How To Keep Busy In Panama City Beach In 24 Hours

Your usual everyday routine may be ruled by the clock, it it’s much less important in Panama City Beach. The sun rules here, and it shines for around 320 days every year on this charming town in northwest Florida. There are numerous ways to find entertainment, both off and on the beach. This is a true escape enjoyed at your own pace.

 A friend I have had for twenty years wanted to go to Panama City Beach for the weekend, and I was excited. I let go of my meetings, obligations and schedule for the weekend. I considered the amazing change in scenery a nice bonus.

 Beating the Sunrise

 I have always liked to hit the ground at full speed. We both woke at 5 a.m. on our first morning here,
and headed to our charter boat on the Gulf waters. We already knew there would be plenty of fish. We were both amazed as the sun exploded over the horizon, and the sleep we missed was worth it because we caught enough grouper to feed an entire family. There were boats everywhere, and it looked like there was a floating city street on the water.

 Our captain talked about the abundance of catches in the summer like snapper, amberjack and the sport fisherman’s favorite, cobia. We were drawn by the closeness of the deep, open water. After a few hours, we had satisfied our taste, so we retied our poles and went back to the shore.

 Mid-Morning Golf

 These two landlubbers were famished, so we went to Pier Park to reel in our breakfast. It’s a shopping and entertainment complex right across from the pier at Panama City Beach, and covers 900,000 square-feet. Most people who have been to Panama City Beach will send you to Pier Park. After couple chocolate croissants and soy vanilla lattes, we were ready to hit the town.

 As part of the Sunshine state, it’s always tee time in Panama City Beach. I was happy with the pristine greens at the Wyndham Bay Point Resort and the Nicklaus Course. This is the only course in northwest Florida with a Nicklaus-designed course. We hoofed the first nine because my friend insisted she could really show her stuff playing the par 72 course. Hole #5 has a lagoon feature, and quickly reminded her she was still an amateur. Playing the course poorly for a golf aficionado beats not getting to play at all.

 After the ninth hole, we understood why Panama City Beach has been ranked by Golf Digest as one of the three top golf towns in America. We didn’t have a chance to play all the other courses, but there were a lot to choose from like the Holiday Golf Club, the Hombre Golf Club, and the first golf club in Panama City Beach, Signal Hill.

 Lunchtime Respite

 We made a fast stop at one of the numerous fish shacks on the seaside because our tummies were rumbling. One of the best known, and oldest is Pineapple Willy's Beachside Bar and Grill, and its right on the beach. Their can’t-go-wrong menu includes Jack Daniel's BBQ ribs.

 Bayou Bill's Crab House remains my favorite restaurant, you can find it at the beach’s far west end. This is where the locals enjoy shuck oysters, and fresh pink Gulf shrimp from Apalachicola Bay.

 Afternoon in Nature

 Panama City Beach is made of sun-bleached sand covering 27 miles. Its part of Florida’s longest running beach restoration. I was tempted to bake on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world once the carbs from lunch kicked in.

 My girlfriend wanted to visit ZooWorld, and over 260 animals make their home in this zoological park. There are endangered and rare species, two Sumatran tigers, African lions, and two exotic baboons called Mandrills. We may have visited Coconut Creek Family Fun Park, and Shipwreck Island Water Park if we brought the kids.

 Dusk and Beyond

 We had barely scratched the surface of this amazing destination by the sea, but were exhausted by six. We just had a drink by the pool and relaxed. Panama City Beach offers memorable attractions and unusual experiences, but my favorite is free, the famous Florida sunset.

 My two boys would have insisted we board the Sea Dragon. This is a pirate ship, and a pirate conquest is re-enacted by the crew. This night was just for my friend and I to relax in Panama City Beach.

 The town has a reputation for their night life, and I may have gone to one of the dance clubs on the beachside in something party-friendly if I were younger. I have become smarter with age, so I ordered another girly drink instead. Then I watched the show as the last orange of the sunset faded into the night in the sky of Panama City Beach.

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What To Do When It's Raining In Panama City Florida

Even when it is raining, there is always something fun to do in Panama City Beach. Your day is not ruined due to a little rain. This may be an opportunity to discover something amazing you may have missed if it was not for the rain. You may be feeling unlucky because of the lousy weather, but do not worry because you are in Panama City Beach, Florida. You can always find a delightful way to spend time with the kids.

 The XD Darkride Experience

This attraction is brand new and absolutely incredible. This has the same kind of excitement and polish you would find at a Universal Studios attraction. The XD Darkride Experience is a phenomenal, and fully immersive video game meets 3D movie experience. This includes surround sound, motion seats, high blasts of wind and strobe lights. You are blasting enemies with a laser gun with extremely high precision as you watch the movie screen unfold. The best part is the competition for the high score everyone is trying to achieve. If your group has any gamers, they are going to be thrilled. Even dad will be excited, but he probably won’t admit it.

