We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Panama City Beach Off the Beaten Path

Exclusively commissioned by TripAdvisor

95%
Found this guide helpful

Panama City Beach is known for its gorgeous beaches and Spring Break revelry. However, there are plenty of places to go and things to see without the crowds — if you're willing to travel off of the beaten path.

Good for
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

9 Places

3 City Tips

Print
Map

9 Places

Camp Helen State Park

Beaches, Nature & Wildlife Areas, State Parks, Bodies of Water

Bayou Joe's

Restaurants

ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory

Zoos

St. Andrews State Park

Beaches, State Parks

Museum of Man in the Sea

Speciality Museums, History Museums

Gene's Oyster Bar

Restaurants

Marina Civic Center

Civic Centres

Captain's Table Fish House Restaurant

Restaurants

Betsy Ann Riverboat

Boat Tours

Katie C's City Tips

  • While Panama City Beach is a beach destination, not every establishment allows entry in just a bathing suit. Be sure to dress appropriately, with shirts and shoes, when you're in public.
  • Don't be confused between Panama City Beach and Panama City. The former refers to the area by the beach; the latter is the much bigger city and the county seat of Bay County.
  • Though Spring Break and summer are perhaps the most popular times to visit Panama City Beach, it's beautiful year-round. Try visiting in the fall or winter for fewer crowds.
  • Save
    Camp Helen State Park
    Beaches, Nature & Wildlife Areas, State Parks, Bodies of Water
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Bordered by water on three sides, Camp Helen State Park is one of Florida's most distinctive state parks, containing five different natural ecosystems. Though visitors often overlook this gem, which sits to the west of Panama City Beach, close to the border of Walton County; Camp Helen offers immaculate beaches, a rare dune lake, and excellent trails that take visitors through scrub oak forests and sand dunes. It's a glimpse of an ecosystem that most visitors rarely get to see.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • While you can't camp at Camp Helen, you can camp just outside of it.
    • Fires are allowed, as are fishing and sailing.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 6 things to do in Inlet Beach
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice Park with history 10/11/2017
    • Worth the 6 miles drive. Quiet, secluded, Historic 14/10/2017
    • Camp Helen State Park
    Address:
    23937 Panama City Beach Pkwy
    Inlet Beach, FL 32413-7369
    Phone:
    +1 850-233-5059
    Other:
  • Save
    Bayou Joe's
    Restaurants (American, Bar, Seafood)
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    If you're looking for fancy, then you've come to the wrong place. But if you're looking for a fantastic meal with an unbeatable view, then Bayou Joe's is your place. A no-frills restaurant with expansive views over the Bayou, it may be difficult to find, but it's certainly worth the effort.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Overlook the name and order the "trash burger" — it's not pretty, but it sure is tasty!
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 195 restaurants in Panama City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Hard brown omelet 16/11/2017
    • A fun, relaxing place for dinner 11/11/2017
    • Bayou Joe's
    Address:
    112 E 3rd Ct Ste A
    Panama City, FL 32401-3103
    Phone:
    +1 850-763-6442
    Hours:
    Sun - Mon
    07:00 - 19:30
    Tue - Sat
    07:00 - 20:30
    Other:
  • Save
    ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory
    Zoos
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Though it may not look like a huge facility from the outside, ZooWorld is an expansive haven where you can see and interact with lots of different animals. From giraffes to lions, and all sorts of creatures in between, a visit to ZooWorld is a step outside the usual Panama City Beach experience.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you really want to interact with the animals, check online in advance for feeding times.
    • ZooWorld often has special "interactive experiences" in addition to the permanent attractions: it's worth a call to find out what's coming up.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #12 of 72 things to do in Panama City Beach
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lots of fun 18/11/2017
    • Awesome experience... 11/11/2017
    • ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory
    Address:
    9008 Front Beach Rd
    Panama City Beach, FL 32407-4235
    Phone:
    +1 850-230-4839
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:30 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    St. Andrews State Park
    Beaches, State Parks
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Located at the eastern edge of Panama City Beach, St. Andrews State Park is a gem on the Florida coast. Although beloved by locals and frequent visitors, it is often overlooked by new guests. With pristine beaches as well as campsites for overnight trips, St. Andrews is a jewel in the crown of Panama City.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are many ways to explore St. Andrews State Park: rent a bike, kayak, or canoe to explore above the water; it's also a popular site for beginner divers and snorkelers.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 72 things to do in Panama City Beach
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful Park 16/11/2017
    • Awesome 15/11/2017
    • St. Andrews State Park
    Address:
    4607 State Park Ln
    Panama City Beach, FL 32408-7347
    Phone:
    +1 850-233-5140
    Other:
  • Save
    Museum of Man in the Sea
    Speciality Museums, History Museums
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Mankind has wondered what lies beneath the crashing waves for years. The Man in the Sea Museum is dedicated to illustrating and preserving the history of diving with an expansive collection of rare one-of-a-kind exhibits and antique diving equipment. If you've ever been curious about what has been used in man's search to discover what lies under the sea, a visit to The Man in the Sea Museum has plenty of first-hand knowledge about the journey so far,

