Here in Destin, Florida, we are blessed to have several gulf-front Florida state parks. These pristine lands overlooking the sugar white sand beaches and shimmering waters of the Gulf of Mexico are protected by the State of Florida and managed by the Florida Park system, allowing the public to enjoy these rare coastal treasures. Between Panama City and Fort Walton Beach, Deer Lake State Park, Grayton Beach State Park, Topsail Hill State Preserve and Henderson Beach State Park offer many opportunities to enjoy this coastal environment and commune with nature. Here’s highlights of things to do at each park:
Henderson Beach State Park- The pristine 200-acre Henderson Beach State Park features 6,000 feet of uncrowded sugar white shoreline perfect for relaxing or strolling before taking a refreshing dip in the Gulf. The beautiful nature trail provides a rare view of some of the last remaining endangered coastal scrub communities in the Florida Panhandle. The park’s high dunes developed around the remnants of a bunker built decades ago when the military was using the area. Guided Tours are available upon request.
Topsail Hill State Preserve - Home to one of the tallest dunes along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast (over 25 feet tall), Topsail Hill State Park features a wide variety of natural resources including 3.2 miles of secluded, white sand beaches, miles of nature trails and three rare coastal dune lakes. The Morris Lake Nature Trail meanders 2.5 miles through ancient dunes and scrub communities as well as glimpses of the remnants of iron tracks from the first WWII missile development program. Hikers can also enjoy miles of abandoned jeep trails the 5-mile Campbell Lake Nature Trail. This park is a bird-watchers and hikers paradise. Park ranger programs provide guests the opportunity to join guided tours and learn about our indigenous flora and fauna.
Grayton Beach State Park– Home to the area’s second-largest coastal dune lake and a beach ranked best in America by Dr. Stephen Leatherman (aka Dr. Beach), Grayton Beach State Park has many great attributes. The expansive park also includes a special walking trail that offers a one-of-a-kind experience, meandering through the dunes and through a long-leaf pine forest.
Deer Lake State Park– Located along Hwy 30A between Seagrove Beach and Seacrest, Deer Lake State Park is a 1,920-acre park, featuring meandering paths through pine scrub. Hikers will enjoy identifying the indigenous flora, including palmettos, deer’s tongue (vanilla plant), beach rosemary, lupine, and rusty lyonia. A lengthy boardwalk leads through the park to the beach for those seeking a secluded retreat along the pristine shoreline.
Looking for the perfect vacation rental near one of these wonderful natural areas? We invite you to check out our available Destin vacation rentals and 30A condos, many of which are near these protected lands providing the peaceful and serene beach getaway you’ve been needing. It's where you'd rather be!
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