Naval Support Activity Panama City
Naval Support Activity Panama City spans over 600 acres and features over 200 buildings that service military service members and their families through active duty posts and training for over 4,000 people.
The NSA Panama City is part of the Florida Panhandle in the northwestern portion of the state in Bay County. A popular site for tourists, the area is growing fast, bringing in new residents and families who enjoy the sunny weather and turquoise waters near the sandy beaches. Other towns in the area include Lynn Haven, Callaway, Springfield and Mexico Beach.
Learn more about NSA Panama City including the main contact numbers for the base, housing, education, and information about the surrounding area below.
NSA Panama City Base History
Since its inception almost 80 years ago, Naval Support Activity Panama City has undergone many name changes, although its strength and purpose has remained the same. In 1945, the U.S. Navy Mine Countermeasures Station was established, eventually becoming the U.S. Navy Mine Defense Laboratory just ten years later.
The site was founded to support waterfront port services and training. It has a heliport for naval helicopters and a hangar, however its identity has been less stable. By the 1970’s it gained a new moniker and became the Naval Coastal Systems Laboratory, and then was renamed once more in the 1980’s as the Naval Coastal Systems Center.
By the early 2000’s, it was given the name that stands today, the Naval Support Activity Panama City site. It continues to support the Navy on land and by sea and its varied warfare missions and developments.
Nestled in the northwestern portion of the Florida Panhandle is Naval Support Activity Panama City, a short stint from Panama City Beach on the beautiful shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
This area is known for water activities and nature, boasting clear waters and clean beaches. In the St. Andrews Bay area, there is always a crowd of water sports enthusiasts taking advantage of the sunny weather. Kayakers, paddle boarders, snorkelers, and scuba divers frequent the waters.
There are also plenty of guided boat tours for dolphin-watching for those who wish to stay dry and maybe eat some fresh local seafood at Gene’s Oyster Bar. Other attractions in the area include but are not limited to:
- Man in the Sea Museum
- Panama City Center for the Arts
- Oaks By the Bay Park
- Bear Creek Feline Center
NSA Panama City Mission and Units
Naval Support Activity Panama City emphasizes warfare skills and training needed for expeditionary missions, diving, and dealing with mines, as well as research, testing, and development of new technologies for the Navy. Major units that support readiness in these fields and are located at the Naval Support Activity Panama City center include:
- Center for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Diving
- Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command Detachment Panama City
- Naval Support Activity Panama City
- Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division
- Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center
- Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU)
In-Processing and Check-In
Service members reporting for duty should come in proper uniform, Building 308 to the administration office. In hand, they should have their orders, medical files and personnel records. Students should report to building 350 in proper daily uniform for assistance during the day at the Quarterdeck. Navy Experimental Diving Unit service members should go to building 321 to the administration office with orders and records.
PCS and TDY Lodging
The first choice for temporary lodging for Naval Support Activity Panama City arrivals is Navy Gateway Inn & Suites. Service members coming with pets will find lodging options to be extremely limited.
If The Navy Gateway Inn & Suites is at capacity, other lodgings can be found through the housing center, including motels and bachelor’s quarters. Consult the housing office for tax exemption allowances that benefit incoming service members.
Families will be assured help with child care at Naval Support Activity Panama City through the Child Development Center for children ages six weeks to five years old. Pricing for child care will be based on income. Due to high demand, it is best to apply as soon as possible. The Child Development Center is in building T2087 and operates during standard business hours; however, sometimes extra hours are available for programs like Parents’ Day Out.
If the care provided by the CDC doesn’t match your needs, look into Family Child Care options, where children are cared for in family homes in small groups. FCC homes must meet qualifications to accept children into their homes. Rates are based on income and availability.
Naval Support Activity Panama City has privatized housing with Balfour Beatty Communities on base for both families and single service members if available. Housing in this area can be very limited, with almost 200,000 residents and over 15 million visitors and tourists yearly, so all arrangements should be made as soon as possible through the housing office. Rates will vary based on needs and availability.
