Panama City Beach has undergone an incredible transformation in the past several years. As early as October the Snowbirds begin arriving in significant numbers, usually peaking in early December, in time for the holiday season.
The area is particularly popular with Canadians and mid-westerners, who in winters past, rented rooms at the dozens of mom and pop hotels with kitchenettes.
Today, condominiums tend to replace the mom and pop hotels but the amenities are often senior friendly featuring heated indoor and outdoor pools, spas and knee-friendly elevators.
Most Snowbirds find rentals on Panama City Beach or at the numerous RV parks and campgrounds inland. This is a popular place for summer sports groups and area recreational facilities, walking paths, tennis and golf and other numerous opportunities for exercise.
An active senior center and the winter ministry at Noah’s Ark, an outreach program for the Methodist Church, offer dozens of organized activities and social events.
Panama City Beach is home to the sprawling Tyndall Air Force Base, an attractive feature to military retirees who are able to use their facilities.
Fishing is popular here both deep sea and by pier. Recreational boaters enjoy the more placid water of St. Andrews Bay.
Despite the winter winds blowing a bit colder than some other areas in south Florida, snowbirds, who return to the area year after year, say that the warm welcome they receive each year is what keeps them coming back.