Panama City Beach Fl., not to be confused with Panama City, the next town over, is in northwestern Florida. It offers a welcoming mix of Southern charm and sugar white sand, with plenty of fresh seafood befitting its location on the Gulf of Mexico. Whether you are here for a family getaway or with a group of friends, you will find plenty of fun free things to do in Panama City Beach.

Free things to do in Panama City Beach Fl - take the boardwalk over to the expansive white sand beach.

Free things to do in Panama City Beach Florida – take the boardwalk over to the expansive white sand beach. Photo by Cindy Richards / Empty Nest TravelingMom

Fun Free Things to Do in Panama City Beach Fl

Long known for its emerald-green waters and sugar white sandy shores, Panama City Beach is a year-round warm-weather destination. You will find events throughout the year that appeal to visitors of all ages – to be enjoyed on land, sand and sea. Below is an overview of fun free things to do in Panama City Beach all year long.

Fun Things to Do: Mardi Gras Festival and Parade, February 

This family-friendly festival is presented by The Krewe of Dominique Youx. It’s a terrific alternative for travelers hoping to experience the culture and celebration of Mardi Gras while enjoying a seaside vacation. The renowned festivities of Bourbon Street come to Panama City Beach’s Pier Park for two days of fabulous floats, masked performers, colorful costumes, a signature parade and street party complete with Cajun food and fireworks.

Free Things to Do: Kids Fishing Rodeo, April

Every April on a Saturday, Frank Brown Park invites kids ages 16 and under to join a fishing rodeo. Kids get hot dogs, fishing rods, and tackle boxes.

Free Things to Do: Summer Concert Series

Listen to free concerts in June, July and August at the Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater next to Pier Park. Bring your own lawn chairs or blanket. Coolers, pets and food allowed.

Fireworks on the Fourth of July is one of many free things to do in Panama City Beach Fl. Photo taken by Kabir Bakie at Blue Ash Community Fireworks July 2005 via Wiki Commons

Photo taken by Kabir Bakie at Blue Ash Community Fireworks July 2005 via Wiki Commons

Fun Things to Do: Star Spangled Spectacular at Pier Park, July 4

Panama City Beach celebrates Fourth of July in style at Pier Park. Families can enjoy a day filled with live entertainment, children’s activities, tasty food and drinks, as well as a breathtaking fireworks display at 9pm.

Fun Things to Do: Pirates of the High Seas Festival, October 

Columbus Day weekend brings a wave of fun-filled adventures to Panama City Beach with the Pirates of the High Seas Fest. Taking place throughout the coastal community, the festival includes an ensemble of parades and sword-swinging showdowns. It culminates in a dueling fireworks display reenacting The Battle of the Seven Seas.

Free Things to Do: Annual Jazz by the Bay, October

Listen to jazz for free each fall at the Oaks by the Bay Park.

Fun Things to Do: Annual Thunder Beach Rally, May and October

Known as “The Most Biker Friendly FREE Rally in the United States,” the Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally is held twice each year in Panama City Beach Fl. Bikers from around the country enjoy scenic rides along the Emerald Coast, live entertainment and local cuisine.

Panama City Beach Conservation Park

Looking for more free fun things to do in Panama City Beach?

Panama City Beach Conservation Park. Credit: PCB Conservation Park

Boardwalks and 24 miles of unpaved trails welcome hikers and bikers to these wetlands. Reclaimed water has helped restore the natural setting. Find local flora and fauna and enjoy the picnic tables.

New Year’s Eve

On December 31, the countdown celebration begins seconds before midnight as an 800-pound glowing beach ball descends, lighting up at the stroke of midnight to signify the New Year. The multi-generational portion of the event is held earlier in the evening with fireworks and a family ball drop, consisting of 10,000 inflatable beach balls dropped from the sky.

Bike Scenic 30A

You’ll find the start of Scenic 30A slightly west of Panama City Beach. This is a great stretch for biking with the family.

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Panama City Beach Fl is one of the country's most beautiful beaches. It's affordable, too, but can be an even more budget-friendly family vacation if you do some of the many free things to do in Panama City Beach.

What are your favorite free things to do in Panama City Beach? Share with us in the comment section below.