Things To Do In Panama City Beach With Kids

visit panama city beach with kids

Two weeks ago Sofia and I headed to Panama City Beach for our very first solo mother daughter trip.  I remember first getting the email for the visit and immediantly being overjoyed for not only an exciting vacation, but one on one time with my mini, even though I knew we would have some temper tantrums here and there. 😉

 Visit Panama City Beach had invited the two of us and 3 other mamas and their kids to have a fun few days before the hustle and bustle of Back to School officially starts; and here are some of the best things to do in Panama City Beach with kids.


Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise 

1000% a must if you are in Panama City Beach with your kiddos.  The whole team was so much fun and really kept it interactive for kids of all ages. From a water gun fight, washing the deck, face painting, searching for treasure and dolphins to getting to be on an actual pirate ship.  It was everything we hoped for and more.

It is a 2 hour cruise and adults 15 and up are $27 + tax, seniors 60 and up are $23, children 14 and under are $19 and lastly tots 1-2 years old are $13.

Shipwreck Island Water Park

This was by far my most favorite activity that we got to go on the trip because Sofia absolutely loves the water and a pool, so put that together with a waterpark with tons of things to do and a whole toddler section where I can breathe easier and there are tons of lifeguards made this mama so happy.

We stayed the whole time at the toddler section and that was the best.  There is a little pool with 3 small slides about 3 ft tall and the water is so low, while on the other side there is a ship, a large slide, another toddler pool with a submarine and a large elephant slide.

After being there for about two hours we then all met up and had lunch which consisted of yummy burgers for Sofia and I; totally killing our hunger because after being out on the water and sun all day we were very hungry.

Admission to Shipwreck Island Waterpark is $37.98 for those over 50″ tall and $29.98 for those under 50″ and seniors 62+ are $24.98.


  It looks like a museum that had been flipped over by a tornado on its head and really made for a cool entrance because we had never seen anything like it. We stayed on the 3rd floor for most of the time as it was super kid friendly with a bubble making section, a selfie area, a sand pit and drawing area and more.

Sandcastle Lessons

If you really want to know why most times you make a sand castle and it doesn’t stay up, then learning how to do it correctly with Beach Sand Sculptures really makes it 10x more fun.  They bring everything you need and teach you the correct steps to making na awesome and extremely strong structured sandcastle.

While we were learning and doing so, many people were just stopping, staring and trying to join in too because it was so cool. Lessons begin at $220 for a minimum of 5 people with kids four and under being free.

Airboat Ride through West Bay with Wild Thang Airboat Tours

This was our first activity on the whole trip and it was so much fun!! Sofia and I have never done an airboat ride and you can ask your driver to go as fast or as calm as you want.  I remember our guy did this fast and rapid turn which myself and a few of the kids where not about, so he calmed it down and then we enjoyed the ride that much more.

I thought originally we were going to see a few alligators but we saw something even better, A DOLPHIN!!!! We literally screamed and got so excited, it was magical.  At the end of the trip we even got to hold a baby alligator which is a great photo opp moment.

For a one hour ride it costs $34 for adults and $22 for a child.

Pier Park

Considered Panama City Beach’s premier shopping and entertainment destination, this outdoor complex boasts 124 stores, ranging from clothing for the whole family to home goods, shoes and jewelry, restaurants and the Skywheel (which I wish we could have gone but Sofia said it was too high-aka scary).  It is absolutely the cutest and I really wish we had something like this in Houston because I would use it for all of my shooting purposes.

Dave & Busters

This is located right inside Pier Park and since we got rain pretty much every day this is a great way to have some fun with the kids and pretend to be a kid too with the huge amount of games there are to offer.


 Thomas Donuts & Snack Shop

You can never go wrong with Donut’s for breakfast and this is a complete staple in Panama City Beach.  They have tons of donuts and snacks options to choose from and Sofia was so excited to have a chocolate donut for breakfast.

 Andy’s Flour Power

This place is the quintessential neighborhood breakfast place with everything you could want for your morning feast.  From pancakes, french toasts, eggs any way you want, breakfast tacos and sandwiches, quiche and more, there is nothing you will miss out on.

They did have a kids menu but I decided to choose a few things off the A La Carte menu: 1 egg scrambled with cheese, fruit cup and toast while I chose the breakfast sandwich.

Finns Island Style Grub

The last day was just Sofia and I as we had the latest flight compared to the rest of the group.  The agenda was to head to Finn’s and it did not disappointed. The location has 3 sections, a typical beach shop, an outdoor spot with typical breakfast foods and then a really cute indoor one that contained all the food that I have been craving from home.  I got a fruit acai bowl and an avocado toast with a strawberry and banana smoothie for Sofia and I to share.  It was absolutely delicious and we devoured almost every bite.

Grand Marlin 

With lots of amazing food options and a gorgeous view of the marina this was a great spot for our first dinner.  We stayed on the top outdoor level and I chose pasta for myself and a cheeseburger for Sofia which she completely devoured.  Plus they have amazing appetizers and desserts…get the key lime pie you won’t regret it!!


Since the cruise is 2 hours long they went ahead and booked us dinner reservations right after at Schooners which is a local favorite.  Sadly I only have this one not so great photo because once we arrived Sofia immediately asked for the phone, so I obliged hence the no photos.

I ended up ordering both of us something from the kids menu; she got the cheeseburger and I got the grilled cheese.  Both delicious and a great atmosphere, plus there was even live music.

 Runaway Island

Located less than a minute drive from the condo this restaurant has two floors, an indoor shop with so many cute things and a huge outdoor patio with direct access to the beach.  Since it was our last night with the group we took all the kids to the beach and got some magical photos that are so precious.  We told them to do ring around the rosie and it was by far my most favorite photo of all 4 of them on this trip.

Thank you Visit Panama City Beach for hosting Sofia and I for this trip and for an amazing mommy and daughter first vacation that I will never forget for my entire life. 🙂

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