Beaches of South Walton Florida & Scenic 30A: Travel Guide and Vacation Rental Accommodations

BEACHES OF SOUTH WALTON & SCENIC 30A


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Things to do in Beaches of South Walton & Scenic 30A Florida

Beaches of South Walton & Scenic 30A Florida

Come discover the endless possibilities of the South Walton Beach Communities along Scenic 30A! Not just one adventure but a cluster of discoveries all in one coastal vacation. South Walton, Florida includes 16 individual beaches, each unique and suitable to different vacationers. The Beaches of South Walton in Florida's Panhandle presents treasure after treasure with 20 plus miles of beach after beach, each separated by its own quaint town and its own unique beauty.

Nestled along the Emerald Coast of Florida, the beaches of South Walton and scenic 30A is a unique blend of natural beauty, quaint charm, and luxurious comfort. The 30A area with its crystal-clear waters and sugar-white sands is more than just a beach destination; it's a haven for those seeking a blend of natural beauty, relaxation, adventure, and culinary delights. 

Sugar white sand, turquoise water, fresh seafood and a variety of communities make this a one of kind vacation destination. A place abundantly full of art and culture coupled with leisure and adventure. Vacation homes, villas, and cottages line the beaches with quick access to private and public areas of the shorelines to keep this destination at the top of your vacation hot spot for years to come.

 

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Reservations and Guest Services at Ocean Reef Vacation Rentals & Real Estate

Ocean Reef Vacation Rentals & Real Estate

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Brooks and Shorey Resorts

Brooks and Shorey Resorts

Brooks and Shorey Resorts, emerald coast vacation rentals on beautiful Okaloosa Island. All of our vacation rental condos are fully furnished, fully..  learn more

Benchmark Management

Benchmark Management

Benchmark Management specializes in luxury vacation rentals along N.W. Florida's Highway 30A. Benchmark is proud to be local, and we have cultivated..  learn more

Holiday Isle Properties

Holiday Isle Properties

Holiday Isle Properties has been a premiere gateway to Destin for the past 33 years by surpassing visitors' expectations during their stay. Holiday..  learn more

 

 

Things To Do in South Walton Florida

South Walton and the 30A corridor in Florida are not just picturesque beach destinations; they are hubs of diverse activities, cultural experiences, and natural wonders. Here's a detailed exploration of the many things you can do in this beautiful coastal region.

Beach and Community Hopping

South Walton boasts 16 distinct beach neighborhoods, each with its own personality. Seaside, with its picture-perfect pastel houses and white picket fences, feels like a storybook come to life. Alys Beach, known for its stunning architecture, offers a Mediterranean feel. For a more secluded experience, All 16 are a unique experience to be treasured.

Nestled in Florida's Northwest Panhandle along the Emerald Coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the Beaches of South Walton are famous for their ultra-white sand and emerald turquoise waters. The sand along this coast is the whitest and softest in the world! When you walk on the beaches here, you are actually walking on the Appalachian Mountains. The unique sand along 30A beaches consists of small quartz particles broken down over time.

These beach communities along Highway 30A offer a wide variety of comfortable and welcoming 30A Vacation Homes, as well as, activities and stunning natural scenery to last a lifetime. Set apart by their unique beach neighborhoods, these beach communities each provide stunning architecture, restaurants, shops, and accommodations. With options ranging from cozy cottages to artistic escapes and upscale resorts, South Walton has the perfect place to stay for any occasion. Here are the beach communities, the Beaches of South Walton along Scenic 30A in the Florida Panhandle.  Find your favorite!

 

Beaches of South Walton Florida

 

White architecture and palms trees contrast wonderfully well at this 30A community paradise of Alys Beach. Walk or bike to explore Alys Beach and its wooden boardwalk that winds through the town’s 30-acre preserve.

  • Blue Mountain Beach

Derives its name from the blue lupine flowers of the area and is South Walton's highest elevation. After your day on the beach, make sure to stop by Blue Mountain Creamery food and entertainment. From ice cream to fresh seafood to live music.

Dune Allen Beach is a charming beach village situated on the west end of Scenic 30A. It’s hard to resist the calmness brought by the strokes of beach waves and fresh air that comforts the soul and body. Dune Allen Beach, Florida is urrounded by beautiful sightings of the Gulf of Mexico along the southern side and attractive coastal dune lakes, namely Allen, Campbell, Morris, Oyster, and Stallworth on the northern side, Dune Allen Beach, Florida will never run out of rich panoramic views that fill everyone’s eye with satisfaction.

  • Grayton Beach

Grayton Beach is known for its laid-back vibe and is a hotspot for water sports. You can rent paddleboards or kayaks and explore the Gulf's calm waters or the nearby Western Lake. Companies like Grayton Beach Paddle offer guided tours and lessons.

