This relatively small state park located in Florida’s Emerald Coast is one of the few beach parks which also encompasses a coastal dune freshwater lake. Deer Lake provides visitors with the opportunity to not only enjoy the beautiful stretch of beach with clear blue-green waters, but also explore several nice nature trails which meander through the forest.
Located directly off the scenic 30A, the entrance and parking area are unpaved and have an honor system fee collection system ($3) for parking. This undeveloped park provides few amenities. Aside from the portable toiled next to the parking area and the wooden boardwalk to the beach, creature comforts here are absent.
The trail which leads to the beach continues along a boardwalk crossing the impressive white quartz sand dunes common to this area of Florida coastline. Sea oats and other native flora are abundant in this area and are an important part of the area ecology and care should be taken to utilize existing trails and walkways while visiting the beach.
The Gulf of Mexico in this area of the state generally has beautiful clear waters along with gorgeous white sand which is comfortable and easy to walk on. Those wishing to explore the Deer Lake area will appreciate the easy walk since one will have to hike westwards a short distance to reach the area.
After wading across the small stream which is the outlet of Deer Lake to the Gulf, you will encounter a boardwalk trail which heads north to a wooden footbridge crossing over a portion of Deer Lake. Along this path, visitors can expect to encounter a wide variety of wildlife common to the area. This trail eventually leads to a residential development and requires some navigation to return to the parking lot if one does not wish to backtrack.
An additional trail is directly across highway 30A from the parking lot. This 1 mile loop nature trail wanders through the forest through various native habitats. There is also a spur trail along the way; leading to the northern part of Deer Lake. This side trail extension is about 1/2 mile (each way) affords visitors with significant additional opportunities to explore the local environment, flora and fauna.
The nature trail has a few informative signs related to the area, wildlife or vegetation, but very little additional information is available for visitors to this park. If unstructured and unguided exploration is on the agenda, those planning an excursion to this park will find it a rewarding adventure.
|Deer Lake State Park
6721 East County Road 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL