Laguna Beach is situated a little distance from the hub of Panama City’s beach, yet it offers virtually all of the appeal of the more well-known shoreline down the road. When you want to have some fun in the sand, water and sun — and be away from the densest crowds — this is the place to go.
Compared to many of Florida’s desirable beach towns along the Gulf of Mexico, Laguna Beach stands apart for its lack of commercial development. Around the time of World War II, landowners to the north of U.S. Highway 98 were concerned that their views of and access to the beach would be lost to commercial development — the beach itself lies on the southern side of U.S. 98.
To protect against the injunction, the northern landowners successfully got an injunction from Florida’s Supreme Court that reserved the land south of U.S. 98 in Laguna Beach proper against major commercial development. This reservation has lasted up to the present day.
As a result, Laguna Beach is much less developed than its Gulf Coast neighbors, such as Panama City Beach. You won’t find highrise condominium, enormous hotels or eateries right along the shore of Laguna. Instead, you’ll find a beach as nature intended it — sand, surf and sun (on most days). There’s also some seaweed occasionally too, but not any more than Panama City or other beaches get.
The one structure that you’ll see likely no matter where you are on the beach is the Laguna Beach Pier. Other than walking along it, though, this underdeveloped shoreline is the perfect place to relax. Splash in the waves, work on your tan line and take a walk along that pier. It’s a nice change of pace from the more developed beaches in the area.
A few of our favorite features at Laguna Beach include:
Sand at Low Tide
Come to the beach at low tide, and the sand is especially expansive. Stroll along the shoreline and back searching for shells, and dip your toes in when you get out to the water.
Shoreline During a Storm
Sunny days aren’t the only time to visit the beach. Come here during the midst of a (non-hurricane) storm, and watch the surf pound in. The water is wide open here, so the action is quite exciting.
Laguna Beach Pier
Head out the enormous pier for a view of the beach from above the water, and keep your eyes on the surf below in case any marine life is visible. Bring a rod and reel if you’re so inclined.
– Laguna Beach is a great place to launch smaller boats, like kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The beach doesn’t have a boat launch for larger watercraft that’s on a trailer, though. Powell Lake has a good nearby boat launch that affords access to the water in front of Laguna Beach.