Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, Florida offers a convenient location to enjoy 6,000 feet of beautiful white sandy beaches on the clear emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The park provides a great place to set up on the beach, soak up the sun and swim in the cool waters. It’s also great for fishing from the boardwalk, hiking the nature trail or just walking on the beach. Bring a bicycle and enjoy riding on the mile long paved road of the park.
Since many of the beach areas in Destin, FL are considered private and are reserved for guests of hotels that sit on them, Henderson Beach offers a great place to enjoy the best beaches Destin has to offer. For the small fee of $6 per car, visitors can park their car for the day as they enjoy a fun filled time on the beach. Park hours are conveniently set at 8 am to sunset daily.
Plan to stay the day and bring a picnic lunch or grab one of the grills under the pavilions to cook out. They have picnic tables, restrooms and drink machines. The pavilions are the only shaded areas in the parks, so you may want to bring an umbrella to sit under for breaks from the sun. They also have two outdoor shower areas to wash off the sand and salt water.
At the beginning of the nature trail, kids will find a much appreciated playground with a view of the ocean. After taking a hike on the trail, parents can sit in the covered area out of the sun to rest while they watch their children play. The nature trail is one of the few spots in Destin where you can enjoy the coastal dune ecosystem and wildlife.
Depending on the season or just the day, many guests to this state park are lucky enough to spot various wildlife on the land or in the water. Birds of many types, whether they be wading birds, migratory birds or shore birds, are often spotted during the spring and fall seasons. Dolphins are often seen, and occasionally small reptiles or even sea turtles.
Be sure to watch for the colored flags that will found at the beaches. They are there to inform visitors of the swimming conditions. Green flags indicate that the water is safe, yellow shows the need to stay close to shore and be cautious, while purple means that marine pests are present. Those bad jellies! Double red flags are the ones to really watch out for. They signify that there is absolutely no swimming allowed due to high winds and undertow currents. Be sure to play it safe and always take these flags seriously.
Pets are permitted in the park, but only in the parking lot, on the nature trail and on the sidewalk in the day use area. They are not allowed on the beach, playground or any park buildings. Be sure to check the website for other rules concerning your dear pets.
Many guests to Destin particularly love Henderson State Park for its beautiful campgrounds. They offer 60 campsites and provide electric and water hookups. Campers have access to private air conditioned and heated bathhouse facilities. They also have a separate boardwalk with beach access, outdoor showers and a playground. These amenities are reserved just for campers. Nightly campground rates are only about $30 and include water and electricity. The grounds are kept extremely clean and the staff is great.
If you’re staying at a hotel or condo located right on the beach, you won’t really have a need for this park, but for those looking for a great location to enjoy the beautiful beaches and nature of Destin, this is the perfect spot especially if you are looking for a campground in Destin, FL.
Henderson Beach State Park & Campground
17000 Emerald Coast Parkway
Destin, FL 32541
Camping – (800) 326-352
Also, be sure to check out our list of the best discounts and coupons for Destin, FL to save money on things in to do in Destin, Florida. And our list of the best restaurants in Destin, FL will give you 10 great options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, our list of the best places to stay in Destin will give you plenty of accommodation options.