A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Panama City vs. Saint Petersburg for Beaches, Families, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Panama City or Saint Petersburg, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

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 beaches, shopping, and nightlife.

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a fun-filled, underrated, and relaxed coastal city. And you can't forget about the museums, nightlife, and food.

Panama City and Saint Petersburg: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Saint Petersburg. Although Panama City and Saint Petersburg are popular destinations, Saint Petersburg has more sights and attractions for tourists. Saint Petersburg is very popular for its museums, food, and beaches, while Panama City attracts visitors for its nightlife, music, and impressive beauty. Panama City is more touristy than Saint Petersburg and is popular for its watersports, sandy beaches, and year-round beach weather. Saint Petersburg is famous for its warm weather, sandy beaches, and outdoor activities. It is also well known for St. Pete Beach.

How is Panama City different from Saint Petersburg?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a great destination for its museums and landmarks. However, Panama City does not have museums and landmarks.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Saint Petersburg can be an interesting and educational experience. There are a variety of history, science, and art museums in the area. The Dalí Museum, Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, The Florida Holocaust Museum, and Imagine Museum of Contemporary Glass Art are some of the favorites.

Panama City does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg 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 Saint Petersburg. It's location on the Gulf Coast means that seafood is everywhere. You'll enjoy fresh oysters, fried calamari, grilled fish, and fried shrimp on many menus. Casual restaurants and local eateries are common around town.

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 Panama City or Saint Petersburg Better for Nightlife?

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

Panama City is great for nightlife. Also, Saint Petersburg is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal 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 Saint Petersburg. There are beachside bars, rooftop restaurants, and dance clubs around town for those looking for a night out.

Is Panama City or Saint Petersburg Better for Music?

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

Panama City is very good for live music. However, Saint Petersburg is not a live music destination.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in Panama City. A popular way to enjoy music in the area is to find a restaurant with a lounge where local musicians perform.

Saint Petersburg is not a live music destination.


Is Panama City or Saint Petersburg Better for Resorts?

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

With a similar set of options, nice resorts can be found in both Panama City and Saint Petersburg.

With a selection of resorts, Panama City makes a nice vacation spot. Most people stay in condos that are VRBO's or Airbnbs, but there are resorts in the area as well.

Saint Petersburg has a few great resort options. You'll find most of the resorts near the beach. Many have pools and they range in style and budget level.

Is Panama City or Saint Petersburg Better for Beaches?

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is an amazing coastal city to visit for the beache. Also, Panama City is still popular, but not quite as popular for the beach.

The beaches in Saint Petersburg are among the best in the world. You'll find great sandy beaches with calm blue water and a relaxed atmosphere. Some of the best beaches include Egmont Key, Fort DeSoto Beach, Maximo Beach, and St. Pete's Municipal Beach.

The beaches at Panama City attract visitors from all over. 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.

Is the Shopping Better in Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

Shopping is a popular activity in both Saint Petersburg and Panama City.

Panama City offers some nice shopping areas. There are a number of malls and shopping centers in the area.

Saint Petersburg has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. You'll find plenty of shopping malls and shopping centers around town. Along the boardwalk and in John's Pass Village there are also restaurants and souvenir stores.


Is Panama City or Saint Petersburg Better for Families?

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

Panama City is terrific for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Saint Petersburg is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its family-friendly activities.

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.

Saint Petersburg is a very kid-friendly beach town. The beaches, waterparks, nature reserves, and entertainment centers all offer plenty of activities for families. There are plenty of places to play, laugh, and act silly around town so the whole family can have a good time. There's also the Great Explorations Children’s Museum and other educational opportunities for the young ones.

Is Panama City or Saint Petersburg Better for Couples?

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

Panama City and Saint Petersburg are both excellent to visit as a couple.

Couples visit Panama City frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. 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.

Saint Petersburg is a great beach town if you're traveling as a couple. There are sunset cruises, long sandy beaches, nice restaurants, and many other romantic activities around town. You can wander down the boardwalk or enjoy nature at the gardens and nature parks around town.

Is Panama City or Saint Petersburg Better for Students?

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

Panama City is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Saint Petersburg is not popular with students.

Panama City is very popular with students. It's not the spring break destination that it once was, but you'll still find students hanging out around the spring holidays.

Saint Petersburg is not popular with students.


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

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Panama City and Saint Petersburg.

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.

Public transit is mostly limited in Saint Petersburg. There's a bus system, but most people rely on their own car to get around.

Is Panama City or Saint Petersburg a more walkable city?

Panama City
Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a coastal city with a few options for its high level of walkability. However, Panama City is a beach town with minimal options for its ease of walking around.

Saint Petersburg is generally not very walkable. The downtown area is the most walkable part of town, but you really need a car to access most places.

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

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

Should I spend more time in Saint Petersburg or Panama City?

How long in Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

It's fun to spend time in either Panama City or Saint Petersburg. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Panama City due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Panama City, and 2-4 days is enough time in Saint Petersburg.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Saint Petersburg 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 Saint Petersburg.


  • How many days in Panama City or Saint Petersburg? Ideal Length of Stay
    Panama City 3-7 
    Saint Petersburg 2-4

One day in Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

You'll find live music and food around the cosmopolitan destination of Panama City. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. This beach town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the underrated coastal city of Saint Petersburg. It's also a great beach destination, too. Most people visit for the beaches. 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.


