Contrary to popular belief, spring break in Panama City Beach, Fla., isn't only filled with rowdy college students, beer bongs and scantily clad coeds. Sure, there is plenty of that to be found here, but you can also discover events and attractions that the whole family will enjoy. Panama City Beach, also known as PCB, boasts around 320 days of sunshine year-round, so be sure to load up the sun tan lotion.
These glittering white sand beaches and emerald waters make for a coastal paradise. Whether you're a leisure-lover or adrenaline junkie, you will find that Panama City Beach caters to you - after all, it's chock full of water sports, people-watching and outdoor recreation. Enjoy your stay in PCB in a beach condo or apartment and experience what it's like to live like a local. The extra space and comfortable amenities - like having your own kitchen that vacation rentals provide - will be the icing on the cake.
Of course, if you're spending Spring Break at Panama City Beach, chances are you'd like to hit the beach first. With more than 27 miles of coastline, it's no wonder the city is known as "Home to the World's Most Beautiful Beaches." From public access beaches to state parks, the PCB will help you find the perfect sandy shore to fit your needs. In fact, there are more than 100 beach access points. Shell Island, a 7-mile undeveloped barrier island, is a particular favorite, accessible only by boat. Expect sand dunes, pine hammocks and green sea turtles.
Families embrace calmer areas where the kids can play and dogs may run off the leash. Meanwhile, rambunctious spring breakers, not including James Franco with his corn rows, flock to these sugar white beaches year after year. At spots behind the big clubs LaVela and Spinnaker or Schooner's Beach, you can participate in beach volleyball or grab a drink. However, if you're keen on avoiding keg parties, head to Camp Helen State Park's beach to stay out of the line of fire.
Some travelers' vacation ideas involve getting out and getting sweaty. If this sounds like you, consider the several sports and water activities Panama City Beach has to offer. Ranging from a morning run on the beach to jet skiing to kite boarding, PCB has it all. Sign up for rock climbing or take the plunge with parasailing lessons. For something a little more low-key, bring the kids on a banana boat ride; it's sure to be the most memorable part of their spring break in Panama City Beach. Explore the world under the sea with snorkeling or deep sea scuba diving.
Panama City is a golfer's paradise. The city has five championship courses, featuring one designed by Jack Nicklaus. With so many days of sunshine and delightful temperatures, it's not hard to see why Golf Digest included Panama City in their list of "One of America's Top Three Golf Courses." Enjoy kid-friendly activities at Shipwreck Island Water Park, which has racing slides and river rapids, and Gulf World, which features animal shows.
If you want to stay dry, make your way to Miracle Strip Midway at Pier Park for its Butterfly Pavilion and vintage rides. If your kids aren't quite old enough to hit the fairways, mini-golf at Barnacle Bay is a great alternative.
When you visit Panama City Beach, you may find a short day trip is a nice change of pace to add variety to your Spring Break vacation. Take advantage of Panama City Beach’s central location in Florida’s panhandle. Rent a car and make the drive to nearby Pensacola or Tallahassee. Jacksonville is also nearby. And don’t forget about the tiny beach towns in the area, like Alligator Point, Carabelle, and St. George Island – all just a short hop, skip, and a jump from Panama City Beach.
For those who think the fun doesn't start until the sun goes down, PCB offers quite the vibrant nightlife scene. Check out the bars and clubs, such as Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Pineapple Willy's and Ms. Newby's?. The city is also home to the biggest nightclub in the U.S., Club LaVella. Laid-back night owls can enjoy live music at Spinnaker Beach Club and Boatyard.
Seafood Shacks and Tasty Eats
Besides being known for its breathtaking beaches, Panama City Beach has some of the best seafood in the world, caught fresh in the Gulf of Mexico. If you live somewhere that's landlocked, you'll definitely want to sink your teeth into some fresh catch, like grouper or redfish.
This upscale sushi restaurant is perfect for a romantic night out. Wine and dine under the grand old oak tree in the center of Firefly, where servers will treat you like kings and queens. The ahi poke salsa is a crowd favorite, but you can't go wrong with the yellowtail with ponza sauce. The lengthy martini menu doesn't hurt either. Expect delicious food with slightly high prices. Firefly is open 5 p.m. nightly.
At Saltwater Grill, residents and visitors alike rave about the seafood and steak. The fresh lobster and filet mignon are knockouts, but save room for the dessert special. Some visitors have been known to stop at this grill more than once on vacation. You can even check out a live pianist on Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Genes Oyster Bar
Though a bit off the beaten path, Genes Oyster Bar is a pearl. Don't be fooled by the outside, once you walk through the doors of this mom 'n' pop shop, you can enjoy the freshest Apalachicola oysters. Regulars advise to call ahead of time to ensure they have a recent shipment. They shuck 'em, you eat 'em and the whole family goes home happy.
No matter what your budget is for spring break vacation, you can find plenty of fun in the sun in PCB, whether parasailing with your kids high above the gulf waters or taking in a beach sunset.
Panama City Beach Rentals with 4+ Bedrooms
Ahhh ... now it's time for a vacation!! Come and enjoy Celadon Beach Resort. Right on the beach in Panama City Beach (west end).
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You can view this listing on VRBO at http://vrbo.com/351146
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