Category: Florida

Panama City, Florida

A- Overview:
Panama City, Florida is one of the most popular Spring Break destinations in the country. Spring Breakers and thousands of others visit this city each year for its incredible beaches and fun-filled atmosphere. Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, this seaside community features a host of activities for the entire family.

With bright sun-shiny days and over 27 miles of beaches composed of some of the most brilliant white sand in the world, it’s no wonder so many people return here year after year. The beaches are a gateway into a wonderful selection of sea activities including snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, skiing, and fishing. The lucky visitor can even rent a pontoon boat or jet ski for a day of personal adventures on the beautiful waters of the area. It’s an adventure that won’t be forgotten. If you preference is to have someone else do the driving, there are many companies offering glass bottom boat tours.

There are numerous state parks and nature preserves, including St. Andrews State Park and Gulf World Marine Park. These parks offer tours and educational resources related to the habitat surrounding Panama City.

Beyond the beaches, Panama City offers plenty of entertainment. Several world-class golf courses can be found here, in addition to more than a dozen miniature golf versions. The Ocean Opry Show mixes city life with water life. That mix of city and gulf is also evident at the Museum of Man in the Sea. Several amusement parks compete for visitors’ time, including Shipwreck Island, a popular water themed park. Nightlife in Panama City offers abundant clubs, restaurants for any tastes, discos, bars, and other hot spots.

For the young and young at heart, Panama City is the destination of choice for several thousand college students each year during spring break, beginning in late February and continuing through the month of March, but for the rest of the year other visitors come to experience and enjoy its many charms. Families love the abundant activities, both in and out of the water.

Panama City’s subtropical temperatures and relaxing Gulf of Mexico waters make this Florida destination a definite must see for anyone visiting the area. Who knows, while taking a leisurely walk along the beach, you might just find a piece of buried treasure or a valuable ancient coin. After all, Panama City’s colorful history includes accounts of real pirates hiding in the deep pockets of the bay lying in wait for the richly laden ships en route to Mexico and Spain.

Come and discover this treasure for yourself. Panama City, a Florida playland for all.

B- City Information:
Population: 36,417

Elevation: 33 feet above sea level

Location: Located on the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle

Land Area: 20.5 square miles

Time Zone: Central Time Zone (when it’s noon in Panama City, it’s 1:00pm in New York City and 11:00am in Los Angeles

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
50.3
53.1
59.0
64.7
71.8
77.8
80.0
79.8
76.9
67.4
59.1
52.2

High temperature (°F)
61.9
65.0
70.6
76.6
82.9
87.7
89.1
89.0
87.0
79.5
71.3
64.1

Low temperature (°F)
38.7
41.2
47.4
52.8
60.7
67.9
70.9
70.5
66.8
55.2
46.9
40.3

Precipitation (in)
5.7
4.7
6.2
3.7
3.9
6.0
8.7
7.5
6.1
3.5
4.5
4.1

Climate:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precipitation
9
8
8
6
6
11
15
14
10
5
6
8

Wind speed (mph)
8.1
8.5
8.7
8.3
7.5
6.9
6.2
6.2
7.5
7.7
7.7
7.8

Morning humidity (%)
85
86
86
87
86
86
87
89
89
87
86
86

Afternoon humidity (%)
65
63
62
61
62
65
69
72
67
60
61
65

Sunshine (%)
57
60
65
73
76
71
63
63
65
74
67
56

Days clear of clouds
9
10
10
12
12
8
5
7
10
15
12
10

Partly cloudy days
8
7
8
9
11
13
14
14
10
7
8
8

Cloudy days
8
12
12
9
9
8
11
11
10
8
10
13

Snowfall (in)
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0

Local Seasons:

Panama City has a very moderate climate year round due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and its western Florida location. Winter and summer are the two busiest times of year, although late February and the entire month of March become quite crowded when thousands of spring break students hit the area. In the winter, people from the north enjoy coming south for the warmer temperatures and numerous activities the city has to offer. Even in January the temperature averages a comfortable 50 F., with highs in the mid 60’s F. Summer is busy as many people visit the area for its relaxing atmosphere, entertainment, and proximity to the beach, not to mention temperatures averaging a very comfortable 80 F. Perfect for a day at either the Pier or the park or just watching the boats go by while sipping on a cool drink at the beach and working on that perfect tan. The fall tends to be less crowded and offers a great opportunity to enjoy some serenity. Fall is still warm enough for a nice day at the beach with a good book or a run in the sand. No matter what time of year you are visiting, this wonderful Florida city is alive with a multitude of things to do and see.

Getting There:

By car:

From the North:
Highways 231, 331, and 79 lead directly to the Gulf of Mexico and Panama City Beach. All highways easily access Interstate 10.

From the West:
Hwy 98 provides a scenic route into Panama City Beach, or take I-10 eastbound to Hwy 331, 79 or 231.

From the East:
Hwy. 98 will bring you to the beach, or take I-10 westbound to Hwy 231, 79 or 331.

By air:

Bay County Airport

3173 Airport Road

Panama City FL 32405

850-763-6751

Approximately ten minutes from the beaches, the Panama City – Bay County International Airport is conveniently located for visitors to Panama City Beach. The art-deco facility offers a spacious departure lounge, ample seating and a panoramic view of the airfield. Additional services include ground transportation services, rental car agencies, long and short-term parking facilities.

The airport is served by many of the major airline connection carriers as well as certain regional airlines.

Ground Transportation:

The airport, as well as the city itself, is also served by most of the major car rental companies. Taxi and limousine service is available.

By Train:

Panama City is not serviced by Amtrak

By Bus:

Greyhound:

917 Harrison Ave
Panama City, FL 32401

850-785-6111

Getting Around:

The easiest way to get around town is by either personal or rental car. Parking is available.

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day, January 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the third Monday in January

President’ Day, the third Monday in February

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May

Independence Day, July 4

Labor Day, the first Monday in September

Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, December 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve, December 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Aadventures at Sea

5711 N. Lagoon Dr

Panama City Beach, Florida 32408

850-236-0056

Hours: Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Aadventures at Sea offers a wide variety of water sport activities from rentals to day tours. Aadventures has a large, clean, reliable fleet of Pontoon boats for rental and also provides sightseeing Jet Ski Tours.

Airboat Adventures

14852 Bayview Circle

Panama City Beach, FL 32413

850-230-3822

Hours: Open year round, call for additional information

Admission Charged

Exciting and fast airboat rides! See the real Florida through the eyes of a gator!

Alvin’s Big Island Tropical Department Store
12010 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-234-1149

Hours: Open year round, call for additional information

Admission Free

Alvin’s flagship store, The Magic Mountain Mall on Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach, has daily live shark and alligator feedings! Add in personalized necklaces and custom embroidery, exotic birds and a mysterious mountain waiting to be explored, and you’ve got a full day’s shopping and entertainment in one place!

Barnacle Bay

11209 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-234-7729

Hours: Season 10am-midnight, winter noon-10pm

Admission Charged

Barnacle Bay is a total family destination, with two 18-hole miniature golf courses in a lush and tropical setting. This tropical island golf course is complete with waterfalls, streams, and even caves.

Beach Stable
9008 Panama City Beach Pkwy
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-234-0222
Hours: Open daily, 8am–6pm

Admission Charged

Horseback riding. Guided tours. One, two and three hour trails. Ride the piney woods and beautiful bay beaches of Panama City.

Capt. Anderson III – Glass Bottom Boat Cruiser
5550 N. Lagoon Dr
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-234-3435

Hours: Open daily, closed Nov – Feb

Admission Charged

Cruises to Shell Island daily. Watch dolphins, seabirds, turtles and underwater sea life as the captain gives an informative look at historic St. Andrews Bay. Sunset dolphin encounters every evening 5:15pm until 6:30pm.

