Trails at Henderson Beach
The sand dunes that line many of Florida’s beaches are home to some of the most unique ecosystems found in the state. Because these ecosystems are so fragile – walking on the dunes can cause them to crumble and erode, harming the plants and animals that rely on them – going on the dunes is strictly off limits in most areas. However, at Henderson Beach State Park, our .75-mile hiking trail allows you to explore the dune and scrub habitat within our park’s walls, and even stand atop a dune!
The dune ecosystem starts with the plants that sit atop the dune, without which the dunes would not exist. These plants, which consists of various species such as sea oats and beach grass, hold the sand in place with their roots. This allows the sand to accumulate instead of being washed or blown away by the wind, and over time forms dunes. Some of the dunes in the park are up to 30-feet tall!
Besides the dunes, the trail also takes you among the park’s coastal scrub habitat. Unlike the sand dunes, scrub habitat is dominated by trees such as myrtle oaks, sand live oaks and Choctawhatchee sand pines. Beneath the trees, gopher tortoises feed on flowering plants and other vegetation. Gopher tortoises are so named because of the long burrows that they dig underground, which provides habitat for many other species. There’s no better way to explore the various ecosystems the park has to offer than through the hiking trail!