Henderson Beach State Park

#1 in Best Things To Do in Destin
Henderson Beach State Park picture
Henderson Beach State Park
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Romona Robbins Photography/Getty Images

Key Info

17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy

Details

Beaches, Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.6scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Perhaps the biggest draw to Henderson Beach State Park­ – aside from its relaxed atmosphere – is the sugar-white sand, mile-long beach, made up of pure Appalachian quartz. The sand not only remains cool in the summer sun, but it gives the pristine waters an emerald cast. Offering a welcome change of pace from the crowded and hotel-backed beaches closer to the resorts, this easily accessible, safe and clean oasis offers nature trails, spots for grilling, and picnicking and campsites.

Recent visitors loved the area's peaceful atmosphere and highly recommended travelers make a stop here. The park rangers and staff also received accolades for their helpful tips and vast knowledge of the area.

Admission fees range from $2 to $6, depending on your mode of transportation. Recent travelers agreed, the minimal entrance fee is worth an afternoon here, especially on weekends and holidays when Destin's other beaches tend to get crowded. You'll find Henderson Beach State Park about 3 miles east of downtown Destin on the Emerald Coast Parkway. The park is open from 8 a.m. to sundown every day of the year. For more information on the area and to reserve a campsite, visit the Florida State Parks website.

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More Best Things To Do in Destin

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#2 Destin Boat Tours

Whether you're looking for a pirate-themed cruise, a romantic sunset sail or a dolphin-spotting excursion, Destin has a boat tour for you. In fact, according to the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, Destin boasts the largest for-hire fishing fleet in the U.S.

If you're hoping to catch a glimpse of the area's resident bottlenose dolphins, consider booking a tour with Southern Star Dolphin Cruises or Olin Marler's Charter Cruises – both of which come highly recommended by recent travelers. And though many of Destin's boating excursions are considered family-friendly (there's a reason it's one of America's Best Family Beach Vacations), the area's pirate cruises are the real hit with youngsters. Along with treasure hunting, storytelling and water gun battles, young seafarers will also get to sail on a pirate ship replica. Buccaneer Pirate Cruise comes recommended by both the visitors bureau and past travelers. Many companies that offer daytrips and snorkeling excursions also offer sunset sails. Sail Away in particular is favorably rated by recent visitors.

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Emerald Coast Convention Visitors Bureau, Inc
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