HENDERSON BEACH STATE PARK
Pristine white sugar sand beaches and more than 6,000 feet of natural scenic shoreline border the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Natural features of the park include sand pines, scrub oaks, and dune rosemary. Boardwalks provide access to the beach for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. Two large pavilions allow for picnicking and grilling. A playground is the first stop on our nature trail and is sure to be a success with the kids. The nature trail provides visitors a rare glimpse of the coastal dune ecosystem and abundant wildlife and is pet friendly. Camping at Henderson Beach State Park provides 60 campsites that are located in our secondary dune system. The sites include water and electric hookups and access to air conditioned and heated bathhouse facilities. A separate beach access boardwalk with outdoor showers and a playground are included in our campground. Henderson Beach is A.D.A accessible and includes beach wheel chair availability. Visitors can enjoy truly breathtaking sunsets while relaxing by the warm crystal clear water of the Gulf of Mexico. The park is located just east of Destin on U.S. 98.
Bird Watchers can enjoy sighting wading birds, shore birds and migratory birds in the spring and fall. Dolphins, sea turtles and other fish species may be sighted off the beach. Small species of some reptiles and other wildlife may also be sighted.
Named for its previous owners, the park was purchased in 1983 from the Henderson family estate and opened to the public on March 29, 1991. This was the first acquisition under the Save Our Coast Program, a land conservation program initiated by Governor Bob Graham in 1981. The Henderson family wanted the land preserved to protect the unique natural features of the area, and to provide the public with an opportunity to enjoy the surroundings.
The initial construction of the park included two picnic pavilions with restrooms, beach access boardwalks, an entrance station and park support facilities. In March of 2000, 30 campsites, a bathhouse, camping area playground, and an additional beach access boardwalk were added to provide visitors with a more unique experience of the park. Demand was so high for overnight accommodations that an additional 30 campsites and a campfire circle/interpretive site were added and opened to the public in March of 2002.
A Vital addition to the park was the development of the Friends of Henderson Beach State Park Citizen Support Organization in March of 2000. The Friends of Henderson Beach State Park are a not-for-profit volunteer organization that provides added volunteer positions and funding that help the park provide additional services and activities to park visitors and the local community.
A beautiful ? mile nature trail was built through this joint-partnership between the ?Friends of Henderson Beach State Park? and the park itself. Using park staff and volunteers to construct the trail, as well as funding provided by donations and membership fees by the CSO, the trail was opened to the public in November of 2001. It now provides visitors with a rare view of some of the last remaining & endangered coastal scrub communities in the Florida panhandle.
Also surrounded by Henderson Beach State Park, The U.S. Air Force maintains a large tracking site known as the Clausen Tracking Site. This site was installed in 1951 to provide national security programs and rocketry testing programs in the United States. Remnants of the original tracking installations can be seen atop the hill adjacent to the Air Force property along the nature trail. Today a larger version of this tracking system provides a landmark for visitors throughout the park.
The park has 60 outstanding campsites that can accommodate either tents or RVs, with a mixture of back in and pull through sites. The sites have water, electricity (some 50 amp); picnic tables ground grills, and clothesline posts. Heated and air conditioned bathhouses have showers, coin operated washers, dryers, and vending machines. Unlike remote wilderness camping, provisions and restaurants are a short drive away. Staying overnight in the park, you will experience the sweet smells and nighttime melodies of the Real Florida.
Park t-shirts, hats, ice, beach umbrellas, boogie boards, and sun block may be purchased at the entrance station to the park. Drinks may be purchased from our vending machines.
Visitors to coastal parks are reminded to pay close attention to the colored flags posted at welcome stations and on the beaches. These flags indicate the swimming conditions at the beach. Double red flags mean absolutely no swimming because of high winds and undertow currents, yellow means swim with caution and stay close to shore, green means that the waters are safe, purple means that marine pests are present. Please Use Caution! Lifeguards are not provided.
Our family oriented beach is one of the areas most prized assets. Depending on the season, your beach experience could be highlighted by sightings of dolphins, sea turtles, migratory birds, butterflies and as always a gorgeous sunset. For visitors in wheelchairs, an all-terrain beach wheelchair is available to provide access to beach areas. Please check at the Ranger Station for more information. No alcohol, glass, fires, or animals are allowed on the beach.
Destin is known as the luckiest fishing village in the world. Visitors wishing to try their luck in the surf may catch popular species such as pompano, red fish, flounder, catfish, whiting, and sometimes cobia. Bait & Tackle can be purchased just outside of the park.