Why You Need to Visit Panama City Beach in the Fall

October 5th 2023
Mike Fisher
Why You Need to Visit Panama City Beach in the Fall

Fall is one of the best times of the year for many reasons. A few of the biggest reasons include food (pumpkin spice everything), football, and family.

But in Panama City Beach, Florida, fall also means white sandy beaches, surprisingly warm waters, and sipping Mai Tais on the ocean. Indeed, when you visit Panama City Beach in the fall you get something that is truly special. Perfect weather, annual events, and a boatload of great attractions minus the summer crowds make for the perfect fall trip and more beach relaxation for you and the family!

Table of Contents

  • Fall Festivals
  • Weather
  • Nature and Wildlife
  • Small Crowds



1. Fall Festivals


gulf coast jam in panama city beach

Pictured above is an aerial view of the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam in Panama City Beach, one of the area’s many highly-anticipated fall festivals! Image courtesy of Gulf Coast Jam


As the leaves begin to change colors Panama City Beach gears up to host some of the best festivals on the Emerald Coast. From music to food to jolly pirates, a trip to Panama City Beach in the fall means social gatherings aplenty. Take the Chasin’ the Sun Music Festival, for example. This September beach tunes showcase comes at you live from Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheatre and has featured some of the biggest names in music like Alan Jackson and Chris Stapleton. Fall offers the perfect chance for unforgettable moments with family, friends, or beach-bound couples.

Another September celebration is the Lobster Festival and Tournament. A week-long extravaganza of lobster diving, seafood any which way, and live entertainment is the perfect mix of fall flavors and good times with the whole gang.

Finally, the Pirates of the High Seas Fest in October is one of our favorite festivals anywhere. Every Columbus Day weekend (wait, was Columbus a pirate?) this family-friendly festival of peg leg’s and sunken treasure provides the kiddos with an opportunity to:

  • Embark on a scavenger hunt
  • Simulate a pirate invasion
  • Attend and participate in a Pirate-themed parade (there is a children’s parade as well as one for all ages)
  • Watch a spectacular show of fireworks


2. Weather


beautiful fall weather in panama city beach florida

Even in the fall, travelers can snorkel the beautiful waters of Panama City Beach and enjoy the area’s warm, wonderful weather


Fall at the beach is its own brand of beauty. The pace of the waves and clouds change, and everything starts to slow down. Even better, average temperatures in the 80s mean that it’s also plenty warm for beach activities, but cool enough to hang out by the water without overheating.

Mild weather makes for great dining and drinking outdoors, too. Relax at one of Panama City Beach’s many great beachside restaurants and bars, check out a live show, or sip a cocktail aboard a dolphin cruise as the sun fades beyond the waves. Oh yes, and speaking of sunsets, the drop in humidity in the fall brings plenty of clear nights--perfect for watching the sun rise or set.

{Read Reviews & Book Panama City Beach Dolphin Cruises & Tours Online}


3. Nature and Wildlife


nature and wildlife in panama city beach

Image of the water from St. Andrews State Park via Wikimedia


Panama City Beach’s natural beauty is one of the many reasons why it’s among our favorite fall destinations. For one, you will be surprised how warm the water is even extending into November! Splash and play in the shallows and stretch out as smaller crowds means more room for frisbees, boogie boards, and relaxation!

Beyond the beach, Panama City Beach offers a variety of parks and wildlife preserves that are great for family recreation and exercise. St. Andrews State Park, for instance, is one of the most peaceful places to hike and unwind in the Panhandle. Visiting St. Andrews in the fall is a great idea because a drop in humidity means fewer bugs and cooler temperatures overall.

Within the park itself, Shell Island offers scenic views and serenity for all ages. Hunt for seashells, get your feet wet, seek out the area’s friendly marine life, or even have a picnic on the beach! Even more, every October the Friends of St. Andrews State Park will take you on a guided plant and animal tour as part of their annual Walk into the Wild. Another great option is Conservation Park, which features over 20 miles of boardwalk over the gator and turtle filled swamps--a nature lover’s delight!


4. Small Crowds


small lines at gulf world marine park

With shorter lines, getting an up-close-and-personal experience with dolphins is easier than ever


As summertime comes to a close, plenty of folks begin to shift their sights toward adventures into the mountains or ski hills. That means fewer people at the beach to compete with for parking, lodging, and relaxation. When you think of reasons why you need to visit Panama City Beach in the fall, this one is as big as any of them.

In addition to less competition for real estate on the beach or at your favorite restaurant, it also means that you can enjoy the abundance of great local attractions, like Panama City Beach aquariums, without waiting in line. Shop and play at Pier Park’s million square foot outdoor mall, catch a flick at the IMAX Theatre, hit the town and head to Spinnaker for live entertainment, or cruise on over to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum to learn about the universe in a fun, engaging atmosphere. With little to no traffic you can easily zip to and from your favorite spots and park close to your various destinations!

{Read Reviews & Book Discount Gulf World Marine Park Tickets Online}



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