Family Travel

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Panama City Family Fun: Top 20 Kid-Approved Beach Escapes

Ready to swap kiddie pools for ocean waves? Dive into Panama City Beach's family treasures, where even the tiniest tots trade boredom for beachside bliss! Join us, as a local spills the sandy secrets.

Tobi Miles
September 27, 2022

Panama City Beach is a family-friendly destination since it has so many great attractions, restaurants, bars, shops, and outdoor pursuits. Fishing and scuba diving are popular here because of the many artificial reefs out in the Gulf, and the beach itself faces west, so you can watch the sunset over the water every day of the year.

The beaches of Panama City Beach are famous for their white sand, turquoise ocean, and wide variety of fauna.

On the other hand, there are some things to do in the city that you simply can't do anywhere else. One of Panama City Beach's most popular attractions, Gulf World Marine Park welcomes about 150,000 visitors annually.

Panama City Beach is one of the best places to visit in Florida, particularly for families who are looking for a wide variety of activities to occupy their children on vacation. The fact that Panama City Beach is so welcoming to children and families makes it an ideal place to kick back and relax, which is incentive enough to make the trip there.

There are two state parks located in Panama City Beach, which is known for its 27 miles of white sand beaches that stretch along the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Local and state parks are great places to go hiking, biking, and animal watching. Many of these parks also offer opportunities for water sports such as paddleboarding and snorkeling.

Its numerous amusement parks and arcades, along with its stunning beaches and lively nightlife, make it an ideal destination for a vacation filled with fun in the sun. It is not only a destination for young adults attending college, either.

Shipwreck Island Waterpark, Race City, and Ripley's Believe It or Not! are just some of the attractions that can be found here.

1. Ripley's Believe It Or Not Laguna Beach 

Credit: Youtube

Map It: 9907 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407 | Phone: 850-230-6113 | Website | Hours: Sunday - Thursday 10 AM - 7 PM, Friday and Saturday 10 AM - 8 PM | Entrance: $18 | Age Group: All Ages

Ripley's is a museum that is known all over the world for its collection of bizarre artifacts, some of which include shrunken human heads and skeletons of unusual animals.

At Ripley's Panama City Beach, you may explore hundreds of strange and entertaining exhibits. Explore interesting works of art, participate in entertaining interactives, and more!

Adults and children of all ages are welcome to participate in activities such as measuring their height against the world's tallest man, dipping their hands in wax, and playing maze games.

2. Gulf World Marine Park 

Credit: Gulf World Marine Park 

Map It: 15412 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32413 | Phone: 850-234-5271 | Website  | Hours: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $29 | Age Group: All Ages

Dolphins can be seen at the Gulf World Marine Park, which is located in Panama City Beach, Florida. It first opened its doors in 1970 and is currently one of only a handful of institutes in the United States that is able to provide a home for rough-toothed dolphins.

Additionally, you won't find many other venues in the United States where you can get the chance to swim with dolphins.  Everyone in the family will enjoy exploring this area and getting up close and personal with the local aquatic life.

Related Read: 17 BEST Restaurants in Panama City Beach

3. Shipwreck Island 

Credit: Shipwreck Island 

Map It: 12201 Hutchison Blvd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407 | Phone: 850-234-3333 | Website | Hours: Temporarily Closed but in season 10:30 AM - 5 PM Daily | Entrance: $47 | Age Group: All Ages

Three million gallons of water are available at Shipwreck Island Waterpark for you to float around, swim in, slide down, or simply unwind in. Come and experience the tropics at this amazing waterpark. Your family will love the wave pool, which has a capacity of 500,000 gallons.

Over an acre of pools, slides, and other fun things await our tiniest visitors at The Tadpole Hole. The most tranquil route in all of Panama City Beach is on the Lazy River, which has both sunny and shady locations to enhance the leisurely ride.

The totally enclosed Tree Top Drop tube ride descends from a 65-foot-tall platform into a pool of water at the end.

The Free Fall launches riders out on a free fall drop slide after beginning as an enclosed tube ride. Riders can compete against one another on the Pirate's Plunge Racing Slide as they race down humps and bumps at up to 35 mph from two 65-foot-high starting locations.

4. Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise 

Credit: Florida Panhandle

Map It: 5325 N Lagoon Dr, Panama City, FL 32408 | Phone: 850-234-7400 | Website | Hours: Open 24 Hours | Entrance: $25 | Age Group: All Ages

The Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise provides your family with an entertaining cruise with a pirate theme, complete with music and activities geared for children, as well as sightings of dolphins.

No matter your age, the Pirate Cruise has something exciting in store for you! Sail away into a world of friendly swashbucklers and energetic pirates as you cruise away into the mythical realm. The two hours of entertaining activities and sightseeing will be enjoyed by children of all ages.

Related Read: 40 BEST Things To Do In Destin, Florida

5. Zoo World 

Credit: Zoo World 

Map It: 9008 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407 | Phone: 850-230-1243 | Website | Hours: 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $24.95 | Age Group: All Ages

You may kiss a giraffe, pet a sloth, cuddle a lemur, embrace a kangaroo, and even handle a porcupine if you want to! It is a wonderful area to go away from the beach for a while and make memories that will last a lifetime with your loved ones!

A zoo with a tropical setting that focuses on conservation and has more than 260 animals, as well as programs and shows.
Your family will get the opportunity to get up close and personal with exotic animals from all over the world when they visit ZooWorld.

6. Wild Thang Airboat Tour 

Credit: Wild Thang Airboat Tour

Map It: 14856 Bay View Cir, Panama City Beach, FL 32413 | Phone: 850-234-1532 | Website | Hours: Monday - Saturday 9 AM - 7:30 PM | Entrance: $30+ | Age Group: Best for 2+

The U.S. Coast Guard Master Captains that work for Wild Thang Airboat Tours have the most experience of any in the region.
They are the only airboat company in the area that is located on the water within its own docks, and they have complete insurance coverage.

Their tour lasts for thirty minutes and is more of a picturesque and entertaining journey. To beat the heat of the day and refresh oneself, this excursion is just what the doctor ordered! There is a good chance of spotting alligators here.

Searching for alligators, dolphins, herons, egrets, and other birds while sliding and spinning down the marshes and backwater creeks in mere inches of water is a fantastic journey that you may take.

7. Daniel’s Shells 

Credit: West End PCB

Map It: 19102 Front Beach Rd Panama City Beach, FL 32413  | Phone: 850-236-9232 | Website | Hours: Monday - Saturday 12 PM - 4 PM | Entrance: Free | Age Group: All Ages

This store is one of a kind and holds a lot of intriguing items. It's a fun activity for youngsters, and you should definitely buy some shells to take with you when you leave. Bring the younger children with you to the store so they can look for their own shells.
They are going to adore it!

Related Read: 17 BEST Gulf Coast Florida Beaches for Families

8. Thomas Donut & Snack Shop 

Credit: Yelp

Map It: 19208 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32413 | Phone: 850-234-8039 | Website | Hours: 6:00 AM - 10 PM Daily | Entrance: Free | Age Group: All Ages

The doughnut specialist has been serving up American fare, window service, and a picnic-table-lined deck since 1971. Visitors and locals alike are welcome to Thomas Donut & Snack Shop to sample some of their delicious pastries.

Donuts, especially those glazed with caramel or chocolate, have a devoted fan base that spans all demographics. Thomas Donut & Snack Shop is the best place to grab a bite to eat on the go.

Locals and visitors alike love Thomas Donut & Snack Shop's friendly service, great selection of tasty treats, and comfortable atmosphere.

Whether you're looking for a filling lunch or a sweet treat to satiate your sweet tooth, Thomas Donut & Snack Shop has you covered.

9. Man in the Sea Museum 

Credit: Wikipedia

Map It: 17314 Panama City Beach Pkwy, Panama City Beach, FL 32413 | Phone: 850-235-4101 | Website | Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10 AM - 4 PM | Entrance: $8 | Age Group: All Ages

Explore the mysterious world beneath the waves. The Man in the Sea Museum is a wonderful location in which to investigate fascinating exhibits and become familiar with the origins of scuba diving.

The museum has been collecting, preserving, and displaying objects that have been used in or are related to activities that take place underwater for the past thirty years.

