There’s something about kids and pirates. Maybe it’s the swashbuckling. Maybe it’s the costumes. Or maybe it’s just the chance to whack someone with a sword. Whatever it is, it’s all wrapped up in Pirates of the High Seas Fest, one of the fun things to do in Panama City Beach in October.
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October in Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach Florida is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and one of my favorite spots for an affordable family beach vacation. The beaches are lined with roomy condo rentals and there is plenty to do any day.
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But each fall, the pirates invade. The free Pirates of the High Seas Fest offers 3 days of activities over Columbus Day weekend. The event celebrates the spirit of pirates who were known to ply the waters of St. Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
The 2017 festival, October 6-8, includes three parades, live music, a scavenger hunt, and three nights of fireworks in addition to the pirate invasions and simulated battles. It’s fun and festive. When I attended the 2016 celebration, locals said it was unusually crowded. PCB was filled with refugees who had escaped to the Gulf Coast as a hurricane was bearing down on the east coast of Florida.
TravelingMom Tip: This is a Mardi Gras style celebration, with parades, people tossing beads into the crowd from atop the parade floats and some risqué wardrobe choices, particularly from among the pirate maidens. They dress the part, which tends to include plenty of cleavage.
Beautiful Family Beach Vacation Destination
Panama City Beach was never on my family beach vacation radar—until I visited for the first time. I found lovely wide white sand beaches that squeak when you walk on them, great food, affordable lodging and plenty to do.
Now I’m happy to return at any time. The high rise condos that line the beach offer extra space for families, most of them at an affordable price, especially during the September and October off-season period.
In October, the weather is still warm enough for swimming in a pool or the Gulf. Even better, the locals have mostly abandoned the beach, leaving it to us northerners who think it’s still plenty warm enough for a dip in the ocean.
Things to Do in Panama City Beach in October
The weather is warm enough to swim, but cool enough to hike. St. Andrews State Recreation Area has beautiful trails and more than 1.5 miles of rolling sand dunes just right for climbing. It might be too hot to do that in July or August, but it’s entirely reasonable in October.
I’m a water girl, so I couldn’t pass up a chance to cruise around looking for dolphins. We joined Osprey Charters for boat ride that included a stop at the beautiful Shell Island, a 700-acre nature preserve with nothing but the classic white sand that squeaks when you walk on it. of Panama City—and maybe a few turtle hatching spots.
Where to Stay on Panama City Beach
This visit, I stayed as a guest of Laketown Wharf Resort. It’s the largest high rise complex in Panama City Beach. These condo rentals includes a shopping district with a nightly light show along the promenade. Grab an ice cream as settle on one of the benches to watch the show.
The condo was spacious and comfortable. And it came the accommodations my kids always coveted the most: bunk beds in the room and five pools on the grounds.
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