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.
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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 except on beach. 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.
The park is 1.2 miles west of SR 293 on the south side of US 98 in Destin.
About the Park
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.
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.
Learn more about hiking at Henderson Beach State 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.
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