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The Best Time to Visit Panama City Beach in 2023

The Best Time to Visit Panama City Beach in 2023

If you’re ready for a beach vacation but unsure where to go, check out Panama City Beach (PCB). PCB beckons you to lay your beach towels down and feel the warmth of sunlight on your skin.

The inviting waters of the sea allow for endless hours of playing and frolicking with loved ones, making memories that will last a lifetime.

Panama City Beach, with its stunning shoreline and inviting atmosphere, is an ideal getaway destination for families in the United States. It’s even better when you know the best time to go! 

Located in Florida’s panhandle, you don’t have to travel abroad or far away from home to experience a great beach vacation.  Keep reading if you’re ready to start planning your Panama City Beach vacation.

We’ll give you everything you need to know about planning your trip, including the best time to visit Panama City Beach along with the cheapest, least busy, and worst times to go. 

Why You Should Visit Panama City Beach

The M.B. Miller Pier at sunset along the Gulf of Mexico showing why you should visit Panama City Beach

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Panama City Beach is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a relaxing and fun beach vacation. You can enjoy a holiday full of fun and relaxation with beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and plenty of activities for all ages.

Some popular water activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, and jet skiing. You’ll find banana boats, ocean kayaks, and parasailing rentals along the beach.

Try a deep-sea fishing charter or take a sunset dolphin cruise! If you’re more of a land-lover, you can tan on the beautiful white sand beaches, play golf, see shows, or go shopping. There are also several best-in-class restaurants and hotels to choose from so you’re sure to have a wonderful time.

On top of all these benefits, it’s an affordable beach destination. You don’t need a passport and the culture is similar to the rest of the United States.

This combination of factors makes it one of the most accessible and affordable beaches in the world. Whether you want to spend time relaxing in the sun or exploring what Panama City Beach offers, it’s an excellent destination for your next beach vacation.

Overall Best Time to Visit Panama City Beach

Image of Pier Park in late summer with blue skies during the overall best time to visit Panama City Beach

Pier Park is Panama City Beach’s premier shopping and entertainment destination located across the beach, taken on September 29, 2019/Fotoluminate LLC/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Panama City Beach is from August through mid-October, when temperatures are milder and summer is fading out. 

During this time of year, the temperature will reach the high 80s, and the lows rarely dip below 70. In addition to the warm weather, there’s less rainfall than the rest of the year.

The weather conditions are perfect for tanning on the beach, swimming in the ocean, or playing golf. Every day is the ideal day in PCB from April through October. Another reason to visit during this time of the year is the festivals that take place. 

One of the biggest is the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam every Labor Day weekend. This festival attracts the biggest country music acts in the US. You can listen to your favorite artist and sing the night away! If you come to PCB in late October, you can enjoy Octoberfest.

This event is like the Oktoberfest in Munich but on a smaller scale. You can have fun with your friends and family while drinking beer and singing songs. The only downside to coming during this time of year is the size of the crowds.

Tourists descend on PCB in the late summer and early fall to get their last dose of sunshine and sand. Still, it’s nothing like June and July! July and August are the most popular times to visit Panama City Beach.

If you plan to visit during this time, you should make accommodation reservations in advance. You should also make dinner reservations if you visit the more popular restaurants.

Cheapest Time to Visit Panama City Beach

Pelican flying into the water as a wave crashes in the Gulf of Mexico during the cheapest time to visit Panama City Beach

Paul Winterman/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Panama City Beach is from November through February. After the summer season, things calm down dramatically.

Temperatures decrease significantly with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. In addition to these chilly temperatures, the skies are often overcast and a little dreary.

The poor weather scares off many tourists, so you can take advantage of the lower prices on flights and accommodations during this time. Due to the weather, you won’t be able to enjoy the beach as much, but there are still fun things to do in PCB.

You can enjoy many museums, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not. You can also check out WonderWorks, which has hundreds of science-themed exhibits.

Despite the lower temperatures, the water temperature stays in the 80s. As a result, you can still go snorkeling, kayaking, and scuba diving.

Least Busy Time to Visit Panama City Beach

Oceanfront fence on Long Beach with colorful sunset sky during the least busy time to visit Panama City Beach

Darlene Stanley/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit PCB is in from March through April. This is when temperatures are warming up but crowds aren’t yet at their peak. 

During this time, the temperatures are beginning to climb, and the highs reach the high 70s while it rarely dips below 55. It also rains less than 10% of the time during this time of year.

One of the reasons it’s not as busy is there are few big holidays during this time. Easter doesn’t typically draw big crowds, but Spring Break definitely does. 

You can get a more private and authentic experience without the crowds in PCB. You’re more likely to run into locals than tourists and you won’t have to wait in life to enter the museums, restaurants, or attractions.

Another reason to visit during March and April is Mardi Gras. PCB has one of the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations outside of New Orleans. You can eat delicious authentic Cajun food, listen to energetic music, and have a great time.

Visiting PCB in the spring between March and April is one of the best options because of the combination of good weather, low prices, and fewer crowds. You can go on a beautiful beach getaway without waiting in line!

Worst Time to Visit Panama City Beach

Aerial view of the beach with lots of tourists during the worst time to visit Panama City Beach

Kevin Ruck/Shutterstock

The summer – June through August – is the worst time to visit Panama City Beach. Starting in June, the temperature climbs into the 90s and stays until August.

It can be unbearably hot and humid during this time of year. It is also the rainy season. You can expect it to rain about 50% of the time. High heat, humidity, and rain are a bad combination, and they can make lying on the beach uncomfortable.

