When it’s time to bust out those swimming trunks, bikini, sunglasses, and sunscreen with plenty of SPF, you know spring break is here! For a truly fantastic experience, many college students choose a Panama City Beach spring break trip.
Panama City Beach, Florida, features 27 miles of sandy beaches, many restaurants and bars, beautiful hotels, and plenty of sports. Panama City beach provides fun activities no matter what you’re looking for in a getaway.
Whether relaxing on the beach, going kayaking, or having a thrilling nightlife adventure, discover many of Panama City Beach’s spring break activities.
A Quick Overview of Panama City, FL, Spring Break
Every year thousands of college students flock to Panama City, FL, for spring break. Panama City sits in northwest Florida, surrounded by the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Visitors can swim in beautiful emerald waters that shimmer while walking on miles of quartz sandy beaches. Panama City spring breakers also love the pleasant climate that remains warm throughout the year.
Tourists love visiting Panama City because Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is just 14 miles away. This short distance makes your destination a quick flight from most major U.S. cities.
To get the most out of your spring break in Panama City Beach, StudentCity is counting down seven action-filled activities! Before crafting the perfect itinerary, however, be sure to pack these essential items:
- Plenty of sunscreen and Aloe Vera
- Bug spray
- Flip flops or sandals
- A small backpack such as a fanny pack
- Multiple sunglasses
- A big beach towel for drying off and relaxing
- Swimming gear and clothes perfect for partying
- A light sweater or jacket for the evening
- A bottle opener on your keychain
- A hat to keep the sun out of your eyes
- A waterproof speaker
- Lastly, your student ID
1. Spend Time at Pier Park
The first place you should visit on spring break is Pier Park. You can start by walking along the coast and discovering plenty of shops–small and large.
Here you can deck out your wardrobe with appropriate beach gear, including specialty-made sunhats. Plenty of major retailers exist alongside smaller boutique shops, giving you variety. Whether you want your favorites from home or something new and local, you can find the perfect accessory here. Alongside shopping, other attractions at Pier Park include:
- The arcade at Dave and Buster’s
- Catching a movie at Grand IMAX Pier Park 16
- Having a blast at Mirror Maze & Laser Craze
- Grabbing an ice cream cone or shake at Marble Slab Creamery
2. Enjoy a Perfect View With Food at a Beachfront Restaurant
All of that walking and shopping is bound to make you hungry. So instead of grabbing a quick bite, why not eat in style by dining at a beachfront restaurant? While many excellent beachfront restaurants exist, here are four spring breakers love to visit:
Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant: Despite their name, you won’t be dining on sharks when you eat here. However, you can indulge in comfort foods like Caribbean nachos, calamari, gator bites, onion rings, and shrimp ceviche. If you brought friends, order the restaurant’s Snack Attack for various appetizers.
Pineapple Willy’s: This beachfront restaurant features many delicious Gulf flavors like their Mahi-Mahi BLT. Their dishes range from fried delights, barbequed platters, fish nachos, Caribbean salads, oysters, and more. Cool off with a frozen daiquiri and finish with a slice of key lime pie.
Longboards Restaurant & Bar: Longboards Restaurant & Bar is a lovely beachfront restaurant during the day and an exciting party hub at night. People of all ages can indulge in wings, nachos, pizza, and more until 10 p.m. Afterwards, the fun beach parties start.
Tootsie’s Orchard Lounge: If you like to listen to music while you dine, then Tootsie’s Orchard Lounge has you covered. Whether you’re coming for one of their burgers or having a cold drink with some snacks and live music, this hip spot delivers.
3. Where to Experience the Nightlife
A Panama City Beach spring break wouldn’t be complete without experiencing some nightlife. For an especially memorable visit, try to time your stay during the week of Madi Gras. Bonus points if you find a fun glow paint or foam party.
Some of the most popular party Panama City Beach spots include:
The Coyote Ugly Saloon: If you like to dance and be loud, then the Coyote Ugly Saloon is the perfect spot. Every spring break, they hold rowdy events with DJs playing each night. Lucky dancers get free drinks while dancing on the bar’s countertops.
