A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Orlando vs. Panama City for Resorts, Families, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Orlando or Panama City?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Orlando or Panama City? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Orlando

Orlando is a entertaining, active, and family-friendly city. And you can't forget about the shopping, theater, and nightlife.

Panama City

Panama City is a fun-filled, active, and cosmopolitan beach town. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include food, beaches, and shopping.

Orlando and Panama City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Home to Disney World, Universal Studios, and the city's many amusement parks
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Not as many resort options


Is there more to do in Orlando or Panama City?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Orlando. Although Orlando and Panama City are popular destinations, Orlando has more sights and attractions for tourists. Orlando is very popular for its theatre productions, food, resorts, and shopping, while Panama City attracts visitors for its nightlife, music, beaches, and impressive beauty. Orlando is famous for being the home of Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and many other theme parks and family-friendly activities. It is also well known for Disney World, Universal Studios, and the city's many amusement parks. Panama City is famous for its watersports, sandy beaches, and year-round beach weather.

How is Orlando different from Panama City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Panama City and Orlando. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Orlando or Panama City Better for Theater?

Orlando
Panama City

Orlando is a nice place to visit for its theatre productions. However, Panama City is not a theatre destination.

With some theater and performance venues, you might want to see a show in Orlando. The city has a number of local theaters that are fun to explore. As home to Disney World and Universal Studios, there are also a number of shows available that are affiliated with the parks.

Panama City is not a theatre destination.


Is the Food Better in Orlando or Panama City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Orlando
Panama City

Orlando is a great destination for its restaurant scene. Also, Panama City is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Orlando. There are a diversity of restaurants on the Disney grounds and nearby. You'll also find many restaurants at Universal CityWalk and Disney Springs. Food can be expensive, and the quality can vary dramatically. Many people enjoy going to dinner shows as well. Restaurants can be challenging also, as reservations must be made months in advance.

Panama City is becoming an appealing option for foodies. There are many waterfront restaurants that serve freshly caught seafood. Head to town for a charming atmosphere or grab a bite at a casual eatery. Fried seafood is popular when eating out but you'll also find plenty of options for land-lovers. Most restaurants also have kid-friendly menus.

Is Orlando or Panama City Better for Nightlife?

Orlando
Panama City

Panama City is great for nightlife. Also, Orlando is not as popular, but is still a nice city for nightlife and partying.

Many people head to Panama City for the nightlife scene. The nightlife is particular crazy during spring break, when the town fills with students. Head to the famous Club La Vela or Spinnaker for music and fun at night.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Orlando. If you need a break from the kids, you'll find some of the best nightlife around Orlando at Disney Springs, Wall Street Plaza and Universal CityWalk.

Is Orlando or Panama City Better for Music?

Orlando
Panama City

Panama City is a popular place for live music. However, Orlando is not a live music destination.

The music scene in Panama City is active and vibrant. A popular way to enjoy music in the area is to find a restaurant with a lounge where local musicians perform.

Orlando is not a live music destination.


Is Orlando or Panama City Better for Resorts?

Orlando
Panama City

Orlando is an amazing city to visit for its resorts. Also, Panama City is still popular, but not quite as popular for its luxury resorts.

Orlando offers an unforgettable resort vacation. Disney World is famous for its many iconic resorts. Some of the most popular are the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Port Orleans Resort, and the Grand Floridian Resort. There are also many resorts that aren't affiliated with the major theme parks. These tend to be more affordable, but transportation options to and from the park are limited. You'll also miss out on the perks that come with staying at a theme park resort.

Panama City has a few great resort options. Most people stay in condos that are VRBO's or Airbnbs, but there are resorts in the area as well.

Is Orlando or Panama City Better for Beaches?

Orlando
Panama City

Panama City is great for its beaches. However, Orlando is not a beach destination.

Panama City is considered a top beach destination. With miles of long white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, this area's beaches offer a beautiful escape. Head to the area's state parks for the most natural experience. These include St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park. A day trip to Shell Island is also popular.

