The 13 Best Beaches in Panama City Beach, FL 2023: Even though Panama City Beach is jam-packed with things to do and see, nothing beats spending the day soaking up the rays and playing on the beach.
You won’t have to go very far to locate beaches of spectacular beauty, and many of them will include an atmosphere that is peaceful and conducive for relaxation.
There are several trips and excursions offered, including parasailing, fishing, and dolphin cruises in addition to snorkeling.
By attending sandcastle-building sessions from Beach Sand Sculptures, you can conjure up the whole beach atmosphere and learn how to take your sand art abilities to the next level.
It is in your best interest to visit a number of different beaches during your time there because each one offers something special.
Utilize our guide to Panama City Beach’s greatest beaches to find the best alternatives available to you.
The 13 Best Beaches in Panama City Beach, FL 2023
1. Shell Island
Shell Island, located on the Emerald Coast, is without a doubt one of the most breathtaking beach locations in the world. This breathtaking barrier island, which is situated between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay, extends for an entire seven miles in length.
The most accurate way to describe a day there is bliss, but getting there requires some effort. This entails a great deal more than the short car ride necessary to visit a number of the other beaches in the area.
Shell Island Shuttle trips run from St. Andrews State Park; if you’re like the majority of tourists, you’ll make use of this service. There are also visitors that arrive on the island via private boat.
Playing in the ocean is only one of the many activities that can be enjoyed on Shell Island because to its natural setting.
You are free to roam the island on foot and explore its natural surroundings in the hopes of finding endangered green sea turtles, ghost crabs, and deer.
Shell Island is home to two critically endangered species of marine turtles: the loggerhead sea turtle and the green sea turtle.
During the months of May through October, which is known as the nesting season, you will have the chance to see them at night.
It is essential to keep an eye out for the markers that are placed around the nests and to admire the natural emergence of the birds as they make their way to the nests to lay their eggs.
In addition to that, the beach is home to a wide variety of seashells, sand dollars, and even the rare conch shell. Shell Island’s allure lies in the fact that it has retained its natural state and remains unspoiled; yet, in order to spend the day there, you will need to carry everything you need with you.
Because there are no concession stalls or garbage cans, you will need to bring your own food and drink along with you, as well as take your waste with you when you leave.
Shell Island is known for its natural beauty, but it also has a rich history that includes Spanish explorers, Native American Indians, and pirates. Several movies have been filmed there, and it has been the setting for a number of them.
A portion of the island’s east side is occupied by Tyndall Air Force Base, while a portion of the island’s west side is home to St. Andrews State Park.
Shell Island may be accessed by a number of different transportation modes. The Shell Island Shuttle, which departs from St. Andrews Park throughout the spring and summer months, is the most convenient option for getting to the island.
Before you go, make sure you have checked the shuttle and ferry timetables, as well as the fees associated with using them.
2. Camp Helen State Park Beach
Camp Helen State Park provides visitors with a one-of-a-kind beach experience that is distinct from other options in the Panama City Beach area.
The mix of saltwater and freshwater that comes from the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Powell, and Phillips Inlet, which are the three bodies of water that surround the park on three sides, creates an outstanding beach in terms of its impact on the local ecosystem.
This beach is perfect for anyone who want to relax on white sand and take in the unspoiled natural beauty that surrounds them.
The 183-acre park is a day-use area that offers a wide variety of activities, such as swimming, bird-watching, and studying the natural world.
Although visitors are welcome to swim at the beach, there are no lifeguards on duty, therefore exercising extreme caution is strongly recommended when in the water.
The majority of visitors love the beach at Camp Helen State Park for the sand, sun, and the opportunity to stroll through the scenic sand dunes.
In order to break up a day spent at the beach, visitors to this area may also go hiking and biking. The paths that are scattered throughout the park take hikers through a variety of ecosystems, including coastal dunes, salt marshes, wetlands, and sand pine scrub.
Another well-liked pastime at this beach is fishing, which may be done in any of the three types of water that surround it: brackish, saltwater, or freshwater. As a result of this beach’s proximity to all three types of water, fishermen have a wide variety
The relics of the mounds that were left behind by occupants around 4,000 years ago can be seen on this beach, which is evidence of the rich history that is linked with it.
During the 1920s, the location was home to a hotel; however, in the 1930s, it was converted into a single family home after a fire destroyed the original structure.
Between the years 1945 and 1987, this area served as a resort for the workers of a textile firm. In 1996, it was designated as a park by the state of Florida and accessible to the general public.
3. Panama City Beach
One of the most lively and well-liked stretches of the city’s seafront may be found at Panama City Beach, which stretches for eight miles.
Because of its location on the Gulf of Mexico, the water is crystal clear and bright blue, and ocean breezes arrive at the same regular intervals as the tide.
If you want to be in the thick of the action and within walking distance of many amenities, such as seaside restaurants, this beach is the one for you.
Because of its convenient location in the middle of Panama City Beach, it makes for an excellent introduction to the area’s beaches for those who have never been there before. Swimming and surfing are two of the more popular activities in Panama City Beach.
It is the perfect place to sit beneath an umbrella and watch people having fun on the beach by building sandcastles and jumping in the waves while soaking in the ambiance.
The Russell-Fields Pier is considered to be one of the most important monuments in all of Panama City Beach.
After enjoying a dinner on the seaside, you may take a walk down the pier for a daily charge of $3 to watch the pelicans and seagulls or to see the sunset.
The pier extends out into the Gulf of Mexico for a distance of 1,500 feet, making it a well-liked destination for fishermen who may buy a daily fishing license, rent rods, and buy equipment right there on the premises. The pier is open throughout the entire year.
Spanish mackerel, cobia, flounder, blue liners, king mackerel, and pompano are just some of the species that may be caught from the pier when the season is right.
Pier Park, which is a pedestrian area located behind the beach and contains more than one hundred stores and restaurants, is the other attraction that makes this beach so popular.
4. Schooners ( Best Beaches in Panama City)
Beach volleyball, mingling on the deck of the beachfront patio, and simply chilling out by the sea are some of the activities that may be enjoyed at Schooners’ laid-back beach scene.
It is the place to go for live music and dancing, and it is located at the easternmost end of Panama City Beach. There is a regular roster of bands that perform oceanside, and it is the place to go.
Schooners is well-liked not just for its social atmosphere, but also for the crystal clear water that washes up onto its coastline.
This water is perfect for swimming, thinking, or getting some shut-eye while being lulled to sleep by the steady beat of the waves.
This beachfront location is well-known for the numerous annual public gatherings and themed festivals that take place there.
People may be seen enjoying the beach from sunrise all the way to sunset at Schooners restaurant, which is open seven days a week.
Every night of the week is a special event as the sun goes down, at which time you may take breathtaking pictures of the sky’s array of colors and stick around for the cannon-firing tradition that takes place directly on the beach.
You may get a feel for the atmosphere of Schooners beach by watching the live webcam to see the current wave conditions, the most recent sandcastle creations, and the number of people that are now at the beach.
5. St. Andrews State Park Beach
St. Andrews State Park beach is popular among people who appreciate water sports due to the number and range of ocean activities that can be enjoyed from just one location.
More than 1,200 acres of land and one and a half kilometers of beaches are included in the state park that was formerly a military reservation.
In addition to swimming in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, visitors to St. Andrews State Park Beach have the opportunity to go snorkeling in the crystal clear shallow waters that are located behind the jetties.
This beach is a favorite destination for vacationers who wish to spend the day snorkeling, canoeing, or kayaking in the water.
The beach is famed for its sugar-like sand and clear water that is the color of jade, all of which contribute to the beach’s soothing atmosphere. There is a concession stand on the beach that serves food and water, in addition to a pavilion that provides shade and may be used for picnics.
You may either go for a walk or ride a bike around St. Andrews State Park, which has two different nature paths for you to choose from.
Bikes can be rented at a nearby shop. Because of the variety of coastal flora and wildlife that can be found here, this location on Panama City Beach is highly recommended for bird watching. Always be on the lookout for wild animals such as alligators, herons, and many kinds of ducks.
At St. Andrews State Park Beach, fishing is a well-liked pastime that may be done in a number of different ways.
Both Tiller Pier and the pier at Grand Lagoon provide anglers access to the Gulf of Mexico for fishing. In addition, the water next to St. Andrews Pass and the jetty can provide some good fishing opportunities.
