If you’re planning a reunion, you know one of the most difficult tasks is nailing down a date. You want a time of year that’s convenient for everyone, but more importantly, you want to reunite with your family when the weather is nice. Panama City Beach is your place. No matter what season you go, the warmth and sunshine of this tropical climate can be enjoyed year-round.
Tucked up in northwest Florida along the powdery white shore of the Panhandle, Panama City Beach showcases the best the Sunshine State has to offer, from emerald waters and white sand beaches to subtropical parks filled with local wildlife. And with the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport just 15 minutes away from the local beaches, it’s super easy to get to.
What is there to do in Panama City Beach?
Once your family arrives, it’s inevitable that someone in the group will ask: What should we do? Luckily, you’ve planned your reunion in Panama City Beach, and there is no end to the possible activities you can enjoy.
Panama City Beach is known for its white-sand beaches, created by quartz crystals washed down from the Appalachian Mountains centuries ago. Those in your family looking to catch some rays can spend their time relaxing by the water and lounging on the soft sand.
Outdoor enthusiasts in your group will appreciate the St. Andrews State Park. This natural escape features forests, sand dunes, fresh- and salt-water marshes, fishing jetties and hiking trails. The Panama City Beach Conservation Park features 12 looping trails for walking, biking, wildlife and bird watching; while Camp Helen State Park provides your group with natural coastal dunes, salt marshes, freshwater wetlands and scrub oak forests.
While you’re enjoying the coast, be sure to look out to the waves to catch a glimpse of a dolphin fin, as Panama City Beach has one of the highest concentrations of bottlenose dolphins in the world.
Get a chance to swim with these and many other incredible creatures out on the reefs, which are teeming with sea life. And here’s a fun fact to show off your Panama City Beach knowledge: the city is known as the Wreck Capital of the South due to the large number of historic shipwrecks that took place just off shore. So pull on those wetsuits and oxygen tanks and dive in to explore these legendary wrecks.
After you have your own underwater adventure, learn about the many people who have explored the depths of the oceans at the Museum of Man in the Sea, the only deep-water diving museum in the U.S.
Art lovers in the group will head to the Visual Arts Center in downtown Panama City. The museum has over 2,000 square feet of gallery space showcasing a substantial art collection, along with traveling exhibitions from across the country and abroad.
Shipwreck Island Water Park has a Tadpole Hole for the young ones, and large racing slides and river rapids for the teens and adults. You can also spend the day at Gulf World Marine Park, where you can see animal shows and exhibits, and even arrange to shadow the park’s animal trainers for the day.
Enjoy some retail therapy at unique boutiques by the sea and open-air malls. Grab some sea- and surf-inspired gifts at Beach House Market, or wander through a million square feet of big-name stores and mom-and-pop shops at Pier Park.
What are some of the dining options?
Food and reunions go together like…well, like family. Your reunion wouldn’t be complete without enjoying local favorites like char-grilled grouper and Apalachicola oysters.
Savor a plate of jumbo gulf shrimp or sea scallops at Triple J’s Steakhouse, which also serves up some of the best prime rib and filet mignon is town. At Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar, kids can play on the Pirate Ship Playground, while the adults sip frozen drinks and take in views of the beach. One of the best places to pick up food: a seafood market. Select your own seafood and have it steamed and seasoned on the spot, then wrapped up for you and ready to go.
Where are some places we can stay?
After a long day of swimming with dolphins, trekking through marshes and forests, and scarfing down mouth-watering food, it’s time to kick back, relax and recharge for the next day’s festivities. Panama City Beach offers plenty of places to stay. You can book rooms at one of the many hotels, or rent out a condo, townhome or beach house so you can make the most of your time with family.
It takes a lot of planning and organization to put together a reunion, and one of the most important aspects is picking the right location—not to mention the best time of year. As a reunion destination, Panama City Beach not only offers a wide variety of activities and attractions, but also provides your group with wonderful weather year round. Fun is the name of the game in Panama City Beach, and there are plenty of resources to help you coordinate a successful and memorable reunion the whole family will love.
Get started by contacting Panama City Beach using one of the methods provided. If you’ve held a reunion at Panama City Beach before, we’d love to hear what you have to say in the comment section.