Destin Is Home to Top Nature Spot in Florida
Would you like to stroll in an area reminiscent of old Florida? A place where you can view rolling sand dunes, ancient scrub habitat, and rolling shoreline? ¬†
Such a place exists today at Henderson Beach State Park. ¬†It’s one of our area’s best kept secrets. ¬†The park gives you a glimpse of what the area was like before the¬†urban development along Highway 98 and the Florida panhandle.
Florida’s own state park website, FloridaStateParks.org, says “We welcome you to the beautiful and serene¬†Henderson Beach¬†State Park where you can truly enjoy the Real Florida.”
- The park was purchased in 1983 from the Henderson family estate and opened to the public in March 1991. This was the first acquisition under the land conservation program initiated by Governor Bob Graham, Save Our Coast. The family wanted to protect the area’s natural features and let the public enjoy the surroundings.
- Initial construction included two picnic pavilions, restrooms, beach access boardwalks, an entrance station and support facilities. In March 2000, 30 campsites, a bathhouse, camping area, playground and additional beach access boardwalk were added.
- A beautiful three-quarter mile nature trail now provides visitors with a rare view of some of the last remaining and endangered coastal scrub communities in the Florida panhandle. This trail meanders through ancient but still growing and shifting dunes. Significant plants, some rare and others largely endemic to the panhandle grow in this area. At the top of the trail are remnants of the United States Air Force Clausen tracking site installed in 1951.
- The nature trail was built through a partnership between state and¬†Friends of Henderson Beach State Park.
The park offers a large day use area with six pavilions on the beach with barbecue grills,¬†picnic tables, shower and restroom facilities. Boardwalks provide access to the beach for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. ADA access is available along with beach wheelchairs. There is a small park entrance fee for pedestrians and vehicles.¬†
Sixty RV campsites are available with each site nestled in scrub oaks and pines. ¬† The sites include water and electric hookups, picnic table, campfire ring and access to air-conditioned and heated bathhouse facilities.
Areas of the park can also be reserved for weddings and family reunions.