Important Things To Know Before Moving To Panama City, FL
The purpose of this article is to explain the pros and cons of living in Panama City, Florida.
Located in Florida’s Bay County, the local region that includes Panama City, Panama City Beach, and Lynn Haven has a lot to offer.
But, it may not be for everyone. So, it’s good to know the advantages and disadvantages before moving to the Panama City region.
Let’s get started…
Pros And Cons Of Living In Panama City, Florida
Here are our top 15 Panama City pros and cons…
- Beautiful beaches, parks, and sunsets
- Lots of outdoor activities
- Great weather
- Tasty fish and seafood
- Affordable cost of living
- Good access to education
- Laid-back residents
- Too many tourists
- Bad traffic congestion
- Overdevelopment of the waterfront
- Frequent rain storms
- High summer heat and humidity
- Risk of hurricanes
- Poor quality of life for some
- Limited job market
Next, we will go through each of these points in detail.
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And when you are done. But before you go, be sure to check out all of our…
…in Florida. And beyond.
But now, let’s talk about life in Panama City…
Beautiful Beaches, Parks, And Sunsets
In and around Panama City, you will have close access to pristine, white, sandy beaches. Featuring crystal clear turquoise water.
The water’s color is the reason why this part of Florida is called the Emerald Coast.
There are plenty of beach access points. And each beach has a unique appeal.
Some notable ones include:
- Panama City Beach & Pier
- Shell Island Beach
- Camp Helen State Park Beach
- St. Andrews State Park Beach
- Rick Stelzer Park
Furthermore, as you explore your new home, be sure to keep an eye out for the marine wildlife. Such as bottlenose dolphins and sea turtles that also like residing in this area.
Finally, the sunsets here are beautiful too. With different colors every evening. I find the water and setting sun can transport a person mentally. To a different space and time.
Next, we will stick with the outdoor theme…
Lots Of Outdoor Activities
Like many Florida cities located on the Gulf Of Mexico. There is plenty to do for the outdoor enthusiast.
First, water sports are a big thing here.
Fishing, boating, paddleboarding, or just strolling on the beach.
Second, for land lovers, you can keep entertained too.
Since opportunities abound. To golf, hike, bike, and camp too.
Of course, this next advantage of living here makes all the outdoor fun possible. As the pros and cons of living in Panama City, Florida roll-on…
I think you will find the weather to be outstanding here. With warm year-round temperatures. And plenty of sunshine.
First of all, you should know that January is the coldest month. Also, it has a higher number of cloudy days.
However, it’s rare for daytime temperatures not to reach at least 60 degrees. And nighttime temperatures hardly ever fall below 40.
Furthermore, you may be happy to know. It never snows.
But you do get to experience more noticeable seasonal weather patterns. Unlike living in south Florida. Where it is summer all of the time.
Of course, all this fun in the sun makes a person hungry. So, to satisfy your appetite…
Tasty Fish And Seafood
You will find an abundance of fish and seafood. With freshness and flavors that are amazing.
Because of the warm Gulf of Mexico waters. Nestled in the Florida panhandle.
The variety and options of seafood are impressive.
- Blackfin tuna
- Red snapper
…are all readily available.
Next, is another one of the benefits of moving to this part of the Florida Panhandle…
Affordable Cost Of Living
The cost of living in Panama City, Florida is quite reasonable.
For example, BestPlaces.net scores overall living costs at about 8% less than the average in the United States. With savings from housing costs leading the way.
Also, Florida has no state income tax. So, depending on what state you are moving from. And how much money you make.
Those things mean the taxes you can save on your income versus living elsewhere. Can be substantial.
Finally, moving is a big deal. So, make sure you have your financial house in order.
You might like to try the free online tool from Personal Capital. For managing your expenses, budget, and investments all in one place.
Good Access To Education
For a small town, Panama City has surprisingly easy access to higher education options.
Whether you want the kids to stay close to home for college. Or, you want to further your academic credentials.
You will be in proximity to Gulf Coast State College. And a Florida State University (FSU) satellite campus as well.
Both are recognized for a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Across many different academic areas.
Then for families with younger children, Panama City is located in Bay County. And it is part of the Bay District School System.