Cobra Adventure Park
9323 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-235-0321

Hours: Open daily, 10am–midnight

Admission Charged

Enter the realm of the Cobra and race 9hp go-karts on four levels. Race on the Snow Shot Racers, a one-of-a-kind experience where you are in control as you race up to 60 mph on powerful snowmobiles. The Cobra Arcade is complete with all the latest in electronic games. Experience the roller coaster of the future on the Max Flight Simulator.

Coconut Creek Family Fun Park
9807 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-234-2625

Hours: Open daily, hours vary by season

Admission Charged

For adventure and fun for the whole family, come experience the challenge of playing Coconut Creek’s two excitingly different 18-hole mini-golf courses and experience the pleasure of getting lost in the Gran Maze, a giant-size human maze about the size of a football field.

Dan Russell Municipal Pier
16101 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32413
850-233-5080

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours a day

Admission Charged

Fish for cobia, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, flounder, red fish, pompano, and much more at this 1,600 foot concrete pier. Rod rentals, bait and tackle are available on site.

Emerald Falls Family Recreation Center
8602 Thomas Dr. at Joan Avenue
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-234-1049

Hours: Open year round, call for additional information

Admission Charged

There are three go-kart tracks, including the Vortex (a three story high racetrack) and the Formula II Track (a fast 9hp track), bumper boats and miniature golf (18 or 36 holes) at Emerald Falls. Kids will have a blast at Kids Kingdom, the Kiddie Go-Karts and Krazy Bumper Karts. The Alien Arcade is filled with hundreds of the latest games and the Max Flight Simulator takes you 360 degrees on the roller coaster of the future.

The Glass Bottom Boat
3605 Thomas Dr
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-234-8944

Hours: Open year round, three trips daily in summer

Admission Charged

The air conditioned Glass Bottom Boat’s unique and educational Sea School includes underwater viewing, dolphin encounter, crab trap operation, explanation of marine life from shrimp net, sightseeing, bird feeding plus a 50 minute visit to beautiful Shell Island to swim, sun, etc. Reservations are recommended.

Goofy Golf
12206 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-234-6403

Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged

Enjoy a round of miniature golf with the whole family.

Gulf World Marine Park
15412 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32413
850-234-5271

Hours: Open 9am daily, rain or shine

Admission Charged

Experience exciting family fun with dolphin, sea lion and tropical bird shows. The Marine Park also includes a stingray petting pool, sharks, otters, sea turtles and alligators. A pass to the Splash-Magic laser light show is included with General Admission. Special programs include Swim with a Dolphin (Guaranteed) and Trainer for a Day. Special programs require reservations and are not included in General Admission.

Hydrotherapy Kiteboarding & Windsurfing
17644 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32413
850-236-1800

Hours: Open year round, call for additional information

Admission Charged

Learning to kiteboard or windsurf is easy with a U.S. Sailing Certified instructor and up-to-date equipment.

Island Time Sailing Cruises
3605 Thomas Dr
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-234-7377

Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged

Sail to beautiful “Shell Island” where you can snorkel the calm clear waters of St. Andrews Bay. After snorkeling and lunch, Island Time sails to the favorite playgrounds of the local dolphins.

Island Extreme Watersports
7030 Thomas Dr
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-866-3805

Hours: Open year round, call for additional information

Admission Charged

Island Extreme Sports features the Polaris flying boat. Sales and flight lessons are available. Dolphin Jet Ski tours and pontoon boat rentals are available.

Lagoon Pontoons
5915 N. Lagoon Dr
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-235-1800

Hours: Open year round, call for additional information

Admission Charged

Enjoy a day at sea in a pontoon boat that you drive. Fun for the whole family.

M.B. Miller Pier
12213 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-784-4065

Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged

Enjoy some time fishing or just watching the water roll onto the beach.

Miracle Strip Amusement Park/Shipwreck Island
12000 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-234-5810

Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged

Shipwreck Island is a water park with thrill rides, family rides and young children’s rides.

Museum Of Man In The Sea
17314 Panama City Beach Pkwy
Panama City Beach, FL 32413
850-235-4101
Hours: Open daily 9am– 5pm, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day

Admission Charged

The Museum of Man in the Sea collects, preserves and interprets man’s endeavor to live, work and play under the water. Exhibits from the museum’s international collection include all forms of apparatus used underwater including dive gear, submarines and remote operated vehicles. The museum is constantly expanding its collection.

Ocean Opry Music & Comedy Show
8400 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-234-5464
Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged

Ocean Opry is a 1,000-seat music theater featuring country music and family entertainment year-round. “The Radars” beach style music and comedy stage show offers 3 generations of entertainers and clean family fun for all ages.

Panama City Beach Winery
8730 Thomas Dr, # 1103B
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-233-5950

Hours: Wine tastings are available Mon – Sat 10am-5pm; Sun noon-5pm

Admission Free

Home of the citrus, berry and fruit wines. All of the premium specialty wines are made from 100% pure Florida Citrus Juice.

Paradise Helicopters
15726 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32413
850-230-2080
Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged

Taka a flight above the Beautiful Gulf Coast.

Pirate Cruise — Sea Dragon
5325 N. Lagoon Dr
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-234-7400
Hours: Opens 10am in the summer

Admission Charged

A 2 hour pirate entertainment and sightseeing cruise.

Rock’It Lanes Family Entertainment Center
513 Beckrich Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-249-2696

Hours: Vary, call for additional information

Admission Charged
Bowling, billiards and an arcade in a non-smoking environment.

SeaBreeze Winery
13201 Hutchison Blvd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-230-3330

Hours: Open 10am–5pm daily

Admission Free

Offers complimentary tours and tasting.

Shell Island Boat Rentals
Treasure Island Marina, Thomas Drive
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-234-7245

Hours: Seasonal: spring and summer 8am – sunset; fall 9am – sunset

Admission Charged
Find your own beach! New pontoon boats and fishing boats with quiet, reliable Honda motors are available for rental. Pontoon boats are fully equipped with am/fm stereos, sun canopies and swim ladders. Fishing boats offer T-tops, fishing rod holders and bottom machines. Maps of the area and all safety gear are provided. The friendly, experienced staff shows you where the best shelling, dolphin encounters and snorkeling can be found. Located just ten minutes from Shell Island.

Sling Shot at Indy Speedway
8762 Thomas Dr
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-234-1121

Hours: Open Monday–Friday, 4pm–midnight, Saturday and Sunday, noon–midnight. Closed October 15–May 1

Admission Charged

The Slingshot is one of the fastest, highest, most extreme rides on Panama City Beach. Sling 300 feet in 2 seconds at 100 mph experiencing 5 g’s of pure adrenaline!

St. Andrews State Park’s Shell Island Shuttle

4607 State Park Ln
East end of Thomas Drive
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
850-233-0504

Hours: Open 9am–5pm summer, 10am–4pm spring and fall

Admission Charged

Stay all day or just one hour! The Shell Island Shuttle carries passengers between St. Andrews State Park and Shell Island every half hour, seven days a week. Also offers a snorkeling package and kayak rentals. Experience tropical fish and swim with the local, friendly dolphins that regularly frolic along the shores of Shell Island. Fun for beginners and pros of all ages! Coolers are welcome. Shell Island’s pristine beauty and abundant wildlife make an enjoyable and exciting way to spend the day. No reservations necessary.

Super Speed Fun Park
9523 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-234-1588

Hours: Open year round, 10am–midnight

Admission Charged

Activities include five go cart tracks, dragsters, bumper boats, a haunted house, laser tag, a skycoaster and a mega arcade.

Zoo World Zoological and Botanical Park
9008 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-230-1243

Hours: Open daily 9am

Admission Charged

Zoo World Zoological and Botanical Park is home to approximately 300 beautiful and exotic animals including lions, tigers, bears, kangaroos, giraffe, orangutans and snow leopards, just to name a few. These exotic animals live in a beautiful setting of botanical gardens including 250 species of tree and plant life from around the world. Zoo World also features a Petting Zoo where visitors can hand feed Sidney, the friendly giraffe.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Hickory Lanes
5420 Hickory St.
Panama City, FL 32401
904-769-7443
Panama City’s premier bowling center features plenty of quality lanes, a restaurant, a snack bar and special bowling nights throughout the week.

