Every once in a while, everybody needs to escape the stresses of real life and relax in paradise. For me, paradise features long, sunny days, warm weather and beautiful white-sand beaches, which is why I decided to book a last-minute getaway to Panama City Beach. This coastal Florida town is home to some of the top-rated beaches in the country, so I knew it was the perfect destination for my last-minute weekend vacation.
In order to escape the gloomy weather back home, and make my impromptu beach vacation possible, I checked HotelTonight’s website for last-minute Panama City Beach hotels. Within minutes, I had booked a great seaside hotel room in Panama City Beach, and was all ready to enjoy a weekend of sunshine, surf and sand.
Like most people visiting this seaside Florida town, the main activity on my Panama City Beach to-do list was to lounge on the beach. This state park has so much more to offer than just a beach, however, as Camp Helen is home to great hiking and walking trails, a dune lake and picturesque dunes and natural landscapes. This 185-acre park is one of the most unique beach destinations in Florida, which is why I knew it had to be my first stop in Panama City. I spent the morning hiking on the various trails through the picturesque state park, and I ended my time at Camp Helen with a long, relaxing nap on the beach. It had been a long time since I was able to completely unwind and relax, so I soaked in every minute of my time in this beautiful Florida state park.
Located right next to the popular City Beach, this iconic pier is the longest one in the entire Gulf of Mexico. The wide, well-maintained pier is popular among fishers, but it’s also popular for those looking to walk 1,500 feet out over the ocean. I strolled down the pier and kept an eye out for various marine life, and as I approached the edge of the pier I saw a sea turtle swimming in the water below, which was definitely a highlight of my vacation. This pier is a particularly popular spot among those looking to enjoy either the sunrise or the sunset, so I decided to come back later in the afternoon to enjoy the sunset. In the meantime, I headed down to City Beach and swam in the warm, clear water.
The next morning, I decided to once again take advantage of the warm Florida weather and get in a scenic outdoor walk, so I made my way to Conservation Park. This unique outdoor park is a great place to hike, bird watch and even walk your dog, which is why it’s a favorite spot among locals. In this 2,900-acre park, there are 24 miles of trails to choose from, so I could have easily spent all day hiking through this picturesque Conservation Park. However, I wanted to squeeze in a bit more beach time before I had to leave the balmy weather of Panama City Beach behind, so I hiked for a few miles before heading back to the beach.
Unlike the popular, crowded City Beach, St. Andrews State Park is more secluded and undeveloped. While this state park boasts a picturesque, untouched beach, it also features great hiking trails, natural scenery and wildlife. Since I had spent the morning hiking, I decided to spend the rest of my afternoon at the beach. St. Andrews is a great spot for snorkeling due to its clear waters and abundance of marine life, so I pulled on my snorkel gear and headed out into the water to get a glimpse of Florida’s marine life. This area is also a popular spot among surfers, so there’s really something for every type of beach goer at St. Andrews.
After a weekend of basking in the Florida sunshine and breathing in the fresh ocean air, I felt like a new person. Sometimes you just need to plan a spontaneous getaway for your own mental and emotional health, and fortunately you can always rely on HotelTonight to help make your last-minute retreats possible. The next time I need to experience a little slice of paradise, I will be sure to book a last-minute Panama City Beach hotel through HotelTonight. Booking accommodations tends to be one of the more stressful parts of planning a vacation, but HotelTonight makes it easy, which means that you can focus more on enjoying every other element of your vacation in paradise. While I could have easily spent an entire week (or an entire lifetime!) on the beautiful beaches of Panama City, Florida, I didn’t feel sad when I had to leave. I always know that a quick trip to Panama City Beach is just a few clicks away.