Thousands of students attend one of the many elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools located in Panama City, Panama City Beach, and nearby Lynn Haven.
And for the last item on our list of the best things about Panama City living…
Compared to many other Florida cities, Panama City is like a small town.
It is a resort area with a beach town vibe. So, for the most part, locals are friendly laid back folks.
On the other hand, they don’t always appreciate this next point.
As we shift to the cons of living in Panama City…
Too Many Tourists
Because of the Gulf of Mexico and its beautiful sandy beaches, Panama City is a popular destination in Florida.
So, as a resident, be ready for a stream of visitors. That descend on the area during a large portion of the year.
Spring break season is a peak time. Also, events like the Thunder Beach Bike Rally and the Florida Jeep Jam bring lots of tourists to the area.
Furthermore, family vacationers dominate the summer season.
On the other hand, from November into February. It is much more peaceful. Since Panama City does not experience summer-like warmth like other areas of this state.
Next, the popularity and the onslaught of visitors bring another problem with living in Panama City…
Bad Traffic Congestion
As more and more people come here than ever before. It makes traffic congestion horrible.
You can trudge along for up to an hour. Just trying to get from one end of the beach to the other.
So, you will want to figure out the best times to get around. And the available shortcuts.
Over Development Of The Waterfront
As the years have passed, the Panama City Beach waterfront has seen a lot of development. Now, high rises and condominium buildings populate the landscape.
So, if you desire a more natural environment. Less touched by human hands. Then, this may not be the place for you.
Next, we know the weather is mostly great.
But, there are a few things about it that you should be aware of. Before moving to Panama City.
Frequent Rain Storms
First, it rains frequently. Fortunately, the storms blow through quickly.
But it can disrupt any planned outdoor activities you may have for the day.
High Summer Heat And Humidity
From June through August it gets intensely hot. With plenty of humidity.
After it rains. When the sun comes back out. It can feel like a sauna.
So, if you are moving from a northern climate. It may take some time to acclimate to your new environment.
Or, just plan on spending a good amount of the summer season. Chilling in the air-conditioned comfort of your home
And one final weather event worth mentioning. As we count down each of the remaining Panama City pros and cons…
Risk Of Hurricanes
Like almost all of Florida living, Panama City is prone to hurricanes.
As the recent memory of Hurricane Michael in 2018 is still fresh. Because it was a very bad storm. And some areas of the city remain in disrepair from its devastation.
So, be prepared after moving. For possibly needing to evacuate the area from time to time.
Plus, it’s a good idea to prepare in advance.
Such as having good insurance coverage. And hurricane preparation supplies to protect your property.
Poor Quality Of Life For Some
Not everyone shares equally in the enjoyable lifestyle here in Panama City, Panama City Beach, or Lynn Haven.
Because there is a population of homeless people. Along with a drug-oriented subculture.
Finally, property crime is a little higher than you might like too.
So, you will want to think about your safety and security. As you choose your exact location in the region.
But rest assured. There are plenty of safe places to live. Just be sure to do your homework.
Last but not least. The final downside of moving to Panama City…
Limited Job Market
If you are moving from a large U.S. metropolitan area. And desire access to a significant number of professional job opportunities. You won’t find much of that in Panama City.
Because the labor market is somewhat limited.
What you will find is the hospitality, military, and real estate industries make up a big part of the local economy.
Furthermore, if you work in hospitality. Winters can be a little slow. With opportunities being a bit more limited than during the busy tourist season.
Finally, locals have a reputation for not always having the best work ethic. Something to keep in mind if you are thinking about starting a business after you move.
Okay. That concludes our 15 things to know before moving to Panama City.
So, allow me to wrap up. With a few parting thoughts.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Panama City, FL
Hopefully, you can now see that Panama City is a nice place to live. Good weather, outdoor activities, and affordable living costs top our list of the many good things about it.
However, living here isn’t for everyone. As its popularity and attractiveness as a tourist destination come with a price.
So, carefully consider Panama City’s pros and cons before you move.
More Reading About Life Beyond Panama City
- Several good places to live in southwest Florida
- Should you move to Florida or Texas?
- Low cost of living places in Florida
Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.