Henderson Beach State Park

Henderson Beach State Park

Henderson Beach State Park is a protected strip of gulf-front land located directly in the heart of Destin, FL. With a stunning white-sand beach, nature trail, and plenty of space for camping, Henderson Beach State Park is a prime destination to stay for a couple of hours or an entire vacation. Discover everything you need to know about the park including hours, admission, and things to do nearby.
Sunset at Henderson Beach State Park

TripAdvisor recently voted #13 best U.S. Beach

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Where is Henderson Beach State Park?

If you’ve ever driven through Destin, Florida, by way of Highway 98, you’ve probably seen the entrance to Henderson Beach State Park. The park is located along the south side of 98 between Silver Shells Beach Resort & Spa and The Henderson Beach Resort & Spa.

The main entrance to Henderson Beach State Park is found at 17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy. Destin, FL 32541.

Is Henderson Beach State Park Open to the Public?

 A Destin, FL, landmark, Henderson Beach was first purchased from the Henderson family estate in 1993 and opened to the public in 1991 (floridastateparks.org). So, Yes! Although the park property is considered protected land, the campsite, facilities, and beach are open to the public for a small fee. Park Hours: 8am – Sundown, 365 days a year Park Fees: Admission fees to the park vary based on vehicle and amount of people. Admission fees are taken at the front entrance to the park located at 17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy. Destin, FL 32541.
  • $6/vehicle. Limit 2-8 people/vehicle
  • $4 single-occupant vehicle
  • $2 pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
Jet ski in the water at Henderson Beach

5 Reasons to Visit the Beach at Henderson Beach State Park

From the Destin Jetties, to the Okaloosa Island dunes, all the way over to the quiet beaches of Crystal Beach, there are lots of spots to “beach-it” in the Destin area. So why should you pay to visit Henderson Beach State Park, when you can post up at one of Destin’s popular public beaches for free? Here are 5 simple reasons…

1. It’s Cleaner than the Average Beach

Destin beaches are known for their cleanliness, but nothing compares to the pristine beaches at Henderson Beach State Park. The beach is maintained by the Florida Park Service, so it’s unlikely you’ll encounter discarded beach chairs, deflated floaties, or a leftover fast food meal while enjoying the soft white sand or emerald-green water!

2. You’ll Experience Natural Florida

Forget about beach shops and mahi mahi tacos for a minute… if you want to see the REAL Florida, Henderson Beach is the place to go. The beach at Henderson Beach State Park was made into a natural preserve for the sole purpose of protecting an important piece of Florida’s coastline before the real estate developers could get their hands on it. During your day in the water, you may encounter schools of fish, dolphins, crabs, lizards, and even the occasional sea turtle! Along the shoreline, it’s not uncommon to see brown pelicans, black skimmers, and natural flora like sea oats and seaweed.

3. Less Congestion

Frustrating tasks at the public beaches, like finding parking or securing enough room to set up your beach chairs, is a breeze at Henderson Beach. Although the beach can get plenty busy in peak months (March, April, and June-August), chances are you’ll always encounter fewer people at Henderson Beach than other local beaches.

4. More Things to do

Once you pass through the front entrance onto Henderson Beach State Park, you have access to not only the beach, but lots more incredible things to do. Here are some of the top activities available to park visitors from floridastateparks.org:
    • Bicycling & Hiking the nature trail
    • Fishing
    • Geo-Seeking
    • Wildlife Viewing
    • Playground
    • Interpretive Exhibit

5. Onsite Facilities & Amenities to Make Your Day Easier

Have you ever had to ask a restaurant manager if your 4-year-old can use their restroom after a long day at the beach only to be told “customers only!?” If you’re a person who loves convenience, then you’ll want to spend your beach days at Henderson Beach. 
The facilities available to Henderson Beach visitors include a picnic pavilion, restrooms, shower station, and even a beach wheelchair and wheelchair accessible ramps for handicap visitors.
Camping at Henderson Beach State Park in Destin

Camping at Henderson Beach State Park

With 60 available campsites, there is plenty of space for travelers looking for lodging. RV’s, trailers, and tents are all accepted, with certain spots earmarked for only RVs and tents. Each spot is pet-friendly and includes electrical hookups (specifications vary). Besides the centralized location and quick walk to the beach, staying at the campground includes tons more amenities for solo travelers, couples, and entire families.

Top Amenities

    • ADA Accessible Restroom
    • Accessible Picnic Area
    • BBQ Grill
    • Benches
    • Boardwalk
    • Boat Trailer Park Lot
    • Trailer Parking
    • Concession
    • Dump station
    • Hot Showers
    • Laundry
    • Park Attendant
    • Picnic Area
    • Picnic Tables
    • Playground
    • Potable Water
    • Security Lights
    • Special Event Area
    • Vending Machine

For more information including additional amenities or campsite reservations CLICK HERE

Nearby Attractions & Things to do

You don’t have to go far to find fun things to do in Destin. When searching for fun activities, most travelers head to popular landmarks like HarborWalk Village in Downtown Destin, and Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin Resort. These destinations are tons of fun, but there is plenty more to do just minutes from Henderson Beach State Park!

Attractions & Things to do Close to Henderson Beach

Nearby Dining

If you want to plan a day, or an entire vacation, around a trip to Henderson Beach State Park, it’s good to know what’s nearby! Check out some of the top spots for shopping and dining within 2 miles of the park.

Restaurants Close to Henderson Beach


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are dogs allowed at Henderson Beach State Park? Dogs are allowed in the campground area and the trails, but NOT allowed on the beach or inside cabins. Pets must be leashed at all times.
  2. Does the park provide mobility assistance? Yes, the park offers beach wheelchairs free of charge, and accessible ramps at most sites including the beach pathway.
  3. Is there a lifeguard on duty? No, there is not a lifeguard on duty at Henderson Beach. There are life rings installed at several points throughout the beach in the event of a drowning.
  4. Is Henderson Beach open year-round? Yes, Henderson Beach State Park is open 365 days a year from 8am until sundown.

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