10 Things to Do in Panama City That You Shouldn't Miss

August 10, 2017 Diedre Savory

Panama City is a four-season paradise for water-sports enthusiasts. Kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing and kiteboarding are popular activities on the crystal blue waters of St. Andrews Bay. Numerous charters offer inshore and offshore fishing, scuba and snorkeling excursions. Guided day trips are available for dolphin-watching or you can go shelling on uninhabited Shell Island. Enjoy water views and fresh, locally caught seafood at popular restaurants like Gene's Oyster Bar, a local landmark.
Restaurants in Panama City

1. Water Planet

5709 N Lagoon Dr, Panama City Beach, FL 32407
Excellent
93%
Good
4%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 555 reviews

Water Planet

Water Planet offers a variety of fun and educational swim-with-the-dolphin tours for the whole family in Panama City Beach, Florida, including the opportunity to explore Shell Island, snorkel on ship wrecks and collect shells. We also offer dolphin therapy programs for children with special needs. Specialized help for small children by request during your tour.

Reviewed By KHausherr

My son has wanted to swim with the dolphins for years. I chose this open water version and we weren’t disappointed. This was an awesome experience. We saw lots of dolphins in their natural habitat. Lots of places advertise dolphin experiences but this one delivers....MoreThank you guys. We appreciate your review very much.

2. Bear Creek Feline Center

8822 Tracy Way, Panama City, FL 32404-5682 +1 850-722-9927
Excellent
93%
Good
4%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 212 reviews

Bear Creek Feline Center

Bear Creek Feline Center (BCFC) is home to Florida wildcats and exotic felines located in Panama City, FL. BCFC's mission is one of conservation breeding of selected species, feline rescue/re-homing and public education designed to illuminate the plight of threatened and endangered felines. Much has happened since April 1, 2000, when BCFC was established under the giant oak trees here in the Bear Creek Community. We have logged thousands of hours to obtain five licenses and we now make permanent homes to exotic species of felines including the 3 native species of Florida. We work with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, the USDA and the Feline Conservation Federation to preserve and "Protect Florida's Wildlife Treasures". "When was the last time you touched a bobcat or an African Serval?" Tours are by Appointment only. BCFC invites you to an up close and personal visit with our Florida Panthers, North American Bobcats, African Servals, South American Geoffroy's Cats, Jaguarundis and Siberian Lynx. Cameras are encouraged. There are no additional charges for great photo opportunities. You'll see extremely rare felines, not normally seen in captivity. The FFWCC and the USDA permit some hands-on contact. Small children must be CLOSELY supervised at all times. Tours are scheduled BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Please wear long pants and closed-toe shoes for your comfort and safety. A $50 donation per adult is customary ($25 for children under the age of 18). These donations are 100% earmarked for the care and feeding of the big cats. Special tour rates for photo ops, families and student groups upon request. BCFC offers internships whereby selected individuals may gain experience preparatory for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission's licensing process. You may contact us by email for application and interview. You can check our website for an overview of what you can be doing and learning!

Reviewed By webster62 - Spring Lake, Michigan

This feline center featuring rescued big cats is a wonderful, heart-warming, not-to-be-missed experience. Jim and Birdie are so passionate about saving these beautiful animals that one can't help but be drawn in. Visitors have the opportunity to see servals, bobcats, mountain lion/cougar/panthers and other unusual felines up close, even entering the cages with a few of them and feeding one of the bigger ones, all while feeling confident and perfectly safe. It was a truly unique, all-encompassing experience that is well worth the $50 admission fee (called a donation because it is 100% tax-deductible). The love these people have for these animals is palpable and contagious - all of the cats are either "pets" that owners abandoned/returned as they realized that caring for a wild animal was too much, or are retired "celebrity" animals from circuses or other entertainment venues. The majority of the cats were declawed before arriving at the facility and are therefore unable to exist in the wild, so how lucky are they to have people like Jim and Birdie to care for them. Don't miss this. You will get up close and personal with a serval and a bobcat as well as feed a mountain lion, all while feeling perfectly safe. Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and you will fall in love with Jim and Birdie. Fascinating commentary from other animal experts along with the hands-on experience makes this truly unique. Highly recommended!

3. Panama City Marina

1 Harrison Ave, Panama City, FL 32401-2724 +1 850-872-7272
Excellent
52%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 106 reviews

Panama City Marina

Reviewed By TiltedKilt2013 - Panama City Beach, Florida

Worth the tour getting to experience what life was like on a cargo ship. Crew are interesting to meet and talk with. Plenty of plaques to read inside the vessel. At least go and have fun making photos while the ship is at port - comes once a year.

4. St. Andrews State Park

4607 State Park Ln, Panama City Beach, FL 32408-7347 +1 850-233-5140
Excellent
77%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

St. Andrews State Park

Reviewed By McTraveler614 - Columbus, Ohio

This was my family's second consecutive Spring Break camping trip to St. Andrew's State park. I won't rehash everything from my last review, but suffice it to say that the park was just as great as last year.

