Exploring Panama City Beach
Bracketed by two state parks – St. Andrews State Park to the east and Camp Helen State Park to the west – Panama City Beach stretches nearly 20 miles along the Gulf of Mexico. Although most of the shoreline is heavily developed, there are free public beach access points all along the shoreline, including several larger parks with parking lots.
The bay side of Panama City Beach is where the trails are. Near West Bay, Conservation Park includes a whopping 2,200 acres, most of which is pine plantation. More than 11 miles of trails crisscross the park. A paved bike path network called Gayles Trails connects it with West Bay and Frank Brown Park, an aquatic center bayside.
While this region took a strong hit from Hurricane Michael in October 2018, most recreation areas have reopened and the beaches are as lovely as ever.
When you live in a tightly packed space, you need somewhere green as your go-to place nearby. These are our top picks for parks in Florida’s urban areas, chosen for their diversity of outdoor activities and/or their unique green spaces.
A network of paved trails north of US 98, Gayle’s Trails connect two major parks in Panama City Beach with nearby neighborhoods.