You might pay more for your flight or hotel room during the peak summer season as well. In addition to the terrible weather and higher prices, June through August is the busiest time of year in PCB because of summer break.

Families with kids flock to the beaches, which means long lines and crowded attractions. If you decide to visit during this time of year, you should make your reservations well in advance and prepare for higher prices. 

Things to Consider

Sunset view of St. Andrews Park during the best time to visit Panama City Beach

Paul Winterman/Shutterstock

Your trip doesn’t just depend on going during the best time to visit Panama City Beach! These are some critical things to consider while visiting PCB:

  • Transportation. The best way to get around the city is by taxi or ride share. The public transit only stops in a few locations, but it can be great to get from your hotel to the beach without driving! 
  • Accommodations. There are a wide variety of accommodations available in Panama City Beach, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels. No matter your budget, you can find a wonderful place to stay.
  • Packing. Pack essentials like sunscreen, swimwear, and bug spray. Bring comfortable shoes for beach activities and be prepared for rain showers.
  • Restaurants. Panama City Beach is home to various excellent restaurants, from local dives to upscale seafood spots. The local seafood is some of the best in the country, and you shouldn’t skip out on the southern comfort food either.
  • Festivals. There’s always something exciting happening in Panama City Beach, whether it’s a major music festival or a local community event. The most significant events are Mardi Gras, The Gulf Coast Jam, Oktoberfest, and New Year’s celebrations.
  • Air travel. The nearest airport is the Panama City Beach Airport if you plan to fly to Panama City Beach. This airport is best for domestic travel and does not accommodate international flights.

Activities to Consider in Panama City Beach

There are so many fun things to do in Panama City Beach, you may not be sure where to start! Here are our recommendations for the best activities to experience while on your visit:

  • Go swimming
  • Catch a tan
  • Explore the downtown area
  • Get an aerial view from the Ferris wheel
  • Take a boat to Shell Island
  • Eat fresh seafood
  • Take a sunset cruise and look for dolphins
  • Have a beach bonfire
  • Take a helicopter tour

Attractions to Consider in Panama City Beach

Now that you know about the crucial considerations while visiting Panama City Beach, here are some of the most popular attractions you can check out on your vacation:

  • Gulf World Marine Park
  • Shipwreck Island Waterpark
  • Conservation Park
  • Pier Park
  • Coconut Creek Family Fun Park
  • ZooWorld Zoological Park
  • St. Andrews State Park
  • Panama City Beach Winery
  • Swampy Jack’s Wongo Adventure
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
  • SkyWheel Panama City Beach
  • WonderWorks Panama City Beach
  • Rick Seltzer Park

Frequently Asked Questions

Two dolphins swimming in the Gulf of Mexico off the beach in St. Andrews Park for a frequently asked questions section on the best time to visit PCB

Paul Winterman/Shutterstock

Want to learn more about the best time to visit Panama City Beach? We’ve got you covered! These are some of the commonly asked questions about Panama City Beach.

What's the best time of year to visit Panama City?

The best time of year to visit Panama City Beach is from August to October. It's a little milder during this time of year and you don't have to worry about the rain. Plus, you can catch your favorite country band at the Gulf Coast Jam.

When is the hurricane season in Panama City Beach?

Hurricane season in Panama City Beach is generally from June to November, though the peak months are August and September.

If you're planning a trip during this time, you should be prepared for an emergency and pack a bug-out bag.

What's the busy season in Panama City Beach?

The busy season in Panama City Beach is typically from May until August when the weather is best for outdoor activities like swimming and sunbathing.

During the busy season, the beaches can be packed with people, and it can be challenging to find accommodation.

Is Panama City Beach crowded in August?

Yes, Panama City Beach is often quite crowded in August, which is generally the peak month for tourism.

If you're planning a trip during this time, you should be prepared for large crowds and make your accommodation reservations well in advance.

Is October a good time to go to Panama City Beach?

Yes, October is a great time to visit Panama City Beach. The weather is still warm and pleasant, but fewer crowds make it easier to find accommodations. The water temperature stays in the 80s so you can still swim!

Can you swim in Panama City Beach in November?

You can swim at PCB in November, but the water is starting to get cold. It will not be as enjoyable as it is in August and September.

What can you do in Panama City Beach in November?

There are many great things to do in Panama City Beach in November, including exploring the local restaurants and shops, going for scenic walks, or taking drives along the coast.

Participating in outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking are popular activities here. You can visit local attractions like Gulf World Marine Park, Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and Conservation Park.

Are there any beaches in Panama City Beach?

Yes, there are several beautiful beaches in Panama City Beach! Some of the best include the famous Pier Park and picturesque beaches in St. Andrews State Park.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Panama City Beach?

Panama City Beach is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation in a stunning location. If you’re interested in the best time to visit Panama City Beach, you’ll want to plan your trip sometime between August and October.

August, September, and October feature milder temperatures, smaller crowds, and more affordable room and flight rates than during the peak summer season. It’s the ideal time to experience PCB! 

Try visiting during November through February (winter) for the cheapest rates possible here. If avoiding tourists is your main goal, you’ll enjoy visiting during March or April (just avoid Spring Break in late March). 

If possible, avoid visiting Panama City Beach during summer – the peak tourist season and the worst time to go. It’s hot and sunny, but rainfall is common in brief bursts throughout the day and the crowds are huge. 

Whether you’re planning your trip on short notice or building your itinerary for next year, you’ll be excited to count down the days until your sunny Panama City Beach trip!