Panama City Beach is fortunate enough to be close to Destin, the towns along 30A (Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Grayton Beach) and Panama City. If you want a day away from the beach (to allow that aloe vera to work wonders on your sunburn), check out these day trips!
Drive 45 minutes west of Panama City Beach to Silver Sands Premium Outlets for a fun shopping excursion!
Pop in to Ciao Bella to satisfy your Italian food cravings! For appetizers, snack on fried ravioli and garlic cheese breadsticks, but make sure to save room for their gourmet pizzas. Ciao Bella makes their dough fresh every morning and you can choose from one of their signature pies or you can design your own. In the mood for pasta? Try their Cappellini Toscana, which is pasta sauteed with shrimp, peppers, artichokes, capers and olives. For a sweet end to the meal, enjoy one of Ciao Bella’s cappuccinos or head to Mrs. Fields for a freshly baked cookie.
Purchase designer clothes, handbags and accessories at outlet prices from stores such as Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and Coach. Allocate a chunk of time to wander through the Saks Fifth Avenue’s two-story store, especially the sunglass and shoe departments. If you have your little ones in tow, poke in the Disney Store Outlet for great deals on clothes, toy sets, costumes and stuffed animals. The Disney Store also plays scenes from their animated musicals to put your whole group in great spirits!
Seaside, a colorful planned community, has slowly become one of the most popular towns along 30A with its laid-back atmosphere and wide variety of shops and restaurants.
Seaside is known for the row of Airstream food trucks that offer everything from from gourmet grilled cheese to barbeque turkey legs. Fans of the movie The Truman Show, featuring Jim Carrey, will love poking around Modica Market, which was featured (as was the rest of Seaside) in the movie. In addition to groceries, Modica Market has a variety of unique beers and is a great place to purchase food for a picnic lunch on the grassy lawn in front of the ampitheatre. If you are in the mood for a relaxing sit-down lunch, stop in to Great Southern Cafe to try their famous Grits A Ya Ya (blackened shrimp and sauteed applewood-smoke bacon, spinach, portobello mushrooms and cream on a bed of smoked Gouda cheese grits). Then, head next door to Heavenly’s Shortcakes & Ice Cream to satisfy your sweet tooth with a cup or cone of rich gelato.
Browse through Sundog Books, making sure to take time to look at the bookshelf of employee recommendations, and then head to the back of the bookstore and use the staircase to make your way up and into Central Square Records. In addition the records, record players, CDs and music posters, you will find a fun selection of comedic coffee mugs, notecards and T-shirts featuring old book covers such as The Great Gatsby and Madeline. For more unique souvenirs, check out Quincy Ave’s line of Blue Q socks and The Art of Simple’s line of kitchen items.
Downtown Panama City
Explore Harrison Ave and Historic St. Andrews in Downtown Panama City for a relaxing adventure! Grab a pastry and Caramel Macchiato from St. Andrews Coffee House and Bistro and then stroll through Oaks By The Bay and the marina. If you are visiting during Christmas time, check out Oaks By The Bay’s annual Christmas display!
For quick service, check out Tom’s Hot Dogs (a local hotspot) on Harrison Ave. Choose from an array of hot dogs including a chili cheese dog, slaw dog or veggie dog. Tom’s also has burgers, chili and a smoked sausage sandwich. For bayfront dining, try one of Barefoot On The Bay’s seafood dishes such as their shrimp tacos, oysters or gumbo. The Shrimp Boat Restaurant, a historic Panama City landmark, is the go-to for a fine-dining experience. Popular items include seafood beignets, New Orleans BBQ shrimp, and prime rib. Having cravings for Mexican food? Try Los Antojitos for empanadas, tacos, burritos and Mexican street corn!
Things To Do
Spend a few hours wandering through the shops of Harrison Ave. Make your own jewelry at The LH Bead Gallery and go antiquing at Main Street Antiques (make sure to look through their vintage jewelry collection)! Panama City’s Center For The Arts offers free gallery admission Tuesday-Saturday from 10AM-5PM. Check out their website for more information on their speaker series and art classes (kids drawing, adult pottery and more)!