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.
Fees: $4-6 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome except on beach
This is a slice of seashore in the midst of dense urban development, and it’s a busy place on weekends-- not exactly a quiet getaway, but an easy-to-reach one for folks staying and playing in Destin and Fort Walton.
Show up early or stay late to enjoy birding on the nature trail, or better yet, grab a space in the campground to have nature’s show all to yourself after the crowds recede.
Explore the park
- Henderson Beach Nature Trail - Showcasing a ridge of dunes in Destin, the nature trail at Henderson Beach State Park leads you through bright sands in coastal scrub and maritime forest.