Panama City Beach, Florida is a popular destination for beachgoers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. With its sugar-white sand and stunning views, it's no wonder why so many people flock to this coastal paradise. But what many visitors don't know is that Panama City Beach also offers a variety of trails for cyclists, hikers, and nature lovers. From the Gayle Trails network of linear paved trails to the Conservation Park's compacted dirt trails, there's something for everyone.
The Gayle Trails are a network of linear paved pathways that extend from the beginning of a central trail in Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach. Cyclists can go back and forth along three routes, two of which lie along forested corridors between the starting points of the trails. The Watersound Trail is a five-mile-wide trail with a crushed gravel surface that snakes through a cut pine plantation that connects to the Conservation Park. Like an old logging path, the trail is flat and easy for cyclists to navigate, and ends in the northern part of the Origins community.
There's a small coffee shop in Origins, perfect for taking a break or having lunch before returning. The Conservation Park is located 1.1 miles west of the highway and offers compacted dirt trails that range from 1.7 miles to 11.2 miles. Mountain bikes or Fat Tire bikes are recommended for these trails, as some areas may be sandy in the longer sections. Maps are provided in the parking area, making it ideal for picnics under the large pavilion. Pier Park (south) also offers a very short paved trail located behind the Military Monument and the Concert in the Park. Cruise along Gayle's trails and meander to Frank Brown Park, which takes you to Pier Park North and South.
Here you'll find lots of shops and restaurants to keep you busy during the day. This trip is approximately 6 miles each way. Gayle's Trails encompasses a network of flat trails that cover Panama City Beach, perfect for walking, jogging and biking. They are the ecological, healthy and fun way to get around the city. Camp Helen State Park offers a variety of trails in unique areas of the park. The 1.8-mile-long North Trail begins with a beautiful paved trail along Lake Powell and reaches a one-mile loop filled with dirt.
There are numbered poles along the circuit that correlate with our native plant brochure found at the beginning of the circuit or at the visitor center. This brochure is ideal for learning what native plants exist in the park, such as nopal, sand and corrugated pine, and saw palmetto. In addition to flip flops and sunscreen, add hiking shoes to your suitcase and spend an afternoon exploring Panama City Beach's trails. The development of Gayle's Trails remains an ongoing project, meaning that different trails are at different stages of development. Bordering both Gulf of Mexico and Lake Powell, Camp Helen State Park is located on Panama City's westernmost beach. There's plenty of space to park here, and you can take one of the shortest trails or go on a longer adventure in either direction. The independent Panama City Beach Trail follows the shorelines and is technically separate from Gayle's Trails but integrates perfectly with it.
Whether you want to get some exercise or just want to explore Panama City Beach, Gayle's Trails has plenty of wonderful options. Some of the pavement edges need repair and the wooden bridge near the end of the park trail is closed due to unsafe conditions. The system offers kilometers and kilometers of flat trails that are perfect for exercising on pleasant days, and can even be used to explore different parts of the city. At less than two miles, the green trail is ideal for short walks with children, while the yellow trail (4 to 7 miles) and blue trail (5.2 to 6.5 miles) offer more ambitious hikes. Those who want a longer route can walk nearly 20 miles on completed trails without covering the same ground twice, not including those that aren't paved which are still in progress. It should be noted that east and west parts of Gayle's Trails are not connected by a trail that is in the system (one has been proposed but has not been completed).Sugar-white sand may take center stage in Panama City Beach but there's much more than what can be seen from condo balconies. It connects to nearly 30 miles of trails within Panama City Beach Conservation Park just west of State Highway 79. With circular trails ranging in length from 0.6 to 11 miles, this park encompasses nearly 3,000 acres of protected land with mostly flat trails, boardwalks, restrooms, picnic areas, and outdoor classrooms.