This is Segment 2, Region A. Ah... Santa Rosa Sound on the Emerald Coast. Snow-white singing sands* and emerald green waters. A Northwest Florida paddler's paradise. Here you'll find Fort Walton Beach, playground of the south and Destin, the world's Luckiest Fishing Village.
In this segment of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Trail you'll also find 46 miles of paddling bliss. The journey starts at Navarre Beach, progresses through the Intercoastal waterway known as "the Narrows" near Fort Walton Beach and crosses Choctawhatchee Bay on the way to Destin. Might even call it your "DESTINation" for the day!
After leaving the lights, shopping and fine dining of Destin behind you, several state parks and some of the world's only coastal dune lakes await. Grayton Beach State Park, located smack in the middle of new urbanist communities of Henderson Beach, Watercolor and Seaside is the terminus of this segment.
*Locals call it "singing sands" as the quartz crystals in the sand squeak as you walk.
Two rivers in this segment also delight paddlers: the Yellow and Shoal. Located in the western Panhandle near Crestview, the Yellow River is unique in that it drains the state's highest elevation. As a result, the current is faster and there are numerous high banks. The Shoal River, on the other hand, usually has a slower current and is easier to paddle upstream if desired.
46 mile stretch of circumnavigational trail
2 state designated river paddling trails
- The second half of the coastal portion of this segment covers open Gulf waters where paddlers will first encounter the Emerald Coast's famous white sand beaches, along with increased wind and wave action.
- Crossing Destin Harbor you may experience significant tides and boat traffic.
Primary Campsites & Distances Between for Circumnavigational Trail
- Navarre Beach Bridge to Fort Walton Beach, 12-13 miles
- Fort Walton Beach to Henderson Beach State Park, 13-14 miles
- Henderson Beach State Park to Topsail Hill State Park, 9.5 miles
- Topsail Hill State Park to Grayton Beach State Park, 9.5 miles
- Yellow River (56 miles)
- Shoal River (9.5 miles)
- Police, Fire and Medical Emergencies: 911
- Okaloosa County Sheriff: 850-651-7400
- Walton County Sheriff: 850-892-8186
- Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Hotline: 1-888-404-3922
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