Three of the Best Beaches to Visit in Panama City Beach, Florida -SEE PHOTOS
Are you ready to get your toes in the sand and feel the waves crashing all around you? We've found some must-visit beaches in PCB, Florida next time you're in the panhandle.
PANAMA CITY BEACH IS SUCH A GREAT PLACE TO VISIT
Growing up PCB was known as the Spring Break destination for high school and college kids to cut loose. Over the years it has evolved from that into a wonderful place for families to vacation. There are so many different beaches 27 miles of beaches to be exact. There are three that stand out when I think of the most desirable and fun.
CARILLON BEACH/CAMP HELEN STATE PARK
This one is a twofer because there are two beaches in one spot. We had always passed by Camp Helen State Park heading to Destin every year but never stopped to visit. I asked our friends from the Holiday Inn Resort PCB to name one of the best beaches in PCB and it was unanimous. They all said Carillon Beach/Camp Helen State Park.
There are a few things to know before you go if you decide to go in through Carillon Beach. It is a gated community. This place is amazing. The condos there cost anywhere from $1.8 to $13.8 million dollars each. We loved just driving around staring at each one. Before we entered we had to talk with the gate attendant and explain we were not residents and that we wanted to use the public parking area to access the beach. She took our license plate number and handed us a parking pass.
This got us back to one of the 10 public spots on the beach. If you decided to go you can pack a lunch or even plan to grill out they have grills on-site in a pavilion. There is a small park for the kids too. The beach is a very short walk from the park and it is glorious.
Now, here's the deal this place is special because it's not overcrowded. There were a handful of people on our almost one-mile walk. You can stare down the coastline and view the beautiful condos in the distance and you're guaranteed to find a ton of shells right along the water.
The day we visited there were several sand bars along the walk. If you're looking for a relaxing, laid-back adventure this is the beach for you.
We didn't actually get to go and visit Camp Helen. But we got pictures from the outside and here's why according to floridapanhandle.com
Camp Helen State Park clearly deserves its spot on the National Register of Historic Places. This gorgeous park began as a family retreat and eventually became a resort destination for those employed by an Alabama textile company.
If there’s a downside to Camp Helen State Park, it’s that some visitors find the park’s beach difficult to access. A short walk is required to reach the inlet, but deep sand and high temperatures can make this journey seem a lot longer. If you’re willing to make the effort, however, you’ll have your run of the place — the walk weeds out a lot of would-be visitors. What’s more, this hike provides the perfect opportunity for observing a lovely marsh, as well as the many bird species that reside there. Numerous birds can also be found hunting for food along the beach itself. When you’re not watching the shorebirds or observing the scenery, you’ll be wandering the beach in search of its many sand dollars.
ST. ANDREWS STATE PARK
St. Andrews Park is on the east side of PCB. It was discovered in the early 1920s when Theodore Tollofson "Teddy the Hermit" got shipwrecked after a hurricane. Basically, he stayed on the island for the next 25 years in what is now St. Andrews Park.
The park is about 1200-acres in size and has a mile and a half miles of beaches that you can enjoy in many different ways including; bicycling, birding, boat tours, boating, canoeing, two fishing piers, hiking, kayaking, picnicking areas, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, wildlife viewing, and full camping facilities.
Our favorite part of the park is where the rocks are built up and have trapped a large pool of water. It's so crystal clear you can see straight to the bottom and it isn't very deep so you can wade around. The kids love it because they can play and swim all day without worrying about waves or surprising sea creatures LOL.
We head to St. Andrews every single time we come to PCB. It is only $8 per carload to get in and you can stay all day long. We always take our beach chairs, towels, and sand toys and spend time taking photos and playing in the sand.
BONUS BEACH EXPERIENCE
Shell Island is one of the most unique experiences in PCB. According littlefamilyadventure.com;
If you like beaches without a ton of people or buildings, this is the place for you! Shell Island is an undeveloped barrier island between St. Andrew Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The area stretched out for 7 miles with no hotels, no restaurants, no food stalls, no trash cans, no picnic tables, and no buildings. It’s natural beauty for as far as you can see. It’s unspoiled beauty.