If you’d like to get away from it all, you can always head out to the many beautiful parks located all across the 30A. Each one offers plenty of opportunities for fun and adventure while letting you soak in the breathtaking views all around. Not sure just which parks might speak to you most? Use this guide to explore the 7 best parks in the 30A to find your top spots to go.
The Panama City Beach Conservation Park lets you walk in awe through the Cypress domes surrounding over 24 miles of trails. All along the way, you can hear birds singing, see wildlife moving through the brush, and look at all the native vegetation thriving across the protected lands.
If you want to see it all up close, then binoculars are a must. You’ll also want to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at the shelter in the southeast corner of the park. There’s a drinking water station there, too, but it’s best to come well equipped with the water you need on the first leg of the trip.
Frank Brown Park
When you want to play all your favorite sports or perhaps just work some exercise into your day, Frank Brown Park has what you need. You can even visit the huge aquatic center to swim laps in the 50-meter Olympic pool or practice diving to your heart’s content.
If sports are calling your name, you’ll enjoy the:
- Nine baseball diamonds
- Six soccer fields
- Four tennis courts
- Two T-ball fields
- One basketball court
All throughout the year, you’ll find volleyball courts set up as well.
Prefer to walk, jog, or run it out? Just hit the 1.25-mile jogging track or go all around the park on the paved trails. You can even ride your bike, scooter, or skateboard on the trails if you’d like to zoom around faster than your feet can take you.
Camp Helen State Park
At Camp Helen State Park, freshwater and saltwater meet to create a truly interesting habitat that’s always a blast to explore. With each visit, you can enjoy the park on foot or take a kayak out onto the lake for a view to remember.
If you decide to go beachcombing, you’ll undoubtedly find shells and rocks galore, allowing you to create artistic works with your finds. You can then head out in search of birdwatching opportunities and even see squirrels, white-tailed deer, and other interesting creatures.
When the water calls your name, simply go swimming, fishing, or just paddle around at your leisure. While fishing, don’t be surprised to pull up both saltwater and freshwater fish, which enjoy living in the brackish water between the waterways.
Lake Powell Park
At the other side of the Phillips Inlet, you can find Lake Powell Park for even more dune lake fun. The beach along the waterfront is always perfect for swimmers of all ages, especially if you like to float around on your inflatables.
If you’d like to go further onto the water, you can use the boat launch to put your watercraft in the lake and head out to explore. Powerboats are always welcome, although the calm waters are best enjoyed with a paddle in hand.
Whether you stay beachside or hit the water, be sure to keep your eye out for amazing birds, like ospreys, blue herons, and egrets. River otters and sea turtles are common as well along with a ton of colorful fish. So, be sure to bring your camera – and don’t forget the picnic lunch – because you’ll want to be here all day trying to get the best photos around.
Grayton Beach State Park
Surrounded by Western Lake, Grayton Beach State Park gives you 2,000 acres to explore on foot plus tons of water to enjoy year-round. You can hit the hiking and biking trails to check out the landscape or go swimming along the shores.
There’s also a boat ramp if you’d like to take your watercraft out for a spin. The fishing is always good here, especially since the brackish waters from the dune lake bring a mix of freshwater and saltwater fish.
Prefer to stick around for the weekend or longer? That’s no problem at all. Just reserve your preferred site in the campgrounds to keep the fun going day and night. You’ll definitely want to check out the moonlight along the water if you’re here overnight, plus get up early to catch the sunrise. Don’t forget to plan a nice picnic during sunset to see the sky light up in vivid hues right before your very eyes.
Deer Lake State Park
Deer Lake State Park is yet another beautiful greenspace centered around one of the many dune lakes in the region. Although dune lakes are relatively rare worldwide, the 30A is rich with them – and they’re all well worth exploring time and time again.
At this park, you get to walk down the long boardwalk to the water, soaking in the sights all around as you stroll along. Once you reach the dunes, the striking white sands and green vegetation highlight the sheer beauty of the land.
While you should stay off the dunes, the sandy shores are fair game, as are the lake waters. You’re welcome to swim, fish, and beachcomb or just swing by for a picnic. No matter where you decide to spend your time, watch for chances to see the Gulf Coast Lupine, Pitcher Plants, and other tropical delights growing strong.
When you want to gaze in awe at the sheer beauty of all the flowers and plants that grow in the 30A, you can count on Cerulean Park to come through in a big way. Located in the heart of the Watercolor neighborhood, this park gives you an in-depth look at all the best tropical plants, like passion flowers, milkweeds, and canna lilies, as you walk the trails. Taking that experience to the next level is all the monarch butterflies and other beautiful creatures that flit about the flowers.
As you plan your visits to this park, be sure to check the calendar for fun events. All throughout the year, event coordinators center their activities around the greenery, including the 30A half marathon that arrives complete with food trucks galore. If you get a chance to grab a meal, be sure to get a spot near the fountain by the front entrance to watch the dazzling waters as you chow down.
As you explore all the best 30A parks, you’ll undoubtedly wind up with a few favorites. You can then jet out to your top spots as needed to wash away the busy day and leave stress behind. With each trip out into nature, you’ll get to enjoy all your favorite activities while enjoying some of the best views in the region. It really doesn’t get any better than that.