Things to Do in Gulf County Florida

This post brought to you by Visit Gulf County. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Surf and Sunshine.

When our family moved from Michigan to Florida at the beginning of this year we couldn’t have been more thrilled. We have some family and friends here and had vacationed in Florida on numerous occasions.

However, we rarely managed to make it out of the Orlando/Tampa areas.

Now that we live here full time we’ve been looking forward to exploring our new home state, especially cities along the coast since we both love coastal towns. 

What is Gulf County Florida like?

The Sunshine State is famous for its lush green landscapes, but if you get a chance to visit the Florida Panhandle, you’ll find something different.

The landscape is dominated by cypress trees and water. In fact, the only land in sight from my childhood friend’s dock was a few hundred yards of pastureland on which cows grazed in peace and quiet. 

Gulf County Florida sunset

If you’re wondering what we did in this rural area without cell phone service or internet access, we had plenty of fun exploring all that nature has to offer.

We went fishing with our dad, canoeing around one of the many lakes in our backyard (ahem…Dead Lakes), and building sandcastles at sunset when it was too hot for anything else.

One of the best parts about living in a quiet town was getting to visit our neighbor’s farm, where we’d feed their chickens and pigs, ride horses around the pastures, and pet all sorts of barn animals.

The kids I grew up with were always my favorite playmates when it came time for hide-and-seek or kickball games, because they knew how fun exploring nature could be.

gulf county florida

Gulf County Florida happens to be home of some great coastal towns and it’s packed with adventures on, in and near the water.

Fall is the perfect time to plan a visit to check off your Panama City bucket lists since the mind boggling summer temps are coming down.

It’s still plenty warm enough to spend the day in the water with Seahorse Water Safari, hiking along the beaches on a turtle treasure hunt or kayaking through the dead lakes. 

Did you know there are almost 900 natural springs in Florida to explore? Many of them are in Gulf Coast Florida!

Go on a Turtle Treasure Hunt

Last year we adopted a sea turtle for my daughter for Valentines Day.

She loves getting updates on her adopted turtle Bubble Butt, so I know she would love Turtle Treasure Hunt.

Adventure guide Jessica Swindell takes groups of four on Turtle patrols on high density nesting beaches in North Florida. This is one of our favorite things to do in Gulf County Florida.

turtle rescue gulf county florida

Guests can help her look for signs of nesting and participate in the process of protecting loggerhead turtles.

This part of the walk is really about marking and protecting the nests. Nests just look like big disturbed area of sand since the moms do a good job of camouflaging their nests. 

Seahorse Water Safari

Captain Gary Hites is the owner of Seahorse Water Safaris.

The safari is in the name because they don’t stop at rentals. They guide people in their explorations, snorkel trips, scallop trips and sunset cruises.

The majority of their clients have never seen a seahorse up close and personal, until now! 

Kayak Through the Dead Lakes

The Dead Lakes get their name from the Cypress and Tupelo trees that stand in the water.

When the water is low, you can see the stumps rising out of the swamp. We’re told it’s like nothing you’ve seen before.

dead lakes gulf county florida

“People don’t know what you’re talking about and then they have an “aha” moment when they paddle around the shallows in the South Flats.”

The stumps are so concentrated; it’s like being on another planet. 

Sounds pretty amazing right? That’s just the tip of the ice berg, check out the Gulf County Adventure Guide for more!  

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27 thoughts on “Things to Do in Gulf County Florida”

  1. A Sea Horse Safari?! How could does that sound. I am definitely writing that down. I don’t think I have ever seen one up close except in aquariums. My daughter adopted a donkey from a Donkey Sanctuary in Antigua named Amy. We would love to adopt a turtle.

  2. Oh how awesome. I have never been to Florida but I’ve always wanted to go. Hopefully someday soon, I’d love to do all the above.

  3. I’ve been visiting FL since I was a little girl. My husband and I happen to be in FL this weekend. Just got into town today. We have a wedding to attend and we’re celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary. We love FL!

  4. Wow, this sounds like such a fun place to visit on a family. My boys would absolutely love exploring the shores and looking for different native plants and animals.

  5. I grew up in the Jacksonville area and I really did love Florida, though I don’t love the humidity. There are a lot of things I miss though! Thanks for sharing!

  6. This looks like such a beautiful place to visit! My family loves going to the beach, so this looks right up their alley.

  7. It’s nice that you get to protect turtles while also having fun. I’d love to see a seahorse up close as well! These are all so awesome.

  8. We will be going to Florida for thanksgiving and I am looking forward for this visit hope the weather is fine. I am so ready for fun, sun and seeing sea turtles. Thanks for sharing.

  9. The closest I’ve been to a seahorse in at the aquarium. This sounds like a great idea and I would also enjoy that turtle hunt.

  10. Florida is such a beautiful state to visit. I didn’t even know there was anything to do in Gulf County Florida so thank you for the travel suggestions. These would be great for staycations too for those that live nearby.

  11. If I ever make it down that way, I will be sure to try some of these fun things. Sounds like a fun place to visit.


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