Best Places to Hike on the Emerald Coast

Who doesn’t love a good healthy hike!?! What a great way to spend time with your loved ones, getting to know them better while taking in the colorful landscapes and breathing in deeply all that wonderful fresh air! Walking is free fun that pays off big by clearing the mind, and it’s also great for the heart.  If you or someone in your group is a hiker, below are some of the great places we’d love for you to experience during your stay with us here on Florida’s beautiful Emerald Coast! Remember, safety first! Check with Park Rangers and trail overseers about any area wildlife you need to be aware of, and any precautions you need to take before taking your first step on the hiking trail, so you’ll be sure to have the worry free, refreshing walk you were dreaming of while lacing up those hiking boots. Don’t forget your camera, you’re going to want to take some of this untouched beauty home with you.

Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, FL offers a beautiful sandy walking path with a  ¾ mile shaded walking trail among the unique plants and wildlife of the coastal dunes here in the Florida panhandle. The newly renovated kids playground is the first sight to greet you at the beginning of the trail. Kids and adults can enjoy swinging the day away whilst looking at the Gulf of Mexico. Picnic tables are also nearby, so why not pack a lunch or a snack to refuel after your adventurous hike through this beautiful hidden path. If you brought your best 4 legged pal, that’s great, this trail is pet friendly! The beach isn’t pet friendly, but the hiking path does allow leashed pets to accompany their human friends along for a sandy walk. The park also offers beachside pavilions, beach showers, and a gorgeous unspoiled beach that expands over 6,000 feet. Cost is $6.00 per vehicle, not bad for a day of fun you can enjoy with your entire group. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. until Sunset.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park located in beautiful Santa Rosa Beach, just off the West end of Scenic Hwy 30A offers up to 10 miles of trails throughout the park. Two of the many trails that go through the park are paved roads, beautiful paths through the gorgeous pine trees!  Take in a beautiful view along some of the paths of the rare coastal dune lakes. These lakes in the park aren’t for swimming. Alligators may be present, so please be cautious and alert to your surroundings. Ask the park ranger about all the amazing wildlife that has been seen in this beautiful part of the great outdoors! This park is unique in that you can get a little bit of history with your exercise.  Take the Turpentine trail to see pieces left from the old Turpentine industry that date back to the 1800’s! Another piece of history can be seen here, remnants from missile testing from World War II. Just imagine what all you can learn, just by going for a walk here on the Emerald Coast! Pets are allowed on the trails, but not the beach. Be sure to check out the beautiful natural white sandy beaches of this park, and pack your swimsuit so that you can refresh yourself with a splash in the Gulf after your hike through the beautiful coastal paths here at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park! The entrance fee for day use is anywhere between $4-10.00 per vehicle. Park is open daily from 8 a.m. until Sunset.

Pt Washington State Forest is a huge forest area that runs between the South side of Hwy 98 and North of Scenic Hwy 30A. A portion of the Forest also runs along the North side of Hwy 98, on the South end of Hwy 331. This beautiful and natural wild area is definitely a must do for the more adventurous hiker! This park offers over 27 miles worth of hiking possibilities! The trails have several different access points: via Scenic Hwy 30A, just a bit East of Grayton Beach, Hwy 395 has an access point, Satinwood Dr. off 30A, and more can be viewed on the trail map. There is so much beauty to be seen in this Florida wonderland, it is even part of the Great Florida Birding Trail! Be sure to bring a good camera.  Contact the trail overseers prior to your hike for any details on safety precautions you need to be aware of. (850) 267-8325.

The Timpoochee Trail is a beautiful completely paved 18.6 mile walking/biking path that runs the full length of Scenic Hwy 30A! This trail is ideal for taking it all in while enjoying some local flavor at some of the little quaint townships that speckle the wonderful area known as 30A! Seaside offers free parking, and it’s a great place to begin a nice walk, plus when you get back, you’re already at some of the best dining choices like Bud n Alley’s, or Great Southern Café. Of course a fave of many is to pop by one of the airstream food trucks for a delicious melt down(Some of the best grilled cheeses!).  You can also enjoy beautiful Seaside Beach public beach access. There is always a festival, live music, or something to be seen that adds a spark of excitement to your day here in Seaside, or anywhere on 30A for that matter. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes, and you are all set for a fantastic day! What a deal, and it can’t be beat! If you happen to be staying at one of our 30A properties, you can literally walk out of your vacation home and over to the Timpoochee Trail in minutes, or even seconds, depending your location. Be sure to pick up an area map from our office that will show all the sights and highlights you can enjoy along 30A.

Come on down, we'd love to have you stepping on the beautiful trails of the Emerald Coast!


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