Barnacle Bay
11209 Front Beach Rd
Panama City, FL 32401
850-234-7792
This state of the art mini-golf center is open year-round and serves up good food and drink to its patrons.

Captain Anderson III
Capt. Anderson’s Marina
5550 N. Lagoon Dr.
Panama City, FL 32401
850-234-3435
Capt. Anderson’s glass-bottom boats offer a spectacular way to enjoy the beautiful undersea life around Panama City’s beaches. Shell Island cruises and dolphin encounters are other attractions offered by Capt. Anderson.

Coconut Creek Mini Golf and Grand Maze
9807 Front Beach Rd.
Panama City, FL 32401
8550-234-2625
This is more than just a mini golf course! From bumper boats to a giant human maze, Coconut Creek has fun challenges for everybody.

Gulf World
15412 Front Beach Rd.
Panama City, FL 32401
850-234-5271
This water attraction features marine life of all kinds for visitors of all ages. The dolphin and sea lion shows, which are scheduled several times a day, are a real delight.

St. Andrews State Recreation Area
4607 State Park Lane
Panama City, FL 32401
850-233-5140
Swimming, fishing, boating, picnicking and hiking are all available at this State Recreation Area. Beautiful calm waters offer the perfect environment for relaxation, while others may prefer the numerous hiking trails.

Zoo World
9008 Front Beach Rd.
Panama City, FL 32401
850-230-1243
At Zoo World the tropical animal exhibits complement the amazing botanical gardens filled with plants and flowers from the area and beyond. Kids will love the petting zoo.

Miracle Strip Amusement Park
12000 Front Beach Rd.
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
850-234-3333
With over 30 rides and attractions, Miracle Strip Park has been helping people of all ages have fun for over 36 years. Some of the best roller coasters in Florida can be found here, while the Midway Theatre offers amazing shows every single night of the year. Kids find great pleasure in the 15 rides designed especially for youngsters.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

February

Gulf Coast Quilt Expo

Usually held in mid-February

Panama City

800-767-8618
Quilt makers from across the country exhibit prize-winning quilts in this annual educational Expo in Panama City Beach. Some of the top name teachers from around the country provide quilters with classes to enhance skills at all levels.

Late February

Spring Break

Held when colleges break for spring, usually late February – March

Special event are held throughout the area.

March

Panama City Scottish Festival and Highland Games

Grace Presbyterian Church
1415 Airport Rd
Panama City, FL 32405-3531
850-769-4000

Call for additional information

The Highland Games and Scottish Festival features bagpipe bands, pipe and drum bands, delicious Scottish food, highland athletics, Scottish dancers, clan tents, and historical exhibits. The highland games include such favorites as the caber toss (telephone pole toss), the hammer throw and the stone of strength (similar to the shot put).

April

Annual Zap Pro/Am Spring Skim Jam
Spinnaker Beach Club
8795 Thomas Drive
Panama City Beach, Fl 32407
850-234-7892
Call for additional information
Skimming is a relatively new sport that involves running along the shoreline, stepping onto and balancing on a very thin skim board across the ebbing surf at the beach. This event has skimmed into the record books; becoming what might be the nation’s largest skim board competition featuring the best Pro & Amateur skim board talent in the world! The three day event includes demonstrations, videos, kid’s games and treasure hunt, giveaways and of course, the competition!

Gulf Coast Horse Show and Festival
Parks and Recreation Department

850- 233-5045

Usually held the last weekend in April

Call for additional information

The Tennessee Walking Horse and its high-stepping running walk is the central feature of the Gulf Coast Horse Show and Festival. The festival includes live music, arts and crafts displays, tack and food.

May

Annual Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally
Biker Village and Thunder Beach Welcome Center
Shoppes at Edgewater
4412 Delwood Lane
Panama City Beach, FL
850-235-6275
Usually held the last weekend in April
Call for additional information
Thunder Beach is Panama City Beach’s own motorcycle rally, an annual celebration of the motorcycle and the fun-loving people who “ride to live, and live to ride.” The rally is actually a series of events that take place at various venues on the beach and in Panama City… concerts, bike parades, poker runs, and bikini girls being just a few of the highlights.

June

Annual Gulf Coast Triathlon

Downtown Panama City Beach

850-233-5070

Fee Charged

Call for additional information

The Gulf Coast Triathlon is a race comprised of a 1.2 mile swim in the Gulf of Mexico, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 Mile Run. The swim is in the Gulf of Mexico, where the water is generally around 73 degrees F in early May. The bike ride is through Panama City and Panama City Beach, and the surrounding countryside. The run is on a circular course through Panama City Beach, taking ample opportunity to skirt the stunning beachfront. The race is held in May, but it can get hot. Be sure and bring plenty of sunscreen, and be prepared for high heat and humidity. In addition, there is a sports exposition, group dinners, post-race party, and entertainment for fans and participants of all ages.

July

Annual Bay Point Billfish Invitational Tournament

Gulf of Mexico

Panama City Beach

Usually held mid-July

850-235-6911

Call for additional information

The Annual Bay Point Billfish Invitational Tournament has become one of the most prestigious tournaments of its kind in America. Deep-sea anglers converge on Panama City Beach hoping to land a record-setting billfish and win one of the large cash prizes. In past tournaments, some first place catches include a 57 pound dolphin, a 173.4 pound tuna and a 67.2 pound wahoo. In addition to fishing, there is a “Miss Billfish” contest, live concerts and fireworks.

USFA World Series

Frank Brown Park
162000 Panama City Beach Pwky (Hwy 98)
Panama City Beach, FL

Usually held in mid-July

850-234-2839

Call for additional information

The United States Fastball Pitch World Series attracts teams from all over the country. The girls’ fast pitch teams compete over a two week period and both team and individual trophies are awarded for 1st through 4th place.

August

FishStock

Panama City Marina

850-769-2536

Usually held mid-August

Call for additional information

FishStock is a one-of-a-kind festival full of fishing, food and fun to celebrate the sport and lifestyle that anglers and their families enjoy so much. This weekend event features onshore exhibits, saltwater fishing clinics and boat and tackle shows. The Youth Fishing Foundation offers an environmental presentation featuring a saltwater touch tank and a beginner’s fishing course for inquisitive, youthful anglers. For teens, there is a casting competition. Some of the area’s best professional guides will offer seminars on saltwater fishing techniques.

September

Thunder Beach Autumn Rally

The Shoppes at Edgewater

4412 Delwood Lane

Panama City Beach, FL

Usually held late September

888-396-1638

This 4 day event for motorcycle riders features two Poker Runs, a bike show, a bike parade and bike exhibits, as well as daily and nightly contests, bike games and Thunder Girls. Free live entertainment by both national and regional acts play everything from rock ‘n roll to the blues!

October

Nature’s Gallery Fall Arts Show

St. Andrews State Park

4607 State Park Lane
Panama City, FL 32408-7323
800-326-3521

Usually held late October

Call for additional information

Art, history, and nature are all included in the annual Nature’s Gallery. It’s a collaboration of environmentalists, artists, and historical re-enactors, and together they provide guests with a truly unique experience. There are tents with homemade wares from all over the southeast and local thespians act out daily life from years ago. The showcase of the weekend event is the beautiful, Florida wildlife. Also features is a Civil War encampment re-creates life in Florida during the 1860’s, a Native American exhibit explains the ways of life of the native inhabitants of the region, and the Big Bend Wildlife Center and Zoo World offer a variety of animals that visitors can approach, and in some cases, handle.

Annual Black Cat Affair

Usually held in mid-October

Location: Panama City

850-234-8963
The annual Black Cat Affair raises money to help homeless animals. ASRAL (Animal Sterilization Rabies Assistance League) holds this fun filled affair and silent auction.

