Henderson Beach State Park

Destin, Florida

Let's find your adventure!
Jun 18 ~ Jun 24
Henderson Beach State Park has over a mile of scenic coastline, boasting natural, untouched beauty you have to see to believe! With white rolling sand dunes, enthralling emerald waters, native flora and fauna, and so much more, this is the perfect place to reconnect with nature, and have a relaxing and unforgettable day at the beach.

Henderson Beach State Park Visitors Guide

Explore Emerald Coast beaches at their finest at Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, Florida! This protected strip of shoreline will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to a deserted island paradise, with scenic views and rolling sand dunes as far as the eye can see. The soft-white sand and crystal-clear, blue-green water attracts thousands of visitors to this seaside sanctuary, year after year.

Henderson Beach State Park opened to the public in 1991, after a local businessman, Burney M. Henderson, sold this undeveloped land to the state in 1983 for $1.3 million. And we are so thankful he did! Tourism and development in Destin is booming, and thanks to Mr. Henderson, Destin still has a piece of untouched natural beauty to enjoy.

Henderson Beach State Park offers so much more than just dazzling Destin beaches! Camping is one of the top things to do here, with an enormous campground that has 60 campsites. Fishing, hiking, picnicking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing are other popular activities to enjoy at the park.

Speaking of wildlife, there is a pet-friendly nature trail at Henderson Beach State Park that is just under a mile in length. The trail leads to a massive and elevated sand dune, developed around the remains of a decades-old bunker, that was built when the military was using the area. This vicinity yields incredible stunning sights, and is the perfect opportunity for wildlife viewing, as well! Awesome animals you may encounter at the park include:

  • Migrating Monarch butterflies
  • Rare and migratory birds, as well as shore and wading birds
  • Dolphins
  • Sea turtles
  • Rabbits
  • Bobcats
  • Gopher tortoises
  • And MORE!

This special park is also home to the last remaining coastal scrub area in Destin. Sea oats, sand pines, dune rosemary, wax myrtle, and coastal lupine are just a few of the many other natural wonders you may encounter when strolling through the park.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I rent a pavilion?

While pavilions are generally open to the public, and available on a first-come, first-served basis, they can also be rented out for private events, year-round. Pavilion rentals are perfect for birthday parties, family reunions, and even wedding ceremonies and receptions!

There are six pavilions at Henderson Beach State Park, and each one is equipped with grills, picnic tables, and boardwalk access to the beach. Three of the six pavilions are adjacent to restroom facilities. Outdoor shower stations are available, as well.

In order to reserve a pavilion, you will want to call Henderson Beach Park directly at 850-837-7550. To request more information regarding pavilion rentals and events, visit: https://fecsp.org/contact-us/.

2. How do I book a space at the campground?

For Henderson Beach State Park camping reservations, visitors will want to book online with Reserve America. This website is easy to use, and has everything you need to know about the park and its grounds, including detailed information about the camp site, a campground map, and even photos!

It is highly recommended to book in advance, as this picturesque park can book up to a year in advance! For last minute cancellations and reservations, call Henderson Beach State Park directly at 850-837-7550.

3. Is Henderson Beach State Park pet friendly?

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the beaches of Okaloosa County. However, pets are allowed at Henderson Beach State Park, just not on the actual beach itself. Pets are permitted at the campground, in the parking lot, through the nature trail, and on day-use area sidewalks.

The only exception to this is for service animals, as service animals are welcome in all areas of any Florida State Parks. Other rules and restrictions include:

  • Pets are prohibited from entering park buildings and playgrounds
  • All pets must be kept on a leash that is hand-held, and no longer than six feet
  • Pet owners must dispose of their pet’s waste (courtesy dog waste stations are available throughout the park for your convenience)
  • Pets must not be left unattended or leashed to a vehicle
4. Is Henderson Beach State Park handicap accessible?

Henderson Beach State Park is ADA accessible, with plenty of amenities for those with mobility needs. Available amenities include accessible pavilions and picnic tables, with ramps leading straight to the area’s stunning beaches! Accessible campsites, grills, restrooms, and shower stations are available, as well.

Another great thing about accessibility at Henderson Beach State Park is the availability of beach wheelchairs at no extra cost. If you will be needing a beach wheelchair, it is recommended to let the state park know in advance by calling 850-837-7550, due to limited quantities.

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