People of all ages can learn about the development of underwater technology at the Man in the Sea Museum, which is located in the Institute of Diving and is owned by that organization.

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Florida

10. Swampy Jacks Wongo 

Credit: Swampy Jacks Wongo 

Map It: 284 Powell Adams Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32413 | Phone: 850-234-9973 | Website | Hours: Friday - Sunday 5 PM - 11 PM | Entrance: Free | Age Group: Best for 3+

The Swamp Ape, a true Florida icon, is said to have traveled all the way from the Everglades to Panama City Beach in order to terrify tourists there. The entire family is sure to have a good time at Swampy Jack's Wongo Adventure, which combines elements of a theme park and a family entertainment center.

The heavily themed park focuses on Swampy Jack's adventures all over the world. Swampy Jack provides the most cutting-edge and one-of-a-kind go-kart experience available anywhere. Because there are so many activities available, you may have trouble deciding where to begin.

11. Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise Aboard The Original Sea Screamer

Credit: PCB Life

Map It: 3605 Thomas Dr, Panama City, FL 32408 | Phone: | Website | Hours: 7:30 AM - 7:30 PM Daily | Entrance: $27 | Age Group: All Ages

The Sea Screamer zips along the Gulf seas at up to 35 mph on its deep-V hull, creating a massive wake and making passengers happy.

Sea Screamer Cruise is a thrilling boat excursion that lets you enjoy Panama City Beach's natural beauty. The 73-foot boat's large and comfy twin-turbo engine provides a smooth yet exhilarating ride unmatched by any other.

Tour the State Park area jetties and the waterways surrounding Shell Island while admiring the stunning landscape.

Then, enjoy a revitalizing 10-mile ride alongside some of the best beaches and resorts in the world. Your family will love the dolphin excursion or sunset cruise in Panama City Beach!

The bar accepts cash only and sells cold drinks, beer, wine, and appetizers. The below decks are clean, roomy restrooms.

12. Sand Castle Lessons at Beach Sand Sculptures 

Credit: Destin Vacation Boat Rentals

Map It: 605 N County Hwy 393 STE A4, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 | Phone: 850-622-1066 | Website | Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday 10 AM - 4 PM | Entrance: $375 | Age Group: All Ages

SandCastle Lessons are an activity that each and everyone will enjoy. These lessons feature a two-hour activity that has won awards and is completely one of a kind. "Memories in the Sand" can be created.

Have fun in the sand and gain new abilities in sand sculpting! With Beach Sand Sculptures you'll participate in a vacation activity that is one of a kind. These are just a few of the reasons why Beach Sand Sculptures' SandCastle Lessons are so popular.

The lessons swiftly rose to the top spot on Tripadvisor's list of activities available in Destin, Florida.

13. Wonderworks 

Credit: TripAdvisor

Map It: 9910 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407 | Phone: 850-249-7000 | Website | Hours: Sunday - Thursday 10 AM - 9 PM, Friday and Saturday 10 AM - 10 PM | Entrance: $33.99 | Age Group: All Ages

Wonderworks is a favorite destination for families. The park features more than one hundred interactive science displays for kids. They also have laser tag, a ropes course, and a 6D motion ride. The theme park was designed with the visitor's intellect in mind.

The attraction is a combination of education and entertainment, and it spans 29,000 square feet. As a result, your family will have plenty of opportunities to learn and have fun.

14. Shell Island 

Credit: Panama City Beach

Map It: 5709 N Lagoon Dr, Panama City Beach, FL 32408 | Phone: 850-608-0623 | Website | Hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $24.95+ | Age Group: All Ages

Shell Island is a barrier island and beach that stretches for seven miles and is completely undeveloped. It is located in the southernmost portion of St. Andrews State Park. The island may be reached by private boat or by taking the official Shell Island Shuttle.

It is a popular destination for tourists who wish to experience a pristine beach while they are in the area. Both swimming and snorkeling are quite enjoyable activities.

Hiking across the island's interior gives hikers the chance to investigate uncommon coastal wildlife. You'll discover plants, birds, and mammal groups in their natural state.

