PCB – The Emerald Coast's glorious jewel

It’s no wonder Panama City Beach claims to have the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches”. This Gulf Coast jewel stands out among the Emerald shores of Florida’s Panhandle. Locals can tell you that they live in one of the best places in the Sunshine State. First established in 1953 with Phillips Inlet Bridge on the quiet west end, Panama City Beach grew from a sleepy little secret to the vacation hotspot it is today.
As one looks into the history of Panama City Beach, one thing stands clear. The water that kisses the glistening white sand is clean, with several hues of green and blue, and boy is it warm. On a perfect summer day, water temps average a comfy 80 to 84 degrees. A day on one of these beaches is just the ticket for your hurried life.

The beauty of the powdery sand is that it won’t burn your feet. This sand gets its white color from the Appalachian Mountains. Quartz crystals washed down to the coast centuries ago. It’s no wonder this destination has been tagged as “the Beach Lover’s Beach”. This resilient little town shows much promise for the future. Major venues are currently acquiring land for future parks and recreation.

No matter what you’ve heard, Panama City Beach is not just for the college crowd anymore. City planners have given much thought and energy into broadening the beach’s appeal to all age groups for vacation. Although the Spring Break crowd still descends to area, stricter laws and party control have helped to control this month-long revelry. Partiers have also found other areas of Florida to blow off steam. PCB is working hard, and succeeding, in attracting families and all vacationers to this piece of heaven. Many new and exciting venues have come to Panama City Beach, including an amazing outdoor mall called Pier Park. It’s almost a city in itself. This is a guarantee that our area continues to offer more vacation bang for your buck, for years to come.

With over 390 places to curb your appetite, the Panama City Beach area is teaming with endless ways to cure your hunger. Franchise fair is always available, as well as fast food choices. But don’t count out the numerous “mom and pop” establishments that line the three main streets of the city. On Front Beach Road you’ll find several steak and seafood restaurants, along with beachfront dining where you can eat and enjoy the sun setting over the Gulf. There are also sunset dining cruises, which offer entertainment along with great food. The seafood is freshly caught the very day you order. Do plan on many beach walks to burn off the calories you’ll consume while you are here.

For the adventurous thrill seeker, you’ll find the go-cart tracks a fun way to spend the evening. Not in the racing mood? Try your hand at mini golf or the multitude of thrill rides. Slingshots and sky-high bungee rides will make even grown men scream. Even if you don’t ride, they are loads of fun to watch. Carnival type game parks are a way to provide the kids with hours of fun. Shipwreck Island Water Park is a refreshing way to spend your day, without the saltwater. There is also a plethora of moped and electric car rentals for those wanting to leave the car at the resort. Zip around to your heart’s content, but please wear your helmet!

If 365 days of water play, golf and sun worshiping isn’t enough for you, many other attractions await you. The city boasts the brand new Panama City Beach Aquatic Center, ZooWorld, mini golf courses as well as several full golf venues, amazing restaurants, and the new Pier Park for Shopping/Dining/Entertainment. You’ll also not want to miss the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum or Gulf World – where you can play with the dolphins, and so much more.

Speaking of dolphins in all the time I’ve spent in Panama City Beach, there was never a day that went by that I did not see pods of dolphins busy at play. Sometimes just yards away, these delightful mammals also love the warm waters of the Emerald Coast. A day visit to nearby Shell Island, just a ferry ride over from St. Andrews park on the east end, is not to be missed. Bring your lunch, because the inhabitants of this pristine island oasis won’t cook for you. This island is undeveloped and is host to the world’s largest population of bottle-nosed dolphins.

Shelling is an addictive hobby among all visitors and locals alike. When you go, try several spots up and down the beach. Shelling after a storm often yields a treasure chest of finds. Just be sure to take only unoccupied shells and leave some for other collectors and future tenants!

There are plenty of vacation rental accommodations to choose from in Panama City Beach. Whether you desire to rent a private condo unit (each one is decorated differently by their owners), beach house, villa, or hotel, there are plenty of places available from east to west on the beach. The far east side will bring you closer to St. Andrews Park and Aquatic Preserve and Shell Island, from there head west to where the action is, to about the middle area. Don’t worry about things to do; the whole beach has something for everyone. As condominium construction projects complete, this #1 choice of PCB vacationers offer plenty of places to kick off your flip flops, relax and unwind.

As you head west, the beaches become more private and relaxing. The beach on the far west end offers up beautiful Camp Helen, Inlet Beach, Carillon and Lake Powell. For the “Quiet West End” boasts vacationing on near private beaches. It’s like having the beach nearly all to yourself. Great for families, honeymooners and snowbirds, this area is a true GETAWAY! It’s the part of Panama City Beach that makes you say, “Ahhh!” Yet, when you’re ready to go out for a night on the town, jump in your car and a short drive takes you for amazing dining and fun. Some claim PCB to be the next Miami, but one thing stands clear – no matter how swanky we become, we have the old style of beach life in our veins. Take it slow, relax, you’re on beach time now!

For superb beach-loving fun, Panama City Beach has my vote for the #1 Florida vacation mecca in the US. The moderate climate also attracts many northerners to its sun-soaked winters. With an average temperature of 66 degrees in December, and sometimes warmer, it’s no wonder our beach finds more and more snowbirds settling in for good! There are so many new and exciting things that lie in store in Bay County. As a condo owner, I for one, am anxious to make it my permanent home someday.

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