A weekend in Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

You'll find food and shopping around the cosmopolitan beach town of Panama City. It's also a great beach destination, too. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the underrated destination of Saint Petersburg. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. This coastal city offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

Panama City is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

The fun-filled coastal city of Saint Petersburg offers shopping and museums. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. 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.

A week in Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

Panama City is a great place to explore. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. It is common to spend one week here. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is often enough time to do most activities.

Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Saint Petersburg. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people come for the beaches. Most people visit for the beaches. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Las Vegas, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City.


Which place is cheaper, Saint Petersburg or Panama City?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Panama City is $224, while the average daily cost in Saint Petersburg is $204. 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 Panama City and Saint Petersburg in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Panama City $128
    Saint Petersburg $127
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Panama City $256
    Saint Petersburg $254
Compare Hotels in Panama City and Saint Petersburg

Looking for a hotel in Panama City or Saint Petersburg? 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 Panama City


Hotels in Saint Petersburg


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: Panama City Hotel Prices and Saint Petersburg Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Panama City $48
    Saint Petersburg $47

Is it cheaper to fly into Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

Prices for flights to both Saint Petersburg and Panama City 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
    Panama City $66
    Saint Petersburg $49

Typical Food Prices in Saint Petersburg

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


  • Burger Dinner (for 2)
    $20
  • Indian Food Dinner (for 2)
    $37
  • Gelato (for 2)
    $8.00
  • Breakfast at Piper's Patio (for 2)
    $17

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Panama City $19
    Saint Petersburg $13

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 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: $75
  • Beginner Scuba Diving Tour PCB Free Videos: $129
  • 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
    Panama City $56
    Saint Petersburg $41


When comparing the travel costs between Panama City and Saint Petersburg, we can see that Panama City is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

Saint Petersburg has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of Panama City. When comparing the sizes of Panama City and Saint Petersburg, 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 Panama City or Saint Petersburg?

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 Panama City or Saint Petersburg in the Summer?

Both Saint Petersburg and Panama City during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Panama City for the beaches, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Saint Petersburg because of the beaches and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Panama City is generally around the same temperature as Saint Petersburg. Daily temperatures in Panama City average around 82°F (28°C), and Saint Petersburg fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

In Saint Petersburg, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Panama City. In the summer, Panama City often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Saint Petersburg. Panama City gets 283 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Saint Petersburg receives 265 hours of full sun.

Saint Petersburg gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Panama City. Panama City usually gets less rain in July than Saint Petersburg. Panama City gets 7.3 inches (184 mm) of rain, while Saint Petersburg receives 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Panama City or Saint Petersburg in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Panama City and Saint Petersburg. The autumn months attract visitors to Panama City because of the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, the shopping scene are the main draw to Saint Petersburg this time of year.

Panama City is cooler than Saint Petersburg in the autumn. The daily temperature in Panama City averages around 71°F (22°C) in October, and Saint Petersburg fluctuates around 76°F (24°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Saint Petersburg this time of the year. In Panama City, it's very sunny this time of the year. Panama City usually receives more sunshine than Saint Petersburg during autumn. Panama City gets 256 hours of sunny skies, while Saint Petersburg receives 234 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Panama City usually receives more rain than Saint Petersburg. Panama City gets 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain, while Saint Petersburg receives 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain each month for the autumn. The hurricane season in Saint Petersburg is June to November.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Panama City 71°F (22°C) 
    Saint Petersburg 76°F (24°C)

Should I visit Panama City or Saint Petersburg in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Panama City as well as Saint Petersburg. The shopping scene and the cuisine are the main draw to Panama City this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Saint Petersburg for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Panama City is cooler than Saint Petersburg. Typically, the winter temperatures in Panama City in January average around 52°F (11°C), and Saint Petersburg averages at about 59°F (15°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Saint Petersburg. In the winter, Panama City often gets less sunshine than Saint Petersburg. Panama City gets 185 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Saint Petersburg receives 200 hours of full sun.

Panama City usually gets more rain in January than Saint Petersburg. Panama City gets 3.9 inches (99 mm) of rain, while Saint Petersburg receives 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Panama City or Saint Petersburg in the Spring?

Both Saint Petersburg and Panama City are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Panama City for the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Saint Petersburg in the spring for the beaches.

In April, Panama City is generally cooler than Saint Petersburg. Daily temperatures in Panama City average around 68°F (20°C), and Saint Petersburg fluctuates around 73°F (23°C).

It's quite sunny in Saint Petersburg. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Panama City. Panama City usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Saint Petersburg during spring. Panama City gets 295 hours of sunny skies, while Saint Petersburg receives 299 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Panama City usually receives more rain than Saint Petersburg. Panama City gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while Saint Petersburg receives 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain each month for the spring. June to November is the hurricane season in Saint Petersburg.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Panama City 68°F (20°C) 
    Saint Petersburg 73°F (23°C)

Typical Weather for Saint Petersburg and Panama City

Panama City Saint Petersburg
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 52°F (11°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 59°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm)
Feb 55°F (13°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 61°F (16°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm) 67°F (20°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Apr 68°F (20°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 73°F (23°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
May 74°F (24°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 78°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
Jun 80°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 82°F (28°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 7.3 inches (184 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 7.5 inches (191 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 7.5 inches (192 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm) 76°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 69°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm)
Dec 56°F (13°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)