If you’ve spent any time at the beach, you know that sand collects around the dune grasses and builds up, forming larger dunes. At Henderson Beach State Park, one of the more immense dunes built up around an old military bunker, and it’s now the home of the Henderson Beach Nature Trail, a 3/4-mile pet-friendly walk through the shifting sands of the coastal scrub. Starting just behind the playground, the nature trail leads you up and over a chain of ancient dunes through a coastal scrub and maritime forest, where windswept oaks create small shady hammocks interspersed between stretches of open sand. Benches provide resting spots to enjoy the scenic overlooks.
Length: 0.8 mile
Lat-Long: 30.384183, -86.448800
Fees / Permits: state park entrance fee
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: low
Ask for an interpretive guide to the nature trail at the ranger station when you enter the park. Expect soft sand and difficult climbs on the dunes in places. There is little shade along the trail; wear sun protection and bring plenty of water.
Henderson Beach State Park offers camping by the sea, a real plus along the Emerald Coast. Most visitors are here for the beach, and you’ll want to spend some time on it too. The park tends to be very busy on weekends and during the winter months.
The park is 1.2 miles west of SR 293 on the south side of US 98 in Destin.