November

Janus Ironman Triathlon

Boardwalk Beach Resort

9540 South Thomas Drive
Panama City Beach, Florida 32408

850-235-2608

Usually held in early November

Call for additional information

Hundreds of the world’s fittest people will be on the beach to compete in this grueling endurance test. It starts with a 2.4 mile swim (which competitors have 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete), is followed by an incredible 112 mile- 8 hour bike route, and finishes with a full 26.2 mile marathon…7 hours are allotted for this challenging run!

December

Annual Boat Parade of Lights

St. Andrews Marina to Panama City Marina

850-785-2554

Usually held mid-December

Call for additional information

The boaters of Panama City and Panama City Beach go to extraordinary lengths, decorating their boats with festive lights for the holiday season. The boats cruise from Historic St. Andrews Marina on Beck Avenue along St. Andrews Bay, past the stately homes lining Beach Drive, and into the City Marina at the foot of Harrison Avenue. The Christmas fleet then proceeds past thousands of spectators lining the Marina in downtown, and slowly the boats disperse. In years past, boats and ships from the Naval Coastal Systems Station base on the Beach have taken part,

The Bay Art Show

Usually held in early December
Location: Panama City

850-769-4451
This annual exhibit showcases art submitted by local artists in the 16 counties of NW Florida. Art of all mediums (except photography) is displayed throughout the Visual Arts Center.

Arts and Entertainment

Martin Theater

409 Harrison Ave.

Panama City, FL 32405

850-763-8080

Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged

Originally built in 1936, the Martin Theatre first opened its door as the “Ritz”. Early memories boast visits by such notables as Clark Gable, Constance Bennett, Michael O’Shea, William Boyd, and cowboy great Bill Elliot.

The Orchestra of St. Andrews Bay

5230 West U.S. Highway 1

Panama City, FL 32401

850-769-1551

Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged

Four times a year the Orchestra performs concerts for the public at Gulf Coast Community College’s Amelia G. Tapper Center for the Arts. Of these concerts, one is a children’s concert.

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A- Overview:
With a reported 343 average days of sunshine per year, Fort Walton Beach is a sun lover’s paradise. Combine beautiful weather with magnificent beaches, great attractions, dolphins playing in the surf, a host of activities, as well as great food and entertainment, and you have the ideal formula for a perfect vacation.

There is even significant evidence of pirates visiting the area, the most notorious being Billy Bowlegs, between 1500 – 1800; not to mention artifacts dating back thousands of year. Be sure to visit the Indian Temple Mound and Museum which offers glimpses into Indian civilizations of the past 10,000 years.

When it comes to near perfect weather, Fort Walton Beach can top the list. With a moderate climate year round due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and its western Florida location, each season has something special to offer. Winter and summer are the two busiest times of year, although late February and the entire month of March become quite crowded when thousands of spring break students hit the area. In the winter, people from the north enjoy coming south for the warmer temperatures and numerous activities the city has to offer. With so many sunny days, any time of year is perfect for watching the dolphins display their “dancing” abilities in their natural surroundings while you sip on a cool drink.

For a change of pace, visit the US Air Force Armament Museum. This indoor-outdoor museum is located on one of the world’s largest air force bases and displays aircraft and weaponry of the American military from WWII to the Gulf War. The museum’s showpiece is the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, but a variety of other fighter and bomber planes are on exhibit as well. It’s an interesting and educational experience not to be missed.

For a day with the family, there are numerous opportunities available. The Gulfarium is one of America’s oldest marine parks. It hosts Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, Peruvian penguins, Ridley turtles and more in fascinating Gulf-edged exhibits. Watch these amazing animals fascinate adults and children alike as they soar towards the clouds while performing the “Dolphin Dance”.

For top enjoyment in water sports, visit the Okaloosa Island Pier. It’s a perfect vantage point for surfing and fishing as well as people-watching and catching a quick bite to eat.

Special events abound throughout the year including Spring Break, the annual Boat Show, as well as concerts, ballet and the performing arts. No matter what the interest, Fort Walton Beach has it.

Easily accessible and quite affordable, this Florida Panhandle destination has just the right mix of things to do and see to make it a “let’s do it again” destination. Bring your camera, Fort Walton Beach is waiting.

B- City Information:
Population: 19,973

Elevation: 18 feet above sea level

Land Area: 7.4 square miles

Location: Located on the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle

Time Zone: Central Time Zone (when it’s noon in Fort Walton Beach, it’s 1:00pm in New York City and 10:00am in Los Angeles

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
49.4
52.6
58.7
64.8
72.5
78.8
81.4
81.0
77.5
67.4
58.8
51.7

High temperature (°F)
61.4
65.0
70.9
77.7
84.4
89.8
91.4
91.0
88.3
80.4
71.4
63.8

Low temperature (°F)
37.4
40.2
46.6
51.9
60.6
67.8
71.3
70.9
66.8
54.3
46.1
39.5

Precipitation (in)
5.9
5.3
6.6
4.2
4.4
6.3
8.9
6.8
6.4
4.3
4.6
4.4

Climate:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precip.
10
9
9
6
7
10
14
13
9
5
8
9

Wind speed (mph)
9.0
9.3
9.8
9.5
8.6
7.6
6.9
6.7
7.6
7.9
8.2
8.8

Morning humidity (%)
82
82
84
86
87
84
86
87
85
82
82
81

Afternoon humidity (%)
65
61
62
60
62
61
65
66
63
57
61
65

Sunshine (%)
48
53
61
63
67
67
57
58
60
71
64
49

Days clear of clouds
8
9
9
10
9
7
4
6
10
13
11
9

Partly cloudy days
7
7
8
9
11
15
17
15
11
9
8
7

Cloudy days
16
13
14
11
11
8
10
10
9
9
11
16

Snowfall (in)
0.1
0.1
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0

Local Seasons:

Fort Walton Beach has a very moderate climate year round due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and its western Florida location. Winter and summer are the two busiest times of year, although late February and the entire month of March become quite crowded when thousands of spring break students hit the area. In the winter, people from the north enjoy coming south for the warmer temperatures and numerous activities the city has to offer. Even in January the temperature averages a comfortable 50 F., with highs approaching 70 F. Summer is busy as many people visit the area for its relaxing atmosphere, entertainment, and proximity to the beach, not to mention temperatures averaging a warm 81 F. Perfect for a day of watching dolphins display their “dancing” abilities in their natural surroundings while you sip on a cool drink.

How to Get There:

By Air:

The Okaloosa County Regional Airport
1701 Hwy 85
North Eglin AFB, FL 32542
850-651-7160

The Okaloosa Regional Airport (VPS), situated on Eglin Air Force Base, provides essential scheduled commercial air passenger service for a large proportion of the Northwest Florida area. It is served by most of the major airlines connection carriers. It does not provide service for private aircraft, due to its location on Eglin Air Force Base.

By Car:

Easily accessible from the east or west via Interstate 10. Take I-10 to U.S. Highway 85 south to U.S. Highway 98.

By Train:

Fort Walton Beach is not served by Amtrak

By Bus:

Greyhound

101 Perry Ave. SE
Ft Walton Beach FL 32548

850-243-1940

Getting Around:

Free Local shuttle bus service for tourists and residents June – September

Hours of Service: Every day: 8am – 10pm
850-833-9168

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day, January 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the third Monday in January

President’ Day, the third Monday in February

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May

Independence Day, July 4

Labor Day, the first Monday in September

Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, December 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve, December 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Emerald Coast Science Center

139 Brooks St
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-664-1261

Hours: Weekdays, 9am – 4pm, Weekends, 11am – 4pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday and the Fourth of July

Admission Charged
The Science Center is a museum for children and families filled with more than 250 touchable, interactive exhibits that teach about natural phenomena and basic scientific principles. It stimulates the imagination with exhibits such as a reflecting Castle of Mirrors, “adult-sized” bubble makers, a hair-raising Vandergraph generator, an electrifying Illuma Storm and more.