 You can choose from three movies, and if you like gore, choose the Zombies. Road Fighters is an apocalyptic style along the lines of Mad Max. Los Banditos was made to be kid-friendly. You get to shoot robot bandits in the Wild West while they are trying to hold up a train. With the short briefing included, the games and movies run approximately fifteen minutes. There is even a mini session for training. This may not be one of the longest ways to beat the weather, but it is an exciting way to spend the time.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 30 Minutes.


It is almost impossible to take a drive down Front Beach Road and not see the enormous upside-down house. WonderWorks is full of more than a hundred challenges and exhibits designed to be highly interactive physically, virtually and mentally. Your entrance is in the roof, and as you progress into the interactive museum, you are actually making your way to the ground floor.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 3 Hours.

 Ripley’s Believe it or Not

This museum is an excellent way to stay a step ahead of the rain, and the exhibits are hands-on, and a lot of fun. Whether or not you have ever had a Ripley’s Believe it or not experience, you are going to enjoy a giant collection of unusual exhibits and oddities. Prepare yourself for life-sized figures of the tallest man in the world and shrunken heads.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 3 hours. 

 Gulf World Marine Park

Rain or shine, the doors open at 9 a.m. every day. Gulf World features animal shows including talking tropical birds, shark feedings, sea lions, and the famous dolphin show. Almost all the shows contain interactive elements, and the exhibits are hands-on. This includes an awesome stingray petting pool. Take the family back in the evening because your ticket includes the most incredible magic and illusion show lasting a full ninety-minutes.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 5 hours.

 Pier Park

Pier Park is a giant outdoor shopping mall filled with beachy boutiques and cool stores, and is a great place to kill time. A good example is a store called As Seen on TV. You can find gift ideas and all kinds of cool gadgets there. The layout may be outdoors, but its easy to make a quick dash to the next store when the downpour temporarily slows. One of Pier Parks best assets is when you want to, its easy to split up the group. Just set up a place and time to meet later, and the kids can go one way while you go the other. You can shop, eat, and do everything in the same place. This is where you want to be stranded when it’s raining. Pier Park will call to you on a rainy day in Panama City Beach. The downside is you can spend a lot of money here, but if everyone sticks to their budget, nothing will get out of hand.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 4 hours.

 Indoor Blacklight Mini Golf

Panama City Beach, Florida only has one place featuring indoor blacklight, and it’s called Mini Golf Race City. The course is themed, and you get to experience deep space, underwater cities and ancient Aztec ruins. The courses are always being redesigned so the experience stays new and interesting no matter how many times you have been there.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 2 hours.

 Arcade Games

Arcade games are a classic, and a terrific way to spend time when the rain comes down in Panama City Beach. You can spend a lot of time playing video games, and classic arcade games as you test your skill in an indoor arcade. You will earn tickets for a lot of the games as you play, and these can be traded for some amazing prizes. You can win digital cameras, iPads, and really fun tacky prizes. Not only do you put the bad weather to shame, but mom and dad are going to have fun watching the kids as they play the classic arcade games. This is the perfect opportunity to bring the whole gang together. You can even pool all the tickets you win and get a really big prize.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 3 hours.

 IMAX Cinema

The IMAX Cinema is a classy way to avoid a rainy day in Panama City Beach. The entire family will love watching the newest Hollywood Blockbuster, and they can do so in style. The Grand Cinema is only a little over a mile from Sandpiper Beacon, and the IMAX 3D Cinema is state of the art. All you have to do is enjoy the nachos and popcorn, and relax as the entertainment begins. You can kill some extra time before the movie in the lobby because there is a little arcade room.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 2-3 hours.

 Mirror Maze, Laser Craze & Lazer Tag

You will not remember the rain once you enter this house of mirrors encompassing 2,300 square-feet. The experience is completed with a mysterious sound and light show, and the feeling created is of excitement and tension. Once you navigate your path to the end, the Laser Craze game will test your skills. You can pretend you’re a spy in the movies as you dodge laser beams. Be careful because your every move counts for your final score at the end. Then grab a laser gun, strap on your vest, and have a battle in the Laser Tag arena. You have 1,800 square-feet to move around.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 2 hours.

 Rockit Lanes Bowling

You can easily dodge the rain with a roller skating rink, pool tables, an area for arcade games and 24 lanes for bowling. At night, Rockit Lanes is cosmic with black lights and lasers. Let the kids entertain themselves while mom and dad have a drink and a bite to eat at the on-site grille and sports bar. Sitting down may feel better than you expected.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 4 hours.

 Hotel Room Games

If you want to spend some time together as a family while beating the rain, you can do so cheaply. If you don’t already have them, make a quick trip to the store and get a deck of cards or the family’s favorite board game. You can even take the whole family so everyone can choose their favorite game or try something new. Then go back to your hotel, and enjoy quality time with the family. It will not kill the kids to be parted from their phones for a couple of hours, and they will survive. You are also saving some cash on admission fees and expenses. The best part is once you go back home, you will have a lot of cool games to play over and over with the family. Between saving money and keeping the new games, this is one of the best things to do when the rain is coming down in Panama City Beach.
Likely Time Spent Avoiding the Rain: 2-3 hours. 

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