Panama City Beach is famous for its emerald waters, white sands, and relaxing beach vibes, but it’s also a place to celebrate. Over the years, festival organisers have seized on the idyllic setting and use it as a backdrop for many incredible events on the Florida Gulf Coast. Thousands of visitors flock to Panama City Beach each year to join the fun.

    From beach concerts to thunderous motorcycle rallies, Panama City Beach hosts a myriad of festivals throughout the year. The events appeal to a wide range of interests, and the city receives a diverse influx of visitors. Check out the festivals and unique Panama City Beach celebrations you won’t find anywhere else and decide which ones you’d like to join.

    1

    New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop

    Ring in the New Year with fireworks and live music

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    The New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop draws more than 40,000 people to the shores of Panama City Beach. Pier Park closes to traffic as joyous revellers dance to live music, watch fireworks, and spend time with their loved ones. The first of 2 countdowns let the kids celebrate the good cheer before the adults await the turn of the calendar.

    Thousands of beach balls rain down on the streets for the 8 pm family beach drop and when the clock strikes midnight. The annual event continues to run strong after over a decade and has become the biggest New Year’s bash on the Gulf Coast. Bring your friends, family, and have a ball at this free event to start the year.

    Location: 600 Pier Park Dr, Panama City Beach, FL 32413, USA

    Open: 31 December from 5.30 pm to midnight

    Map
    2

    Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam

    Listen to country and southern rock bands on the beach

    • Nightlife
    • Photo

    The Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam welcomes today’s best country artists to the emerald waters of Panama City Beach. For years, festivalgoers have spent sunny days lounging on the beach while jamming to their favourite tunes. The 3-day event usually takes place on Labor Day weekend for a final summer bash on the Florida Gulf Coast.

    Frank Brown Park hosts the party, and the 200-acre facility gives patrons lots of space to dance. Previous artists to take the stage include Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Kid Rock, Brad Paisley, Florida Georgia Line, and Eric Church. The festival also gives up-and-coming country and southern rock artists the chance to entertain patrons and burst onto the scene.

    Location: 16200 Panama City Beach Pkwy, Panama City Beach, FL 32413, USA

    Open: Labor Day weekend: Friday–Saturday from 2 pm to midnight, Sunday from noon to midnight

    Map
    3

    PCB Mardi Gras & Music Festival

    Celebrate Mardi Gras while lounging on the pristine Gulf Coast

    • Photo
    • Budget

    Experience Mardi Gras beside the Gulf Coast’s white-sand beaches at the PCB Mardi Gras & Music Festival. The event always takes place the weekend before Fat Tuesday and alongside the Krewe of Dominique Youx's great Mardi Gras at the Beach parade. There is entertainment for all ages, and the festivities include live concerts, street fairs, parades, costume contests, float tours, and the Kidz Zone.

    The first evening concludes with a fireworks spectacle, and the Mardi Gras 5K kicks off the following morning. Watch talented musicians at Aaron Bessant Park or find a spot along Pier Park Drive to catch beads. Pier Park hosts the annual free event, and the beachfront location is Panama City’s leading shopping venue.

    Location: 600 Pier Park Dr, Panama City Beach, FL 32413, USA

    Map
    4

    Panama City Beach Scottish Festival

    Watch the Highland Games and hear traditional Scottish music

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    For around 30 years, the Panama City Beach Scottish Festival has celebrated Scottish heritage on the beach. Watch athletic competitions, border collie sheepherding demonstrations, the parade of Tartans, bagpipe bands, and Irish step dancers. There’s also a British car club show, traditional Scottish and Irish food, and kid-friendly activities. If you have Scottish ancestry, meet with Scottish clan representatives at the event. 

    The Scottish Tea Room is always popular among attendees, with vendors selling merchandise on the festival grounds. Festivalgoers who aren’t ready to go home can attend the Ceilidh, which takes place at Frank Brown Park. The bands give a final solo performance and close the festivities together with the Celtic Jam Time.

    Location: 16200 Panama City Beach Pkwy, Panama City Beach, FL 32413, USA

    Open: March: first Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm

    Map
    5

    Emerald Coast Cruizin’ Car Show

    Peek beneath the hood of your favourite classic hot rods

    • Photo
    • Budget

    The biannual Emerald Coast Cruizin’ Car Show is an open-air museum featuring thousands of vintage vehicles. Find your favourite classic cars and discover other hot rods, muscle cars, trucks, and speedsters you never knew existed. Aaron Bessant Park hosts the event and welcomes car enthusiasts of all ages to view the timeless vehicles.

