Updated: Mar 22, 2019
Panama City Beach is known for its pristine white sand and emerald clear waters. But the area also attracts those who enjoy nature-themed activities such as fishing, biking, bird watching, and canoeing. Ecotourism, which connects conservation and communities, is one of the fastest growing trends in travel, and a visitor to this part of the Florida Panhandle can find lots of ecologically fun-filled outings within just a few miles of our condo at Celadon.
Spend a day canoeing or kayaking along Econfina Creek or Holmes Creek - part of Florida’s statewide system of trails and greenways. You’ll be treated to high limestone walls and sand bluffs, lush vegetation, and deep turquoise springs where the water is so crystal clear you can snorkel. Coldwater Excursions offers guided canoe or kayak tours.
This 2,900-acre park offers 24 miles of looping trails ranging from 0.6 to 11 miles. Rent a bike or take your binoculars and walk along the shade-draped paths - some are paved; some are gravel; and some are boardwalks over a swamp. You might see bullfrogs, colorful birds, and evidence of boars, which inhabit the area. Everything here is clean and well kept. The Panama City Beach Conservation Park is a quick drive - you can see the entrance from our condo at Celadon.
This beautiful 180-acre park to the west of Panama City Beach near Inlet Beach, is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Powell, the largest coastal dune lake in Florida. You can swim, beachcomb, hike and fish - both saltwater and freshwater. Camp Helen State Park has prehistoric mounds indicating that humans inhabited the area more than 4,000 years ago. Here you’ll find coastal dunes, salt marshes, freshwater wetlands, and sand pine scrub along the lake.
Don’t miss this gem, located on the eastern edge of Panama City. St. Andrews State Park boasts one and a half miles of pristine beach. You can sunbathe, snorkel along the jetties, canoe, kayak, or hike along nature trails that wind through a rich diversity of coastal plants and provide many opportunities to bird watch. You can also take a boat tour via shuttles to Shell Island - a 700-acre island that is home to deer, turtles, pelicans, as well as colorful fish, dolphins and other aquatic life. Kayaks and snorkel gear are available for rent. Be sure to check the website for updates as some areas were damaged by Hurricane Michael.
Fourteen miles north on Highway 79, Florida’s first state forest, Pine Log State Forest, offers many recreational opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast, including camping, wildlife viewing, hiking (14 miles of trails), bicycling, swimming, fishing, and hunting. Sandhills, flatwoods, cypress ponds, titi swamps, streams and several lakes and ponds are all found here.