Indian Temple Mound and Museum
139 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

850-833-9595

Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged
Situated at the base of a pre-Columbian earthen mound, this museum offers glimpses into Indian civilizations of the past 10,000 years. The collections include over 4,000 artifacts, and feature some exceptional ceramic pieces for which the museum is famous. The mound, which once served as a ceremonial site, was headquarters for the Mississippian Indians and is one of the largest earthen structures in a salt-water setting.

Fort Walton Beach Art Museum
38 SW Robinwood Drive
Okaloosa Symphony Building
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

850-244-1893
Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission charged
This local museum has some fascinating items and can satisfy a number of artistic tastes. Among its offerings are American paintings, Chinese artifacts and collections of sculpture and 14th-century pottery. There are also regularly-changing exhibits in addition to these permanent collections.

US Air Force Armament Museum
100 Museum Drive
Eglin Air Force Base
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32542

850-882-4062

Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged
Military buffs will love this indoor-outdoor museum located on the world’s largest air force base. Displays of aircraft and weaponry chart the American military presence from WWII to the Gulf War. The museum’s showpiece is the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, but a variety of other fighter and bomber planes are on exhibit also. Inside, there is a video on the history of Eglin Air Force Base, a gun vault that features aircraft weaponry, and a gift shop that sells military-related items.

Newman Brackin Wayside Park/Okaloosa Island Pier

Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier
1030 Miracle Strip Pkwy.
Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-244-1023

Located on Santa Rosa Island across the bay from Fort Walton Beach, this is a 40-acre park with a fishing pier. The pier area is frequented for surfing and fishing, as well as people-watching and light dining.

Beasley Park

1550 Miracle Strip Parkway (Hwy 98)

Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

Admission Free

Situated on the largest stretch of public beach on the Gulf side of Okaloosa Island, 22-acre Beasley Wayside Park includes picnic pavilions and a 400-seat restaurant, a beach club, children’s playground, beach volleyball and plenty of fun for everyone.

Gulfarium

1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-244-5169
Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged
The main attractions of Gulfarium are the 4 live marine shows that can be seen any day of the week, rain or shine. These shows include bottlenose dolphins, a scuba diver performance, a humorous sea lion show and lastly; dolphins and a sea lion performing side-by-side. There are exhibits featuring loggerhead turtles, salt water aquariums, a sanctuary for injured birds, alligators, river otters, seals and sea lions, sharks, a sting ray pool, a touch pool, tropical penguins from South America, and tropical birds.

Island Golf Center, Fenway Park Batting Cages, Lost Lagoon Golf
1306 Miracle Strip Pkwy.
Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-224-1612

Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged

Enjoy some fun outdoor activity with miniature golf, batting cages and more.

Nearby attractions

Old Destin Post Office Museum
Stahlman Ave
Destin, FL 32540

850-837-8572
Hours: Vary, call for additional information

Admission Charged
This little white building houses memorabilia detailing the 19th-century settlement of Destin. It includes photographs of past days and is a tribute to the early beach communities of the region. Although its open hours are minimal, the museum is an interesting glimpse into the beginnings of a community that has transformed itself into one of the top resort areas in the Southeast.

Heritage Museum
115 Westview Ave
Valparaiso, FL 32580

850-678-2615

Hours: Vary, call for additional information

Admission Charged
Charting the settlement of Okaloosa and Walton counties from their earliest inhabitants, this museum marks the presence of American Indians as well as the area’s European pioneers. It features artifacts and memorabilia from all time periods, including items related to the lumber and railroad industries as well as fishing and agriculture. Along with these exhibits, there’s a research library of historic maps and papers and a gift shop of local crafts. The museum also offers classes in basketry, tatting and quilting.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Emerald Coast Science Center

139 Brooks St
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-664-1261

Hours: Weekdays, 9am – 4pm, Weekends, 11am – 4pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday and the Fourth of July

Admission Charged
The Science Center is a museum for children and families filled with more than 250 touchable, interactive exhibits that teach about natural phenomena and basic scientific principles. Visitors can learn about robotics, health, and the power and impact of hurricanes. It stimulates the imagination with exhibits such as a reflecting Castle of Mirrors, “adult-sized” bubble makers, a hair-raising Vandergraph generator, an electrifying Illuma Storm and more.

US Air Force Armament Museum
100 Museum Dr.
Eglin Air Force Base
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32542

850-882-4062

Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged
Military buffs will love this indoor-outdoor museum located on the world’s largest air force base. Displays of aircraft and weaponry chart the American military presence from WWII to the Gulf War. The museum’s showpiece is the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, but a variety of other fighter and bomber planes are on exhibit, too. Inside, a video on the history of Eglin Air Force Base plays to visitors, a gun vault features aircraft weaponry, and a gift shop sells military-related items.

Newman Brackin Wayside Park/Okaloosa Island Pier

Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier
1030 Miracle Strip Pkwy.
Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-244-1023

Located on Santa Rosa Island across the bay from Fort Walton Beach, this is a 40-acre park with a fishing pier. The pier area is frequented for surfing and fishing, as well as people-watching and light dining.

Gulfarium

1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-244-5169
Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged
The main attractions of Gulfarium are the 4 live marine shows that can be seen any day of the week, rain or shine. These shows include bottlenose dolphins, a scuba diver performance, a humorous sea lion show and lastly; dolphins and a sea lion performing side-by-side. There are exhibits featuring loggerhead turtles, salt water aquariums, a sanctuary for injured birds, alligators, river otters, seals and sea lions, sharks, a sting ray pool, a touch pool, tropical penguins from South America, and tropical birds.

Island Golf Center, Fenway Park Batting Cages, Lost Lagoon Golf
1306 Miracle Strip Pkwy.
Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-224-1612

Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged

Enjoy some fun outdoor activity with miniature golf, batting cages and more.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

January

Annual Mardi Gras on the Island Festival and Parade

Usually held near the end of January
850-244-8191
The Magical Mardi Gras Ball kicks off a fun-filled weekend on Okaloosa Island. The festival includes live music and entertainment, food and craft vendors and kid’s activities. The parade usually has over 70 floats.

Martin Luther King Memorial Celebration

Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium
Usually held mid-January

850-243-2786
This three day event features a memorial program, a parade and a rally.

Potters Invitational

ADSO Gallery
Usually held late January through late February

850-244-1271
Local potters are invited to participate in an exhibit.

March

25th Annual Fine Arts Show
Creative Senior Community Center

Usually held mid-March

850-833-9586

12th Annual Archaeology Day
Indian Temple Mound Museum

Usually held mid-March

850-833-9595

An open house is held at the museum.

April

Scout-O-Rama

NW Florida Fairgrounds

Usually held early April

850-683-0330
Sponsored by the Boy Scouts, the event features kid’s activities, displays and demonstrations throughout the day.

Musical Echoes

Ft. Walton Beach

Usually held in late April
850-243-4405
Annual event features music and dance performances by Native American artists, seminars on flute making and playing, and an outdoor market with Native American art, beadwork, clothing and more.

Emerald Coast Boat Show

Ft. Walton Beach

Usually held in mid-May

800-940-7642
The annual event at the Emerald Coast Conference Center on Okaloosa Island offers excitement for boaters and anglers of all ages. The show features over 400 types of boats, a vast selection of marine accessories, fishing clinics and kid’s activities.

June

Sprint Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival and Torchlight Parade

Fort Walton Beach Landing
Usually held early June

850-244-8191
Festival features food vendors, arts and crafts fair, music and entertainment and fireworks display. Parade rolls north on Eglin Parkway from 2nd Street in Fort Walton Beach.

September

Annual Photography/Digital Arts Exhibition

Usually held early September – mid-October
Location: Ft. Walton Beach

850-244-1271
Arts and Design Society of Fort Walton Beach presents a judged competition of photography and digital art.

October

NW Florida Fair and Fine Arts Show

NW Florida Fairgrounds
Usually held late October

850-862-0211
Family event featuring carnival rides, games, food and fun.

