Just over a mile from our home is Camp Helen State Park where in the early 1950’s a fishing pier (referred to as the Inlet Beach Pier) was constructed. Families gathered to fish, swim, collect shells and find shade from the brutal Florida sun.
In 1975, the pier took a hit from Hurricane Eloise, a CAT 4 storm that punished it with 120 mph winds. Most of the pier was lost but what remained became an icon for the Inlet Beach area.
Locals and tourists staying in Inlet Beach, Rosemary Beach, Seacrest, Alys Beach, and towns further down Scenic 30a made it a habit to walk to the pier along the crystal emerald shores. The pier was a great turnaround point where people could hang out, swim, or just rest before returning home.
When heading west from Panama City Beach, each time I crossed the Lake Powell bridge of Phillips Inlet, I would look south to spot the decaying pier. It was visible just in the distance and it became a habit to glance that way. A few weeks ago I glanced over and no longer saw the pier. I thought my eyes were deceiving me but later learned that it had been taken down.
Sadly, here is how it looks today. Other than a few pilings barely visible under the water, it’s completely gone.
In 2014, a sailboat washed ashore adjacent to the pier. It was loaded with all kinds of goodies (a kid’s bike, solar panels, sonar and more). We figured the owner would have it towed soon.
The sailboat sat there for 5 months until the county removed it. By the time they did, it had been swept from the original location to the back of the pier and was submerged in the sand.
Here are a few more pictures I’ve taken over the years. RIP Inlet Beach Pier!
If you want to learn more about Inlet Beach and the Inlet Beach Pier, MarineMax put together a phenomenal video: