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.
This is now the home of the Henderson Beach Nature Trail, a 3/4-mile pet-friendly walk through the shifting sands of the coastal scrub.
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Length: 0.9 mile loop
Address: 17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin
Fees: $6 per vehicle
Restroom: By the parking area
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM to sunset. Leashed dogs welcome. 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.
Starting out by the picnic pavilion and playground, this scramble across the dunes is a well-worn path with few surprises, although we found ourselves startled by a view of Walmart at one of the benches. The trail undulates in and out of natural bowls between the dunes.
Windswept oaks create small shady hammocks interspersed between stretches of open sand. Benches provide resting spots to enjoy the scenic overlooks. Stay with the path to protect fragile vegetation.
Learn more about Henderson Beach State Park
Henderson Beach State Park
There’s a reason this is called the Emerald Coast, and you’ll know why as soon as the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico catch your eye. They make a strong contrast to the sugar-white strand and tall dunes protected by Henderson Beach State Park.
See our photos of Henderson Beach
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Showcasing the beauty of the South Walton coastline, the Timpoochee Trail connects coastal communities while leading cyclists past Florida’s renowned Coastal Dune Lakes
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
With one of Florida’s most beautiful sweeps of beach, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is a linear preserve with tall dunes along three miles of shoreline
Point Washington State Forest
Protecting the upland watersheds of the Coastal Dune Lakes along the South Walton coastline, Point Washington State Forest offers extensive offroad biking and hiking trails
Eastern Lake Trail
A chain of three stacked loops that enable you to walk or ride up to 10.9 miles, the Eastern Lake Trail offers an immersion in Point Washington State Forest for hikers and cyclists