"Panama City Beach." Say that to any avid MTV fan and they will have visions of beautiful people in little more than beachwear, splashing around the pool at LaVela. Panama Beach is also a great place to bring the family. You can enjoy all kinds of water sports and boating here, all the while the fishing is second to none. If you scuba dive, there are many sunken ships off the coast here to explore.
When you're ready to relax, just claim a patch on one of the white sand beaches
and let the world float away. If you'd rather be golfing, you're in the right place; Golf Digest ranked Panama City Beach the third best golf city in America. Then when you're nice and relaxed after your day on the beach or in the water, you can shake up the night at one of the many hot spots here.
Things to do in Panama City Beach
There are plenty of family amusement centers with fun activities like miniature golf, go-carts and game of all types. Another option is to skip the beach for a day and head to Shipwreck Island Water Park
. It's 20 acres of slides and flumes, wave pools and beach. You can swing out from the replica of a 17th century sailing ship into the lagoon pool below. They have a pirate island themed play area for the kids and a lazy river to relax on.
Places to See
St. Andrews State Park - One of the most popular state parks in Florida, you can enjoy fishing, camping, snorkeling and more.
Pier Park - When you're ready to take a break from the sun and sand, Pier Park features Margaritaville and other restaurants, shopping and events.
Panama City Nightlife
Few cities offer as much to do after dark as before it, but Panama City Beach is one of those places. After a day on the beach and a delicious, fresh seafood dinner, put on your party clothes and check out the nightlife. Checkout Club LaVela; if you've ever seen MTV's Spring Break coverage, you're familiar with this place or at least have heard the name. Club La Vela
is the largest nightclub in America and one of the trendiest in the world. They currently have 14 theme rooms and add more all the time in order to stay on the cutting edge of nightlife. They have live entertainment and concerts weekly, Ladies Night every Friday and 'theme' night, such as 80's Mania, on Sunday Night.
Another popular club in the area is Coyote Ugly Saloon
, the one made famous by the movie and CMT. They have nightly drink specials, concerts and special events. If you'd like to find a fun place right on the beach, Sharky's is your spot. Sharky's
claims to be the worlds largest Tiki Bar, and I've been there, so it might just be true. They also have live entertainment on the weekends.
Places to Stay in Panama City Beach
If you or anyone you know watches MTV around Spring Break time then you've heard of Panama City Beach, in fact you've seen some of the nice hotels there because that's where many of the festivities take place. The Sterling Resorts - Reflections at Bay Point and the Marriott Legends Edge also at Bay Point are two of the high rise - high end places to stay. If you looking for a familiar name and something more on a spring breakers budget try the Ramada Panama City, Howard Johnson Inn or the Red Roof Inn Panama City. They have a La Quinta inn, Super 8 and Comfort Inn, pretty much any hotel chain you can think of and some you'd never believe you'll find in Panama City so enjoy and be sure to pack your beach ball.
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One of the claims to fame of Panama Beach is it's the "Seafood Capital of the World". It's not uncommon to drive through and see restaurant marques advertising some kind of fresh fish that had been caught the night before for lunch or dinner. Along with being a very popular spring break spot, Panama City Beach is know for the spectacular fishing common in the panhandle, as well as the magnificent resorts set on their sugar white beaches. The Ironman Triathlon has taken place here every year since 1999.
Panama City and Panama City Beach are two different places, although they are normally referred to as the same place. The mainland of Panama City is the larger, older of the two and is also a popular vacation spot. According to the 2005 census, Panama City Beach has a year round population of nearly 11,500 people, but during the main Spring Break months of March and April, this number can swell to 100,000. The city itself is 7.0 square miles and there are approximately 27 miles of white sand beach shoreline.
The Panama City-Bay County International Airport (PFN) serves the area as all planes, private, commercial and international are allowed to land there. What began in 1932 as a privately owned field of 292 acres, today the airport spans 745 acres, has two runways and six gates with most flights going to cities in the Southeast.
In Panama City Beach, as well as all elsewhere in the Panhandle, you'll find a place where Southern hospitality and quaint beach charm compel you to simply slow down and relax, take a warm deep breath of fresh salty air, enjoy the scenery and enjoy those you are there to share it with.
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com