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Commercial activity not allowed at Henderson Beach


Henderson Beach State Park may look like any other beach this time of year, but take a closer look. Those aren't the fancy, matching umbrellas you get from a beach service. Matter of fact, nobody is selling or renting anything.

Nancy Laymon and her family from Indiana say there is plenty to do here, though this puffer fish might not be too happy he was caught in their net. They come to Henderson Beach every year.     

"We do own a timeshare down the road, but we prefer to come to the State Park because it is more family friendly, we don't like all the commercial aspects of the bigger beaches," Laymon said.

In February, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection accepted proposals from vendors for some concessions at the park. One was chosen, with plans to rent beach equipment, kayaks, and bikes; and to sell food. Not everyone was happy.

"I think it would really take away from the natural aspect of the beach, that's the main reason why we come," Laymon said.

Senate President Don Gaetz and his son, Representative Matt Gaetz, threw their support behind an amendment designed to preserve another state park, and tweaked it to cover Henderson Beach.

It prohibits new concession contracts if the park has less than 7,000 feet of shoreline, and if concessions are available within 1500 feet of the park's boundaries.

The governor signed it this week. Not everybody's happy about that either, especially these hungry cheerleaders.

"Cause we don't have food here, and we have to leave the beach to go get something to eat then come back and it takes away our sun, takes away our time here at the beach," said Darryl Young from Mississippi.

You might not be able to buy a hot dog and you'll still have to bring your umbrella from home. But there will always be sandcastles at Henderson Beach State Park.