Sandollar Motorcycle Club Pumpkin Run

Liza Jackson Park

Usually held late October

850-244-0376
Join the fun ride across NW Florida and a chance to win lots of prizes in this charity poker run.

November

St Simon’s 2004 Arts and Crafts Fair
Usually held early November

850-862-5685
The event features over 100 local and regional vendors.

42nd Annual Camellia Show
Usually held mid-November

850-651-0385
Exhibitors from several states in the southeast compete for prizes in various categories. Plants are available for sale.

World’s Greatest Baby Shower

NW Florida Fairgrounds

Usually held mid-November

850-833-9284
Pregnant women and new parents of children up to 3 months old are invited to visit display booths on prenatal health, well baby care, parenting, immunizations and more.

December

Jingle Bell Run 5K/10K

Fort Walton Beach

Usually held early December

850-863-4238

Christmas on Main Street

Usually held early December

Downtown Fort Walton Beach

850-664-6246
Enjoy breakfast with Santa, a merchant open house, Christmas tree lighting, lighted boat parade and more.

Community Chorus Christmas Production

Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium
Usually held mid-December

850-651-3563
The Fort Walton Beach Community Chorus presents their annual Christmas production.

Eggnog Jog

Fort Walton Beach

850-863-4238

Usually held mid-December
5K race.

Arts and Entertainment

First Arts

United Methodist Church

103 First Street

Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32578

850-243-9292

First Arts is a program of concerts, performing arts, and visual art events sponsored by the First United Methodist Church, Fort Walton Beach. The concert series is aimed at bringing quality, affordable entertainment for the entire family to the Fort Walton Beach area and the surrounding communities. Programs have varied from chamber music to mime.

Northwest Florida Ballet

310 Perry Avenue Southeast
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32549

800-664-7787

Founded in 1969 by Bernadette Clements, the Northwest Florida Ballet is one of the longest running arts organizations in Northwest Florida. The Northwest Florida Ballet is a semi-professional company that provides cultural enrichment for communities throughout Northwest Florida. The company presents many outstanding dance productions each season including the family favorite, The Nutcracker, classics such as Giselle and Cinderella and mixed repertory programs with live music. During the spring, the ballet packs up its stage and presents free outdoor performances in area parks which are very popular with the public.

Stage Crafters Community Theatre

Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium on Highway 98

850-243-1101

Stage Crafters is one of the area’s oldest community theaters. It was formed in 1972 and has grown steadily in quality and audience appeal. A season consists of four shows, which usually include a musical, a drama, a farce, and a romance or mystery.

Destin, Florida

A- Overview:
Get ready to experience the natural beauty of Florida’s Emerald Coast, where the sand is as fine as sugar and the Gulf waters are aquarium clear and emerald green. These unspoiled surroundings foster life-long memories of family vacations and unforgettable getaways.

Located in the Florida Panhandle, the City of Destin has a rich historical heritage dating back to American Indian inhabitants as early as the 7th century A.D. Just a glimpse of the Old Destin Post Office Museum, located across from the library, gives evidence of what the town looked like in the 19th Century. The city is known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, and one of the largest and most elaborately equipped fishing fleets in the state of Florida docks at the Destin Harbor. However, fishing is just one of many wonderful things to see and do in this tranquil but exciting Panhandle town. Recreational opportunities abound, including golf, tennis and a variety of water sports, such as diving and snorkeling. The 100 Fathom curve draws closer to Destin than any other spot in Florida providing the speediest deep-water access on the Gulf.

No visit to Destin is complete without a visit to watch the playful dolphins dance. These amazing animals display mesmerizing grace and unabashed playfulness as they tumble and twirl within the breeding ground of the shallows along the Santa Rosa Sound and Destin Harbor. Free dune-side seating is provided courtesy of Mother Nature. Why not bring a camera for an unforgettable memory? If you prefer, sightseeing cruises are offered at the marina, offering visitors another way to get up close to the dolphins.

Destin has a moderate climate year round due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and its western Florida location, making anytime of year good for visiting. The city is one of many in the area to host a multitude of visiting spring-breakers in late February and during the entire month of March. It’s an event for the young and the young at heart.

For a day of family fun, you may want to visit the Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park. This large water themed park offers more than 40 exciting water attractions and includes three tropical mini golf courses, two wild and fast go-kart tracks and three high-thrill rides.

No matter what time of year you visit, Destin has some wonderful and unique annual events to experience as well. From the Mullet Toss, to concerts in the park, to a holiday boat parade, there is something to make you smile, make you laugh, and make you want to come back for more. So take a break from the daily routine, sit back, sip a cool drink and enjoy the warm Florida sun, Destin style.

B- City Information:
Population: 11,119

Elevation: 25 feet above sea level

Land Area: 7.5 square miles

Location: Located on the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle

Time Zone: Central Time Zone (when it’s noon in Panama City, it’s 1:00pm in New York City and 10:00am in Los Angeles

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
49.1
52.4
58.5
64.6
72.3
78.7
81.2
80.8
77.4
67.1
58.6
51.4

High temperature (°F)
61.3
65.0
70.9
77.7
84.3
89.8
91.4
91.0
88.4
80.4
71.5
63.8

Low temperature (°F)
36.9
39.7
46.1
51.4
60.2
67.5
71.1
70.7
66.4
53.8
45.7
39.0

Precipitation (in)
5.9
5.3
6.6
4.2
4.4
6.2
9.1
6.9
6.5
4.3
4.7
4.5

Climate:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precip.
10
9
9
6
7
10
14
13
9
5
8
9

Wind speed (mph)
9.0
9.3
9.8
9.5
8.6
7.6
6.9
6.7
7.6
7.9
8.2
8.8

Morning humidity (%)
82
82
84
86
87
84
86
87
85
82
82
81

Afternoon humidity (%)
65
61
62
60
62
61
65
66
63
57
61
65

Sunshine (%)
48
53
61
63
67
67
57
58
60
71
64
49

Days clear of clouds
8
9
9
10
9
7
4
6
10
13
11
9

Partly cloudy days
7
7
8
9
11
15
17
15
11
9
8
7

Cloudy days
16
13
14
11
11
8
10
10
9
9
11
16

Snowfall (in)
0.1
0.1
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0

Local Seasons:

Destin has a very moderate climate year round due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and its western Florida location. Winter and summer are the two busiest times of year, although late February and the entire month of March become quite crowded when thousands of spring break students hit the area. In the winter, people from the north enjoy coming south for the warmer temperatures and numerous activities the city has to offer. Even in January, the temperature averages a comfortable 50 F., with highs in the mid 60’s F. Summer is busy as many people visit the area for its relaxing atmosphere, entertainment, and proximity to the beach, not to mention temperatures averaging a very comfortable 80 F. Perfect for a day of watching dolphins display mesmerizing grace and unabashed playfulness as they tumble and twirl within the breeding ground of the shallows along the Santa Rosa Sound and Destin Harbor. Of course, just watching the boats go by while sipping on a cool drink at the beach and working on that perfect tan is another viable option. The fall tends to be less crowded and offers a great opportunity to enjoy Destin’s serenity. Fall is still warm enough for a nice day at the beach with a good book or a run in the sand. No matter what time of year you are visiting, this wonderful Florida city is alive with a multitude of things to do and see.

Getting There:

By Air:

The Okaloosa County Regional Airport
1701 Hwy 85
North Eglin AFB, FL 32542
850-651-7160

The Okaloosa Regional Airport (VPS), situated on Eglin Air Force Base, provides essential scheduled commercial air passenger service for a large proportion of the Northwest Florida area. It is served by most of the major airlines connection carriers. It does not provide service for private aircraft, due to its location on Eglin Air Force Base.

