“Where are the best locations for family photos in PCB or 30A?” This is one of the most asked questions that I get from clients as a local photographer. Sure – You can step out on any public beach access and take a few photos, but you take the risk of the beach being crowded and distractions in the background. Over the years, I have found some of the best locations to take family photos without the crowded beach and with variety other than just the ocean. Here are my 4 favorite locations in the PCB and 30A to host family photos!
A great alternative to the commercial beachfront, with natural dunes, native seagrass and vegetation, is St. Andrews State Park. The park’s location is where the Gulf meets the bay. That is why it is no wonder why it’s my favorite place to photograph family sessions.
Even if you aren’t looking for a location for family photos, go explore the natural side of Panama City Beach with a visit to St. Andrews State Park. It’s a patch of the Panhandle coastline with shady oak trees, endangered coastal scrub, gorgeous wide sandy beaches and even a freshwater lake. This beautiful white sand beach and warm emerald-green waters are picturesque. The park is open from sunrise to sunset 365 days per year. You should note that there is an $8 per vehicle entrance fee. I always tell families to load their vehicles with as many people as they can to avoid extra fees.
A few highlights of shooting at St. Andrews State Park is the sugar white sand and emerald green waters. The southern portion of the park includes beautiful and well known Shell Island. If you are looking for the best backdrop for your family photos, the kiddie pool area and the jetties are the best. The spot is perfect for pictures because there aren’t any chair rentals, trash cans or condos in the background. The beach is incredibly gorgeous with WIDE sand beaches and amazing views. I love using the jetties in the background or even as a spot to sit.
If you are looking for a location that still has beach vibes but has some greenery as well, then Gator Lake is the perfect spot. The Spanish moss on the trees give the vibe of old Florida, the trail is quiet and secluded. It’s a hidden gem without too many crowds. This location is perfect for families who are looking for photos to display in their home year round, and beachfront photos can easily be associated with summer. I love capturing the gorgeous golden light peeking in through the trees during family photos.
Martinique is great if you want pretty areas that are not sandy. This is another great location for year round displayed family photos in your home! I also have an indoor studio inside this gated community. This location is one that several of my local clients use for the variety it offers during their session. It has plenty of white pebble paths, bridges, trees, and spots perfect for any kind of photography. It has a feel similar to Rosemary Beach. I love shooting here because I have found all the best spots for pretty, golden sunlight. If my clients can’t decide on a location, this is the first place I also suggest.
If you are wanting family photos near the 30A area, Inlet Beach Regional Access is the best location. It’s located at the end of South Orange Street, about 200 yards south of US Hwy 98. Inlet Beach Regional Access is the largest county access and features three dune walkovers, which make for the best photos as well! It has parking, restrooms, and lifeguards during peak season. Something to remember during peak season, this location can be crowded even towards sunset. If you are wanting family photos during peak season, I would use one of the other locations.
Looking for more advice or tips for beach photos? Check out my Blog Posts!