What’s the best route from Nashville to Panama City Beach?

What’s the best route to drive to Panama City Beach from Nashville, Tennessee? I’ve never taken a road trip before, but one of my friends asked me to join her on vacation!

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Answer provided by
Liz Jenson
Answered on May 19, 2022
It’s kind of your friend to extend that invitation! It typically takes about seven-and-a-half hours to travel from Nashville, Tennessee to Panama City Beach, Florida if you travel on I-65 S for the majority of your journey. This is the best route for people who want to make the trip in one day without stopping to spend the night along the way.
With a trip this long, however, it’s conceivable that your friend might want to stop for the night on your way to Panama City Beach. In this case, you’ll probably stop in or near Birmingham, Alabama, as that is the halfway point between Nashville and Panama City Beach.
Here’s a more detailed route description:
  • Take I-65 S from Nashville
  • When you pass Montgomery, AL, take exit 164 for US-31 S
  • Turn left onto AL-97 S
  • Merge onto US-331 S
  • After about 33 miles, turn left onto AL-141 S
  • Turn right onto AL-189 S, then left onto County Road 427
  • Turn left onto AL-134 E, then right onto County Road 460
  • Merge onto AL-87 S/FL-81 S and stay on this road into Florida
  • Turn left onto FL-20 E, then right onto FL-79 S
  • Get on US-98, which will take you to Panama City Beach
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