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USA Parks
Northwest Region
Camp Helen State Park
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Camp Helen State Park © Ebyabe / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Cabins in Camp Helen State Park.
Camp Helen State Park © Ebyabe / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Cabin in Camp Helen State Park.
Camp Helen State Park © Ebyabe / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Camp Helen State Park.
Camp Helen State Park © Ebyabe / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Entrance to Camp Helen State Park.
Camp Helen State Park April 2018 © Julayne Jenkins
This was our 2nd Day and State Park on our Trip to Panama City
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23937 Panama City Beach Parkway
Panama City Beach, Florida   32413
(lat:30.2747 lon:-85.9917) map location

Phone: 850-233-5059
The park is bordered on three sides by the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Powell? one of the largest coastal dune lakes in Florida. Coastal dune lakes are extremely rare worldwide; in the United States they occur only along the Gulf Coast. Prehistoric middens and mounds indicate that humans lived in the area more than 4,000 years ago. From 1945 until 1987, Camp Helen was a company resort for employees of an Alabama textile mill and some of the buildings are now being restored. Natural areas range from coastal dunes and salt marshes along the Gulf to freshwater wetlands and sand pine scrub along the lake.
History of the Area
Humans have been attracted to the area at and around Camp Helen for over 400 years. This is evidented by the pre-historic middens and mounds found within the park.

Known as Inlet Beach to early European settlers and later to developers, the area around Phillips Inlet was initially developed for recreational opportunities in the early 1920?s. Then in the 1940?s a lodge and associated buildings were added to the property, some of which still exist today. These buildings offer a look at tourist life as it once was here along the Gulf Coast. From 1945 into 1987, Avondale Textile Mills of Sylacauga, Alabama operated Camp Helen as a resort for vacationing employees.

From the efforts of the local community, Gulf Coast Community College, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection the land that makes up Camp Helen was acquired by the State of Florida in 1994 under the Conservation and Recreational Lands Programs.
Annual Entrance Passes can be purchased at all park ranger stations and museums. If you require immediate use of your pass, this is the best option. Passes can be purchased during regular business hours 365 days a year. Please call the park in advance to ensure availability. Those who are eligible for discounted or free passes may use this method to receive their pass. Annual Entrance Passes may be purchased online by visiting the FLORIDA STATE PARKS ANNUALENTRANCE PASSES web page.
1. Camp Helen State Park offers a beach area for swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.
2. The park's coastal dune lake, Lake Powell, is also suitable for swimming.
3. Swimming areas are not lifeguard-protected; visitors swim at their own risk.
4. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving along with regular swimming activities here.
5. Kayaking or paddle boarding on Lake Powell may lead to secluded spots perfect for private swims.

Boating opportunities exist at Camp Helen State Park; in that we are located on Lake Powell and The Gulf of Mexico connected by Phillips Inlet. Camp Helen has no public boat ramp, no canoe launch facilities, nor tie-ups. The Lake Powell Park managed by Bay County does offer public boat ramp facilities. Caution is advised to any boater not familiar with these waters. Lake Powell is a relatively shallow Lake with a low clearance bridge transecting the Lake between the County Boat Ramp and the lower lake, Inlet and Gulf. The Lake is a coastal Dune Lake not a Bay. The inlet that connects the Gulf and the Lake is not maintained for vessel navigation. It meanders naturally from day to day. Boaters not experienced with these waters are recommended to not attempt navigating the inlet. Any craft that runs a ground is the responsibility of the crafts owner. Recommended boating opportunities are limited to smaller craft Sea Kayaks, Canoes, Fishing skiffs (John Boats), pontoon boats, Ski Boats, Bass Boats. Larger vessels may be a poor choice for boating enthusiast.
Enjoy fishing in the Gulf of Mexico or Lake Powell, Florida's largest coastal dune lake. Species include flounder, redfish and speckled trout. Freshwater catches may feature largemouth bass and catfish. Fishing gear is available for rent on-site.

Camp Helen State Park is located near Panama City, Panama City Beach and Santa Rosa Beach

Camp Helen State Park offers picnic areas with tables and grills, perfect for family outings. No reservations are required.
- North Trail: This trail is approximately 3.5 miles long, offering hikers a chance to explore the diverse ecosystems within Camp Helen State Park including coastal dunes and wetlands.

- South Trail: A shorter route at about 2 miles in length, this path takes visitors through maritime hammocks and past scenic views of Lake Powell.

- Oak Canopy Loop: As its name suggests, this half-mile loop winds under an impressive canopy of oak trees providing shade for much-needed respite from Florida's heat.

- Beach Walkway Path: An easy walk that leads directly to the Gulf Coast beachfront; it's less than a mile but offers stunning ocean vistas along with opportunities for bird watching or shell collecting on the shorelines

-Dune Crossover Trails (East & West): These two trails are each roughly one-third of a mile long. They cross over sand dunes leading towards either end of park's expansive shoreline allowing access to more secluded areas away from main beach area.

-Lakeview Loop : Approximately three-quarters-of-a-mile-long circular track around part of Lake Powell giving panoramic lake views while passing by some picnic spots perfect for rest stops during your hike

-Pine Forest Nature Way : Just shy off one mile ,this nature way meanders through pine forest showcasing local flora fauna making it ideal choice if you're interested in wildlife spotting .

-Kayak Launch Access Route - Although not technically hiking trail,this short pathway provides direct access kayak launch site onto beautiful waters Lake Powel . It extends only few hundred feet,but can be interesting detour those looking add bit water adventure their visit
Birdwatchers can explore diverse habitats, including coastal dunes and freshwater wetlands. Over 180 bird species have been identified here. The park is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, offering guided tours during migration seasons. Visitors may spot rare birds like Snowy Plovers or Reddish Egrets.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
September 25 our favorite park by by me
park review stars; one to five thay are so helpfull there the place is so pretty and the fishing is great
April 17 My local getaway! by Kerry
park review stars; one to five A beautiful place with trails going thru the woods, around a portion of Lake Powell, or to the beach. I go there for a piece of serenity. My dog is allowed there too; but not on the beach.
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Area Campgrounds
The Outpost RV Park
4576 County Highway 3280
Freeport, FL
Pineglen Motorcoach & RV Park
11930 Panama City Beach Parkway
Panama City Beach, FL
Raccoon River Campground
12209 Hutchison Boulevard
Panama City, FL
Campers Inn Inc.
8800 Thomas Drive
Panama City, FL
Sun Outdoors Panama City Beach
1957 Allison Avenue
Panama City Beach, FL
Peach Creek RV Park
4401 U.S. 98
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Campers Inn Inc.
8800 Thomas Drive
Panama City, FL
Nearby Hotels
- Pets must be kept on a handheld leash that is six feet or shorter at all times.
- Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets and disposing of waste in designated areas.
- Pets cannot enter buildings, including restrooms and pavilions within the park premises.
- No pet should be left unattended to maintain safety standards across the park area.
- Aggressive behavior from pets towards other visitors will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
- Allowing your pet to chase wildlife is strictly prohibited as it disturbs natural habitats.
- Pets are restricted access to certain parts of the state park such as swimming areas, playgrounds, etc., unless otherwise stated by management.
- The number of pets per visitor may also have limitations; check with Park Management before bringing multiple animals into Camp Helen State Park.

Camp Helen is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway,Panama City Beach, FL, just west of the Phillips Inlet bridge on the Bay County and Walton county line. The entrance is South of U.S. Hwy 98 and approximately 6 miles west of State road 79.

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