With a replica of a turpentine distillery at the beginning of this Panama City Beach hike, this is a walk to get you acquainted with one of the more important historic uses of Florida’s barrier islands—naval stores.
Location: Panama City Beach
Length: 0.6 mile
Lat-Long: 30.131250, -85.730633
Fees / Permits: state park entrance fee
Bug factor: Low to moderate
Restroom: Yes, near the trailhead
Dogs are not permitted on the beach, should you opt to walk out to Sandy Point on a side trail. Near the end of the hike, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Grand Lagoon. Bring your binoculars!
From US 98 in Pensacola Beach, follow SR 392 east to where it ends at the park entrance. Continue along the park entrance road and make a left at the store. The parking area for the Heron Pond Trail is on the right near the fishing pier and restrooms.
Products of the coastal pine forests were of paramount importance to early military efforts, when ships were made of wood, and islands such as these were prime resources for the U.S. Navy. As you wander the 0.6-mile trail through dunes and swales filled with rosemary scrub and freshwater marshes, watch for tall pines that bear the catface marks from being tapped for turpentine.