If the sun and sand are calling your name, it’s time for a beach vacation. Panama City Beach offers your family a myriad of activities from biking and parasailing to shopping and eating in top-tier restaurants. Situated in northwest Florida on the Panhandle, Panama City Beach sits on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico with its warm water and white sand beaches. Find a condo on the beach with amazing views, or choose a small home a couple blocks away to avoid the crowds. Great beach communities are located up and down the beach. Check out these 10 great spots to start your search for the perfect vacation rental in Panama City Beach.

1. Panama City Beach

 

pcb
Source: Flickr / dconvertini

Enjoy sun-filled days reconnecting with your family in this fun beach community. Condos line the beach and let you wake up just a few feet away from the sand. You and your family can visit Gulf World Marine Park to swim with dolphins or gasp in excitement as you shoot down the water slides at Shipwreck Island Waterpark. This small town is a hot spot for college students during spring break, but the rest of the year it offers a relaxed family vibe.

2. Pier Park Area

escalator stairs

If you want to indulge in a little shopping therapy during your beach vacation, choose one of the beachfront condos in the Pier Park area. This area includes several high-end department stores along with an outlet mall, where you can save big on the brands that you love to wear. Spend your days soaking in the sun, boating, paddleboarding, and playing volleyball. In the evening, select one of your favorite chain restaurants at Pier Park, or find a local restaurant offering fresh seafood dishes.

3. Laguna Beach

laguna beach
Source: Flickr/Henderson Hills

Just a short drive north brings you to Laguna Beach, where you can enjoy a little more peace and quiet and fewer crowds. You and your family can catch some rays while sunbathing, boating, playing beach volleyball, and biking around the town. Take some time to check out Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, which is located in a wrecked ship, or go to Coconut Creek Family Fun Park and get lost in the Gran Maze. It’s the size of a football field.

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4. Sunnyside

sandcastle

Leave the high-rise condos behind, and choose a beachfront home in the small community of Sunnyside. Spend your days relaxing on Inlet Beach or exploring Camp Helen State Park with its dune lake, where you can enjoy fishing, hiking, and gazing at wildlife. This small community even has a local business that offers lessons in building sand castles.

5. Rosemary Beach

golf ball

Rosemary Beach is a planned community with everything you need to make your vacation a success. From condos by the ocean to family homes, you can find a vacation rental to suit your family’s needs. Relax by biking, playing tennis, or hitting a few golf balls. Hop in the car and visit the Hombre Golf Club, where you can play 18 holes and try to beat your best pair.

6. Alys Beach

 

alys beach
Source: Flickr / Jason Eppink

Move up the coastline a few miles north of Panama City Beach to the luxury community of Alys Beach. You and your family can make your home base a luxury condo or spacious family home with all the amenities. For a truly decadent experience, take the family to the Caliza Pool with its zero-entry main swimming pool and three additional pools, including a whirlpool. Rent one of the private cabanas and enjoy lunch in the open-air restaurant. This community features its own 20-acre nature preserve with a raised wooden walking path where you can while away an afternoon walking and checking out the flora and fauna.

7. Seacrest Beach

pelican

Travel north along County Road 30A until you reach the Seacrest Beach community. You can choose among the available condos, cottages, and single family homes along the beach and tree-lined neighborhoods. Get some exercise by paddle boarding, biking, and kayaking, or take to the air on a helicopter tour of the area. Deer Lake State Park offers the chance to explore salt marshes and the unique ecosystem they create.

8. Seaside

bicycle

Days pass slowly and quietly in the coastal town of Seaside. While you can simply lie on the beach and soak up the sun, this town offers amazing shopping, art galleries, and restaurants with scrumptious dishes. Nearby Eden Gardens State Park provides a unique look at manicured gardens and a 19th-century mansion that favors Louis XVI furniture. If you want to get active outdoors, then head over to Grayton Beach State Park with its bike trails and boat ramps to put a vessel into the lake at the heart of the park.

9. Lower Grand Lagoon

holmestrand boats
Source: Flickr/NatalieMaynor

Turn south from Panama City Beach and travel down County Road 30A, veering off on Thomas Drive to reach Lower Grand Lagoon. It’s surrounded by water on three sides with the Gulf of Mexico to the west and the Saint Andrews Bay to the east and south. You can choose a condo on the bay or gulf side, depending on whether you want to be closer to fresh or salt water. Unwind while you fish, swim, boat, and reconnect with your family.

10. Upper Grand Lagoon

kayaks

Drive over the bay to Upper Grand Lagoon. This neighborhood doesn’t meet the Gulf of Mexico, but you can find vacation rentals along Saint Andrews Bay and wake up to water views each day. Enjoy a brunch at Andy’s Flour Power, a local diner, and lunch at Fatty Patty’s Cakes and Cafe. You and your family can get active by canoeing, paddleboarding, kayaking in the bay, and biking around the community. Hop in the car and drive to all the excitement of Panama City Beach in less than 10 minutes.

 
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