Escape the hustle and bustle of Destin, while retaining all the conveniences of its close proximity, at this scenic state park on the Gulf of Mexico.
The first thing you notice at Henderson Beach State Park is its sand. Stretching for 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) along the Gulf of Mexico, the shoreline looks like it has been covered with tons of pure white sugar. Spend a relaxing day on the beach or explore the park’s winding nature trails.
From the parking lot, follow the boardwalk over the dune to the beach. Spread out your beach towel and enjoy the soft sand and warm Florida sun. Go for a swim in the sparkling blue-green water, which remains temperate throughout the year.
Cast your fishing line in the water for flounder, catfish, pompano and more. Stop at the convenience store at the edge of the park to purchase bait and tackle.
Take a break from the sun in one of the park’s six pavilions. Grill outdoors or pack a picnic lunch. Freshen up in the bathhouse, which has restrooms and showers. Children gravitate toward the beachside playground.
Walk along the park’s nature trail. At less than 1 mile (1.2 kilometers) long, it is manageable for people of most fitness levels. Examine the unique dune ecosystem along the shore.
Watch for the varied wildlife in the area. Bring binoculars to see all the beach’s birds, from pelicans to plovers. Watch dolphins diving offshore and turtles swimming in the surf. Walk among scrub oaks, dune rosemary and sand pines.
If you want to stay for more than a day on the beach, reserve a campsite. Choose from 60 sites, ranging from tent areas to RV spots with water and electric hookups.
The admission fee to the park varies depending on your mode of transportation. The beach is wheelchair accessible. Bring your dog on the trails, but keep them leashed at all times. Pets are not allowed on the beach or at the playground.
Visit Henderson Beach State Park any day of the year. Stay until dusk or overnight if you have reserved a campsite. The town of Destin is less than 20 minutes away by car.