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The 4 Best Beaches in Destin FL

Wooden stairs leading to Henderson Beach State Park.

Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the city of Destin, FL is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation. Famous for their sugar white sand and emerald green water, Destin’s beaches attract millions of visitors each year. To help you make the most of your next getaway on the Emerald Coast, Vacation Happily has put together a guide to the four best beaches in Destin FL.

1. Henderson Beach State ParkBeautiful sand and water at Henderson Beach State Park in Destin.

When it comes to breathtaking scenery, it’s hard to beat Henderson Beach State Park! This gorgeous park features over 6,000 feet of shoreline along the crystal clear water of the Gulf of Mexico. During the summer, Henderson Beach is a fantastic place to go swimming.

In addition to the beach itself, the park offers six picnic pavilions with grills and tables, a fun playground for kids, and a 0.75-mile nature trail that passes through lovely sand dunes. Admission to Henderson Beach State Park is $6.00 per vehicle.

(See Also: The Top 5 Outdoor Activities in Destin FL)

A stunning white sand beach with dunes.

2. James Lee Park

James Lee Park is another one of the best beaches in Destin FL. Situated on Scenic Highway 98, James Lee Park is a free public beach with 166 parking spaces. We recommend arriving earlier in the day because parking does fill up quickly.

Popular with vacationers and locals alike, James Lee Park features 41 picnic tables, a playground area, and restrooms. The park is also famous for its onsite restaurant, The Crab Trap, which serves mouth-watering crab, oysters, popcorn shrimp, gumbo, and many other seafood dishes.

3. Wayside Park

A seashell on a white sand beach.

Also known as the Boardwalk, Wayside Park is home to 40 acres of fun. Visitors can enjoy a variety of great activities on the beach, including surfing, volleyball, picnicking, and just laying out in the sun. Wayside Park boasts an unparalleled location that is steps away from some superb restaurants and souvenir shops. The Boardwalk is a favorite spot for young adults and teenagers.

4. John Beasley Park

While Wayside Park can have a party atmosphere, John Beasley Park is more laid back and is great for the whole family. This stunning public beach on Okaloosa Island is free to enter, typically has a lifeguard on duty, and offers plenty of parking.

Parents and kids posing for a photo on the beach.

Guests at John Beasley Park will find picnic tables, well-maintained restrooms, and showers. In the summer months, it is possible to rent umbrellas, beach chairs, belly boards, and skim boards. Parents, be warned: your kids won’t want to leave this beach!

When you stay with Vacation Happily, you will be just minutes away from all of the best beaches in Destin FL. Our properties come with your choice of wonderful amenities, including balconies with beautiful views, hot tubs, full kitchens, swimming pool access, and other great features. With everything from 1 bedroom vacation rentals to 6 bedroom vacation rentals, we are guaranteed to have the perfect accommodations for your next trip. To start planning your escape, browse our selection of vacation rentals in Destin FL!