Florida is bursting with beaches for your family to play on, and Panama City Beach is no exception. This spring break town offers more than you may think for families looking for a quiet summer, and even off-season, vacation spot. Squish your toes in fluffy white sand, jump waves in the emerald green waters, and enjoy the views aboard a helicopter or sunset cruise.
You didn’t come to Florida to sit in your hotel all day, you came to play in the sand and surf on the Gulf Coast. Grab your boogie board to ride a few waves and build sand castles in some of the softest, fluffiest sand you will find in the continental U.S. If you forgot any of your beach gear have no fear. There are more than enough shops along the main drag through town, as well as the two Wal-Marts and a Target store just a few minutes drive away. Make sure you pack an umbrella to give you and your little ones a break from the hot Florida sun, and always wear sunscreen.
It’s fun to play on the beach, but you get a whole new perspective when you see it from the air. Watch dolphins play in the water as you pass overhead and go on a scavenger hunt for sharks and devil rays. Helicopter tours are a fun way to get the lay of the land and give your kids a few bragging rights to their friends, not to mention making you the coolest parent in the world, at least for one day.
Ever wanted to see dolphins up close in the wild? A sunset cruise is the best way to do this. Your boat will pass near St. Andrews State Park, where dolphins are known to play as the sun sets. If dolphins aren’t your thing, there is still plenty of relaxed fun to be had on the boat. Grab a drink from the bar (non-alcoholic beverages are available for the kids), and sit back as you watch the sun touch the horizon and disappear. Try to catch the green flash if you can; the moment right before the sun finally sets for the evening. Head back to port just in time for dinner before heading to bed or a dip in the hotel hot tub.
There are more than enough mini golf locations, whether you want to take a swing at Goofy Gulf, a local icon that has celebrated over 50 years of family fun, or immerse yourself in pirate style golf fun. Many courses have small plastic clubs for the smallest in your party, while the older kids can use a metal golf club to give their ball a good whack. Nothing says family fun like 18-holes of mayhem as you try to herd your kids through the finer points of mini golf. If you have a mix of young and older kids, consider letting the older kids go ahead of you while you wrangle the younger ones. They may not get their ball in the hole (ever), but they will have a lot of fun exploring each hole, and dropping their ball in various places, even if it is off the course.
Golf games, helicopter rides, boogie boarding and boat tours just begin to scratch the surface of all you can do in Panama City Beach, Florida. Dive into this gulf coast favorite for enough fun to last a week or even a quick weekend trip. Just remember to pack your sunscreen and swimsuits and you will be all set for your next family adventure.
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Keryn is an East Coast native living life as a freelance writer in Seattle surrounded by her two little boys and one incredible husband. When not dragging the men in her life across the globe you can find Keryn writing on her blog Walking On Travels, a site that gives hope to today's modern parent that doesn't see kids as a roadblock to travel, but an excuse to get out the door and explore. Keryn has laughed at the naysayers by bringing her boys to far off lands like China, Hong Kong, Japan, Hawaii, back and forth across the USA, Mexico, Canada, and even across Europe. Keryn loves to encourage families to take that first step out the door, the hardest step of all. Follow Keryn on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus.
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