What to do in Henderson Beach State Recreation Area

Named for its previous owners, the park was purchased in 1983 from the Henderson family estate for $13.1 million. The first acquisition under the Save Our Coast Program, Henderson Beach State Recreation Area was opened to the public on March 29, 1991.

The Henderson family wanted the land preserved to protect the unique natural features of the area, and provide the public with an opportunity to enjoy the surroundings. Today, the 208-acre park is a habitat for sand pines, scrub oaks, Southern magnolias, dune rosemary and a variety of wildflowers. Boardwalks are provided to allow park visitors easy access to the beach without damaging the dunes and vegetation.

Two hundred acres of Gulf coast property was acquired in 1991 through the Save Out Coast Program. The acquisition was made before high-rise resorts engulfed the coast. However, the park is flanked by such development.

Wildlife found throughout the park area includes protected sea turtles, which nest along the beach and a variety of special shoreline birds. Visitors can spot black skimmers, sanderlings, brown pelicans and laughing gulls.

A smattering of picnic tables and a pavilion is offered. A bathhouse with outside showers is a welcome feature after a day of beach activities.

Swimming, sunbathing, and surf fishing are popular pastimes . Visitors wishing to try their luck in the surf may catch popular species such as pompano and whiting. A new small campground offers electric and water for $16 per night.

Wildlife viewing, picnicking, camping, and swimming are several of the waterfront recreations enjoyed.

Henderson Beach State Park is located just east of the city of Destin on U.S. Highway 98.

The panhandle area of Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. The average summer temperatures reach well above 83 degrees Fahrenheit (above 29 Celsius). Winters are mild with temperatures averaging below 52 degrees Fahrenheit (below 11 Celsius). The average precipitation for the panhandle area is more than 60 inches per year. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.

17000 Emerald Coast Parkway
Destin, FL 32541

Phone: 850-837-7550

  • Henderson Beach State Recreation Area Travel Q&A