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Beach Scenes and Ocean Views - Where to Stay in Panama City Beach

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Thanks to decades hosting collegiate spring breakers, Panama City Beach is stacked with rooms right on the ocean. Beachside lodging can be found for every budget: from luxury condos on Lower Grand Lagoon overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, to no-nonsense motels only steps from the surf.

East End


Panama City Beach’s East End forks into 2 major sections: Upper Grand Lagoon and Lower Grand Lagoon. Upper Grand Lagoon is a tranquil residential area bordering a U.S. Navy training and research facility. Lower Grand offers views of emerald waters at nearly every turn. This area is a little more energized than its northern neighbor, especially at night.


Golf enthusiasts enjoy staying in Upper Grand Lagoon, as several sports-minded hotels have their own courses. Lower Grand Lagoon is dominated by high-rise condos, some with private beachfront property. Amenities here often include outdoor pools, spa tubs, fitness centers, and children’s clubs.


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Middle Beach


As Front Beach Road cuts through downtown and toward the water, numerous hotels appear, along with quaint and kitschy seaside shops. Nearby, you can fish from the County Pier, or savor some upscale cuisine a few blocks from the beach. Be advised: during March and April, Middle Beach is a top destination for spring breaking college students letting off steam.


Middle Beach's towering beachfront condos are it most obvious accommodation options. If you prefer your bed a little closer to the ground, the area offers plenty of other variously priced hotels and inns.


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Open Sands


Spectacular rooms abound in Open Sands, many with ocean-facing balconies perfect for taking in the splendor of the Gulf. Some provide equipment for kayaking, parasailing, and other water sports. Staying in this section of Panama City Beach also gives you easy access to a water park, and both professional and mini-golf courses.


Ocean Sands' beachfront accommodation includes familiar chain hotels and pared-down budget lodging, all under 1 mile north on Panama City Beach Parkway. There also many family-minded condos set along the shore.


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Gulf Resort Beach


Toward the western side of Panama City Beach, you’ll find many accommodation choices along Edge Water, El Centro, and Gulf Resort Beaches. Visitors love the area's proximity to pristine sands, as well as shopping destination Pier Park and entertainment like the Gulf World Marine Park and Miracle Strip Amusement Park.


Throughout these neighborhoods, you’ll find national chains and upscale hotels, many with amenities like their own private beaches. Luxury choices often house their own restaurants and bars directly on the sand.


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West End


The West End of Panama City Beach is near Camp Helen State Park, with coastal dunes, freshwater wetlands, hiking trails, and the serene Powell Lake. Although staying in West End means you'll have easy access to inland fishing and wildlife viewing, you won’t have to sacrifice seaside fun: the beach is just a few minutes away.


As Front Beach Road continues towards the western edge of the city, condos with seaside cabanas, high-end hotels with full-service spas and exclusive restaurants, and no-frills bed and breakfasts dot the landscape.


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