Cities Less Traveled: Beyond the Shore: What to Do in Panama City Beach
Beyond the Shore: What to Do in Panama City Beach
You booked at cozy room and now you’re looking forward to your getaway on the pristine shores of the Sunshine State. But what if one of your vacation days happens to coincide with one of the few times when the sun decides to hide? Or what if you just want a break from the beach? Rest assured, Panama City Beach and the surrounding area offers plenty of attractions that are less traveled than the beach but still worth your time.
Man in the Sea Museum
This museum explores the history of mankind’s ventures into the sea. It is the only museum of its kind in the United States, and the exciting exhibits are sure to spark your imagination. Some of the artifacts are hundreds of years old and come from shipwrecks from the days of mankind’s first sea voyages. Other exhibits come from more modern times; you can crawl through a submarine and check out SEALAB-1, the first working undersea habitat in the world.
The Man in the Sea Museum boasts a convenient location on Panama City Beach Parkway; it is only about a 15-minute walk from La Quinta Inn & Suites Panama City Beach Pier Park.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Ready to gape? A trip to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! will have your mouth hanging open in surprise as you take in the unusual exhibits. There is a Captain America sculpture made of car parts, some shrunken heads, and a kit for killing vampires, among other things. If you have kids or teenagers with you, they’ll likely want to try the Laser Race, in which you try to maneuver your way through a web of lasers without touching them.
Northwest Florida boasts five lighthouses, all of which are worth a visit if you like fascinating architecture and good stories. The lighthouses include:
- Saint Mark’s Lighthouse
- Cape Saint George Lighthouse
- Pensacola Lighthouse
- Cape San Blas Lighthouse
- Crooked River Lighthouse
All the lighthouses are at least a two-hour drive from Panama City Beach, so they are perfect destinations if you are hungry for a pleasant coastal road trip.
A short drive from Panama City Beach is Panama City, which has its own collection of fun things to do. For some cultural enrichment, stop by The Gallery of Art, which features beautiful pieces from local and regional artists.
After the art gallery, you can head over to McKenzie Park, a lush green space close to the city center that offers a relaxing escape from the city and plenty of shade to beat the heat.
Panama City Beach hotels fill up quickly because of the town’s endless beaches, but there is more to the area than sunbathing and beach volleyball. Check out some of the less visited attractions to make your vacation unique and memorable. What do you like to do in Panama City Beach? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Joy Nelson is a professional freelance writer who regularly contributes to Hipmunk. She loves beaches but also likes to explore less sandy attractions.
Image via Flickr by Jason Eppink