  • Gulf Place 

A 25 acre 30A community is located in the heart of Santa Rosa Beach on the corner of 30A and 393. This coloriful community compliments the sugar-white sand and turquoise waters of Florida's Emerald Coast. Palm trees along the streets and sidewalks, outdoor patios, walking trails, and green spaces to enjoy the many views. Art galleries, boutique shopping, local cuisine, and live music along with this landscape creates a wonderful atmosphere.

  • Inlet Beach

The most eastern South Walton Florida neighborhood and one that mixes the old with the new in the best ways. Old Florida carefree beach neighborhood with new restaurants and shopping. Inlet Beach borders with Camp Helen State Park, one of the largest coastal dunes in Florida, creating a landscape and outdoor atmosphere to be treasured.

Miramar Beach is considered one of the finest of the 16 beach communities of South Walton along 30A.  Located just 9 miles southeast of Destin, anyone who vacations in Miramar Beach can have the best of both worlds, a quiet beach getaway and yet close enough to take advantage of all the activities nearby.

Rosemary Beach exudes a small-town and laid-back vibe which is perfect for travelers who are searching for a tranquil and romantic place. This quant town is an excellent vacation destination because of its charming and laid-back atmosphere. It has beautiful white-sand beaches, stunning pools, state parks, biking trails, fine dining restaurants, and other attractions that you must visit. 

Sandestin is a beach resort community and vacation destination in South Walton, Florida. Luxury and charming accommodations surrounded by sugary white sand beaches are the main draws of the town. Sandestin is known for the Baytowne Wharf Village, a family friendly village that has everything within walking distance from boutiques, eateries, and galleries. Sandestin is also popular for its tennis facilities, golf courses, marinas, pools, spas, restaurants, and shopping malls. 

Santa Rosa Beach offers an incredible amount of diversity from the beaches to the state forest and parks. Santa Rosa Beach contains Point Washington State Forest, which covers more than 10,000 acres. This beautiful forest of longleaf pines has a large number of trails and is a great place for a hiking adventure.

  • Seacrest Beach

Seacrest Beach is home to a variety of boutique stores, offering everything from beachwear to artisan crafts. It's a great place to find unique souvenirs or enjoy a casual stroll.

Named for a grove of windswept trees that envelop it, Seagrove Beach continues to be defined by the same emerald green canopy of oaks, magnolias, hickories, and sand pines that encircled the little cove more than half a century ago. Ocean Waters of Blue and Emerald Green, a brilliant duo of colors at this cozy 1.5 mile beach.

  • Seascape

A resort community, Seascape resort comes with all the activities you come to expect and more. Activities like golf, tennis, biking, hiking, and swimming. A free beach tram to make it easy to get from your resort condo or villa to the beach. Seascape has a massive town center designed for family entertainment.

  • Seaside

Famous for its role in the movie "The Truman Show," Seaside is an idyllic town with pastel-colored houses and white picket fences. The beach here is perfect for families, offering crystal-clear waters and soft, white sands. It's ideal for sunbathing, building sandcastles, and beach volleyball.

  • Watercolor

Located on South Walton’s Western Lake, one of the most picturesque coastal dune lakes, Watercolor offers a small beavh town vibe with high-end amenities.  From the WaterColor Boathouse you can paddle the lake or hike or bike through Grayton Beach State Park and the Point Washington State Forest. Watercolor is on over a thousand feet of sugar-white beaches, perfect for relaxing and connecting with family. 

  • Watersound

A private community in South Walton with a private golf course and community Hub. The Hub is a center of activity in WaterSound with art, social networking, and dining. Enjoy the hiking and biking trails along the sand dunes with soft sand beaches and beautiful turquoise blue water.

 

Beaches of South Walton Travel Guide

 

Explore the State Parks, Hiking Trails, and Coastal Dune Lakes

Beyond the beaches, the area is rich in nature trails, coastal dune lakes, and state parks. There are so many great parks and coastal lakes in the South Walton area along Scenic 30A and the Florida Emerald Coast.  

South Walton has 15 coastal dune lakes that have been named along 26 miles of coastline. The lake water is produced by streams, groundwater, rain, and storm surge. The lakes are located throughout the landscape and are so interesting to look at and explore with the colors contrasting from the turquoise gulf waters. They also serve as a habitat for a unique mix of plants and animals.

The lakes have a brown hue to them because of the leaves falling into the lake and the different minerals mixed in. This condition is completely natural and the lakes are clean with tons nutrients. Because they are created from the Gulf ocean water and from the rain and inland waters some lakes are nearly all freshwater, some are primarily saltwater, and some are mixed. Often you will find different saltwater species alongside freshwater species in the lake.