Car Rental and Shuttle Service

In addition to the airlines, the Okaloosa Regional Airport offers five car rental agencies:

Avis

800-331-1212

Budget

800-527-0700

Hertz

800-654-3131

National/Alamo

800-227-7368

Enterprise

850-729-5700

Dave’s Bayside Airport Shuttle

850-581-1505

AAAA Express Shuttle Service

850-609-3100

Getting There:

By car

From Interstate 10; highways 85, or 285 to U.S. 98 and drive east about 10 miles. Destin is located on U.S. 98.

By Train

Destin is not serviced by Amtrak

By Bus

Destin is not served by a national bus company

Getting Around:

Free Local shuttle bus service for tourists and residents June – September

Hours of Service: Every day: 8am – 10pm
850-833-9168

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day, January 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the third Monday in January

President’ Day, the third Monday in February

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May

Independence Day, July 4

Labor Day, the first Monday in September

Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, December 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve, December 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Dancing Dolphin Watching

Dancing dolphins display mesmerizing grace and unabashed playfulness as they tumble and twirl within the breeding ground of the shallows along the Santa Rosa Sound and Destin Harbor.

Daily dune side seating is compliments of Mother Nature.

Dolphin Cruises

Emerald Magic

Harborwalk Marina

346 Mountain Dr.

Destin, FL 32541
850-837-7741

Hours: Call for cruise schedule

Admission Charged
Two-hour narrated cruises aboard the Emerald Magic highlighting dolphins and other wild things. Smoke-free cruise with tropical drinks.

Southern Star

Harborwalk Marina

346 Mountain Dr.

Destin, FL 32541
850-837-7741

Hours: Call for cruise schedule

Admission Charged
Enjoy a relaxing cruise aboard the motor vessel Southern Star cruising the pristine waters of the world’s most beautiful beaches known as a natural habitat for dolphins, seabirds and a variety of marine life.

Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park

1007 Highway 98 E.

Destin, FL 32541

850-837-4061

Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged
Oversized water park offers more than 40 exciting water attractions. Includes three tropical mini golf courses, two wild and fast go-kart tracks and three high-thrill rides.

Old Destin Post Office Museum
Stahlman Ave. (across from library)
Destin, FL 32541
850-837-8572

Hours: Vary, call for additional information

Admission Charged

This little white building houses memorabilia detailing the 19th-century settlement of Destin. It includes photographs of past days and is a tribute to the early beach communities of the region. Although its open hours are minimal, the museum is an interesting glimpse into the beginnings of a community that has transformed itself into one of the top resort areas in the Southeast.

The Track Family Recreation Center

1125 Hwy. 98 E
Destin, FL 32541

850-654-4668
Hours: Always call ahead to confirm before you make a special trip, as closing times are approximate due to weather and crowd levels.

Admission Charged
This action-packed recreation center features everything from the ultimate in go-cart tracks, like the Wild Woody three-tiered go-kart/roller coaster hybrid, to big fun for little tykes at Kids Country. Challenge your friends to miniature golf, Bumper Boats, or test your courage at the bungee jumping tower.

Mango Maddie’s Pontoons, Inc.

314 Highway 98 East

Destin, FL 32541
850-650-7352
Hours: Open: March – October

Admission Charged for rentals
Rent a pontoon and be your own skipper. Also offers private guided sunset cocktail cruises.

Snorkel Destin

392 S. Shore Dr
Destin, FL 32550
850-654-4655

Hours: The Reef Runner departs three times daily, Mon – Sat. Call for reservations.
Admission Charged
Enjoy a scenic boat ride to Destin’s premier snorkeling area where an incredible underwater excursion awaits. Mask, fins and snorkel are provided.

Kokomo Snorkeling Adventure

500 Hwy. 98 E
Destin, FL 32541
850-837-9029

Hours: Trips available daily, call for additional information

Admission Charged
This three hour adventure offers snorkeling in the bay for shelling and around the jetties in Destin Pass to enjoy the sights of this underwater fairyland. Snorkeling gear and instruction included, if needed. Sunset cruises are also available.

Nearby Attractions

Emerald Coast Science Center

139 Brooks St
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-664-1261

Hours: Weekdays, 9am – 4pm, Weekends, 11am – 4pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday and the Fourth of July

Admission Charged
A child’s fantasy museum of science; it stimulates the imagination with exhibits such as a reflecting Castle of Mirrors, “adult-sized” bubble makers, a literally hair-raising Vandergraph generator, an electrifying Illuma Storm and more.

Gulfarium

1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-244-5169
Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged
One of America’s oldest marine parks (1955), Gulfarium is home to Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, Peruvian penguins, Ridley turtles and more. Dolphin stars Princess and Delilah delight with feats from comedic soccer games to 18-foot (540cm) leaps toward the clouds.

Indian Temple Mound and Museum

139 SE Miracle Strip Pkwy.
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-833-9595

Hours: Vary, call for additional information

Admission Charged
The 6,000-piece exhibit, showcasing America’s largest collection of Southeastern Indian ceramic artifacts, journeys through 10,000 years of four prehistoric tribes. One of the largest Indian mounds discovered along saltwater (1400 A.D.) stands guard beside the museum.

Island Golf Center, Fenway Park Batting Cages, Lost Lagoon Golf
1306 Miracle Strip Pkwy.
Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-224-1612

Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged

Enjoy some fun outdoor activity with miniature golf, batting cages and more.

Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier
1030 Miracle Strip Pkwy.
Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-244-1023

Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged

Enjoy great fishing directly from the pier. Rental equipment is available.

U.S. Air Force Armament Museum

Hwy. 85 (outside main gate Eglin AFB)
Eglin AFB, FL 32542
850-882-4062

Hours: 9 am to 4:30 pm, daily. Closed on all federal holidays.

Admission Free
The Air Force Armament Museum is the only facility in the U.S. dedicated to the display of Air Force armament. A wide variety of bombs, missiles, and rockets are exhibited. Visitors can also view a variety of historical Air Force planes, from a B-17 World War II bomber to an F-4 Phantom II jet. A 32 minute movie, “Arming the Air Force,” a history of Eglin Air Force Base and its role in the development of armament, is shown continuously throughout the day.

The Zoo – Gulf Breeze

5701 Gulf Breeze Parkway

Gulf Breeze, Florida 32563
850-932-2229

Hours: Open daily, weather permitting, 9am-5pm, Closed the day before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving day, Christmas Eve day, but open that night for ZOOlights, and closed Christmas.

Admission Charged

A wildlife experience awaits you with over 700 animals surrounded by botanical gardens. Get a close look at bears, tigers, rhinos and zebras. Photograph the colorful birds, watch playful primates and see sleek otters slip through water. Take a ride on a camel or on the Safari Line Limited, a train ride through over 30 acres of free-roaming wildlife. In addition, there are reptile demonstrations, face-to-face giraffe feedings as well as a petting zoo for children.

Beaches:

Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier and Beach
1030 Miracle Strip Pkwy.
Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-244-1023

Located on Santa Rosa Island across the bay from Fort Walton Beach, this is a 40-acre park with a fishing pier. The pier area is frequented for surfing and fishing, as well as people-watching and light dining.

Beasley Park

1550 Miracle Strip Pkwy (Hwy 98)

Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

Admission Free

Situated on the largest stretch of public beach on the Gulf side of Okaloosa Island, 22-acre Beasley Wayside Park includes showers, picnic pavilions and a 400-seat restaurant, a beach club, children’s playground, beach volleyball and plenty of fun for everyone. Beasley Park is a County Park which is located between Fort Walton Beach and Destin on Okaloosa Island. There’s plenty of parking, handicap access, and restrooms.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Dancing Dolphin Watching

Dancing dolphins display mesmerizing grace and unabashed playfulness as they tumble and twirl within the breeding ground of the shallows along the Santa Rosa Sound and Destin Harbor.

Daily dune side seating is compliments of Mother Nature.

Southern Star

Harborwalk Marina

346 Mountain Dr.

Destin, FL 32541
850-837-7741

Hours: Call for cruise schedule

Admission Charged
Enjoy a relaxing cruise aboard the Southern Star, cruising the pristine waters of perhaps the world’s most beautiful beaches. The Destin shore area is known as a natural habitat for dolphins, seabirds and a variety of marine life.

Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park

1007 Highway 98 E.

Destin, FL 32541

850-837-4061

Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged
Oversized water park offers more than 40 exciting water attractions. Includes three tropical mini golf courses, two wild and fast go-kart tracks and three high-thrill rides.

Kokomo Snorkeling Adventure

500 Hwy. 98 E
Destin, FL 32541
850-837-9029

Hours: Trips available daily, call for additional information

Admission Charged
This three hour adventure offers snorkeling in the bay for shelling and around the jetties in Destin Pass to enjoy the sights of this underwater fairyland. Snorkeling gear and instruction included, if needed. Sunset cruises are also available.

Beasley Park

1550 Miracle Strip Pkwy (Hwy 98)

Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

Admission Free

Situated on the largest stretch of public beach on the Gulf side of Okaloosa Island, 22-acre Beasley Wayside Park includes showers, picnic pavilions and a 400-seat restaurant, a beach club, children’s playground, beach volleyball and plenty of fun for everyone. Beasley Park is a County Park which is located between Fort Walton Beach and Destin on Okaloosa Island. There’s plenty of parking, handicap access, and restrooms.

Gulfarium

1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
850-244-5169
Hours: Vary by season, call for additional information

Admission Charged
One of America’s oldest marine parks (1955), Gulfarium is home to Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, Peruvian penguins, Ridley turtles and more. Dolphin stars, Princess and Delilah, delight with feats from comedic soccer games to 18-foot (540cm) leaps toward the clouds.

U.S. Air Force Armament Museum

Hwy. 85 (outside main gate Eglin AFB)
Eglin AFB, FL 32542
850-882-4062

Hours: 9 am to 4:30 pm, daily. Closed on all federal holidays.

Admission Free
The Air Force Armament Museum is the only facility in the U.S. dedicated to the display of Air Force armament. A wide variety of bombs, missiles, and rockets are exhibited. Visitors can also view a variety of historical Air Force planes, from a B-17 World War II bomber to an F-4 Phantom II jet. A 32 minute movie, “Arming the Air Force,” a history of Eglin Air Force Base and its role in the development of armament, is shown continuously throughout the day.

The Zoo – Gulf Breeze

5701 Gulf Breeze Parkway

Gulf Breeze, Florida 32563
850-932-2229

Hours: Open daily, weather permitting, 9am-5pm, Closed the day before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving day, Christmas Eve day, but open that night for ZOOlights, and closed Christmas.

Admission Charged
A wildlife experience awaits you with over 700 animals surrounded by botanical gardens. Get a close look at bears, tigers, rhinos and zebras. Photograph the colorful birds, watch playful primates and see sleek otters slip through water. Take a ride on a camel or on the Safari Line Limited, a train ride through over 30 acres of free-roaming wildlife. In addition, there are reptile demonstrations, face-to-face giraffe feedings as well as a petting zoo for children.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

Late February

Spring Break

Held when colleges break for spring, usually late February – March

Events held throughout the area.

March

Spring Break

Held when colleges break for spring, usually during the entire month of March

Events held throughout the area.

Hog’s Breath Annual Cobia Shootout Tournament

Usually held in late March
850-837-5100
Weigh in from 6pm until 8pm nightly at Hog’s Breath with food, drinks and entertainment. Cash prizes include random daily drawings.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Destin Commons Center Court

Held on March 17

850-337-8700
Enjoy a festive Irish Bagpipe concert. The fountain flows green and children wearing green receive St. Patty’s Day treats.

April

Emerald Coast Volleyball Week

Usually held mid-April

850-243-2555
Four player volleyball tournament held over 5 days each year at Sundestin Beach Resort in Destin.

Musical Echoes

Usually held late April

850-243-4405
This 3 day annual event features music and dance performances by Native American artists, seminars on flute making and playing, and an outdoor market with Native American art, beadwork, clothing and more.

June

Mattie Kelly Concerts in the Park

Kelly Plantation Park

Held during the last three weeks of June
850-650-2226
The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation presents its annual summer concert series featuring locally and nationally recognized artists. Bring a lawn chair and a picnic dinner and enjoy an evening of music for all ages.

Sand-sational Summer Sand Fest

Destin Commons Center Plaza

Usually held mid-June

850-337-8700
Enjoy sandcastle building by a professional and watch as he/she creates a spectacular work of art. Families are invited to join in the sand activities.

October

AJ’s Annual Shuck-Off

Usually held early October

850-259-3958

Oyster shucking competition held at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar in the Destin Harbor. Participants compete for prizes including an all-expense paid trip to the National Championships in Maryland.

AJ’s Annual Mullet Toss-Off

Usually held in mid-October
850-837-1913
Mullet tossing competition held at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar on the Destin Harbor. Participants compete for prizes from local merchants.

26th Annual Destin Seafood Festival

Morgan Sports Center
Usually held early October over a 3 day weekend

850-837-6241
Enjoy an arts and crafts expo, foods from local restaurants, and fun activities for the entire family.

Destin Crab Trap Triathlon

James Lee Park

Usually held early October

850-864-2416
The Crab Trap Triathlon consists of a 400 yard swim, a 10 mile bike ride and a 3 mile run.

Registration is limited to the first 400 participants.

Destin Festival of the Arts

Henderson Beach State Park
Usually held late October

850-650-2226
The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation presents a juried fine arts show representing artists from around the country. The event features a children’s activity tent, student art exhibit, live entertainment and bistro cafe.

November

Annual Holiday Doggy Parade

Usually held in mid-November

800-337-8700
Bring the family dog to Destin dressed for the holidays for a parade down Main Street of Destin Commons.

Destin Commons Tree Lighting and Santa’s Arrival

Usually held in mid-November
850-337-8700
Welcome Santa to Destin at the annual lighting of the 40-foot tree. Enjoy a parade, holiday goodies and more.

Annual Edwin Watts Golf Regional Golf Show

Usually held in mid-November
850-267-8117
Golf’s major manufacturers display their latest products at the Edwin Watts Regional Golf Show. There are opportunities to try out the latest equipment on the driving range and special appearances by touring professionals and other VIPs. In addition, there are daily giveaways, contests, clinics, tournaments and more.

December

Sounds of the Season

Destin Community Center

Usually held in mid-December
850-650-2226
The Mattie Kelly Foundation presents its annual “gift” to the community. The event features a guest conductor, the Community chorus and more.

Annual Holiday on the Harbor

Destin Harbor

Usually held in mid-December
850-837-4242
This event introduces the holiday season by lighting up the Destin Harbor in a festive reflection of holiday lights surrounding the water. Boat cruises and other festivities take place during the event.

Annual Christmas Parade

Usually held in mid – December
850-837-4242

Parade route begins on Highway 98 at Main Street and ends at Stahlman Avenue.

Chalk Drawing with Santa

Morgan Sports Center

Usually held late December

850-650-1241
Children of all ages may visit with Santa and participate in decorating the pathway into the Children’s Park. Chalk is provided.

Annual Sandestin Boat Parade & Stroll

Events Plaza at The Village of Baytowne Wharf, Destin Harbor

Usually held in mid-December
850-837-4242

Festively-decorated boats parade from the Choctawhatchee Bay to the Baytowne Marina. Stroll through the Village both before and after the parade to enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays. For the best view, catch the parade from the Village boardwalk. After the parade, enjoy a celebration with live holiday music, merry-making, caroling and arts & crafts for kids and adults. Open to public. Subject to change based on weather.

Rockin’ Village New Year’s Eve Celebration

Events Plaza

Held December 31
850-650-2226

Admission Free
Enjoy live music in the Events Plaza all night long leading up to the annual firework’s extravaganza over the lagoon at midnight. Make sure to gather the family and ring in the New Year with the Village’s magical fireworks show.