Mexico Beach is a city in Bay County, Florida that’s part of the metropolitan area of Panama City. This coastal community is a popular place for vacationers seeking the beach, but without the crowds. Vacation rentals in Mexico Beach range from spacious condos overlooking the water to cozy single-family homes. There are a variety of activities perfect for families with children, as well as individuals seeking a retreat from the grind of daily life. When planning your stay, consider these top 15 things to do to make your trip unforgettable.

1. Charter a Fishing Boat

Strike Zone Fishing Adventures takes you out on the adventure of a lifetime over the open seas. Learn how to catch grouper, red snapper, and triggerfish from the pros. The captain is extremely professional as he helps you keep your hooks baited while navigating the water. Afterward, have a picture taken with your catch to share with friends. This trip is ideal for adults and children of all ages.

2. Go Kayaking in the Gulf

Whether you bring your own kayaks to your vacation rental or rent everything you need at Barefoot Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals, the Gulf is the perfect place to traverse over the open waves. The friendly staff at Barefoot can offer advice on the best places to go and provides short lessons for beginners. Rent the kayak for a day or for the entire week depending on how long you plan to stay.

3. Enjoy Local Art at the Frost Pottery Garden

Art enthusiasts enjoy the beautiful collection of artworks at the Frost Pottery Garden. Browse the selection of yard art, Mexican pottery, and jewelry. Then, stop by the gift shop and purchase everything you need to create your own piece to commemorate your trip. This activity is ideal for small groups and individuals of all ages.

4. Play a Game at Tommy T’s

Beat the heat of the day while you play video games at Tommy T’s. This arcade and pool hall serves sno-cones and other refreshments, and there are also air hockey tables to challenge family members. The atmosphere is family friendly, and it is located directly on the beach, so you can alternate between the water and sand and the arcade.

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5. Enjoy a Game of Disc Golf

Head to Under the Oaks Park for a relaxing day of fun with the family. The park has playgrounds for young children and a disc golf course for both the experienced player or the beginner. Pack a picnic lunch and sit under one of the pavilions, or bring a kayak and paddle out into the center of the lake.

6. Rent a Sailboat

Learn how to sail by renting a sailboat from the Panama City Marina. The marina has everything you need from personal flotation devices to maps of the area. Stop by the local store for gifts, and then at night, the marina is the perfect place for a long stroll by the water once you turn your boat in.

7. Enjoy a Movie at the Carmike Mall Theater

Spend the day shopping at the Carmike Mall for clothes and gifts and take in a movie at the Mall Theater. The Theater offers first-run films on four separate theaters and has excellent audio with digital video. Take the kids to a discount matinee or opt for dinner and a movie at night after a day on the beach.

8. Play a Round of Golf in Port St. Joe

Schedule a round of golf at the St. Joseph’s Bay Country Club, which is just 12 miles southeast of Mexico Beach. The club offers 18 challenging holes, and if you need pointers, you can stop by the pro shop for lessons. Afterward, stop by the Grab and Go snack bar to get a cold beverage before heading back to your vacation rental.

9. Go Scuba Diving

Mexico Beach has over 125 artificial reefs located in the Gulf of Mexico for you to explore. View the pyramids and the sunken barges. There’s also a concrete mixer and a WWII oil tanker that is affectionately known as Empire Mica. Visibility along the gulf is around 80 feet, which makes this the perfect spot to see marina-life and take pictures.

10. Search for Loggerhead Turtles

Mexico Beach is home to five different species of turtles, including the loggerhead. Sign up with Natural Habitat Adventures and take a stroll at dusk to look for nesting turtles. Hatchlings emerge in the late summer, and if you are lucky, you can watch them as they make their trek from the beach to the sea.

11. Explore the Science and Discovery Center in Panama City

Located approximately 20 miles northwest of Mexico City, the Science and Discovery Center offers hands-on exhibits for individuals of all ages. View and learn about hand-made tools of our ancestors, and how technology influences industry today. The center hosts a variety of activities throughout the year, including children’s clinics and an annual golf tournament.

12. View the Animals at the Bear Creek Feline Center in Panama City

The Bear Creek Feline Center is a research and rescue site dedicated to the rehabilitation and education of all types of felines. Stop in and observe the feedings of bobcats, lynx, panthers, and servals, and watch the staff as they interact with these exotic animals. After the tour, make a donation to help the center with food and supplies for the animals.

13. Have Fun at the Emerald Falls Recreation Area

Located in Panama City, this amusement park has a host of games and rides that are ideal for families with children or anyone who enjoys mini golf and go-karts. Splash around on the bumper boats or check out one of the three go-kart tracks. The park is open all day and at night, the overhead lights offer quite the glow.

14. Visit Ripley’s Believe it or Not

Home to the macabre and unbelievable, Ripley’s Believe it or Not is a must-see when traveling to the area. The museum has a collection of skulls and other oddities, and there is also a 4D theater where you can ride and experience a realistic movie. Stop by the gift shop for unique gift items, and finish your trip with the laser race.

15. Take Part in a Community Event

Several annual events take place in Mexico Beach if you time your vacation right. The Mexico Beach Gumbo Cookoff is held every July where you can sample some of the best gumbo in the south. During the Christmas holidays, Mexico City hosts the Beach Celebration of Lights where locals and businesses compete with one another for the brightest and most festive displays.

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