Panama City is surrounded by St. Andrew Bay, which provides a beautiful protected harbor. Residents and visitors can find a variety of entertainment, recreation, and cultural activities in Port Panama City.
With a humid subtropical climate, Port Panama City has short winters and long hot and humid summers. Cooler than south Florida, winters are mild and spring and fall are comfortable and pleasant. Temperatures range from an average high of 33°C (91°F) from June through August to an average low of 3°C (37°F) in January. Interestingly, Port Panama City is located in the United States' Central Time Zone, while most of Florida is in the Eastern Time Zone.
One of the most popular destinations for outdoor lovers in Port Panama City is St. Andrew State Park. Open throughout the year, this former military reservation boasts more than 1.5 miles of white sand beaches bordered by beautiful emerald waters. In the water, people swim, snorkel, scuba dive, canoe, and kayak. Fishermen have two piers, a boat ramp, and a jetty for ample catches. Two nature trails wind through the coastal plains ecosystems.
A picnic pavilion is available at the St. Andrew State Park beach, and full-service campsite and primitive youth camping make this Port Panama City park popular with overnight visitors. With two campground loops near Grand Lagoon, this State Park offers 149 RV/tent camping sites and nine tent-only sites. During the spring and summer, the Shell Island Boat Tours operates tours of the St. Andrew Bay area. There is also a concession stand with fishing supplies, souvenirs, and snacks.
The Visual Arts Center in Port Panama City is more than an educational adventure: it is the only such museum for 100 miles in any direction. Port Panama City is one of the country's best small art towns, and Visual Arts Center is key to maintaining that status and making Port Panama City a cultural arts leader for northwest Florida. Programs are available for both children and adults.
The Port Panama City Visual Arts Center's Impressions Gallery is a hands-on exhibit for children. Special summer art programs are provided for students at elementary and middle schools. Classes are available for adults who want to learn more about drawing, photography, painting, sculpture, and pottery. There are also intensive studio workshops for mature artists available throughout the year.
The Pine Log State Forest is about 28 kilometers (17 miles) northwest of Port Panama City. Established in 1936, it is the oldest state forest in Florida. With a rich diversity of natural communities, the Pine Log State Forest has three named streams and several small lakes.
The park contains more than 22 kilometers (14 miles) of hiking trails including a 13-kilometer (8-mile) section of the Florida National Scenic Trail. The 20-kilometer (12.5-mile) Old Sawmill loop trail provides for horseback riding. A separate trail, the Crooked Creek Mountain Bicycle Trail, crosses the horse trail in several places.
The Pine Log State Forest Recreation Area contains a campground offering 20 campsites with restrooms, showers, and a sanitary dumping station. Camping is allows up to 14 consecutive days, and senior discounts are available. Reservations are not accepted, so campsites are available on a first-come first-served basis. There are also three primitive campsites for groups up to five people.
A pavilion at the picnic area next to the camping area is open from dawn until sunset every day, and picnic tables and grills area available. Swimming is allowed in East Lake only, but no lifeguards area on duty. Pets are not allowed at the lakes, and visitors should watch out for alligators.