History of the Lodge at Camp Helen State Park and why it is an Awesome 30A Area Venue for Weddings and Events
Engaged couples looking for an affordable wedding venue close to 30A should seriously consider the Historic Lodge at Camp Helen State Park. The Lodge was built back in the 1930’s and offers plenty of charm, space and a beautiful backdrop for your big day. The Lodge includes “brides’ and groom’s rooms” upstairs as well as plenty of space downstairs and outside to celebrate.
Just last week I had the opportunity to discuss the history of the Lodge and why it’s a great 30A area events venue with Camp Helen State Park manager Wesley Myers…
Conversation with Camp Helen State Park manager Wesley Myers
30A Prime: In terms of acreage, how large is Camp Helen State Park?
Wesley: We have about 185 acres here at Camp Helen.
30A Prime: What makes Camp Helen State Park such a fun place to explore for people staying on the west end of Panama City Beach or on 30A?
Wesley: This park is full of history and fun recreational activities. People come here to swim, enjoy our pristine beach, hike our trails and just get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
30A Prime: In terms of the trail system at Camp Helen State Park, how large is it?
Wesley: The trail system here at Camp Helen is about 3.5 miles.
30A Prime: Now that we have a general overview of the park, let’s talk about the historic Lodge here at Camp Helen and why it’s such a great venue for all types of events.
Wesley: The Lodge is a really popular building here at the park and was built back in the 1930’s by the Hicks Family. Today, people use it for weddings, events and memorials. The Lodge here at Camp Helen State Park is available for rent 365 days a year. The daily rental rate is just $421 which is extremely reasonable when you consider the cost of other wedding venues in Panama City Beach and on 30A. The Lodge includes 100 chairs and 15 tables when you reserve it.
There are 3 bedrooms upstairs at the Lodge… There’s a brides’ room and a grooms’ room. In addition, there is an empty spare room that can be utilized however renters would like.
Please note that the Lodge is a Day use facility only so there are no overnight accommodations.
30A Prime: Please talk about some of the unique materials that were used to construct the Lodge here at Camp Helen.
Wesley: The large beams that you see in here were floated up from Brazil and were purchased at a port in Panama City in the 1930s. The log siding on the outside of the Lodge was milled in a nearby town and provided work for the locals in that time period. The granite that you see in the fireplaces is from Spanish Ships.
30A Prime: Now that we’ve covered inside the Lodge, let’s talk about how people like to use the outdoor grounds.
Wesley: Outside the front of the Lodge is a huge wrap-around porch. It is almost always utilized when people reserve the building for reunions, memorials, weddings and other events. Folks like to bring tables out onto the porch and enjoy the views of Lake Powell.
People that reserve the Lodge at Camp Helen State Park also like to also utilize the grounds out front. There’s a beautiful gazebo that overlooks Lake Powell and it’s a popular spot to conduct wedding ceremonies.
Out the backside of the Lodge here at Camp Helen, you’ll find the Emily Smith Memorial Garden. The garden is maintained by the Friends of Camp Helen which is a non-profit group that supports the park. Emily Smith was herself a long-time member of the Friends of Camp Helen State Park and the garden was her prize possession as she loved working in it as often as possible.
Right next door to the historic Lodge at Camp Helen you’ll find the Rainbow Cottages. The Hicks family lived at Camp Helen for a short period of time. During that time, Margaret Hicks built the 4 Rainbow Cottages that you see today to supplement their income.
For more information on how to reserve the historic Lodge at Camp Helen State Park, go to their website here… FloridaStateParks.org/Camp-Helen
Below is our full video interview with Camp Helen State Park manager Wesley Myers…
Important Notes on the Camp Helen State Park Lodge:
- Not shown in our video but also included when you rent the lodge is a fully functional kitchen
- The Lodge is available for rent 365 days a year
- Popular uses for the Lodge are weddings, memorials, reunions, corporate gatherings and more
- The Lodge is for Day-use only so there are no overnight accommodations
- Alchohol is not permitted in the park
- The Park Closes at Sundown