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Panama City Beach: All the Fun of a Pricey Beach Resort Without the High Price Tag

by Felicity Long

Sep 3, 2019

Photo: Visit Panama City Beach


With fall just around the corner, Panama City Beach is getting ready with an entire menu of family-friendly activities just right for your little ones that won’t take a bite out of your budget.


The area, which claims a near 320 annual days of sunshine, 27 miles of sugar-white sand beaches and inviting emerald green water, is located where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay converge.


The fun kicks off on Labor Day weekend, when visitors can say goodbye to summer with some of country music’s A-list stars at the destination’s seventh-annual Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam. Headliners will include Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean and Kid Rock at Frank Brown Park, accessible via free shuttles. The Panama City Beach Oktoberfest, Oct. 4–6, is a great fit for parents of young adults. Authentic German beer and brats will be available, and activities will include stein hosting competitions, live music and plenty of activities for younger kids. And don’t be surprised to see a few festival-goers wearing lederhosen.


On Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 11–13, families can take part in a Pirates of the High Seas Fest, to take place throughout the Grand Lagoon and in Pier Park. The fun includes everything from parades and sword-swinging showdowns to a pirate invasion, a Treasure Drop and fireworks display.


Love lobster? Head to the Schooners Lobster Festival & Tournament Oct. 14–20 at Schooners Last Local Beach Club. The weeklong event mixes live music, contests and, of course, plenty of Florida lobster.

Schooners Lobsterfest. Photo: Visit Panama City Beach

On Oct. 19, the Bloody Mary & Music Festival is geared toward visitors aged 21 and older and features 20 local businesses competing to determine who makes the best Bloody Mary in Panama City Beach. The winner will be crowned “Big Tomato” and awarded a four-foot, tomato-topped trophy to keep until next year’s event.


Or stay for the Thunder Beach Autumn Motorcycle Rally Oct. 24–27, known by locals as “The Most Biker Friendly Free Rally in the United States.” Held twice a year in Panama City Beach — during the first weekend in May and in mid-October — the event draws bikers from around the country for scenic rides along the Emerald Coast, accompanied by live entertainment and local cuisine.


The fun continues into November with a Beach Home for the Holidays festival Nov. 29–30. A holiday tradition for the entire family, guests can kick off the Christmas season with free holiday concerts at Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater, seasonal-themed events like campfires and s’mores, a meet-and-greet with Santa and a Christmas tree-lighting celebration.

Christmas concert at the Beach Home for the Holidays Festival. Photo: Visit Panama City Beach


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