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17 Apr 2021
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The beach isn’t your only option when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors in Destin, Florida or on 30A. Okaloosa and Walton Counties both offer numerous hiking opportunities. Whether you prefer a scenic nature trail or longer loops, hikers of all levels will enjoy exploring the Gulf Coast’s natural beauty. Here is a helpful overview about where to hike next time you visit: 

Henderson Beach State Park 

If you’re wondering where to hike in Destin, Florida, look no further than Henderson Beach State Park. In addition to the majestic shoreline, this pristine park also boasts a three-quarter mile nature trail that meanders through sand dunes and unique vegetation known as coastal scrub. This trail is ideal for any age or skill level as it’s pretty short. Plus it’s pet-friendly so your pup can join you, too.  

Point Washington State Forest 

Point Washington State Forest is located in the southernmost portion of Walton County, near 30A. There are four trail systems in the forest offering more than 30 miles of trails. 

  • Eastern Lake Trail System consists of three double-track loop trails and can be accessed at the parking lot and trailhead on County Road 395. The distance is up to you—choose between the 3.5-, 5- or 10-mile loops.  

  • Longleaf Greenway Trail runs east to west through the forest spanning 8 miles. It winds through a variety of plant communities that include sandhills and flatwoods, which are both home to the longleaf pine.

  • Cassine Trail offers a pleasant, easy hike showcasing the diversity of Northwest Florida’s ecosystem. The half-mile trail is flat, paved and pet-friendly. 

  • McQuage Bayou Horse Trail is located north of Highway 98 and was recently restored. 

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

This gorgeous park off of 30A is named for its breathtaking dunes, which rise like a ship’s sails over the white-sand beaches and emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park also features more than 15 miles of marked hiking trails ranging from paved pathways to sandy soil. You’ll come across longleaf pine trees, coastal dune lakes, ancient dunes, scrub communities and a variety of wildlife, including gopher tortoises and deer. After exploring the trails, make your way to the stunning shoreline where you’ll find three miles of pristine beaches. It’s the perfect place to relax and recharge! 

Grayton Beach Sate Park

In addition to having the #1 Beach in America, Grayton Beach State Park also boasts four miles of trails. Hikers can traverse through a coastal forest where scrub oaks and magnolias stand, bent and twisted by salt winds. If you are hiking with kids or just want a shorter route, there is a one-mile nature trail located at the beach parking area. It winds through the dune ecosystem, along the salt marsh and circles back through the pine flatwoods. More advanced visitors can explore the 4.5-mile trail (9-mile round trip), which takes you through the forest and around the back waters of Western Lake. 

Deer Lake State Park

With a rare coastal dune lake, lush landscape and pristine beach, Deer Lake State Park is a great place to explore while visiting South Walton. It features two hiking trails that let visitors explore Northwest Florida’s natural beauty. The Orange Trail is one mile long and offers views of pines, deer moss and other fauna. The half-mile Blue Trail will take you to the scenic overlook of the northern part of Deer Lake. 

Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park 

Just north of Destin, Florida is Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park. This beautiful park is situated along Rocky Bayou, the trailing arm of Choctawhatchee Bay, and boasts three short natural trails for hiking. 

  • Sand Pine Trail is approximately 1 mile and follows the shoreline of Puddin’ Head Lake, which is a delicate ecosystem that has several species of aquatic plants. 

  • Rocky Bayou Trail is about .5 miles and showcases habitats along the bayou with wonderful views from the shoreline. 

  • Red Cedar Trail is also .5 miles and winds through an upland forest with impressive cedar trees and variety of other plants, shrubs and trees.

Now that you know where to hike in Destin, Florida and on 30A, let’s find the perfect place for you to stay! My Vacation Haven boasts more than 300 vacation rentals along the Emerald Coast with a wide variety of homes and condos. After your outdoor excursions, you’ll love resting up in these comfortable accommodations. Your muscles can recuperate as you relax by the beach or pool and soak up some Florida sunshine. Contact us today to book your getaway!

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