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Beach Goer
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Children under seven years of age are admitted for free.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 47 things to do in Panama City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • History of Sealab. 20/10/2017
    • Better than last time 09/10/2017
    • Museum of Man in the Sea
    Address:
    17314 Panama City Beach Pkwy
    Panama City, FL 32413-6038
    Phone:
    +1 850-235-4101
    Price range:
    US$5 - US$5
    Hours:
    Tue - Sat
    10:00 - 15:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Gene's Oyster Bar
    Restaurants (American, Seafood)
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    If you want to experience an old-school oyster bar, Gene's is the place. Light on atmosphere but brimming with personality, Gene's is the very best of the hole-in-the-wall variety. As there's only bar seating, there may be a wait, so get there early to enjoy fried crab claws, oysters prepared several ways and, if you're lucky, Gene himself chatting to customers.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Order the soft shell crab if it's available, as well as a dozen freshly-shucked oysters.
    • Only cash is accepted — no credit cards or checks.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 195 restaurants in Panama City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best Oyster Bar in Panama City 18/11/2017
    • Best Oysters in Florida! 02/11/2017
    • Gene's Oyster Bar
    Address:
    302 Sherman Ave
    Panama City, FL 32401-4871
    Phone:
    +1 850-785-1232
    Hours:
    Tue - Sat
    11:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Marina Civic Center
    Civic Centres
    Katie C Says:

    If you're looking for world-class entertainment in Panama City, the Marina Civic Center is the place to go. Located near the Panama City Marina, the Civic Center is the home of cultural events and performing arts. You never know who you may see here, from Jerry Seinfeld to Heart to Ron White. It's a fantastic opportunity to enjoy an amazing night of entertainment.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Trendsetter
    • Nightlife Seeker
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • There is a bar in the lobby for refreshments and you're allowed to take beverages into the theater with you.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 47 things to do in Panama City
    • Especially good shows in the winter when the musicians don't want to travel up north! 16/10/2017
    • Thankful Panama City has this large center. 26/09/2017
    • Marina Civic Center
    Address:
    8 Harrison Ave
    Panama City, FL 32401-2724
    Phone:
    +1 850-763-4696
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    09:00 - 16:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Captain's Table Fish House Restaurant
    Restaurants (American, Seafood)
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Located in historic St. Andrew's, Captain's Table has been catching and serving the freshest seafood in the area for decades — almost everything on the menu was 'sleeping in the gulf' the previous morning! If you're not quite sure, ask the legions of fans who have been filling up the tables for their entire lives.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Ask if mullet roe is available. This delicacy is fried and served fresh and hot, and is a not-to-miss culinary experience.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 195 restaurants in Panama City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Excellent Food and Service 13/11/2017
    • WOW 27/10/2017
    • Captain's Table Fish House Restaurant
    Address:
    1110 Beck Ave
    Panama City, FL 32401-1457
    Phone:
    +1 850-767-9933
    Hours:
    Sun
    16:00 - 21:30
    Mon - Thu
    11:00 - 21:00
    Fri - Sat
    11:00 - 21:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Betsy Ann Riverboat
    Boat Tours
    See more photos
    Katie C Says:

    Transport yourself back in time on the Betsy Ann. An old-fashioned paddle-wheel boat, the Betsy Ann takes guests on an unforgettable journey in St. Andrew's Bay. You'll get the chance to see a variety of wildlife, from pelicans to dolphins, and if you're lucky, even get to visit the wheel-house to help the captain pilot the boat.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are a variety of cruises available, from a breakfast cruise to a very special "Elvis" cruise.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 89 Tours in Panama City Beach
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Betsy ann riverboat cruise 26/10/2017
    • Great time with friends 20/10/2017
    • Betsy Ann Riverboat
    Phone:
    +1 850-233-7487
    Other:
top
×
Was this guide helpful?
YesNo