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Gnarled tree roots and sea oats fortify the dunes against the harsh forces of nature. Brown pelicans fly in formation over dunes and the beach of sugar-white sand bordering the emerald-green water of the Gulf of Mexico. A diverse coastal dune habitat of marsh, scrub, pine flatwoods, dunes and beach surrounds Deer Lake. A 1.5-mile nature trail lies north of the park entrance and wanders through the forest for visitors' enjoyment.
Deer Lake State Park
Acquired in 1996, the park is named for a freshwater coastal dune lake nestled among picturesque dunes.

History and Culture

Deer Lake State Park is a 1,995-acre facility named after a freshwater coastal dune lake within its boundaries. It became a state park in 1996.

The beach boardwalk after Hurricane Ivan made landfall in 2004.

Hurricane Damage

Coastal parks often suffer in the aftermath of hurricanes. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan struck the panhandle of Florida and destroyed the Deer Lake beach boardwalk.

New temporary beach stairs were installed in 2005.

Temporary Stairs

Florida State Parks' staff work diligentlry to reopen parks following natural disasters. After the 2004-2005 hurricane season, a temporary stairwell was put in place for access to the beach.

A brand new accessible boardwalk was built at Deer Lake State Park in 2009.

Accessible Boardwalk

In April 2009, a new ADA accessible beach boardwalk was opened, making beach access available for all visitors.

Paved ADA-accessible trail to the foot of the boadwalk.

Access Trail

A paved ADA-accessibe trail was put in place to provide all visitors access to the boardwalk and beach to enjoy the view of the park's dunes.

Sea oats on the dune at Sunset.

Sunset at Deer Lake.

Deer Lake State Park is named after a freshwater coastal dune lake within its boundaries. Trail access to the Gulf of Mexico opens to a magnificent dune field and to a pristine section of beach. Sea oats hold the dune in place against erosion and provide habitat for the endangered Choctawhatchee beach mouse. (Photo by Terry Yarbrough)