Outdoor activities are more popular than ever, and visitors to Panama City Beach have a surprising number of opportunities to take part in ecologically responsible, fun-filled outings. Fishing, hiking, biking, nature photography, swimming, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, boating and bird-watching are just some of the activities eco-tourists enjoy in Panama City Beach,
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PANAMA CITY BEACH ECO-TOURISM
St. Andrews State Park
Trip Advisor named St. Andrews State Park the #2 beach in the nation, but whether you’re interested in sunbathing on the beach, snorkeling along the jetties, canoeing, kayaking or hiking through the forest, there’s something for everyone here! Fishing from the pier or the jetties is popular, and a boat ramp provides access to St. Andrew Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Nature trails wind through a rich diversity of coastal plant communities providing an excellent opportunity for bird-watching – You might even spot a deer! To really get off the grid, take a boat tour to pristine Shell Island. The 700-acre island is home to deer, turtles, pelicans, sandpipers, gulls and piping and snowy plovers, and in the surrounding waters you’ll spot colorful fish, dolphins, sea turtles and other aquatic life. Shuttles are available to take visitors back and forth from St. Andrews State Park, and pontoon boat rentals are another popular way to get to Shell Island.
Gayle’s Trails is part of a growing greenways and trails system that will span the entire island of Panama City Beach. Already, Gayle’s Trails connect Frank Brown Park to the 3,000-acre Panama City Beach Conservation Park, where you’ll find long boardwalks crossing cypress swamps, off-road trails perfect for mountain biking, hiking, or walking your dog.
Camp Helen State Park
Camp Helen State Park is a hidden gem on the western border of Panama City Beach. It sits between the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Powell – one of the largest coastal dune lakes in the state of Florida. Natural areas range from coastal dunes and salt marshes along the Gulf to freshwater wetlands and scrub oak forests along the lake. Fishing areas are available for both freshwater and saltwater enthusiasts at this Florida state park. Other activities include swimming, beachcombing, and hiking.
The Panama City Beach Conservation Park
In the Panama City Beach Conservation Park you’ll find 12 looping trails ranging from 0.6 to 11 miles for walking, biking, wildlife and bird watching. The county’s desire to protect and balance our natural resources while providing outdoor recreational opportunities is the driving force in establishing the Panama City Beach Conservation Park. This 2,900 acre tract of West Bay Ecosystem is being restored using reclaimed water to return a natural water balance to these wetlands.
There’s always something for the nature lover to do in Panama City Beach, so whether you’re spending the day at St. Andrews State Park, or jumping on a sailboat to explore the Gulf of Mexico, enjoy the natural bounty of Florida in an ecologically responsible way!