Summer Tourism Season Kicks Off

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PANAMA CITY BEACH-- You may not have noticed with today's gloomy weather, but summer tourism season is already in full-swing.

Businesses continue to ramp up for summer and the upcoming holiday weekend, and this could be one of the busiest summers yet.

Ask visitors what they like best about Panama City Beach, and they all seem to agree.

They love the beaches.

Many visitors associate Panama City Beach with spring break, but the Bay County Tourism Development Council says summer is actually the busiest season.

It draws more families to the area.

"We're easy to get to," TDC Executive Director Dan Rowe said. "We have a great beach product, and it's a great beach town. Anything you want to do in a beach destination we have it here. It is truly one of the all-American beach towns in the United States."

And it's shaping up to be a packed summer.

Some area hotels are nearly booked for the July 4th weekend,

"This year seems to have longer stay windows, and people seem to be booking a little bit further advance this year," Matt Culpepper, the Media Marketing Specialist at Royal American, said. "As far as the Fourth of July goes, we are expecting a three-night sell out."

Rowe says more than half of the area's revenue comes during the TDC's '"100 days of Summer."

But summer fun isn't just for tourists. Locals have their favorite activities too.

"I just love to get out on the water. Hang out on the beach with a good book and watch the world go by," Rowe said.

"There's nothing better than getting out on the Gulf and going deep-sea fishing," Culpepper said.

Both the TDC and businesses say they want to continue promoting Panama City Beach as a year-round destination.

For more on how locals and visitors can enjoy the summer fun, you can check out and