Those who wish to spend the night in St. Andrews State Park can do so at one of the campsites that features complete facilities. When you enter St. Andrews State Park, you will be asked to pay a small fee.
6. Dog Beach (Best Beaches in Panama City)
If you are planning a trip to Panama City Beach with your canine companion in tow, you won’t have any trouble tracking down the most dog- and pet-friendly area for engaging in water-based activities since Dog Beach isn’t hard to discover.
The beach can be found next to Russell-Fields Pier, and it features 400 feet of white sand and beachfront area that is reserved exclusively for dog owners and their canine companions who are out enjoying the sun while on vacation.
If you want to take your dog to Dog Beach when the temperature is more comfortable for both of you, October is the perfect season to go.
The days are still bright and sunny. Be sure to bring along plenty of fresh water for your pet to drink if you plan on traveling during the warm summer months. They can quickly cool off in the waters of the Gulf in between bursts of running and playing in the sand, which is convenient for them.
If you are going to take your dog to Dog Beach, you will need to carry a few additional necessities in your beach bag in addition to sunblock and water to drink if you are going to bring your dog with you.
Remember to bring a leash, some trash bags, and a towel to wipe the sand off of your dog’s paws before you take him outside. Make sure you don’t forget to take some pictures of your dog having fun at the beach as well.
7. Rick Stelzer Park
Visitors who take pleasure in exploring natural dunes will find Rick Stelzer Park, which provides access to the public beach, to be an excellent destination.
This beach gives the impression of being in a remote location, despite its proximity to a number of dining and retail options. This is one of the beach’s many appealing qualities.
The beach and park both provide opportunities for swimming and picnicking, as well as access to public restrooms and park chairs.
There is a stretch of unspoiled beach inside the 4.75-acre park that has been kept untouched for the purpose of educating visitors about the gulf dune system and how it interacts with the ecosystem of the beach.
Walk along the shore and into the park to get a better look at some of the exhibits that are both instructive and interactive.
It is recommended that you pay Rick Stelzer Park a visit while you are in Panama City Beach, even if you might not be able to spend a whole beach day there.
The natural splendor of the beach at Rick Stelzer Park, which has been left untouched by visitors, is illustrative of the significance of the “Leave No Trace” initiative in Panama City Beach.
Visitors to the beach are urged by the city or county law to remove anything—trash, chairs, umbrellas, etc.—that they bring to the beach with them when they leave. The goal of the initiative is to assist in preserving and protecting the natural aspects of beautiful beaches like the one we are now on.
8. M.B. Miller Pier (Best Beaches in Panama City)
The beach in the area of M.B. Miller Pier is a beach that welcomes families and provides a large number of housing options in addition to public access to the beach.
The waters of the Gulf provide excellent conditions for swimming and surfing, and you can enjoy a wide variety of beach activities here, including sand volleyball, beach yoga, and the construction of sandcastles.
You may spend the day at either of the beaches that are located on either side of the pier, and you will be in close proximity to public restrooms and a general store where you can purchase sunscreen and other items.
There are a number of eateries within easy walking distance of one another.
You may walk along the pier with a day permit (for a little cost), and it offers the most spectacular views of the Panama City Beach sunsets of any location in the city.
This is one of the reasons why travelers enjoy coming to this beach. With a valid pier pass, you are free to enter and exit the facility at any time throughout the day.
Because it stretches for a total of 1,500 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, the pier is an excellent option for a daytime activity.
It is a well-known destination for activities like as fishing, observing birds, and peering down to observe marine life, which may on occasion include dolphins.
A day fishing license is required for anglers who wish to fish from the pier for flounder, hardtails, pompano, redfish, and cobia, among other fish species. The office at the pier provides rental services for both bait and rods.
9. Crooked Island Beach — Panama City Beach
The beach at Crooked Island is quite serene and secluded. Beachgoers who are looking for a private stretch of shoreline will find it to be the perfect hideaway.
Are you looking for a great beach to visit as your next getaway from the rat race of your regular routine?
Then make your way to Crooked Island Beach as soon as possible.
This stretch of beach offers a calming atmosphere, making it an ideal location for you to spend some much-needed time by yourself.
Spend the day getting a tan in the sand while basking in the warmth of the sun and taking in the sights and sounds of nature around you.
You may even catch up on reading a nice book while viewing your favorite shows and listen to music at the same time.
This natural beauty is perfect for seashore picnics and looking for seashells to bring home.
At Crooked Island Beach, there aren’t many different dining alternatives available to visitors.
Make sure you bring some food and beverages with you when you come over.
10. Laguna Beach (Best Beaches in Panama City)
You will have access to all of the town’s amenities and services despite Laguna Beach’s relatively small size and proximity to the city center.
At the beach, you’ll find both picnic tables and lounge chairs to relax in. places where you can have quick and simple access to the glistening sea. Aside from that, there is a pier in the neighborhood that provides excellent perspectives of the sea as well as the sunset.
This beach, in contrast to others, has not been developed to the same extent as the beaches of Panama City Beach.
Because of this, many people choose to come here in order to get away from the crowd. Simply disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of city life may be accomplished by coming here for the day. And get in touch with nature.
In fact, those interested in the natural world can visit the St. Andrews State Park, which is located nearby. If you are in the need for some retail therapy, you will be relieved to learn that downtown Panama City is not far away.
11. Grayton Beach — Santa Rosa Beach
One of the best beaches in the area is Grayton Beach, which is located within Grayton Beach State Park. In addition to its diamond-white sand and glistening jade water, there is also a lake on the premises.
Enjoy one of the most memorable beach holidays possible by traveling from Panama City Beach to Grayton Beach with your loved ones.
At this stretch of unspoiled coastline, you and your traveling companions may enjoy a day loaded with exciting activities while taking in the picture-perfect scenery.
Canoeing, kayaking, fishing, paddle boating, stand-up paddleboarding, and lots of other exciting activities are some of the water-based sports and pastimes that you and your companion may enjoy together.
There are many more options available besides sleeping in a tent at Grayton Beach if you want to spend more than one night there but don’t find camping out to be very pleasant.
For instance, there are locations where you can park your recreational vehicle (RV), as well as cottages that you can rent that have the capacity to accommodate around six people.
12. Miramar Beach — Miramar Beach
The breathtaking stretches of shoreline at Miramar Beach are a major lure for tourists from all over the United States.
It is in close proximity to a large number of family-friendly resorts, dining establishments, travel agencies, and other attractions.
Miramar Beach is often ranked as one of the top beaches in the area surrounding Panama City Beach, Florida. It has a beachfront that is powdery white and the water is completely transparent.
Have a wonderful day with your loved ones or your friends by participating in a wide variety of activities together Such as jet skiing, parasailing, playing a competitive game of beach volleyball, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, tossing a frisbee, and a plethora of other similar activities.
Do you not feel like taking your equipment to participate in water sports? You can count on Miramar Beach to take care of you.
There are facilities in the area that let people hire things like jet skis.
13. Pensacola Beach (Best Beaches in Panama City)
One of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world is Pensacola Beach. It is really stunning, and it is surrounded by a large number of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and retail districts of world-class quality.
It is my strong recommendation that you pay a visit to Pensacola Beach if you are seeking for places to go on weekend beach getaways departing from Panama City Beach.
This breathtaking and unspoiled stretch of coastline is distinguished by its sugary-white sand, glistening blue sea, and breathtaking vistas of the Gulf of Mexico.
This beach is very beautiful, and it is the ideal spot to spend the day enjoying in the warm rays of the sun.
You may take it easy and relax at the water’s edge, work on your tan, bury your children in the sand, build sandcastles, and search for stunning seashells.
You may also have an enjoyable journey in the water by engaging in a wide variety of thrilling activities.
For example, parasailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, paddle boarding, boogie boarding, stand-up paddleboarding, and a whole host of other possibilities.
Around Pensacola Beach, there are a ton of local travel firms that provide a variety of different trip packages.
You might want to consider signing up for a tour while you’re away for the weekend.
You have many options, but some of them include going on a cruise, seeing dolphins, going on guided dive adventures, and many other things.
13 Best Beaches in Panama City Beach, FL 2023 – Mlsbase.com