Orlando is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Orlando or Panama City?

Orlando
Panama City

Orlando is a great destination for its shopping opportunities. Also, Panama City is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

Orlando is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. Shopping is a dream for any Disney enthusiast. There are countless malls and shops, both on and off the Disney grounds, that sell all of the Disney paraphernalia. Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk are the most famous areas. During the evenings, these areas can be very crowded, but during the day they're less popular as most people are at the theme parks.

Panama City has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are a number of malls and shopping centers in the area.


Is Orlando or Panama City Better for Christmas?

Orlando
Panama City

Orlando is an amazing city to visit for its Christmas activities. However, Panama City does not offer Christmas activities.

Orlando is a world class destination for shoppers. Christmas at Disney World is lots of fun. There are decorations and all kinds of seasonal activities around town.

Panama City does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Orlando or Panama City Better for Families?

Orlando
Panama City

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Orlando or Panama City.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Orlando is a very family-friendly destination. Known as a theme park capital, here you'll find the iconic Disney World, as well as Universal Studios, SeaWorld and many more. While most people spend their vacation at the Disney or Universal resorts, there is also an endless supply of less mainstream parks and activities in the area.

Panama City is one of the most popular family destinations. This area has large sandy beaches, waterparks, amusement parks, and marine parks. Kids will enjoy playing around at WonderWorks, cooling off at Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and learning about marine life at Gulf World Marine Park. There are also many watersports and water activities that are fun for the whole family.

Is Orlando or Panama City Better for Couples?

Orlando
Panama City

Panama City is great for romance. Also, Orlando is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its romantic activities.

Panama City is a great beach town if you're traveling as a couple. The beautiful beaches and romantic restaurants make for a great romantic getaway. This is the perfect place to take sunset walks along the beach and sample freshly caught local seafood.

Orlando makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. While most people visit the area with family, there is a niche crowd that enjoys honeymooning or vacationing here as a couple. There are many beautiful restaurants and interesting activities that couples can enjoy together. This is the perfect trip for fun loving couples who don't take themselves to seriously.


Is Orlando or Panama City Better for Students?

Orlando
Panama City

Panama City is great for its student-friendly activities. Also, Orlando is not as popular, but is still a nice city for students.

Panama City is a very popular beach town for students and younger travelers. It's not the spring break destination that it once was, but you'll still find students hanging out around the spring holidays.

Orlando is a good city to visit for students. Most people don't think about education when they think about Orlando, but there are actually a diversity of internships and opportunities for students to learn in a fun setting.

Is Orlando or Panama City Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Orlando
Panama City

Orlando and Panama City both offer reasonable public transit to get you around.

Public transit is mostly limited in Orlando. If you're staying at a Disney Property, there is excellent transportation around the complex, but otherwise, a car is essential.

Public transit is generally limited in Panama City. Most people need a car in Panama City but there is a trolley service that connects major tourist areas.

Is Orlando or Panama City a more walkable city?

Orlando
Panama City

Neither Orlando or Panama City are walkable places.

Orlando is not a very walkable city. The city is sprawling, so unless you stay on the Disney grounds, it's best to rent a car.

Panama City is not a walkable city. There's often construction and the streets aren't designed for pedestrians.


For even more information, also check out Is Orlando Worth Visiting? and Is Panama City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Panama City or Orlando?

How long in Orlando or Panama City?

Both Orlando and Panama City have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Panama City than in Orlando. Usually, 7 days is a good amount of time for Orlando, and 3-7 days is enough time in Panama City.

Families should spend more time in Orlando than Panama City. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Orlando, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Panama City than Orlando. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Panama City that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Orlando than Panama City if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Orlando.


  • How many days in Orlando or Panama City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Orlando 7 
    Panama City 3-7

One day in Orlando or Panama City?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the active city of Orlando. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

In Panama City, you'll find nightlife and live music. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. This beach town offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Orlando or Panama City?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the family-friendly destination of Orlando. It's also a relaxing resort destination. This city offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

In Panama City, you'll find live music and food. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Most people come for the beaches. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Five days in Orlando or Panama City?