“Geographic bachelors” will be given rooms on base if available, but they may first be placed on a waiting list. New arrivals with pets should expect to pay a pet fee/deposit between $100-$300, but pet-friendly options are not always available.
Naval Support Activity Panama City has a commissary available during regular business hours for supplies for everyday life and special events if ordering platters and supplies for special events. The commissary is at 101 Vernon Avenue, Building 395, Panama City Beach, Florida. To find out about special deals or place orders, call (850) 235-2778.
The closest airport to Naval Support Activity Panama City is the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, only about 20 minutes from the base itself. Local rideshare transportation and taxi service can get you to the base. If you need assistance on-site at the airport, visit the Military Welcome Center.
If driving to the base, it is easiest to arrive from Highway 231 or Highway 98. If coming from a long distance away using I-10, take I-10 to Highway 231 south.
You will find the Visitor Center before the main gate. It is necessary to bring a valid driver license, insurance and vehicle registration documentation to show at the gate. There is no on-site transportation on base so the use of a personal vehicle can be very convenient.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
To operate legally in the Sunshine State, you must carry an unexpired driver’s license be able to provide proof of insurance that includes personal and property damage for any vehicle, including motorcycles, cars, trucks, and vans. To enter the base, you must also be able to provide proof of vehicle ownership, show current identification, and provide a visitor pass if necessary.
All drivers and passengers should use seat belts and child safety seats for children under five. Use a hands-free device if you need to call while driving. All vehicles on site should be prepared for inspection upon request. No unauthorized weapons are allowed in vehicles.
School-aged children of service members in the NSA Panama City area have many schools within the Bay District Schools. All in all, the district has 18 elementary schools, 6 middle schools and 5 high schools in addition to a few charter and specialty campuses.
Children must be five years old to enter kindergarten.
They can be registered with physical proof of the following requirements: immunization record, birth certificate, and proof of residence in the form of two major bills, including your home address, such as utilities or water bills.
Public Schools in the area include:
- Callaway Elementary
- Cedar Grove Elementary
- Deer Point Elementary
- Hiland Park Elementary
- Hutchison Beach Elementary
- Lucille Moore Elementary
- Lynn Haven Elementary
- M. Cherry Street Elementary
- Northside Elementary
- Oscar Patterson Elementary
- Parker Elementary
- Patronis Elementary
- Southport Elementary
- Tommy Smith Elementary
- Waller Elementary
- West Bay Elementary
- Breakfast Point Academy
- Jinks Middle School
- Merritt Brown Middle School
- Mowat Middle School
- Surfside Middle School
- Tyndall Academy
- A. Crawford Moseley High School
- Bay High School
- Dean Bozeman School and High School
- J.R. Arnold High School
- Rosenwald High School
- Rutherford High School
Colleges and Universities
There is no on-site college program at Naval Activity Support Panama City. However, several colleges and universities serve service members in the area. Most of these facilities support undergraduate and postgraduate programs and continuing education. Colleges and universities local to the area include:
- Florida State University Panama City
- Gulf Coast State College
- Troy University
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- Tom P. Haney Technical Center
Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide
NSA Panama City Contacts
101 Vernon Avenue
Panama City, FL 32407-7018
- Barracks/Single Service Member Housing (850) 230-7231
- Child Development Centers (850) 283-2226
- Commissary (850) 234-2407
- Housing Referral Office (850) 236-1095
- ID/CAC Card Processing (850) 235-5525
- Military and Family Support Center (850) 235-5800
- School Liaison Program (850) 238-9830
- Temporary Lodging/Billeting (850) 588-0753
- Welcome/Visitors Center (850) 235-5525
- Youth Programs (850) 234-4134
Related: Ultimate Military Benefits Guide
About the author
Kena Sosa is an award-winning author, filmmaker and percussionist. She
earned her BA from OLLU and her MBEGT from SMU. She published two
award-winning children’s books. Kena has written for CBS/DFW Local and
Multicultural Review Magazine. She was the Guest Editor for the Fall/Winter
2023 ChildArt Magazine issue. Kena has written for Recon Media since 2023.