Nature Parks & Preserves

On your Florida trip, spend some time with the locals - like wading birds, shore birds, migrating monarchs, dophins, and gopher turtles, just to name a few.  There are many still-wild places in the Destin area.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Henderson Beach State Park

This park - first of the Save Our Coast land conservation program - was established for the preservation and protection of the Destin area's natural features. Of course, it has a beautiful beach.  But you will also love walking around this park!

Henderston Beach State Park has several board walks and a 3/4 mile hiking trail. Particularly striking are the thirty foot white sand dunes. While you are exploring the park, take part in their geocaching challenge.  To learn more about the park, check out their website.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

This is a large park with a lot of trails and a lot to see. It has three miles of lovely emerald water beach.  It also has rare coastal dune lakes (fishable!), forests of old-growth long leaf pines, a variety of wetlands, and lots of hiking trails.

Topsail HIll Preserve is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.  The park has several prime spots for viewing species like the red shouldered hawks, eastern bluebirds, and ospreys as well as threatened snowy plovers and piping plovers.  The park is also home to carnivorous plants!  The habitat boasts three varieties of pitcher plants.

The treasure is definately worth a visit!  More info on their website.

Visit the wildlife in the water

Dolphins are a must-see!  There are several good dophin cruises in the area.  You can also try spotting them at Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier.  You might see sea turtles there, too!

But don't stop with looking ON the water - go in it, too!  Go snorkeling around the Destin jetties to see lots of fish and critters like puffer fish, flounder, hermit crabs, blue crabs, and octopus.


Do you want to rent a lovely condo close to Florida state and national parks? Take a look at ours!

Loved the location... designer mall, great restaurants

Mainsail 131 was as gorgeous as the pictures in their review..the views, furnishings, and amenities were beyond our expectations.

Loved the location...having designer mall across the street and access to great restaurants. Kudos to owner for going over and beyond to return my hanging bag that we left at the condo! We really appreciate all the help by everyone to make our stay the best!

Took our 3 teens... best vacation ever!

We took our 3 teens on our family's first true vacation in years. The consensus was that it was the best vacation ever! The views of the beach and water were spectacular. The area was great! There was ample room that we weren’t on top of each other. We loved how close we were to the beach. We watched our kids play soccer on the beach while we sat on the balcony enjoying a nice breeze and glass of wine listening to the waves.

I seriously didn’t want to leave. It was wonderful to roll over upon waking up and see the beach and waves from the bed looking through the floor to ceiling slider in the master bedroom. The included chairs and umbrella were a dream after getting fried the first day we went to the harbor walk to parasail and snorkel. Kitchen was well equipped, bedrooms were big and had closets and plenty or drawers. The place was clean and decorated lovely.

They had shuffle board and tennis available. The pool looked nice although we spent all our time on the beach. We were right by the grocery and Dollar General for snacks and beach stuff. We can’t wait to return! I barely got home and started looking at the calendar for next year.

-- Teacher, Iowa

True ocean gulf views... convenienly located

This is a beautiful condo. You will not regret staying here. The owners were very friendly and easy to deal with, and the property itself is just perfection. We stayed here with our 2 boys aged 8 and 5 years and they both loved it too. The views are spectacular - if you want true ocean gulf views, this is the condo for you. The beach is in pristine condition, too.

Mainsail condos are conveniently located near shopping and restaurants and outside of the very busy center of Destin proper, and this is the best one we have ever rented. If you are looking for a beautifully appointed condo with amazing views and easy access to the beach, this is the place for you. We have visited the Destin area several times and this is by far the best place we have found to stay.

I wish we could come back every year! We definitely hope to stay in this lovely condo again in the future. It made a wonderful family vacation even more special! Thank you.

-- Happy Mom, Kansas City