The active city of Orlando offers shopping and theater. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Panama City is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Panama City has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Orlando or Panama City?

Many people enjoy the theater and nightlife when visiting Orlando. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Panama City. In Panama City, you'll find shopping and nightlife. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, and Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Panama City or Orlando?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Orlando is $321, while the average daily cost in Panama City is $224. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Orlando and Panama City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Orlando $154
    Panama City $128
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Orlando $308
    Panama City $256
Compare Hotels in Orlando and Panama City

Looking for a hotel in Orlando or Panama City? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Orlando


Hotels in Panama City


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Orlando Hotel Prices and Panama City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Orlando $66
    Panama City $48
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Orlando

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Orlando are as follows:


  • Parking
    $14
  • Taxi Ride
    $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Orlando

Also for Orlando, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Airport to Port Canaveral Suv Transfer up to 6 pax: $187
  • 14 Pax Van Disney Hotels Transfer To or From Orlando Int Airport: $215
  • Airport Transfer Service in Orlando Hotel to Airport (MCO): $96
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Orlando Airport MCO to Orlando in Business Car: $86
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Orlando Airport MCO to Orlando in Luxury SUV: $98
  • Departure Private Transfer: Orlando to Orlando Airport MCO in Business Car: $86
  • Departure Private Transfer: Orlando to Orlando Airport MCO in Luxury SUV: $98
  • From Chat with an Astronaut at the KSC w/ Transfers: $225
  • Lakeland / Winter Haven to Tampa Airport (TPA) - Departure Private Transfer: $54
  • MCO Airport Private Transfer to/from Kennedy Space Center: $210
  • Orlando Airport (MCO) to Canaveral Cruise Port - Arrival Private Transfer: $84
  • Orlando Airport (MCO) to Canaveral Cruise Port - Arrival Transfer: $84

Is it cheaper to fly into Orlando or Panama City?

Prices for flights to both Panama City and Orlando change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Orlando $65
    Panama City $66
Typical Food Prices in Orlando

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Orlando:


  • Lunch for Two at Epcot
    $29

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Orlando

For Orlando, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show: $38
  • Tastes of the World Food Tour in Winter Haven : $50
  • Dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe with Live Music: $58
  • Downtown Murder Mystery Walking Dinner Tour: $66
  • Polynesian Fire Luau with Dinner and Live Show: $75
  • Pirates Dinner Adventure - Top Orlando Dinner Attraction: $78
  • Teatro Martini Dinner Show in Orlando: $79

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Orlando $204
    Panama City $19
Typical Entertainment Prices in Orlando

For Orlando, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Universal Studios for Two
    $110

Tours and Activities in Orlando

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Orlando.

  • Orlando’s Historical Highlights: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour around Lake Eola in Orlando: $6.65
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure City Game on Your Phone: $10
  • 7-D Dark Ride Entry Ticket: $12
  • 25 Minutes Adventure Rooms in Max Action Arena ICON Park: $12
  • Orlando Icon Park Adventure Room Ticket: $12
  • Skip the Line: Museum of Military History Ticket: $12
  • Lonely Dog Immersive Art Storytelling Experience: $15
  • Old Town Entertainment District Attraction Tickets: $15
  • Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf Entry Ticket in Orlando: $18
  • Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf Entry Ticket: $18
  • Experience Zero Latency Virtual Reality in Max Action Arena: $20

