If you’d like to celebrate New Year’s Eve on a warm beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico but you also don’t want to miss the celebratory ball drop at midnight, Panama City Beach, Florida, just might be the place for you on December 31. There is a fun twist to the ball drop, however.
First, families with young children will be happy to know that Panama City Beach’s festivities include an early New Year’s Eve at 8 p.m., which includes the release of 10,000 inflatable beach balls from nets stretched over the crowd and fireworks. Then there will be a second countdown just before midnight that includes the lowering of a giant LED-lit beach ball and more fireworks.
“We are overjoyed to bring this exciting annual event back in its traditional format, following a modified event in 2020,” Dan Rowe, Visit Panama City Beach’s president and CEO told TravelAwaits. “With this year’s outstanding lineup of live music, the promise of 10,000 inflatable beach balls cascading down, and thrilling fireworks, visitors can say goodbye to 2021 in style whether it’s their first visit, or their fourteenth, time attending our celebration.”
A Coastal Retreat
Panama City Beach, which bills itself as the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches,” is located in Florida’s Panhandle. It’s just under 100 miles from Tallahassee and just under 300 miles from Atlanta.
Now, about those beaches. The area has 27 miles of “sugar-white sand beaches bordering clear, emerald-green waters” where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay converge, Visit Panama City Beach explains.
“The legendary pure white sand of Panama City Beach is attributed to quartz crystals washing down from the Appalachian Mountains centuries ago. Along their journey, the crystals were bleached, ground, smoothed, and polished,” according to Visit Panama City Beach. “The surf and tides of the Gulf of Mexico is responsible for depositing these millions of grains of sugar-white sand onto the pristine shoreline.”
New Year’s Eve
Panama City Beach’s New Year’s Eve festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. with children’s activities, live music, and food vendors. The kid’s countdown begins at 7:30 p.m., followed by dropping the beach balls and fireworks.
After that, there’s more live entertainment, followed by the night’s second New Year’s Eve countdown, beginning at 11:55 p.m.
During that countdown, visitors will watch a giant LED-lit beach ball be lowered down Celebration Tower in the center of Pier Park. The tower, which is more than 80-feet tall, is 10 feet taller than the tower used to lower the ball in Times Square in Manhattan for New Year’s Eve. The beach ball drop will then be followed by more fireworks launched over the Gulf of Mexico.
Know Before You Go
You can find more information about Panama City Beach’s New Year’s Eve celebration here.
Panama City Beach, which is bordered by St. Andrews and Camp Helen state parks, is also known as the “Wreck Capital of the South” because it’s near numerous sunken ships. If you’re interested in scuba diving, sport fishing, or other water activities, you can monitor beach conditions and even sign up for flag alerts here.
While you’re thinking about it, be sure to check out the rest of our Panama City Beach coverage, including: