Self-proclaimed "Seafood Capital of the World", Panama City Beach (PCB) is a small seaside town in Florida's northwestern panhandle that sees a big influx of travelers come March and April thanks to its other claim to fame - this, folks, is Florida's spring break destination of choice (some will even tell you it's the "Spring Break Capital of the World", you decide) and for a few months each year madness prevails. Situated on the Gulf coast, Panama City Beach, with a population that hovers somewhere around 10,000 the rest of the year, has been rated the number one beach in the country by the Laboratory of Coastal Research of the University of Maryland, but even without this official scientific ruling it's not hard to see why PCB's twenty-seven miles of sugar white sand, emerald colored surf and amicable climate are so ridiculously popular.
Though the beach really is this coastal town's main draw there are several other area attractions worth noting. Gulf World Marine Park hosts numerous programs and shows involving exotic birds and marine mammals including Swim With A Dolphin and Trainer For A Day. Shipwreck Island (a water park), Zoo World, Circus by the Sea and Miracle Strip Amusement Park with its 2000-foot roller coaster are generally popular with the pre-teen set, though adults up for a little frivolous fun shouldn't find any of the above terribly tedious either. Several types of excursions are available for saltwater fishing, as well as dolphin and island tours from Captain Anderson's Marina on North Lagoon Drive.
Outdoor activities here usually involve sun and surf. Soaking in sunshine on the toasty-warm beach is a top-rated past-time (second only to rabid partying for the 21 and over crowd), but then so is swimming, parasailing, sea kayaking and a host of other water-oriented pursuits. Get a break from the beach at one of the local golf greens, or find a pair of comfortable flip-flops and take to nature trails in nearby St. Andrew's State Park (a former military reservation several miles east of PCB), where there are also places to canoe, swim, snorkel, dive and camp.
Panama City Beach is located on a barrier island roughly 11 miles from the similarly named but distinctly different Panama City, the latter a mostly military town with little to offer the average tourist. Tallahasse is 132 miles east and Pensacola is 122 miles to the northwest.