Overview: Panama City Beach is located in Bay County, Fla., in the Northwest part of the state. The destination is best known for its more than 27 miles of white sand beaches edging emerald-green waters where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay converge. With an average 320 days of sunshine annually, the region has long been favored by travelers seeking an affordable beach vacation with year-round offerings for families, couples, groups and adventure-seekers.
On May 23, 2010, the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport opened as the first international airport in the United States to be built from the ground up in over a decade. The 125,000 square-foot facility attracts travelers from major markets, both domestic and international. Leading low fare carrier Southwest Airlines operates eight daily flights through the airport non-stop from Baltimore, Houston, Nashville and Orlando. Delta Airlines operates non-stop flights from Atlanta and Memphis.
Accommodations: More than 21,000 rooms ranging from resorts, hotels, condos, town homes and villas are available for quick getaways or extended stays in Panama City Beach. Each accommodation caters to travelers of different interests, from families and sun-seekers to couples, honeymooners and meetings groups.
Dining: Known as the “Seafood Capital of the South,” Panama City Beach offers an array of dining options to please all palates including award-winning restaurants, casual beachfront cafes and family-friendly tables. Chefs fuse bold flavors and fresh seafood to create signature dishes in distinct spaces that make the most of their seaside setting.
Visitors can enjoy island cuisine, steakhouses, barbecue, ethnic cuisine, and specialty sushi. Experiences are available for any occasion from elaborate multi-course meals and dinner cruises to buffets, grills, taverns, ice cream parlors and even trendy food trucks.
Recreation: Pier Park: This 1.1 million sq.-ft., open-air regional lifestyle center developed by the Simon Property Group debuted in spring 2008, bringing unique shopping, tourist attractions and dining to the heart of Panama City Beach. Located on 100 acres directly across from the Gulf of Mexico and City Pier, department stores and restaurants include Dillard's, Marshalls, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, New York & Company, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Target and The Florida House. Other fashion retailers include Ann Taylor Loft, Caché, Chico's, Coldwater Creek, Hollister Co., Ulta Beauty and dozens of one-of-a-kind boutiques and specialty shops.
In addition, Pier Park embraces diverse dining options such as Hofbrau Beer Garden, Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Smok "N" Butts BBQ, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Longhorn Steakhouse, Panera Bread, Reggae J's Island Grill, Tootsies Orchid Lounge and many more. Shoppers can also enjoy movies at The Grand 16 Theatres, which features stadium seating, digital sound, advance ticketing over the Internet, several concession areas, a specialty café and game room.
Family Entertainment: Panama City Beach offers a variety of activities for all ages such as marine attractions, water parks, zoos, pirate cruises, boating, fishing, snorkeling, diving and parasailing. Some of the most popular family attractions include:
• Miracle Strip @ Pier Park
• Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium
• Gulf World Marine Park
• Shipwreck Island Waterpark
• Coconut Creek Family Fun Park
• Zoo World Zoological and Botanical Park
• Museum of Man in the Sea
Outdoor Adventure: In this destination known as the “Wreck Capital of the South,” scuba divers explore historic wrecks and artificial reefs while snorkelers chase Manta rays and brightly colored tropical fish. Sailing, windsurfing, pleasure boating, parasailing and jet skiing are all popular ways to explore the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors may also hop aboard tour boats for excursions to Shell Island.
For landlubbers, Panama City Beach features five 18-hole championship golf courses. The destination was recently named the third best golf town in the U.S. by Golf Digest magazine. Also on land, visitors can fish, hike and camp in St. Andrews State Recreational Area.
Spas: Panama City Beach is home to an array of spas that offer treatments designed to rejuvenate and relax. Services include massage, facials, hot stone therapy, aromatherapy, waxing and full-service salons.
Accessibility: Daily commercial air service is provided through Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, just 15 minutes from the beach. The new international airport offers a 10,000-foot runway and accommodates larger jets as well as commercial aircraft of any size, improving the region’s overall accessibility. Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico bring boaters to the area’s many marinas, and the destination is within a six-hour drive to major Southeastern cities including Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, and others.
Weather: Panama City Beach offers year-round sunshine and an average temperature of 78 degrees. Average seasonal temperatures are:
• Spring – Daytime high of 74 degrees
• Summer – Daytime high of 91 degrees
• Fall – Daytime high of 80 degrees
• Winter – Daytime high of 64 degrees
Awards & Accolades: Panama City Beach is best known for its silky, white sand and the calm, clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay. The destination has earned the following accolades:
• Travelers’ Choice Awards 2011: #3 “Top 10 Beach Destinations in the USA” TripAdvisor, 2011
• Top 10 Budget Destinations for 201 – AOL Travel, 2011
• Top 5 Value Destinations for Winter Travel – CNN.com, 2010
• Top 5 Bargain Destinations for Spring 2010 – USA Today, 2010
• #3 “Top 10 Vacation Rental Hot Spots in the U.S.” – TripAdvisor, 2010
• #2 “Top 10 Destination to Visit in 2010” – Frommer’s Travel Guides, 2009
• America’s Top 10 Beaches – TripAdvisor, 2008, 2009
• America’s Top 5 Beaches for Families – Travel Channel, 2009
• America’s 20 Most Beautiful Beaches – Condé Nast Traveler, 2006
• Top Ten Family Beach Destination – USA Today, 2005
• Blue Wave Beach – The Clean Beaches Council, 2002, ‘03, ‘04
• #10 Beach in America – The Travel Channel, 2001
• Top Five “Best Beaches” – Southern Living, 2000, 2008
• #3 Beach in America – The Surfrider Foundation, 2000
• #1 Beach - Dr. Beach (Stephen Leatherman), 1995
Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 9473, Panama City Beach, FL 32417
800-PCBEACH or www.visitpanamacitybeach.com
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Lou Hammond & Associates – Florida Office
Gina Stouffer, 561-655-3836, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Lou Hammond & Associates – New York Office
Terry Gallagher, 212-308-8880, firstname.lastname@example.org
Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau
Susan Estler, 850-233-5070, email@example.com
Dana Brown, 850-233-5070, firstname.lastname@example.org