Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Best Places for Killer Photos in PCB

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If it seems like I’ve been in Florida a lot lately, that’s because it’s true. I went to Jacksonville and St. Augustine in March to visit Angie and Jade. I went to PCB in April on a project with Angie and Jade. And I headed back to Panama City Beach two weeks ago with just Jade (no Angie, sadly) for a magazine story.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

I’m not complaining; there are few places I’d rather be than in Florida, no matter the time of year—especially with this girl!

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

This particular visit was different than our last; for one, we didn’t spend all of it eating and drinking because the weather couldn’t have been better—it was mid-80s and sunny as could be, whereas we were met with some rain back in April—and for another, I was only there for a very quick 48 hours. So, as usual, Jade and I managed to cram in as many sights as we could (or rather, collect as much Instagram material as possible in a brief two days).

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Headed to PCB soon? Take a few cues from us—here are some of my favorite places to get awesome photos, whether family portraits or selfies or a combination of the two (#felfie?).

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

City Pier

I think the question here is: When does a pier not make for a great photo opp? Russell-Fields (aka City Pier) is one of PCB’s four fishing piers and the most prominent of all of them: as the longest pier on the Gulf, it stretches 1,500 feet out over the water.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

This spot is smack in the middle of PCB, so go mid-morning (or off-season as we did) to photograph it without the crowds.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Carillon Beach

I waxed poetic about how I’m newly smitten with Carillon Beach—seriously, how cute are the candy-colored beach houses?—but I didn’t mention how perfect the overlooks are for photos, particularly during the golden hour.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

This planned community has eight unique dune walkovers that lead out onto the beach, as well as a Meeting House, well-manicured Promenade, bell tower, yoga studio, Village Green, salon and much more. Even if you’re not a guest of the resort or inn, it’s worth parking in the “downtown” and taking a stroll throughout the intricate complex.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach
Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Camp Helen

Right next to Carillon Beach flanking Lake Powell, this site of a former hotel burned down in the 1920s and has since been turned into a state park. The 180-acre, day-use Camp Helen is full of prehistoric mounds dating back 4,000 years and devoid of people.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Pro tip: If you time it just right and arrive by foot minutes before sunset, you’ll likely to have the whole park and beach to yourself.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach
Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

St. Andrews State Park

A former military reservation with Gulf access, this lush state park occupies a protected area along a mile and a half on the lagoon side of PCB. Not only do the multicolored umbrellas create a tapestry across the sugar sand, but the beach also offers excellent views of the PCB skyline just beyond.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Plus, the marshy territory as you enter the park is worth a quick stop, too—if for nothing else, to see what wildlife you can spot among the reeds.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach
Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

On top of its residents—from raccoons and alligators to various species of birds and dolphins galore—St. Andrews is one of the best spots for water sports in the area, and who doesn’t love a hotdogging kite surfer against a blue sky backdrop?

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Goofy Golf

I feel like it took me far too long to discover this Gulf Coast gem, though all locals and every frequent PCB visitor will know about the iconic mini-golf course as it’s been around for 50 years.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

I won’t claim to have actually played a hole—let’s just say I’m as competitive as they come and don’t like to lose; and also golf is probably my weakest sport—but the lady working the ticket counter was kind enough to let us look around anyway.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach
Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

From a helicopter

Two years ago, I had the pleasure of going out on a 25-minute flight with Panhandle Helicopter, and I promise you it doesn’t get any better than an aerial view of the Emerald Coast.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Shell Island

This seven-mile stretch of uninhabited island may very well be one of my favorite spots in the entire South. Not only is the sand the whitest of whites and the water the bluest of blues, but it’s got shallow waters that are perfect for pulling a pontoon up to. Last year, on my friend Andrea’s Florida bachelorette weekend, we spent an entire day on Shell Island—and did not want to go back to the mainland at the end of the day.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Bonus points if you make it all the way out there and do some crazy acrobatics as other boaters gawk as they pass.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

Conservation Park

Want some green photos that POP beyond those of the Gulf’s emerald hues? Look no further than the PCB Conservation Park, which boasts 3,000 acres and 12 looping trails and connects to Frank Brown Park via Gayle’s Trails, a comprehensive network of greenways that eventually will span the length of Bay County.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

What’s your favorite spot for taking photos in Panama City Beach? I know there are some gems I’ve left off.

Visit Florida: Best Photo Opps in Panama City Beach

COMMENTS
  • June 4, 2016

    I’m going to send a picture of the beach houses to my local council. They planted ugly containers on the beaches in my hometown that are supposed to serve as beach residences, but they look horrible compared to those cute houses. Let’s see if I can get them to change things up 😉
    Dominique recently posted..Geldermalsen – Bloesemroute 15kmMy Profile

    • June 10, 2016

      You need to! I can imagine a planned beach community like this one on the coast of Holland =)

  • June 5, 2016

    I had no idea the water was so blue and the sand so white in Florida! I haven’t been since I was a kid, but I think I may have to plan a trip back.
    Lauren Bishop recently posted..A Land of Outdoor Adventures: Central LaosMy Profile

    • June 10, 2016

      Oh girl, you need to change that. It’s the color of the best water in Southeast Asia! The Gulf Coast is very underrated in my opinion 😉

  • June 5, 2016

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    storify.com recently posted..storify.comMy Profile

  • June 8, 2016

    A beach getaway sounds heavenly right about now!
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted..Elephant Nature Park – Chiang Mai, ThailandMy Profile

    • June 10, 2016

      It was waaaaay too short. Just two day! Which just means I need another 😉

  • June 11, 2016

    I haven’t been to PCB since a was a wee kid, but man, your photos have me itching to book that Southwest deal I saw in my email this week! That Conservation Park really looks like my kind of thing (in addition to the beach, of course). Thanks for giving me another place to add to the travel list!

  • June 18, 2016

    All amazing shots! I’m missing a family reunion in Mexico Beach this year, and am sad – this part of Florida is one of the best!
    Amanda recently posted..Should You Go Cage Diving With Great White Sharks?My Profile

  • June 19, 2016

    Lovely Web-site, Stick to the wonderful job. Thank you so much!.

  • August 29, 2016

    I have never had the pleasure of going to Florida but now more than ever I am itching to get going and exploring a new place! Thanks so much for sharing such beautiful places!

  • October 9, 2016

    Wow, what an amazing pics! I have become a big fan of Panama City Beach after seeing your outstanding pics. I will be there soon!

  • October 10, 2016

    Oh, I hope you get to go! The water is lovelier there than anywhere else in the continental US.

  • October 27, 2016

    Great post and images.Thanks for sharing.

  • December 14, 2016

    Wow, what a great blog along with cool Pictures! It looks like you guys enjoyed your trip. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
    Jasmine recently posted..Happy New Year 2017 Messages and WishesMy Profile

  • December 14, 2016

    I really enjoyed your blog and I am really glad to find your unique article. keep it up dear.
    Jasmine recently posted..10 Thing To Do Before Valentine Day!My Profile

  • December 18, 2016

    Thank you for this unique and different content! I look for bloggers who write about their personal experiences in a place, along with the how to do, rather than just a generic list of things to do in a town or city.

  • April 26, 2017

    Lovely city That i ever go. Thanks

  • September 6, 2017

    Excellent place and photography. I would love to visit this beach.

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