    There are several cash giveaways, and you can bid for a classic car at a live auction. The festival also includes cruise-ins, live music, parades, swap meets, awards shows, and vendors. Participants register their vehicles to show off their rides and join other car enthusiasts at the opening block party.

    Location: 500 W Park Dr, Panama City, FL 32413, USA

    Open: November

    Phone: +1 662-576-1448

    Map
    6

    Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally

    Watch motorcycle stunt shows at this biker-friendly event

    • Photo
    • Budget

    Billed as America’s “Most Biker-Friendly Rally,” the Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally is a biannual festival at various sites around Panama City Beach. The free 4-day event attracts bikers from across the country and usually takes place during the first weekend of May and mid-October. Bikers cruise along the Gulf Coast, and each venue offers a unique atmosphere and lots of vendors.

    The Kick-Start Party starts the festivities with live music, pageant contests, and delicious seafood dishes. Show off your set of wheels in the custom bike contest or your body art at the tattoo contests. You can also ride alongside your fellow bikers in parades, watch the free concert series or join poker runs to win prizes.

    Location: Various locations around Panama City Beach

    Open: Early May and mid-October

    Phone: +1 850-249-7627

    7

    Pirates of the High Seas Fest

    Dress up like a pirate or join the kids in a scavenger hunt

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    If you’ve dreamed of being a pirate, the Pirates of the High Seas Fest lets you share that love with your family. The Columbus Day weekend event brings you lots of family-friendly activities around Panama City Beach. Pier Park and the Grand Lagoon host the festivities. The fun includes live music, parades, costume contests, and epic sword fights.

    The festival kicks off with an exciting Treasure Drop, with each day concluding with fireworks shows. Shop for your pirate-themed gear at the Festival Village, take the youngsters to the Little Pirates Fun Zone, or bring your family pooch for the Pirate Pet Parade. The little ones can join a fishing clinic, watch a magic show, and partake in treasure hunts.

    Location: Multiple locations in Panama City Beach

    Open: Mid-October

    8

    Real. Fun. Fourth

    See fireworks lighting up Panama City Beach's night sky

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Real. Fun. Fourth invites you to a grandiose fireworks spectacle to celebrate Independence Day. The 2-day event features consecutive nights of magical shows that light up the night sky above Panama City Beach. Spend the balmy summer days swimming in turquoise waters, listening to live music, and dining on seafood before finding the ideal spot to watch the main events.

    Multiple fireworks shows take place in various locations, ranging from beachfront resorts to marinas. Local radio stations play music to accompany the breathtaking light displays that entertain visitors of all ages. Just make sure you arrive early with your beach chair to get fantastic views.

    Location: Multiple locations in Panama City Beach

    Open: July 3–4

    9

    SandJam Music Fest

    Crank up the volume with today’s best alternative rock bands

    • Nightlife
    • Photo
    • Budget

    SandJam Music Fest is one of Panama City Beach’s largest spring events. The hottest alternative rock bands on the planet gather on the sparkling white sands of Panama City Beach for the 3-day bash. Music lovers from around 40 states and multiple foreign countries party all weekend at the M.B. Miller County Pier.

    The event’s first 2 years were a tremendous success, with notable artists such as Kings of Leon, Incubus, Sublime, Third Eye Blind, Young the Giant, and The Revivalists. Festival organisers build the stages right on the beach, so you can sink your toes into the sand while jamming to your favourite bands.

    Location: 12213 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407, USA

    Open: April

    Map
    10

    Florida Jeep Jam in Panama City Beach

    Bring your ride and join the hottest jeep event in the Southeast

    • Photo
    • Budget

    The Florida Jeep Jam lets you spend a beach vacation with your fellow jeep lovers in Panama City Beach. Jeep owners around the southeast invade the Gulf Coast to conquer obstacle courses and off-road excursions. Challenge your vehicle to all kinds of barriers that include dunes, rocks, poles, mounds, and more. Join the Beach Turtle Crawl to drive on the white sand beaches and crash the block party to celebrate the National Jeep Go Topless Day.

    You can visit the jeep vendor village for all the latest tools, gadgets, gear, and accessories you need for your ride. The event also includes live music, scavenger hunts, outdoor movies, poker runs, and other fun activities for your jeep getaway.

    Location: 16200 Panama City Beach Pkwy, Panama City Beach, FL 32413, USA

    Open: June

    Phone: +1 850-890-3447

    Map
    Daniel Grenier | Contributing Writer

    Start planning your trip

    Why book with Hotels.com?

    Keep exploring

    Florida

    United States of America

    Travel alert

    COVID-19 alert: Travel requirements are changing rapidly, including need for pre-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine on arrival.

    Check restrictions for your trip.
    Back to top

    Maps