Nature & Parks

The natural areas and parks that are found on the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast make Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island a nature lover’s paradise! When visiting our area you can enjoy sugar-white sand beaches but there are also many parks and beautiful natural areas to discover.  

Located in Destin, Henderson Beach State Park is a protected area of the Emerald Coast, and is perfect for a relaxing day at the beach. This state park has much more than just our beautiful beaches.  Of course you can swim along the shoreline with a mile long spanse of scenic water; and there are a variety of other activities too.  Bring along a picnic lunch to eat at one of the six picnic pavilions. Children will love the playground that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. Henderson Beach State Park can accommodate tents or RVs with 60 campsites available. The park has a three-quarter mile pet-friendly trail that winds through dunes and vegetation.  Guided trail tours are available upon request.  

The Landing and Liza Jackson Parks are both located sound-side in Fort Walton Beach.  These parks have stunning views, playgrounds, and a variety of public amenities for families. Each of the parks has its own unique landscape, ecosystem, and amenities. Take a stroll along The Landing’s 700 feet of waterfront boardwalk. Families can watch movies and experience live music at The Landing as well as local events such as Billy Bowlegs, the Native American Festival, and even a local farmer's markets selling local fruits, vegetables, and honey. 

Want to spot wildlife? Herons, pelicans, and other coastal birdlife can be seen on walkways along the waterfront. Liza Jackson Park is another stop for outdoor activities, greenspace, and a boat launch. Planning on bringing your four-legged friends? Liza Jackson houses two dog parks where your pets can play and socialize! View the wetlands, learn about local vegetation from the information signs along the park's boardwalk trails and spot dozens of wildlife flourishing in this serene Emerald Coast park.  Another great place to spot marine and birdlife is at Veterans Park which is next to the Emerald Coast Convention Center.  The park hosts large pine trees, tall grasses, and other unique vegetation providing a unique habitat on Okaloosa Island.   

Looking for the perfect place to grill for birthday parties, company gatherings or family outings? 

Ross Marler Park on Okaloosa Island provides a perfect combination of outdoor play, an outdoor field for sports, multiple covered pavilions connecting to swim-friendly entries, amenities and a large beachside boat launch. End your day during sunset in Destin at Mattie Kelly’s Park and Nature Walk overlooking beautiful, southern wetlands or sit back and throw a line out on the fishing pier. More than 10 acres of this protected bayou environment scatter across the boardwalk housing hundreds of local species and a natural arboretum that anyone would find enjoyable.

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