I continue to be impressed with the value of this park, when you consider all that it offers -- water-front camping, water and electric hook-ups, well-kept and clean shower houses, boat ramp, boat rentals, two fishing piers, pristine beaches, bike and golf cart rentals, two great stores, hiking trails, amazing wildlife... the list goes on and on.

Our only disappointment this year was the condition of the gulf-side beach near the jetties. There has been major erosion to this beach to the point where you have to descend down a very steep 10-12 foot slope to get to the water. The actual usable area of the beach is very narrow (less than 20 feet) between the water's edge and the dunes. So on a crowded day, it's difficult to find an open spot to set up. The "kiddie pool" side is not quite as bad, but there is also a pretty steep slope on that side to get to the water too. This was a minor inconvenience for us, because it meant dragging our beach cart up and down a steep hill. But for handicapped people, I assume both sides of the beach by the jetties are nearly inaccessible. I know there's not a lot that can be done to prevent erosion from hurricanes and other storms, but I'd love to see the State do some work to build these beaches back up.

For those who do need more "accessible" beach access, the conditions near the gulf-side pier appeared to be better with a more gradual slope and wider stretches of open sand. We just prefer to be near the jetties for fishing, snorkeling, etc.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that this park is planning to do some work on the campground starting in 2019 to add sewer lines and build up areas that typically flood. I'd like to go on record as saying I really hope they don't mess up the natural feel of this campground in order to cater to high-rollers with giant RVs. If you want full-hookup camping with pull-through sites and all the conveniences of home, Florida has a million private RV campgrounds that cater to your needs. What makes St. Andrews State Park great is that it still feels natural -- and there are plenty of sites that are perfect for tents and small pop-up campers. Please don't pave over paradise to put in a parking lot. That would be a true tragedy.

5. Carillon Beach

114 Carillon Market St Fl 32413, Panama City, FL 32413-1099
Excellent
70%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 70 reviews

Carillon Beach

Reviewed By David T - Cordele, Georgia, United States

Amazing stay..pinnacle port carillon beach... Not at all pcb spring break vibe..quiet..peaceful..serene..almost empty in early March..ten minutes from amazing restaurants and all the stores and stuff you could want..but tucked away at the very end of the beach....won't stay anywhere else

6. Oaks by the Bay Park

2510 W 10th St, Corner of 10th & 9th Streets, Panama City, FL 32401-1407 +1 850-872-3199
Excellent
72%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 32 reviews

Oaks by the Bay Park

Reviewed By avery59 - Newnan Ga

This small park is packed full of atmosphere. It is very reminiscent of Savannah, Ga. The four headed palm, the cauldron from the civil war and the Sentry tree are worth the visit. We loved the boardwalk down to the bay. Be careful collecting shells on the bay shoreline. My husband learned that lesson. By the end of the day the two "shells" had crawled all over our van. Almost all of the shells on the beach have hermit crabs. We had to make a trip back to take them home. Well worth the time to unwind and get the other beach experience.

7. Marina Civic Center

8 Harrison Ave, Panama City, FL 32401-2724 +1 850-763-4696
Excellent
65%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
6%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 44 reviews

Marina Civic Center

Reviewed By Donna B - Panama City, Florida, United States

We go to almost everything that is playing at the civic center. Always have a Wonderful time . A lot of the shows feature local talent.

8. Museum of Man in the Sea

17314 Panama City Beach Pkwy, Panama City, FL 32413-6038 +1 850-235-4101
Excellent
32%
Good
51%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
4%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 71 reviews

Museum of Man in the Sea

This museum offers exhibits on the history of diving.

Reviewed By Ralphthetraveler - Auburn, Alabama

This place looks like something out of a Sci-Fi Movie!!!!!! You will absolutely Love it. I was so amazed by all the neat stuff parked around the museum.Thank you! I agree with you. The Museum is packed with awesome and interesting artifacts! Thank you for visiting

413 W 5th St, Panama City, FL 32401-2308 +1 850-785-2684
Excellent
64%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 22 reviews

Paul Brent Gallery

Reviewed By AtlantaAtlanta_Ga - Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Our recent visit here exceeded our expectations. The special variety of art work and collectables showed us first hand the significant talent of Paul Brent. Each piece was unique and the interesting showroom made for a fun afternoon. The staff was also knowledgeable and pleasant. We look forward to returning often.

10. Panama City CENTER for the ARTS

19 E 4th St, Corner of Harrison Avenue & 4th Street, Panama City, FL 32401-3106 +1 850-640-3670
Excellent
87%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 15 reviews

Panama City CENTER for the ARTS

The Center for the Arts has three galleries located within the historic 1926 City Hall/Police Station/Fire Department and Jail. Located in downtown Panama City, Florida, we provide visitors and our community with cultural awareness through creative enrichment, sculpture, music, film and fine art. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @center4artsPC

Reviewed By freshcamelpc - Panama City Beach, Florida

A very beautiful and peaceful place to enjoy paintings, photography and other artistic items. So great to have this in our community. Keep up the great work!

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