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Aerial view of white-sand beaches and turquoise waters at Shell Island Pass in Panama City Beach, Florida
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Ask anyone in the know, and they’ll tell you Panama City Beach is a friendly, coastal escape catering to beach lovers and fun seekers.

Known for its sugar-white sand and aqua-hued waters, this Northwest Florida favorite promises a gorgeous stretch of beach along with plenty of amusements. From year-round, go-to spots to ultra-cool festivals and events, this beach getaway offers a versatility you’ll love.

3 Cool Ways to Spend the Day

Pier Park & SkyWheel – Check out this beachfront entertainment complex known for shopping, dining and entertainment. Popular activities include riding the illuminated SkyWheel at night, watching movies at the IMAX Theater, hanging out at the Beach Hut at the Pier Park mall and dining at The Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House. Slurp oysters and beer or munch on popcorn and catch a movie – Pier Park is full of options for you.

Russell-Fields Pier – Rolling out over 450 meters into the Gulf of Mexico, the City Pier, as locals call it, is an ideal spot to fish, stroll and people watch. Hang out for a while and relax with views of serene Gulf Coast waves.

42 kilometers of beaches – Unwind on an enticing expanse of beautiful coastline or explore the diverse outdoor recreation. From sunset catamaran cruises to fishing expeditions on the Gulf of Mexico, your next adventure is waiting for you. Nature and wildlife fans will adore Shell Island and St. Andrews State Park. Spot deer, shorebirds and green sea turtles at these peaceful beach havens. There’s even a dog beach for your furry friends.

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico and Pier Park

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico and Pier Park
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3 Top Food and Drink Festivals

UNwineD – Don’t be fooled by the name; this festival in late March offers guests the chance to sip wine, craft beer and spirits, too. The fun continues with a fantastic outdoor concert featuring national headliners on the waterfront at Aaron Bessant Park.

Schooners Lobster Festival and Tournament – Enjoy a week-long party in October not to be missed at Schooners local restaurant and beach club. Spoil yourself with fresh lobster cooked in a variety of delicious ways, including deep-fried, charbroiled and dipped in garlic butter. For a little added decadence, order the lobster macaroni and cheese, a concoction of smoked Gouda and cheddar topped with buttered breadcrumbs.

Panama City Beach Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival – What pairs better than craft beer and an array of food trucks serving tasty fare? Not much. Bites include everything from wood-fired pizza to authentic British fish and chips to inventive tacos and tangy smoked barbecue. Bring your party spirit to this special event held each February in Aaron Bessant Park.

Schooners Lobster Festival and Tournament, held right on the sandy shores of Panama City Beach

Schooners Lobster Festival and Tournament, held right on the sandy shores of Panama City Beach
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3 Major Music Festivals

Seabreeze Jazz Festival – Balmy breezes and cool jazz blend together during this five-day jazz festival held at Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater in April. Nicknamed the “Ultimate Weekend of Smooth Jazz,” it’s an eclectic musical event with past performances by artists such as The Commodores, Spyro Gyra and David Sanborn.

SandJam Fest – It’s a toes-in-the-sand kind of concert held right on Panama City Beach, where the biggest names in alternative rock converge over three days in April. Past performers have included the likes of Kings of Leon, Third Eye Blind and Young the Giant. SandJam Fest is one of the best beach parties you’ll attend all year.

Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam – Three days of top country music acts and Southern rock bands take the stage annually the last weekend in August at Frank Brown Park. It’s a country star roundup with artists such as Tim McGraw, Thomas Rhett, Eric Church and Kid Rock.

Keith Urban performing at the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam

Keith Urban performing at the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam
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Getting There

Fly into Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) in Bay County, then rent a car and drive 30 kilometers to Panama City Beach.