Panama City Beach offers a diverse range of beach experiences along its 27-mile coastline. From family-friendly shores to secluded spots perfect for shell collecting, there’s something for everyone. With warm Gulf waters and fine white-quartz sand, it’s a quintessential beach destination. Accessing the beaches is easy, thanks to over 100 public access points. Additionally, numerous tours and activities like snorkeling and dolphin tours are available. For those seeking relaxation, beach setups including bonfires can be rented. With a variety of lodging options, including beachside resorts, enjoying the oceanfront lifestyle is effortless. Explore our list of the top beaches in Panama City Beach to discover your perfect sandy retreat.

Panama City Beach & Pier

Explore Pier Park in Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach’s eight-mile stretch is a bustling hub of activity, offering clear blue waters and refreshing ocean breezes. It’s perfect for those who enjoy being in the heart of the action, with convenient access to beachside restaurants. Whether you’re swimming, surfing, or simply people-watching under an umbrella, this beach offers a vibrant atmosphere filled with laughter and relaxation.

Russell-Fields Pier is a central landmark, offering picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico. Anglers can enjoy fishing opportunities year-round, with the chance to catch a variety of fish species. Nearby, Pier Park offers a pedestrian-friendly area with over 100 shops and restaurants to explore.

Address: 16101 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, Florida

Related: The Best Beach Towns In Emerald Coast

Shell Island

Shell Island -

Shell Island isn’t just for water activities; it’s a haven for nature lovers too. Take a stroll around the island to spot ghost crabs, deer, and endangered sea turtles. During nesting season (May to October), you might even catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures laying their eggs.

Collect seashells and sand dollars along the pristine shoreline, but remember to leave no trace as there are no facilities on the island. Pack your own drinks and snacks and take your trash with you when you leave.

Aside from its natural allure, Shell Island boasts a rich history, with ties to Spanish explorers, Native Americans, and pirates. Part of the island is within St. Andrews State Park, while the other side is near Tyndall Air Force Base.

To reach Shell Island, hop on the Shell Island Shuttle from St. Andrews Park during the spring and summer seasons. Be sure to check schedules and fees beforehand.

Related: 5 Things To Look Out For When Buying Your Next Dream Home in Emerald Coast

Camp Helen State Park Beach

Camp Helen State Park - Panama City Beach, FL 32413

Camp Helen State Park offers a unique beach experience unlike any other in Panama City Beach. Situated at the convergence of freshwater from Lake Powell, saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico, and Phillips Inlet, this ecologically diverse beach is a haven for nature lovers.

While swimming is permitted, there are no lifeguards on duty, so visitors should exercise caution. Most visitors come to enjoy the pristine sand, picturesque dunes, and opportunities for bird-watching and nature study.

In addition to beach activities, the park features hiking and biking trails that wind through various habitats, including salt marshes, wetlands, and coastal dunes. Fishing is also popular here, thanks to the abundance of freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water species.

Camp Helen State Park is steeped in history, with remnants of ancient mounds dating back nearly 4,000 years. In the 1920s, a hotel occupied the site, followed by a private residence in the 1930s. From 1945 to 1987, it served as a resort for textile company employees before becoming a Florida State Park in 1996.

Address: 23937 Panama City Beach Pkwy., Panama City Beach, Florida

Related: What Is A Receiver In Emerald Coast & Who Can Benefit From This Service?


Schooners offers a laid-back beach experience on the east end of Panama City Beach. With beach volleyball, live music, and a vibrant social scene, it’s the perfect spot for relaxation and fun by the water.


The clear blue waters at Schooners are ideal for swimming and lounging. Whether you’re soaking up the sun, daydreaming, or taking a nap to the soothing sound of waves, this beach has something for everyone. Throughout the year, Schooners hosts public events and themed festivals, adding to the lively atmosphere.


Schooners restaurant is open seven days a week, offering beachgoers a chance to enjoy delicious meals from sunrise to sunset. Sunset is a highlight, offering breathtaking views of the colorful sky, followed by a cannon-firing ritual on the beach.

For a glimpse of the Schooners beach scene, check out the live webcam to view wave conditions, sandcastle creations, and the bustling beach activity.

Address: 5121 Gulf Drive, Panama City Beach, Florida

Related: Florida is full of storage facilities! Here is why!

