Plant Life

Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida boasts a rich coastal ecosystem. As you discover adventures along Destin-Fort Walton Beach, take a moment to appreciate and learn about the ecosystem that surrounds you. Interesting plant life can be found on our coastal landscapes both on land and underwater.

A trip to the beaches in Destin-Fort Walton Beach and you will find an array of natural plant life to take in. Occasionally, seaweed can be found in the emerald-green water of the Gulf of Mexico. Seaweed is the underwater food chain that links together certain species of plant and marine life that are vital to the underwater ecosystem. Seaweed washes up on beaches, floats on the surface and forms beautiful pillars of wavy leaves drifting in our emerald-green waters; but it has a purpose to its journey. Queen conches, sea turtles, and various tropical fish depend on seaweed to thrive in their home environment for food and nourishment.  Sea weed acts as fertilizer when washed on shore for local plant life.  It also provides havens and structural materials for on shore crustaceans and even bird life along Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Sea oats are a known staple along the dunes of Destin-Fort Walton Beach. Sea oats not only provide beauty to the natural landscape of the beach but also protect the dunes from wind and wave erosion. Their root structure is long and keep loose, fine sand firmly gripped. Sea oats are one of the only plants that can live on sand dunes because the sand is always moving but their long root system keeps them in place. Always be mindful since sea oats provide very few seeds and even less are eventually established due to foot traffic and human interaction.

High reeds and grass blades cover much of the dunes in large plots along the beach known as coastal grasslands. The natural beauty of the Gulf Bluestem, the common grass along the inner shore, scatters along the little hills and mounds of dunes that line the Destin-Fort Walton Beach. The Gulf Bluestem, being rare throughout Florida, gives anyone traveling to the Emerald Coast a view in how local plant life can flourish and provide a tranquil landscape. The coastal grasslands also are home to many migratory birds and shore birds that anyone can spot while strolling along the sugar-white sands of the Emerald Coast.

Destin-Fort Walton Beach is a homestead for wetlands. It’s a relaxing view for many visitors who have never seen the warm, southern glow of this environment. Through nature trails, boardwalk strolls and even off the beaten path, wetlands are what houses the local plant life and wildlife along Destin-Fort Walton Beach. Wetlands showcase what the area is all about: an ecosystem that thrives on warmth and growth. Enjoy wildlife and bird watching in wetlands that make up so much of the area along the Emerald Coast. The wetlands are truly a sanctuary for travelers to learn and experience.

Maritime hammocks are tropical retreats consisting of narrow bands of forest on the backside of the dunes. With lush vegetation and a conservatory of wildlife, maritime hammocks are the inner workings of pine, oak, and evergreen trees nurtured by the salt spray of the beach. With time, seat oats and other coastal plant life create an ecosystem of woods and brush that expand for hundreds of miles. Any nature lover will want to observe the maritime hammock setting and appreciate the natural layout of the hammocks.

A row of different colored beers on a bar.


Tap in to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Breweries!

Tap in to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Breweries! The pitcher perfect day in Destin-Fort Walton Beach includes craft beer, outdoor seating, live music and of course good friends. Check out our list of the best breweries and taprooms from Destin to Crestview: Destin Brewery Their name says it all, so if…

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Trip Ideas

While beachgoers can lay out on the sand, shoppers can stroll down the HarborWalk Village and savor plates of Gulf-to-Table seafood. What will you do in Destin-Fort Walton Beach?

a pier under the water with a blue sky.

Where to See Sea Turtles in Destin-Fort Walton Beach

Where to See Sea Turtles in Destin-Fort Walton Beach Destin-Fort Walton Beach is home to some amazing wildlife, including our four species of sea turtles! You can see Loggerhead, Green, Kemp’s Ridley, and Leatherback sea turtles in our crystal-clear Gulf waters. Our flippered friends are active and…

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scuba diver underwater near artificial reef

Destin-Fort Walton Coastal Team Deploys Nearly 40 Artificial Reefs

Destin-Fort Walton Coastal Team Deploys Nearly 40 Artificial Reefs Okaloosa County’s Coastal Resource Team is gearing up to deploy 38 prefabricated artificial reef modules off the coast of Destin-Fort Walton Beach, an exciting initiative that highlights the community’s dedication to marine conservation. The project, made possible through funding provided by…

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a group of people standing in a body of water.

Adapting water activities for kids of multiple ages

Adapting water activities for kids of multiple ages This post was written by Sara McCarty, founder of Run Wild My Child, in partnership with Destin-Fort Walton Beach. If you have more than one kid, you know that it’s often hard to find activities that keep multiple kids of…

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November 23, 2023

Harbor Docks’ 29th Annual Thanksgiving Fest

Be our guest at our 29th Annual Thanksgiving Day Feast!

Everyone is welcome. While…



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