American Way staff
May 2020

With its expansive coastline and bustling nightlife, there’s no shortage of dining options along the water on Panama City Beach. Each restaurant offers its own take on classic Gulf Coast cuisine and potent boat drinks, with exceptional views to boot. This shortlist provides raucous tiki bars, intimate spots on the tranquil marina and everything in between.


Fresh seafood and live jams are served up daily at this no-frills beachfront restaurant. Schooners has earned its place as a Panama City Beach institution by mastering the simple pleasures: ice-cold beers, hushpuppies and fresh grouper roasted on the grill without any fancy sauces to mask the charcoal flavor.


Runaway Island

As the name suggests, this oceanfront spot will make you want to pick up and run away to Panama City Beach. The restaurant offers two levels of dining space, but its crowning feature is the outdoor deck that runs out to the white-sand beach. Local seafood specialties are served up alongside craft cocktails, and the multicolored sunset provides nightly entertainment.


Pineapple Willy’s

Since 1984, Pineapple Willy’s has been offering classic, Old Florida charms within view of the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. While the restaurant holds the undisputed title of best ribs on the beach, there are plenty of other favorites such as the alligator tail, oysters and blackened mahi-mahi.



In terms of sheer footprint, Sharky’s beachfront restaurant is hard to beat. Experience Panama City Beach’s largest tiki bar while enjoying featured dishes such as the mango mahi salad or succulent snow crab legs. From the playground on the beach to live entertainment every evening, there’s a little something for every age and appetite.


Anderson’s Restaurant

There’s nothing quite like dining on jumbo stuffed Gulf shrimp while watching the fishing fleets unload their haul. Recipient of the Best Seafood Restaurant award from Southern Living magazine, Capt. Anderson’s has won over literally millions of guests since its opening in 1967. It is one of those rare family restaurants that just seems to get better with age.


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