From beautiful beach houses to buzzy hotels, we round up the best family places to stay in Florida’s Gulf.
1/5 Carillon Beach
Carillon Beach was built on the principle of new urbanism – a way of developing a community in close proximity. Homes, stores and activities are all within walking distance, creating a neighbourhood that is both eco-friendly and people-friendly. It’s luxurious, safe and beautiful, perfect for a multigenerational holiday.
The houses are individually designed, the streets are quiet and the community is set back from the main road, to create the illusion that this neo-urban village is far from the bustling centre of Panama City Beach. You can visit Bellview Park, which provides plenty of family activities, including a children’s pool, playground with playhouse, a basketball court, tennis courts and a heated pool with pool house.
Carillon Bay is also home to Florida’s largest coastal dune lake, Lake Powell and Lake Carillon, in which you’ll see turtles, mullet and, time of year permitting, teal and waterfowl. Test out some outdoor yoga and paddleboard with the locals.
Find out more about Carillon Beach
2/5 Sterling Breeze
Sterling Breeze is the place to stay if you want a holiday jam-packed with activities. It’s located on the beach and sits close to all sorts of activities, such as dolphin cruises, boat rentals, helicopter tours and snorkelling trips. There is also parasailing for the daredevils among you.
You’re within walking distance of Pier Park, where you can satisfy all your cravings for shopping and eating alike. These condos range between one- and three-bedroom suites, to sleep between four and 10, and they are all fully equipped with a kitchen, TVs, bed linen, towels and a washer and dryer to make your stay as easy as possible.
Where to stay: Seven nights at the Sterling Breeze in Panama City Beach in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom with bunk inset room costs from £4,109 for a family of four, including return flights with Virgin Atlantic/Delta Airlines from Heathrow to Panama City Beach via Atlanta.
Find out more about Sterling Breeze
3/5 Splash Resort Panama City Beach
Splash Resort is the ideal place to stay with young, energetic kids. This resort sits along the coast, with spectacular front-facing ocean-view rooms. There’s plenty to do and see with the kids, with an interactive waterpark for the lively
and a ‘lazy river’ for the relaxed. Splash is also home to a Li’l Tot Splash Pad, eat-in cinema, mini bowling alley and the Riptide Bar and Grill. To access an array of restaurants and shops, nip over to Pier Park, only two miles down the road.
Where to stay: Seven nights at the Splash Resort Panama City Beach in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo costs from £4,306 for a family of four, including return flights with Virgin Atlantic/Delta Airlines from Heathrow to Panama City Beach via Atlanta.
Find out more about Splash Resort
4/5 Laketown Wharf
Laketown Wharf is one of the largest resorts in Panama CityBeach. It offers self-catered condos, which have one, two or three bedrooms, so is great for all ages and perfect for spending quality family time together. There are five swimming pools, including a kids’ interactive play pool, a gym, minigolf, on-site dining options and private access to the beach. Walk out onto the sand in front of the condos to enjoy water activities such as dolphin encounters, jet skis
and banana boat rides.
Where to stay: Seven nights room-only at Laketown Wharf in a one-bedroom Lake View costs from £4,074 for four, including return flights on Virgin Atlantic/ Delta Airlines from Heathrow to Panama City Beach via Atlanta.
Find out more about Laketown Wharf
5/5 Holiday Inn Club Vacations Panama City Beach Resort
Holiday Inn Club Vacations Panama City Beach Resort is a great place to take teenagers. You’ll be greeted by loud music and plenty of people. There’s a large pool with deckchairs all around, a hot tub and a splash kids’ club. Activities include volleyball, table tennis, ‘dive-in’ movies (where you can watch the latest family-friendly films around the pool).
There’s live entertainment daily – we saw a Polynesian fire show, which was something to behold. Grab an activities schedule on arrival to see what entertainment and activities will be available during your stay. The family rooms can sleep six people, with bunk beds for the kids, or you can stay in one of the kids’ suites, which have a partitioned section of the room where the children can sleep. Both rooms are equipped with a fridge and microwave to keep the kids happy with any snacks you bring.
Where to stay: Seven nights room-only at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Panama City Beach Resort costs from £4,058 for four, including return flights with Virgin Atlantic/Delta Airlines from Heathrow to Panama City Beach.