Panama City Beach is known as the location of some of the best beaches in the world, with perfect weather nearly every day and smooth, white sand. You may not know that Panama City Beach is also home to two state parks.

Whether you are planning a vacation or a move to PCB, you will love visiting these two distinct state parks.

St. Andrews State ParkPanama City Beach State Parks

St. Andrews State Park, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and St. Andrews Bay on the other, is the ideal spot for anyone who love snorkeling, swimming, or surfing. The beautiful state park is the site of Theodore Tollofson’s shipwreck, and subsequent 25 year homesteading, and is now a protected natural area. What was once just over 300 acres is now a 1,200 acre nature reserve that has been lovingly maintained to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife habitat.

Many migratory birds and butterflies return to St. Andrew’s State Park each year, making it an exciting place for anyone who loves birdwatching or keeping a nature journal.

Visitors can stroll through pine trees along dunes between the water, or play in the pristine white sand beaches that stretch a mile and a half. The water is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, fishing, or surfing. Guests can stay overnight at the campground or just enjoy the park for the day.

The park is wheelchair accessible and has a long list of amenities, including:

St. Andrews State Park also hosts field trips and educational events throughout the year to allow visitors of all ages the chance to learn more about the ecological system of the area and the wildlife that call this habitat home.

Camp Helen State Park

On the western border of Panama City Beach, Camp Helen State Park is bordered by water on three sides. The park encompasses 185 acres and was originally a private family summer retreat. Visitors can see the historic lodge that is still standing today.

Camp Helen State Park is the perfect place to enjoy pristine beaches and beautiful walking trails. You will also find a rare dune lake, Lake Powell. It is one of the largest rare coastal dune lakes, which are found in only a few places in the world. The freshwater lake sometimes breaches the sand border that separates it from the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in brackish water.

Though called Camp Helen State Park, the park does not offer any campsites. It is named for its heritage as a lodging site for private retreats, but it now open for day use only. The original lodge building and cottages are available for meetings and special events. Enjoy the beautiful water for swimming, fishing, and boating.

You will want to have both sandals and hiking shoes on hand when you visit Camp Helen State Park, as it offers guests the chance to both relax on the beach and take a challenging hike through the five distinct natural communities, including mesic flatwoods, scrub oak, basin swamp, depression marsh, and marine unconsolidated substrate.

Anglers in particular may find Camp Helen State Park to be an intriguing place to spend the day, as you can enjoy both freshwater and saltwater fishing in one spot. The wheelchair accessible state park has all the amenities you’ll need, including:

To find out more about why Panama City Beach is one of the best places to buy your next property, contact our office any time. We have a team of experts who are ready to help!

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image By Ebyabe – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,