DEER LAKE STATE PARK
This park shares its name with the coastal dune lake within its boundaries. Coastal dune lakes are extremely rare worldwide and in the United States they occur only along the Gulf Coast. Southern magnolias, golden asters, woody goldenrod, and scrub oaks can be seen in this coastal dune habitat. Rare plants such as gulf coast lupine, spoonflower, pitcher plants, and Curtiss' sand grass-one of the largest populations found in Florida-are found in the park. Visitors may see splashes of color from summer wildflowers or some of the many species of resident or migratory birds and butterflies. A boardwalk across the dunes offers easy access to the beach where visitors can picnic, swim, and fish. It also offers a spectacular view of the dune ecosystem, one of 11 natural communities found in the park. Located on County Road 30A in Santa Rosa Beach.
Deer Lake State Park is a 1,920-acre facility named after a freshwater coastal dune lake within its boundaries. Trail access to the Gulf of Mexico opens to a magnificent dune field and to a pristine section of beach. The park contains 11 distinct natural communities including beach dune, mesic flatwoods, sandhill, scrub, basin swamp, depression marsh, dome swamp, coastal dune lakes, blackwater stream, estuarine tidal creek, and unconsolidated marine substrate. Blackwater streams are lined with spring azaleas. Summer wildflowers are seen around cypress domes throughout the sandhills and longleaf pine habitat.
The park boasts a diversity of plant and wildlife. Rare plant species include: Cruise?s golden aster on taller dunes inland from beach dune; infrequent Godfrey?s golden aster with sea oats on foredunes; gulf coast lupine in disturbances along paths in scrub and sandhills; frequent large-leafed jointweed in oak scrub; and spoonflower along basin swamps at Camp Creek.
Around the pond areas in the flatwoods and around streams are found: white top and yellow pitcher plants, rosebud orchid, grass pinks, sundews, pine lilies, and Curtiss?s sand grass. Some of the largest populations of Curtiss?s sand grass in Florida are found at Deer Lake.
Annual Entrance Passes can be purchased at all park ranger stations and museums. If you require immediate use of your pass, this is the best option. Passes can be purchased during regular business hours 365 days a year. Please call the park in advance to ensure availability. Those who are eligible for discounted or free passes may use this method to receive their pass. Annual Entrance Passes may be purchased online by visiting the FLORIDA STATE PARKS ANNUALENTRANCE PASSES