St. Andrews State Park Beach

St. Andrews State Park Reviews | U.S. News Travel

Water sports enthusiasts flock to St. Andrews State Park beach for its wide range of ocean activities all in one place. This former military reservation, now a sprawling state park, boasts over 1,200 acres and 1.5 miles of pristine beaches.

Swimming and Activities

In addition to swimming in the Gulf waters, St. Andrews State Park Beach is perfect for snorkeling in the clear shallow waters behind the jetties. Visitors can also enjoy scuba diving, canoeing, and kayaking. The beach is renowned for its soft, sugar-like sand and crystal-clear jade-colored water. A pavilion offers shade and picnic areas, and there’s a convenient concession stand serving snacks and refreshments.

Explore the park further by renting a bike from a local shop or taking a leisurely stroll along its two nature trails. Bird-watchers will delight in the diverse coastal plant life and wildlife, including alligators, herons, and various waterfowl.


Fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of options at St. Andrews State Park Beach. Cast your line from Tiller Pier or the pier at Grand Lagoon, or try your luck near St. Andrews Pass or in the jetty.


For those looking to extend their stay, St. Andrews State Park offers full-facility campsites. A small entrance fee is required to access the park.

Address: 4607 State Park Lane, Panama City Beach, Florida

Related: Moving With Pets Checklist

Dog Beach

Visiting Destin with your Dog: Pet Friendly Beaches, Restaurants & Hotels - The Good Life Destin

If you plan to bring your dog on vacation to Panama City Beach, you will have no problem locating the best pet-friendly spot for water recreation because Dog Beach is easy to find. The beach is located near Russell-Fields Pier, with 400 feet of white sand and oceanfront space dedicated to dogs and their owners who are out to enjoy the sun while on vacation.

The fall is the best time to take your dog to Dog Beach because the weather is cooler and the days are still sunny. If you visit in the summer, be sure to have extra water available for your pet to drink. The Gulf waters are an easy way for them to cool off in between running and playing in the sand.

If you are planning to take your dog to Dog Beach, you will want to pack a few extra essentials in your beach bag besides sun lotion and water to drink. Be sure to take a leash, clean-up bags, and a towel to wipe the sand off your dog’s feet. Don’t forget to snap a few photos of your dog enjoying a beach day, too.

Address: 16230 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, Florida

Rick Stelzer Park

Review of Panama City Beach's S. Richard Seltzer Park

Rick Stelzer Park, with public beach access, is ideal for visitors who enjoy experiencing natural dunes. One of the nice features of this beach is that it feels like a secluded beach but you are still close to restaurants and shopping.

The beach and park offers swimming and picnic areas, as well as restroom facilities and park benches. The 4.75-acre park has a section of undeveloped beach that is preserved for education about the gulf dune system and how it interacts with the beach environment.

Walk along the beach and through the park to experience some of the interactive and educational displays. Though you may not spend a full beach day at Rick Stelzer Park, it is worth a visit while you are in Panama City Beach.

The undisturbed beauty of the Rick Stelzer Park beach is an example of why the “Leave No Trace” effort in Panama City Beach is so important. The local ordinance encourages beach-goers to take away anything that they bring to the beach, including trash, chairs, and umbrellas. The effort is designed to help preserve and protect the natural elements of pristine beaches like this one.

Address: 7419 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach, Florida

M.B. Miller Pier

Vacation Homes near M.B. Miller County Pier, Panama City Beach: House Rentals & More | Vrbo

The beach at M.B. Miller Pier is a family-friendly beach with lots of lodging accommodations and public beach access. The Gulf waters here are great for swimming and surfing and you will find lots of beach activities like sand volleyball, beach yoga and sandcastle building.

There are beaches on both sides of the pier where you can set up for the day and be close to restroom facilities and a sundry shop for sunscreen and drinks. There are several restaurants located within walking distance.

The pier itself is one of the reasons visitors like this beach because you can walk it with a day pass (small fee) and have the best seat in the city for the Panama City Beach sunsets. A pier pass allows you to come and go for the entire day.

The Pier

The pier extends 1,500 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, making it a nice diversion during the day. It is a popular spot for fishing, bird-watching, and looking below to see marine life, including the occasional dolphin. Anglers can fish from the pier with a day license to target flounder, hardtails, pompano, redfish, cobia, and other species. Bait and rod rentals are available from the pier office.

Address: 12213 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, Florida