In an era of record gas prices and ballooning vehicle costs, an intercity bus operator is launching a new service this summer as an alternate means of whisking Atlantans to the Gulf Coast’s sugar-sand beaches.

Atlanta Beach Bus Express, a subsidiary of Atlanta Sightseeing Bus Tours, will begin service July 14 from a park-and-ride lot just south of downtown to Panama City Beach, Fla.

The bus company has been operating in Atlanta since 2016, offering a North Georgia wine country tour and five-hour sightseeing tour of the city. They plan to operate the round-trip service to Florida, covering about 300 miles each way, until Halloween this year, company reps tell Urbanize Atlanta. Trips cost $85 per person each way.

The company considers Atlanta a prime market for the service as it’s several hours away from the nearest ocean—and because Atlantans, they say, are wary of driving to beaches with astronomical numbers at gas pumps right now.

“Take a nap onboard or read your favorite book and leave the driving to us,” reads the Atlanta Beach Bus Express official spiel. “Save money on gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, hotel parking fees, and a possible speeding ticket…”

The initial, five-hour route Atlanta Beach Bus Express will cover. Google Maps

For anyone interested in ditching the driving aspect of getting to the beach, here’s what you’ll need to know:  

Atlanta Beach Bus Express departures will leave a hub at 7 a.m. from Thursday to Monday each week at Park N’ Fly Plus Atlanta in College Park (2525 Camp Creek Parkway). 

There’s a $10 daily fee for parking. Alternately, Florida-bound Atlantans can ride MARTA to the College Park station and take the 82 bus to the park-and-ride lot.

Once the 56-passenger motorcoaches leave Atlanta, they’ll stop once for a quick bathroom break. The company aims to arrive in Panama City Beach by 12:30 p.m. each day.

The drop-off location is centralized Pier Park—naturally, behind a Margaritaville, and across the street from the beach.

Customers can return to Atlanta any day between Thursday and Monday. Departures are at 3 p.m., with estimated arrivals at 8:30 p.m. in the city.  

Vehicle used in the ATL-FLA beach bus service launched this summer. Atlanta Beach Bus Express

According to Atlanta Beach Bus Express, phone outlets are included under each reclining seat, and the buses do have Wi-Fi. Face masks are recommended but not required.

The company says it plans to expand services to more beaches in the future. 

MARTA expands rideshare to Alpharetta, Avondale Estates, Morrow, more (Urbanize Atlanta)