By: Joyfully Green

Summer is in full swing and we are eager to make up for lost time from last year! 2021 is the year of celebration for many families. So much has passed in a year – we just celebrated my daughter’s preschool graduation and my mom turned 60 all within a month. 

To kick off the summer and give the whole family what they’ve been craving for an entire year, we decided Panama City Beach, FL was the best place for every speed and age! 

I’ve been hearing about Panama City Beach’s crystal blue waters and white sandy beaches for years. It’s been on the bucket list for my mom too for its many amazing seafood restaurants (she’s a big sea-foodie). Finally we had the chance to spend an action filled week soaking up the sun and many family friendly activities.

Panama City Beach Activity Guide

Beaches of course! 

This is not your average beach! PCB has so many unique beachfront experiences. The most incredible blue waters were just steps outside our hotel at the Hampton Inn & Suites. We saw the most stunning sunsets of our lives directly outside. 

But there are so many more beaches to explore beyond your hotel waterfront. 

  • Camp Helen State Park, with bay, Gulf and Lake Powell as its borders. The park offers miles of beautiful waterfront to explore. You can also rent a kayak for the day!
  • Carillon Beach is very instagram worthy with a beautiful entry. 
  • Russell-Fields City Pier is also perfect to snap those beach pics and located close to the action!

Pier Park + SkyWheel

Pier Park has over 124 exciting stores and restaurants in the heart of the beautiful beaches. The whole family loved leisurely browsing the park. 

We ended up at the SkyWheel with paramantic views of the whole coast. It has a family favorite, toddler-friendly activity with many photo opps!

Shipwreck Island WaterPark

This attraction is so unique and fun for all ages/ swim levels. TripAdvisor recently named Shipwreck Island Water Park the 3rd Best Water Park in the Country and I can see why! This 20 acre park has a wave pool, the most incredible and fun splash area and so many water slides, ships and play areas to explore for kids and adults.

Coconut Creek Family Fun Park

Panama City Beach is truly a mini golf mecca. The kids loved this activity so much they begged to go every day. 

There are loads of water features, multi-level holes and animal sculptures all throughout the course that made it very memorable. Finish off in the football-size Gran Maze that will have everyone laughing and running!

Sunset Sail on the “Privateer” Catamaran

This sunset cruise is perfect for families and couples with tons of opportunities to see marine life. The catamaran sails through the waters of Grand Lagoon, past marinas and state parks. Enjoy music, relaxing vibes and a good time for the whole family!

Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise

A must visit for kids of all ages! This sea adventure is filled with real pirates + crew. They play games, sing songs and sail through time! The kids will always remember this amazing adventure!

Explore Shell Island

Rent a jetski for the afternoon from AAA Jet Ski Rental to explore Shell Island! This was my son’s thrill seeking highlight of the trip! We rode for 2 hours across the bay to the famous Shell Island only accessible by boat or watercrafts. 

Explore the lush landscapes and find the most unique, untouched shells! A perfect afternoon for school age adventure loving kiddos!

Panama City Beach Restaurant Guide for Families

Breakfast in Panama City Beach

The Pour Coffee & Community

Yummy breakfast sandwiches, fresh brew and homemade pastries all go to a good cause to bring sustainable change to the community! We loved the casual vibe. Grab a seat at the swings for a little extra fun to kick off your morning.

Finns Island Style Grub

If you like fish tacos, this is THE spot for breakfast tacos, burritos, nachos, ceviche and quesadillas. They also have a really yummy and giant breakfast burrito!

Thomas Donuts & Snack Shop

Thomas Donut’s is a cult favorite and a must visit for the best donuts on the coast! The Keylime donut had me drooling! Save room for their bacon breakfast biscuits too. You won’t be sorry.

Andy’s Flour Power

The best fluffy omelets and eggs benedicts I’ve ever found were at Andy’s Flour Power. This local spot only serves breakfast and lunch, so be sure to grab their flaky pastries during your visit. They may be the perfect mid-morning snack.

Lunch in Panama City Beach, FL 

Hook’d Pier Bar & Grill

Dip your toes in the water while you enjoy a yummy fish taco or wrap! The location is amazing and right in the middle of the action on the beach.

Hang Five

Grab a seat on the deck with a refreshing cocktail! This is a brand new beach restaurant with an amazing view and fresh seafood. 

Dinner in Panama City Beach

Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant

Hands down a must go experience! It’s named among America’s Top 50 restaurants, received a “Best Seafood Restaurant”  award from Southern Living and Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence” and I can see why! The kids LOVED seeing the boats from the floor to ceiling windows. Everywhere you look there is a piece of Florida history. The food is rich, flavorful and unlike any meal! The crab and scallops were out of this world, but don’t take my word for it; go book a table for yourself!

Saltwater Grill

Enjoy a super unique experience with a 25,000-gallon tropical saltwater aquarium in the middle of the restaurant! The crab cake and calamari is the best I’ve ever had! My husband LOVED the steak too. It’s super romantic, but family friendly too if you didn’t bring a sitter along on your trip. 

Runaway Island

Two levels of inside dining space and huge outdoor deck makes this the party place to watch the sunset and enjoy yummy drinks! 


Don’t miss Schooners, located right on the beach with a sunset cannon celebration every day! The tuna and scallops are the best dishes I have ever tasted. The service was super fast and amazing too. We gave it a 10/10 for the family-friendly and fun atmosphere!

Panama City Beach truly has so much to offer for every celebration! Take this as your sign to make up for lost time. Get to PCB and the whole family will have a trip they’ll be talking about for years to come!