It’s time to return to Panama City Beach. If your memories revolve around crowded T-shirt shacks and gritty mom-and-pop motels, you’re in for a big surprise. This vacation magnet (your grandparents may have met here!) now sports a fresh style. It’s nudged the beach bum culture aside for upscale hotels and condos, good restaurants, a fabulous new shopping district, and sparkling high-rises.
Don’t worry. You can still relax in flip-flops and cutoff jeans in most places. The oyster bars, beach bands, and miniature golf courses with dinosaurs still thrive. Meanwhile polished businesses have opened that show a better look. Here’s our guide to the best.