The Top 5 State Parks Near Fort Walton Beach, FL

| By Lively Lia

State Park Trail

Florida is full of beautiful natural settings and scenery. Enjoying the outdoors is a must for anyone who visits Florida and is an all time favorite past time for Florida locals. For all the State Park junkies here is a list of the top 5 State Parks near Fort Walton Beach.These State Parks offer a range of activities from kayaking, hiking, bird watching, picnicking, or just walking on the beach. All in all there is something for everyone to enjoy at these five magnificent parks.

Topsail Hill Preserve:

Located in Santa Rosa, Florida, Topsail Hill Preserve is about 40 minutes from Fort Walton Beach, but worth the drive. It offers a wide variety of outdoor activities from camping, canoeing, hiking, swimming and more. It is also home to the famous dune lakes of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Formed by a unique landscape, these lakes are separated from the Gulf of Mexico only by the dunes themselves, creating fresh and saltwater habitats next to each other. Only a handful of places throughout the world have dune lakes like this, and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has three. So if you want to see this rare site Topsail Hill Preserve is the place to go.

Link: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Topsail-Hill

Blackwater River:

With nearly 600 acres of natural beauty, Blackwater River State Park is the perfect place to take a stroll through nature. In 1980 the park was certified as a Registered State Natural Feature for its wonderful representation of Florida’s natural history. One of the largest and oldest Atlantic white cedars stands among the many that line the river and, in 1982, it was recognized as a Florida Champion tree. The Blackwater River State Park is only an hour away from Fort Walton Beach and offers many outdoor activities and is a must see for nature enthusiasts.

Link: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Blackwater-River

Eden Gardens:

If you want to experience something different, visit Eden Gardens State Park. See its beautiful gardens and experience its history as you walk the grounds. Eden Gardens State Park contains about 163 acres of land that was part of the historic Wesley homestead. The focal point of this park is the renovated, two-story house with its charming white columns and classic wrap around porch. Tours of the house are available, as well as fishing, hiking, and picnicking. The gardens are about 55 minutes away from Fort Walton Beach, but for those looking for something different than the beach, the gardens offer a unique and relaxing experience.

Link: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Eden-Gardens

Deer Lake:

Also located in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, Deer Lake State Park is another spectacular park that offers the viewing of the unique and rare dune lakes. A boardwalk across the dunes offers easy access to the beach where visitors can picnic, swim, and fish. It also offers a spectacular view of the dune ecosystem, one of 11 natural communities found in the park. The park is about an hour away from Fort Walton Beach. Explore the different ecosystems that are found within the park and connect with your natural surroundings.

Link: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Deer-Lake

Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou:

Located in Niceville, Florida, Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou is a 30 to 40 minute drive away from Fort Walton Beach. The park is named after U.S. Air Force Colonel Fred Gannon, who was a major part in the preservation of the park’s long leaf pine tree, some of which are more than 300 years old. The Rocky Bayou is the main feature of the park. It is part of Choctawhatchee Bay and great for boating and fishing.

Link: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Rocky-Bayou

State Parks offer a variety of Florida landscapes other than just the beach. Change it up and visit these State Parks that are within driving distance from Fort Walton Beach. Make a day out of it exploring the trails, swimming, canoeing, and fishing. Bring a picnic and enjoy the scenery.

The Breakers of Fort Walton Beach is within driving distance of all these parks. Offering spacious fully furnished condos you can experience a home away from home. These condos are right on the beach, each with its own private balcony facing the Gulf Coast. The beach in itself is a relaxing experience, but if you are adventurous at heart check out these State Parks, all within driving distance of the Breakers! If you are interested in the Breakers, contact us today.

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Topics: Emerald Coast, Fort Walton Beach, Gulf Coast, Insider

Lively Lia

Written by Lively Lia

Lia is the General Manager at the Breakers and is a Florida native. She enjoys having sand between her toes at all times and thinks the sounds of the seagulls is a perfect equivalent to that of Mozart's 5th symphony.




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