Tours and Activities in Panama City

Here are a few actual costs in Panama City for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Hour Dolphin Sightseeing Tour with Capt. Zach's Adventures: $73
  • 2 Hour Dolphin and Sightseeing Tour in Panama City Beach, Fl: $72
  • 2 Hour Dolphin and Snorkeling Experience at Panama City: $90
  • 2 Hour Private Dolphin and Sightseeing Tour in Shell Island: $65
  • 3 Hour Cruise, Snorkel, Swim/float Sandbar - tandem tiki option: $80
  • 90 min Cruise at Lower Grand Lagoon : $54
  • Beach Sunset and Lagoon Skyline Tour: $70
  • Beginner Scuba Diving Tour with Videos-PCB: $129
  • Catamaran Snorkel and Dolphin Watch Tour in Panama City Beach: $60
  • Cypress Springs Eco Adventure: $110
  • Discover Snorkeling Tour in Panama City: $65
  • Dolphin Sightseeing Tour on The Footloose Catamaran from Panama City Beach: $35

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Orlando $30
    Panama City $56

Sample the Local Flavors in Orlando

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Orlando:

  • Orlando Virtual Bar Crawl & Scavenger Hunt: $12
  • Orlando Haunts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Sanford’s Haunted Brewery Tour: $43
  • Happy Hour Downtown Pub Crawl: $170
  • Chef's Table and Wine Tasting Tour: $300


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Orlando and Panama City, we can see that Orlando is more expensive. And not only is Panama City much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Panama City would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Panama City and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Orlando would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Orlando than you might in Panama City.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Orlando Expensive? and Is Panama City Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Orlando or Panama City?

Orlando has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Panama City. When comparing the sizes of Orlando and Panama City, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Orlando or Panama City?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Orlando or Panama City in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Orlando as well as Panama City. Many travelers come to Orlando for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Panama City in the summer for the beaches, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Orlando is around the same temperature as Panama City. Typically, the summer temperatures in Orlando in July average around 82°F (28°C), and Panama City averages at about 82°F (28°C).

It's quite rainy in Panama City. Orlando receives a lot of rain in the summer. Orlando usually gets more rain in July than Panama City. Orlando gets 8.3 inches (211 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 7.3 inches (184 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Orlando 82°F (28°C) 
    Panama City 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Orlando or Panama City in the Autumn?

Both Panama City and Orlando are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Orlando in the autumn for the shopping scene. Also, most visitors come to Panama City for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In October, Orlando is generally a little warmer than Panama City. Daily temperatures in Orlando average around 75°F (24°C), and Panama City fluctuates around 71°F (22°C).

It's quite rainy in Orlando. In October, Orlando usually receives more rain than Panama City. Orlando gets 4.1 inches (103 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Orlando 75°F (24°C) 
    Panama City 71°F (22°C)

Should I visit Orlando or Panama City in the Winter?

Both Panama City and Orlando during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Orlando for the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine during these months. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to Panama City because of the shopping scene and the cuisine.

Orlando is a little warmer than Panama City in the winter. The daily temperature in Orlando averages around 59°F (15°C) in January, and Panama City fluctuates around 52°F (11°C).

Orlando usually gets less rain in January than Panama City. Orlando gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 3.9 inches (99 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Orlando 59°F (15°C) 
    Panama City 52°F (11°C)

Should I visit Orlando or Panama City in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Orlando and Panama City. Furthermore, the beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Panama City this time of year.

In the spring, Orlando is around the same temperature as Panama City. Typically, the spring temperatures in Orlando in April average around 72°F (22°C), and Panama City averages at about 68°F (20°C).

In April, Orlando usually receives around the same amount of rain as Panama City. Orlando gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while Panama City receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Orlando 72°F (22°C) 
    Panama City 68°F (20°C)

Typical Weather for Panama City and Orlando

Orlando Panama City
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 59°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Feb 62°F (16°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Mar 67°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 61°F (16°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm)
Apr 72°F (22°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 68°F (20°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 74°F (24°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 7.1 inches (181 mm) 80°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.3 inches (184 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 6.7 inches (171 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.5 inches (191 mm)
Sep 81°F (27°C) 7.2 inches (183 mm) 79°F (26°C) 7.5 inches (192 mm)
Oct 75°F (24°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm) 71°F (22°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Nov 68°F (20°C) 1.6 inches (40 mm) 63°F (17°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm)
Dec 62°F (17°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 56°F (13°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm)