to Panama City Beach
is a little over a 10 hour drive. If you stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Athens-I-65 (Huntsville Area)
that divides the trip into a four hour section and a six hour section. The Hampton Inn Cullman
is closer to halfway but that Hampton Inn is a little more expensive than the one in Athens/Huntsville ($171/night vs $105/night). There is a Sleep Inn for $105/night in Cullman and that divides the trip into 4.75 hours and 5.3 hours, so a little more even. There are also other hotels in that area. You could also go down to the Hampton Inn Birmingham/Fultondale (I-65)
or the Comfort Suites there which is a little less expensive.