15 Best Scenic Outdoor Open Spaces in Destin and 30A - with a Map!
Looking for Outdoor Emerald Coast Activities?
One of my favorite things about this area is the abundance of outdoor activities in the area.
After living here for 20 years, I know how important it is experiencing all that this piece of paradise has to offer.
Especially in the world of real estate, if you are buying or renting, knowing the best locations and outdoor events spaces a place has to offer can drastically influence where you want to live or stay.
With all the preservation initiatives in the area, the Emerald Coast has maximized their ability to not only enjoy their natural wonders, but also preserve them for future generations.
We've compiled a list of the best scenic outdoor spaces in Destin and 30A, complete with a map!
From parks and nature preserves to beaches and golf courses, Destin has something for everyone. So pack your sunscreen and get ready to explore some of the most beautiful scenery in the area.
There are also many other places to eat, drink and golf in the area so make sure you don't miss out on those as well!
For other Emerald Coast lifestyle, and real estate articles you can find me here.
To View the Interactive Google Map Click Here
Henderson Beach State Park
This beachfront park is a must-see for anyone visiting Destin. Located in the heart of Destin, Henderson Beach State Park is a park that allows you to step back into time and see the beaches as they once were.
With over 3 miles of white sand beaches and crystal clear water, Henderson Beach State Park is the perfect place to relax and take in the stunning coastal scenery. The park offers plenty of outdoor activities as well, including fishing, swimming, kayaking, and bird watching.
For a spectacular sunset view, check out the Henderson rooftop bar. A little hidden gem among locals that might just steal your heart away.
Henderson Beach State Park is accessible from either the east or west, but has no dedicated parking lot so make sure you properly strategize before heading this way. This biggest parking lot for this park is probably on the west near The Back Porch restaurant.
Grayton Beach State Park
Located just a few miles East of Destin, Grayton Beach State Park is another great option for enjoying the outdoors. This park features over two miles of pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, making it a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. The park also offers plenty of outdoor rentals, including biking, hiking, and kayaking.
Going to these Beach Parks are a treat if you can be there during an uncrowded season.
Often, marine life will go away from the chaotic beaches with lots of people and head to these quiet spots. You have a greater chance of seeing local wildlife like stingrays, manta rays, dolphins, sea turtles here.
Additionally, 30A is full of 500 of miles of running trails that zig-zag the coast and protected forests. To learn more, or to see their list of upcoming trail races visit 30atrails.com.
Crystal Beach Access
East of the Henderson in Destin, you will find this nicely tucked away public beach access point. With Camille's just on the north side to get coffee and a pastry in the morning, or a post-sunset bite of sushi, you have a sneaky good spot to spend time with the kids or a loved one.
Also take advantage of the picnic tables, public bathrooms and water clean off stations after you are done hanging out on the white sandy beaches.
Shopping? I got you, babe. The Destin Commons is the centerpiece of Destin shopping. With 88 shops located within, as well as food and entertainment located on site you and your whole family can easily spend a day (or two) here.
Destin Harbor Boardwalk
The Harborwalk Village is a great place to people watch, grab some lunch, or do a little shopping. The harborwalk runs along the Destin harbor and has many great restaurants and shops to enjoy.
Anchored on the west side by the Emerald Grande, this behemoth of a beach resort has dozens of family friendly attractions at its base and is the host to local events through the season.
Make sure you check out the fireworks every Thursday here as well!
There is so much to do in this area and you can find yourself at the best restaurants in the area all within a short walk. The Harbor is also home to the largest fishing fleet in the gulf coast and if you are taking off on a deep sea fishing excursion, dolphin cruises, snorkeling tours, you will find some of the best captains in the area here.
The fresh seafood in this area cannot be understated either, literally 10 steps from hook to your plate at Dewey Destin's.
The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island
My furthest west recommendation before you get to Fort Walton Beach, is full of attractions for the whole family. A very casual hangout spot that features beach bars, live music, a sand volleyball court, and the largest pier in the area.
You also have the option to rent beach chairs and spend the day here.
Wild Willy's Adventure Zone is located just north of the Boardwalk and has a T-Rex Mini Golf Course, an Arcade and more!
But possibly my favorite part about this area is taking the stroll east. Once you get to John Beasley Park, you get to see Destin as it once was before human influence.
This was the beach that I grew up going to and if you don't mind a five, ten or thirty minute walk, you can find yourself on your own nature walk in the areas most secluded and natural state parks. Year round breathtaking views of the Emerald Coast.
You know about the Emerald Coast and its beautiful beaches. But what about spending a day on the water with your friends and family?
Nested between the Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexice, Crab Island is the place to go. Back in the early 1950's, Crab Island was literally an Island, but only stood at a height of a few inches above the water and would often get consumed by the changing tides. Currently, Crab Island is a mecca for all day boat parties and waist deep socializing between friends, families, and strangers!
In the summertime you will see Crab Island easily filled with hundreds of pontoon boats, jet skis and paddleboarders. Rentals for all those can be found at the Destin Harbor or even Baytowne.