James Lee Park, Florida
Famous for soft sand as white as sugar, Destin lies on Florida‘s Emerald Coast, named for the blue-green waters along the shore. The Chocktawhatchee Bay forms the city’s northern border, while the Gulf of Mexico frames the city to the south.
Along the Gulf Coast, miles of beaches beckon visitors to relax along their sandy shorelines. James Lee Park lies along the eastern end of the beaches, allowing public access with amenities provided by Oskaloosa County.
James Lee Beach is conveniently situated along Scenic Highway 98, just 7 miles from the Northwest Florida Regional Airport. Not only does the beach have the white quartz sand of the other beaches in the Crystal Beach area, but it tends to have clear waters with little seaweed washing up along the shore after large storms.
You can expect days in the high 80s and low 90s Fahrenheit on the hottest days of summer, with high humidity that makes a dip in the Gulf a welcome treat. Winter days average in the 60s in the coldest month of January, with mostly sunny skies ideal for strolling along the beach.
Bring your own beach chairs or rent chairs and umbrellas on site at the park. There are plenty of places to enjoy a family picnic, with more than 40 picnic tables, and three pavilions. Children can burn off energy at a playground set back from the water, with plenty of beach between for parents to set up chairs and relax oceanside while keeping an eye on the kids.
Nine elevated walkways over the dunes give easy access to the beach without anyone having to slog through sand. Restrooms and changing areas are on site, as well as 166 spaces to park.
Crab Trap Restaurant
When the sea air sparks your appetite, enjoy a snack or a full meal at the Crab Trap Restaurant situated on the beach. The menu features local Gulf shrimp paired with Alaskan snow crab, clams, oysters or fresh fish.
Beef and chicken selections cater to land-based appetites, and a variety of entrees served in baskets make it easy to feed the kids or enjoy a snack. Hot soups warm up a chilly day and include she-crab chowder made with crab claws in a potato bisque, or seafood gumbo.
Safety and Regulations
Before getting in the water, look for safety flags along the beach indicating swimming conditions. A double red flag means the beach is closed and you will be arrested if you enter the water. Green signals ideal swimming conditions, but riptides may occur without warning at any time.
A purple flag indicates the presence of potentially dangerous marine life in the water or on the beach, such as man-of-war, jellyfish, or sharks. Pets are not allowed on the beach, and you may not camp or build a fire.
Acquaint yourself with the park’s rules to avoid costly fines that can run from $100 to $500 per violation.
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