Club La Vela: Club La Vela is also an excellent spot for dancing and listening to music. Unlike other clubs, however, this spot has ten different themed rooms, each playing different music. Grab a drink from one of the 48 bar stations as you hop around.
Ms. Newby’s Liquors: Some people love to groove out to music, while others love to sing their hearts out. If you want to feel like a singing sensation, then Ms. Newby’s delivers with their karaoke sessions.
Jimmy’s Buffet Margaritaville: Sometimes, nightlife may mean grabbing a late-night drink once you finish moving and grooving. Jimmy’s Buffet Margaritaville serves up late-night cocktails, including margaritas. You can also grab some midnight bar snacks or bites.
4. Swim With Dolphins at Gulf World Marine Park
Of course, every Panama City Beach spring break trip should involve making new aquatic friends. You can admire and swim with dolphins at Gulf World Marine Park.
Many local boats can guide you to the best dolphin sightseeing spots. Boats frequently sail into the Gulf of Mexico or the St. Andrew Bay for a one to two-hour sightseeing tour. Be sure to take some selfies with your new aquatic friends.
Spring breakers who want to amp up their dolphin game can jump onto a sunset cruise. This will take you out onto the open water under a beautiful, enchanted sky. You’re sure to have many amazing new Instagram photos or TikTok reels.
5. Visit the World's Beautiful Beaches
Panama City, FL, has many beautiful beaches, perfect for spring break fun. For example, you can collect shells and explore wildlife at Shell Island, be close to the action at Panama City Beach & Pier, or play volleyball at Schooners.
With over 100 public access points in Panama City, FL, you’re sure to find the beach of your dreams. The many beaches of Panama City deliver, whether you want to:
- Socialize with your friends and other beachgoers
- Pay for a permit to barbeque
- Play frisbee with your dog
- Tan with a cool drink in your hand
- Swim in the ocean until sunrise
Beaches like St. Andrews State Park Beach are also perfect for bird-watching, having a picnic, biking, or snorkeling. You can easily spend your whole spring break walking these sandy havens and never see the same place twice.
6. Take a Ride on the SkyWheel
Sometimes it takes being up super high to appreciate what’s on the ground. To take in the full beauty of Panama City, you’ll want to ride Pier Park’s SkyWheel.
See a new perspective of Panama City in all of its glory. Take a ride on one of the 30 gondolas available, and enjoy a laidback flight 200 feet high. This ride is the perfect way to close out or kick off any Panama City Beach spring break trip.
SkyWheel is just one attraction in a huge entertainment venue that features many other thrilling options, like:
- The SkyTrail and SkyTykes ropes course
- A miniature golf course of 18 holes
- The SkyWheel Snack Shack with many delicious treats and beverages
You can buy their three-attraction combo, including the SkyWheel flight, miniature golf, and signature ropes course.
7. Go Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, and More
Some college spring breakers just want to relax on the beach, but many like to explore exciting thrills like:
Whether you want to tackle the fiercest waves, find turtles while snorkeling, or are in a group of friends wanting to try kayaking, you can find it here.
Plan the Perfect Trip With StudentCity
While there’s plenty of fun this coming spring break in Panama City, FL, you need the perfect plan. Since 1987, our StudentCity team has been an industry leader in providing college students with exceptional and cost-effective trips.
Getting the most out of your spring break trip requires careful planning. We know how busy college students can be, especially close to finals, and that many don’t have time to organize anything. As a result, college students often go without a plan and spend more than they should.
Let our team take care of everything so you can focus on your studies and save money.
Our experts will handle everything, from ensuring you have the necessary travel documents, adding party packages, providing ground transportation from the airport to your hotel, etc.
Whether you just want to relax on the beach or experience some of Panama City’s most fantastic attractions, our team can help.
For the best Panama City Beach spring break trip, call StudentCity at 888-777-4642!