Things to Do at Camp Helen State Park

Camp Helen State Park - Florida - Gulf of Mexico - Lake Powell
Camp Helen State Park - Florida - Gulf of Mexico - Lake Powell

Located on Panama City Beach Pkwy, Florida’s Camp Helen State Park is a popular destination for both locals and visitors. Camp Helen offers visitors a chance to explore an environment rich in natural and cultural resources. 

The Gulf of Mexico borders Camp Helen on one side. Lake Powell and Phillips Inlet surround the rest of the park. 

Let’s explore some exciting activities to discover and things to do at Camp Helen State Park. 

#1 Bird Watching 

Camp Helen provides ample opportunity for bird watching. With bald eagles, osprey, kingfisher, Cooper’s hawk, and many migratory species there will be ample opportunities to see so beautiful winged wildlife. 

#2 Swimming 

Naturally! With a park surrounded by water, swimming is on the list of things to do. Visitors can swim in either the Gulf of Mexico or Lake Powell. As always, visitors are asked to pay attention to beach warning flags before taking a dip. Caution is the word of the day as there are no lifeguards on duty. 

#3 Hiking/Wildlife Viewing 

Camp Helen is a great place to get your exercise in, obviously with swimming. But this park also has some great hiking trails. Oak Canopy Trail takes you into a maritime hammock overlooking a marsh. Hikers can snag a trail guide at the Camp Helen visitor center. 

Also, Camp Helen State Park is home to white-tailed deer, squirrels, opossums, and sometimes you may see a black bear. So, as most hikers know, you’ll have plenty of chances to observe the park’s wildlife. 

Related:  5 Top Shore Fishing Spots in Destin, Florida

Camp Helen State Park - Florida - Gulf of Mexico - Lake Powell

#4 Kayaking 

With all this water, it’s only natural that you’ll find kayaks for rent at Camp Helen. Rentals are indeed offered between 8 AM and 9 PM daily. So, you’ll have a choice of where you what to kayak – in the Gulf of Mexico or on Lake Powell. 

#5 The Lodge & Rainbow Cottages 

Camp Helen State Park is also home to a historic area – The Lodge & Rainbow Cottages. Here, there is ample history and things to learn. And you’ll also want to check out the very colorful Rainbow Cottages. The district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

#6 Fishing 

Camp Helen, being bordered on all sides by water, provided ample opportunity for fishing. You’ll be able to catch saltwater fish in the surf, and you snag both freshwater and saltwater fish in Lake Powell’s brackish water. Also, Lake Powell’s shoreline provides many areas to cast a line. 

#7 Amenities 

Camp Helen has many amenities available to make visits comfortable.  

  • A paved path provides access to a trail on the north side of U.S. 98. 
  • Picnic facilities with tables and grills. 
  • Visitor center is where you can find beach wheelchairs for use while at the park.  

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