Earlier this year we had a wonderful opportunity to go on a press trip to Panama City Beach and have accommodations, flights, meals, and activities provided. We were excited to visit and take in all Panama City Beach has to offer, but we had a chance to explore as well!
When we first found out about our trip to the Panama City Beach, I was excited, imagining beaches, restaurants and parties. While Panama City Beach offers plenty of those options, we were thrilled to have an opportunity every day to check out the natural wonderland that is the Florida Panhandle.
This area offers plenty to see and do, if you are ever in the area and begin to wonder “what is there to do in Panama City Beach?” It is a must to enjoy the ecotourism – nature themed activities – that the Emerald Coast has to offer.
Our first park trip was to St. Andrews State Park. St. Andrews is huge and offers plenty of activities for couples, families, or even the solo adventurer. St. Andrews offers over 1.5 miles white sparking beach on the Gulf of Mexico, so the area is perfect for those who want to soak up the sun, or for those who prefer a little more adventure.
Many options are available for your water sport enthusiasts here. You can swim, snorkel, scuba dive, kayak and canoe. This is also a brilliant area for fishing and bird-watching. There are also 2 nature trails which wind thru and offer scenic views of all the native plant and wildlife. It is common to see many species of birds, gators, deer, and many more.
We were walking along a pier and had a large 6 point buck go running by less than 20 feet away from us.
St. Andrews is a perfect spot, the park offers everything you can imagine to allow you to have fun and soak in the beauty of the area. There is also an area known as Shell Island which is accessible by boat only. Shell Island is 100% natural and there is nothing foreign on the island, meaning there is nothing on the island that isn’t found in nature, no structures, nothing that wasn’t there hundreds of years ago, including a ton of wildlife and native plants.
Our next tour took us to Conservation Park, which is nearly 3,000 acres of uplands and wetlands with 24 miles of trail and 1 mile of a boardwalk where you can admire nature up close. With 12 different trails, this is a perfect getaway for bikers and hikers, or if you just want to sneak over here to eat your lunch among nature, that works here too.
Be sure to bring your camera and binoculars because this is a great place for bird and wildlife watching with all the wetlands around, it is a popular place for the animals.
Our last tour of the parks took us to Camp Helen State Park. Camp Helen is a historical area, featuring many stories of the past and allowing for a great tourist and wedding/reception area with its historic lodge and coastal dunes. There are many great pictures that this historical area offers, in addition to the rustic venue, there is also a secluded beach that offers privacy and the feel of having the beach all to yourself.
Panama City Beach offers so much to do and so much beauty to take in, one of my favorite things to do on a vacation is to relax, and enjoying the sites at these parks are a great way to relax and enjoy yet another aspect of what the Florida Panhandle has to offer.
Do you have a favorite park at home? What makes it your favorite park to go to?