The park takes its name from the dune lake that lies within its boundaries. Deer Lake is a dune lake, the incredibly rare natural phenomenon of a body of freshwater being right next to a body of saltwater. Madagascar, New Zealand, Australia, and Florida are the only places where you can witness this natural rarity!
Hike the Blue Trail that borders Deer Lake to get the true experience at the park. This walk will get you in touch with all senses as you smell the water, hear the calls of the sea gulls and feel the gentle breeze of the wind.
The beach at Deer Lake Park is relatively secluded and one of the most serene in South Walton. Photographers, birders, and lovers of nature all find appeal in the park for this reason. A picnic pavilion on the beach gives you a nice chance to recharge and refresh before heading back to the water.
You’ll immediately notice the impressiveness of the boardwalk system at Deer Lake State Park. It is a bit of a hike from the parking lot to the beach, but walking over this boardwalk makes it worth it. The boardwalk soars over the dunes to give you an awesome view of the Gulf of Mexico as you approach. The boardwalk also allows for handicap access, a convenient and family friendly feature.
The park has one of the most unique, diverse ecosystems in the area; rare plants like the Gulf Coast lupine, spoonflower and pitcher plants can be seen here. Southern magnolias, golden asters, woody goldenrod, and scrub oaks can also be spotted in this habitat. Colorful wildflowers are common at Deer Lake as well.
Deer Lake State Park is also the relocation site for the endangered Choctawhatchee beach mouse. This little rodent lives in the dune system, and can occasionally be seen if you’re lucky – and quiet as a mouse.
The Florida black bear, coyote, snowy plover and deer are a few more of the animals that call Deer Lake State Park home. That doesn’t include the many unique bird species that often attracts bird watchers to Deer Lake Park.
The park also offers the perfect environment for surf fishing.