Our Panama City Beach Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help you plan your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Florida, USA. No matter how often you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need?

    We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. You’ll also learn about the most popular landmarks in Panama City Beach, such as Russell Fields City Pier, SkyWheel Panama City Beach, and The Man in the Sea Museum. It’s all compiled in this Panama City Beach Travel Essentials. After going through this short and easy-to-read guide, you’ll be a little more prepared to start your trip to Panama City Beach.

    1

    When is the best time to travel to Panama City Beach?

    • Panama City Beach has a humid subtropical climate that’s warm and mild. Average temperatures range between 52°F in January and 82°F in August. With over 300 days of sunshine per year, it’s a desirable destination year-round.
    • On average, you can expect around 6 rainy days per month in October, November, April, and May. December–March usually has around 9 rainy days per month. The summer months, June–September, happen to be the rainiest time of the year. During this time, it receives between 12 and 14 wet days each month with temperatures ranging between 70°F and 90°F.
    • The peak season runs from April to August, though it receives a different crowd in spring and summer. Many students come to Panama City Beach for spring break, while families come during the school holidays in July and August.
    • The best times to visit Panama City Beach are in March–April and September–November. They’re when hotels usually offer great promotions and the weather is suitable for outdoor activities. You’ll also avoid the late-spring and summer crowds.
    2

    Panama City Beach basics

    • Plug type: A and B
    • Electricity: 120 V
    • Currency: United States Dollar (US$)
    • International dialling code: +1 850
    • Emergency telephone number: 911
    3

    How to get to my hotel in Panama City Beach?

    Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) is the main arrival hub to Panama City Beach.

    If you travel on a budget or want to get a true feel of an American road trip, you can get to Panama City Beach by bus. The Greyhound bus terminal is in the city centre, just north of the City Hall.

    Getting to Panama City Beach by train is not a very convenient way. The closest Amtrak railway station is in Mobile, Alabama, a 3-hour drive away.

    Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP)

    Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) is the primary airport serving Panama City Beach. It’s 16 miles northwest of the city centre. The driving time from the airport to Downtown Panama City is about 30 minutes.

    There’s free Wi-Fi at the airport and ground transport options available to get you to your hotel depending on your budget are as follows:

    • A choice of taxis, shuttles, and limos are available to transfer you to your hotel. The desks are right after the baggage claim area.
    • Find the Uber and Lyft pick-up area across the street near the entrance to the covered parking lot outside of the airport’s main entrance. It’s well shown – simply follow the signage.
    • Alamo, Avis, and Hertz are just a few of the car rental companies that you can find at the airport. Their counters are near the baggage claim area.           

    Greyhound bus station

    The Greyhound bus station is at 7808 Panama City Beach Parkway, in the city centre. Buses from a wide range of destinations throughout the states serve Panama City.

    Transfer options available at the Greyhound bus station that can get you to your hotel are as follows:

    • The Bay Town Trolley Route 1 – Lynn Haven & Panama City Mall has a stop right opposite the bus station. You’ll have to make a trolley change to get to Panama City Beach. It’s the cheapest transfer choice available.
    • You can call for taxis and rideshares to pick you up.
    4

    How to get around Panama City Beach?

    Travel tips

    Walking is the best way for exploring the surroundings of your hotel or to getting around the main shopping streets of the resort town centre. Besides the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium, Race City amusement park, and many more places of interest, you’ll also find an excellent choice of dining, shopping, and nightlife entertainment options.

    Beyond downtown, there are many ways to explore Panama City Beach and the surrounding areas.

    What public transport is available in Panama City Beach?

    The Bay Town Trolley is the public transport system in Bay County. It features 10 routes which conveniently cover Panama City and Panama City Beach. It runs from 6 am to 8 pm.

    Single-journey tickets, as well as 1-day and 30-day passes, are available. It’s an inexpensive way of getting around. You can buy tickets and passes onboard any trolley or at the Bay Town Trolley office at 919 Massalina Drive, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.

    Taking a taxi

    From Beach Boys Shuttle Taxi and Limo (+1 850-236-6234) to Emerald Taxi (+1 850-792-2546) to Red Cabs of Panama City (+1 850-733-2227), you’ll easily find taxis in Panama City Beach. You can also often find them lined in front of hotels and major attractions.

    The usual tipping for taxis is around 15-20% of the fare. Most taxi drivers accept credit cards, sometimes reluctantly. Beware of taxi-related tricks and scams – these can range from you being “taken for a long ride” to the “broken taximeter” excuse as well as double charges and overcharges.

    Note that you cannot call Uber and Lyft from Panama City Beach.

    Is it advisable to rent a car in Panama City Beach?

    Renting a car is a desirable choice if you plan to explore Panama City Beach and its surroundings. The beach road heading north stretches over 30 miles. It’s certainly more expensive than public transport but it gives you the freedom to go anywhere and whenever you want.

    Foreigners can use their standard driver’s license for up to 1 month in Florida. You can find car rental companies at the airport and throughout the resort town.

    Scooters and big bikes, including Harley Davidsons, are available for hire. They can be a good and more affordable alternative if you travel solo or as a couple.

    Can you cycle around Panama City Beach?

    Hiring a bicycle is a cool way of getting around the resort town and along the beach. Panama City Beach is a very bike-friendly city, most major streets feature a cycling lane. There’s a network of over 50 miles of biking trails available across Bay County. Additionally, there are beach bicycles equipped with special tires, allowing you to easily ride over sandy terrain.

    Check out companies such as Bike the Beach PCB (+1 850-557-7787), Outlaw Rentals (+1 850-233-1391), or Peddlers 30A (+1 850-213-0040), to name a few.

    5

    What are the main annual events in Panama City Beach?

    Mardi Gras & Music Festival

    • The weekend before Fat Tuesday (late-Feb/early-March)
    • Float tours, kid’s costume contests, live entertainment, and various parades, ending with fireworks. It combines the fun of a Mardi Gras with the chance to enjoy evening music performances live.
    • Where: various venues throughout the resort town centre

    Real. Fun. Fourth.

    • 3–5 July
    • One of the biggest Independence Day happenings on the Gulf Coast with impressive fireworks along the beach, including a ‘duelling firework’ show. It also features concerts and a veterans’ memorial ceremony.
    • Where: Aaron Bessant Park and along the beach

    Pirates of the High Seas Fest

    • October
    • Celebrates the memory of pirates who once roamed the Gulf of Mexico and pillaged the Emerald Coast. Family fun includes battle reconstitutions, costume contests, kids’ parades, live music, and fireworks.
    • Where: Pier Park
    6

    What are the main landmarks in Panama City Beach?

    Russell Fields City Pier

    Go fishing on this 1,500-ft-long jetty in the Gulf of Mexico. For a small fee, a daily fishing license allows you to catch mackerels, blueliners, and other fish.

    SkyWheel Panama City Beach

    The SkyWheel Panama City Beach offers a great viewpoint and stunning photo opportunities 58 yards high over the beach. It runs daily from 11 am to 8 pm.

    Scenic 30A

    A 24-mile-long beach road that stretches through South Walton County. It starts 18 miles north of Panama City Beach and features beach communities, hotels, and beach bars in a superb natural environment.

    The Man in the Sea Museum

    A place to discover the world of underwater exploration and learn about the history of scuba diving. Exhibits feature vintage equipment such as an underwater living facility, underwater gear, and more.

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