15. Coconut Creek 

Credit: Coconut Creek

Map It: 9807 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407 | Phone: 850-234-2625 | Website | Hours: Sunday - Thursday 10 AM - 10:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 10 AM - 11 PM | Entrance: $14.50+ | Age Group: Best for 3+

The expansive family-friendly venue that can be found in Coconut Creek features two mini-golf courses with 18 holes each.

One of the best things to do in Panama City Beach is a visit to Coconut Creek. This venue offers excitement and entertainment for people of all ages.

The two tropical 18-hole mini-golf courses at Coconut Creek are sure to provide excitement for players of all skill levels. If you want to put your navigational skills to the test, the magnificent huge size Gran Maze is also available.

16. Emerald Falls Recreation Center 

Credit: Florida Panhandle

Map It: 8602 Thomas Dr, Panama City, FL 32408 | Phone: 850-234-1049 | Website | Hours: 12:00 PM - 9:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $1+ | Age Group: All Ages

A combination indoor and outdoor amusement park, Emerald Falls features go-karts, an impressive miniature golf course, an arcade, and rides. You will go around a go-cart track made of wood that is four stories tall. Plus, a road course made of concrete.

In addition, the arcade at Emerald Falls is the most comprehensive of any in town. Play between 18 or 36 holes of Fantasy Mini Golf or get wet and wild on the bumper boats. Both Kids Kingdom and the Alien Arcade at Emerald Falls are fantastic for children to have a day of fun.

17. Conservation Park 

Credit: Panama City Beach

Map It: 100 Conservation Drive, Panama City Beach, FL 32413 | Phone: 850-233-5045 | Website | Hours: Dawn to dusk 7 days a week | Entrance: Free | Age Group: All Ages

At Conservation Park, you'll find enormous stretches of green space and extensive woodland regions. The hiking paths stretch for miles and miles. There are loops that visitors can hike, bicycle, or run on within the park. The distances range from half a mile to 12 miles. You can take advantage of the park's boardwalks and 24 miles of unpaved paths.

The Conservation Park is home to almost a mile of boardwalks. Additionally, you'll find 24 miles of trails that wind their way through cypress domes. The park is comprised of more than 2,900 acres.

You'll find miles of excellent hiking paths, marshes, and a pine forest. Conservation Park in PCB also provides visitors with excellent opportunities to view local species.

18. Splash Beach Resort 


Map It: 17739 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32413 | Phone: 855-861-5757 | Website | Hours: Open 24 Hours | Entrance: Free | Age Group: All Ages

Your next family vacation should be spent at the Splash Resort.  This is the ideal condo location in Panama City Beach. Because they are created with children in mind, your young children will greet each new day with enthusiasm. They will fall asleep each night completely worn out from the nonstop fun they had during the day.

19. Cobra Adventure Park 

Credit: Florida Panhandle

Map It: 9323 Front Beach Rd, Panama City, FL 32408 | Phone: 850-235-0321 | Website | Hours: Thursday, Friday 5 PM - 9 PM, Saturday, Sunday 12 PM - 9 PM | Entrance: $44 | Age Group: All Ages

In Panama City Beach, there is a beachfront amusement and entertainment park called Cobra Adventure Park. Look no further than Cobra Adventure Park. This amusement park is exciting yet reasonably priced for a family outing in Panama City Beach. Even though it's not particularly fancy, this attraction keeps kids occupied, which is enough to please many parents.

The many sections at Cobra Adventure Park can be classified into a few broad categories. The majority of these include an arcade, a roller coaster area, a mini-golf course, and go-karts. The park's arcade frequently receives the highest accolades.

20. Goofy Golf 

Credit: Florida Panhandle

Map It: 12206 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407 | Phone: 850-234-6403 | Website | Hours: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $12 | Age Group: All Ages

Miniature golf courses at Goofy Golf feature historical obstacles such as dinosaurs, aliens, and even a Sphinx. The courses are spread out across different areas. It's a family-based operation meaning it's a good old-fashioned mom-and-pop shop.

At this premier tourist destination, unforgettable recollections are sure to be produced. This golf course has a lot of moving aspects, which means that playing here will be both enjoyable and challenging. Additionally, one of the holes allows you to climb to the top of its "temple".

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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