Hotel at a Glance: Grandview East Resort
Panama City Beach claims to have the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches”—in fact, that’s the town slogan. Test it out for yourself at Grandview East Resort, which has a private white-sand beach of its own.
- Take a dip in the hotel’s pool, which offers views of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Three-bedroom condos have more than 1,400 square feet of living space and are decked out with full kitchens, hot tubs, washers, and dryers. Watch the sun set over the Gulf from your private balcony.
- Hit the waves: Go sailing or get your adrenaline pumping on a jet ski.
- Tee off: Play a round of golf at nearby Hombre Golf Club, which features 27 holes and some challenging sand traps.
- Grab a bite at Firefly, where you can enjoy lobster tails and andouille-crusted snapper beneath the dining room’s oak tree, which is strung with hundreds of white lights.
Panama City Beach, Florida: Sugar-White Beaches and Scuba-Diving Spots
Panama City Beach’s slogan—“The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches”—may seem boastful. But TripAdvisor helped back up this claim in 2013, naming the local St. Andrews State Park as having 1 of the top 25 beaches in the United States. The park also has two fishing piers, a jetty, and a boat ramp, plus nature trails for bird watching. Elsewhere in town, you can arrange a scuba-diving trip to explore the area’s dozens of natural and artificial reefs.
The atmosphere is relaxed and geared toward families. There are numerous amusement parks along the 20-plus miles of shoreline. Many of the popular seafood restaurants and bars here overlook the Gulf of Mexico.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, take the ferry to Shell Island, an uninhabited, 7-mile-long barrier island. On the ride over, you might see some of the bottlenose dolphins that frequent these warm waters. Once there, you can soak in the sun on the empty beaches and go snorkeling. It’s also worth it to visit the nature preserve at Conservation Park, which has 24 miles of trails. One 11-mile trek goes past wooden boardwalks and wetlands; keep your eyes peeled and you might see woodpeckers in the trees and alligators lurking beside cypresses.