Vacationing With Grandparents in Panama City Beach? Memorable, Fun, and Age-Appropriate Adventures

Planning a vacation that is fun and relaxing for kids, parents, and grandparents can be a challenge, especially if this is the first such vacation you’ve planned. Fortunately, Panama City Beach offers a wide variety of activities, perfect for everyone from the theme-park-loving child to a grandparent who prefers to spend time reading quietly while sipping a strong drink.

Read on for three entertaining and memorable Panama City Beach activities that are appropriate for kids—and adults—of all ages, as well as a few of the factors you’ll want to consider when planning your first multi-generational vacation.

Relax on a Pontoon Boat

While the Gulf view from one of Panama City Beach’s white sand beaches can seem like the pinnacle of relaxation, few things are better than seeing the same view from the comfort of a pontoon boat over the clear ocean waters.

Whether your crew is in the mood for an adventure and wants to explore the coast or would rather relax while bobbing on the waves, renting a pontoon boat for a half-day or full-day excursion can be a great way to break up the beach routine. As long as none of the adults in your party have ocean-related motion sickness, these boat rentals are right for every age, with life vests and other safety gear provided at no extra cost.

Before you set out on your pontoon boat, you’ll want to pack a few supplies to ensure your trip is as fun and fulfilling as possible. These include:

  • Sunscreen
  • Bottled water
  • Food and other beverages (especially if you’re opting for a full-day rental)
  • A cooler with ice to keep your drinks and food cold
  • A couple of plastic bags (for trash or wet clothes)
  • A camera

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, you and up to a dozen other passengers will be able to set sail, heading to Shell Island, St. Andrew State Park or just circling around the clear Gulf waters while enjoying each other’s company.

Search for Sand Crabs and Seashells

If you’re far more interested in exploring the natural world than riding coasters or meeting characters at theme parks, Shell Island can provide the perfect one-day excursion for your Panama City Beach vacation. This barrier island is home to a wide variety of wildlife, from endangered green turtles to nearly translucent ghost crabs and surprisingly large aquatic birds, and has remained undeveloped even as much of the rest of Florida has become a tourist attraction.

Shell Island offers a slower pace, perfect for grandparents who may be excited to spend the day in a quiet and tranquil setting with loved ones. However, it’s important to note that there are no public restrooms on Shell Island; because aging can often result in a more frequent need to use the restroom, you’ll want to make other provisions, including a portable camping toilet, to maintain your loved one’s comfort and privacy.

Bounce on a Banana Boat

For older family members who get enough tranquility at home and prefer more adrenaline-fueled vacation activities, a banana boat ride can be entertaining and exhilarating without being overly risky. These long, banana-shaped boats are towed behind a boat or wave-runner, helping you enjoy the waves without the hassle or hazard of operating a piece of equipment yourself.

During your banana boat ride, you’ll be outfitted with life jackets and other safety gear, ensuring your continued safety even if you or a grandparent inadvertently slips off the boat and requires help getting back on.

Factors to Consider When Planning Your Trip

Planning a multigenerational vacation can be a challenge, especially if you’ve grown accustomed to modifying your vacation plans to include children but haven’t given much thought to the older generation in the process. You’ll want to consider a few different factors before booking your tickets to ensure you and all your vacation companions have a fun and stress-free trip.

Dietary Needs and Restrictions

Depending upon when your loved ones are accustomed to eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you may need to opt for more frequent meals or snacks throughout the day. This can ensure that no one becomes overly hungry (and grumpy) if you opt to eat several hours after their normal lunch or dinner time while providing everyone with much-needed fuel throughout the day.

Health Considerations

If the older members of your group suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension, you may have to take some extra steps to maintain their health in the hot Florida climate. Ensuring your relatives are well-hydrated at all times can be key to keeping blood pressure at manageable levels while carrying some quick-acting glucose gel can prevent diabetics from suffering the consequences of low blood sugar on the go.

By that same token, an airline trip may be too dangerous for an elderly person who is prone to blood clots, which can be aggravated by even a few hours on a plane; you may want to rent a car instead.

By keeping these factors in mind, as well as a few fun excursion ideas in your back pocket, you’ll be sure to make your next Panama City Beach vacation a time to remember.