama City. The Shipwreck Island Waterpark offers a variety of rides, games, and a lazy river. WonderWorks looks like an upside down house from the outside, and inside it has over 100 rides and exhibits for kids or adults. If you want to stay in fun, family-friendly hotels, you may opt to stay in the Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort or the Holiday Inn Select – Panama City.

Enjoy the Ideal Destination for Foodies

Panama City is also a mecca for world class restaurants, and there are fantastic options for budget-minded tourists. Jazmine Thai Cuisine has something for everyone, including fantastic healthy fare and vegan options. Mellow Mushroom and Sweet Basil’s Bistro are family-friendly choices. The Lotus Café, Flamingo Joe’s, and Caffiend’s Coffee and Tea are casual, affordable restaurants for lunch or dinner. You can also opt to stay in local hotels with fantastic restaurants on-site, such as The Hilton Garden Inn Panama City, which has the Garden Grille in addition to an extensive room service menu.

Have you explored Panama City yourself? What are the things that you enjoyed the most? I’m trying to build an ultimate resource on things to do in Panama City, Florida. If you’ve been to this coastal city, please add your thoughts and other tips below!

About the Author:

Robin Raven has a passion for traveling the world, and she has written about travel for such sites as Yahoo!, Hipmunk, and USA Today. As a travel writer and editor, Robin likes to meet new people and animals every chance she gets, and she loves trying the vegan food in any city. She blogs a book set in the picturesque area of Gulf Shores at



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