These coastal dune lakes provide outdoor activities such as paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, bird-watching, hiking, nature study, and fishing. (Florida Fshing License Required) Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Grayton Beach State Park, Deer Lake State Park, and Camp Helen State Park all have unique views of the lakes. Lake Powell, Western, and Eastern Lake all have available boat ramps to launch your boat from. Kayaking on Western Lake is highly recommended, as well as, exploring each of these parks and coastal dune lakes.

 

Coastal Dune Lakes of South Walton Florida

 

The park is bordered by Lake Powell, the largest coastal dune lake in Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico. The pristine beaches and hiking trails that wind through the coastal dunes, lakes, and oak trees make Camp Helen State Park one of Florida's gems.

Approx. 2000 acre park that shares its name with the coastal dune lake located within. Deer Lake State Park offers untouched natural beauty with beach access. This park offers picnic tables, restrooms, and hiking trails with an amazing reward at the end, a secluded beach. The walk along the boardwalk over the coastal sand dunes to a view of the Gulf of Mexico is a memorable experience. The secluded beach offers some of the best snorkeling experiences with clear waters and abundant marine life, an unforgettable underwater adventure.

  • Eden Garden State Park

Nestled along Choctawhatchee Bay, hike along the park's oak trees and tour the historic Wesley Mansion.

  • Grayton Beach State Park

Spend time exploring the trails and natural splendor by hiking or biking at Grayton Beach State Park. This park provides direct access to coastal dune lakes. A kayak or stand-up paddleboard is the perfect way to explore.

Point Washington State Forest is a haven for hiking, biking, and bird watching. The rare coastal dune lakes, found only in a few places worldwide, are perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking. Point Washington State Forest - Spanning over 15,000 acres, this state forest is a paradise for hikers and bikers. With over 10 miles of trails, it's a great place to observe local wildlife and enjoy the pine forests. Guided tours are available from the Point Washington State Forest and offer miles of pristine nature walks through winding trails. Guided kayak tours are available on any one of the 17 coastal dune lakes for endless hours of outdoor enjoyment.

  • Timpoochee Trail

This 19-mile paved trail winds past dune lakes, state parks, and beach neighborhoods. It's a scenic way to explore the area and can be tackled in sections. Bike rentals are available in most beach communities.

This 1,640-acre Park located in Santa Rosa Beach Florida with 3 miles of beach coastline is perfect for hiking, fishing, and sunbathing. Also, perfect for relaxing with views of the beach and the coastal dune lakes.

  • Western Lake

The Boathouse Paddle Club located in WaterColor is perfectly nestled along the shore of Western Lake, one of South Walton's most popular coastal dune lakes. Here, you'll find everything you need to explore. 

 

Deer Lake State Park - Beaches of South Walton Florida

 

Once you've exhausted all the trails, dunes, and beach spots, plan to refresh in the largest pool in North West Florida. The Seacrest Pool is located just behind the Village shops and is a welcoming splash of fun for kids of all ages! The South Walton area has such a long list of activities for all whether you are a fisherman, golf enthusiast, enjoy the arts and culture, extreme sports or watching wildlife each local beach and village has its own special offering to be discovered. South Walton is just like a multi-faceted gem the Florida sun shines through it in so many ways showing its magnificent richness and beauty.

Arts and Culture

Art enthusiasts will love the array of galleries and boutiques along 30A. Don't miss the Cultural Arts Alliance's events, including the 30A Songwriters Festival and the Underwater Museum of Art, where you can snorkel among sculptures.

Art Galleries and Studios - The area is rich in art and culture. The Justin Gaffrey Gallery in Blue Mountain Beach showcases vibrant, textural paintings, while the Fusion Art Glass Gallery in Seaside offers stunning glasswork pieces.

The REP Theatre - Located in Seaside, The REP Theatre is known for its high-quality performances, including plays, live music, and storytelling nights. It's a cultural hub that offers a variety of shows year-round.

Dining

Seafood at The Shrimp Shack -  For a quintessential beach dining experience, The Shrimp Shack in Seagrove offers fresh, locally sourced seafood. Their shrimp boil and oyster baskets are a must-try.

Upscale Dining at Fish Out of Water - This restaurant in WaterColor offers a fine dining experience with Gulf views. The menu changes seasonally, focusing on fresh, local ingredients. Their wine list is extensive, and the sunset views are spectacular.

  • Fine Dining - Cafe Thirty-A and The Surfing Deer are must-visits for gourmet cuisine, offering fresh seafood and creative dishes.
  • Casual Eats - For a more laid-back vibe, check out The Red Bar in Grayton Beach or Bud & Alley’s in Seaside for delicious food with a side of local color.
  • Coffee and Sweets - Don't miss out on the local coffee shops and bakeries. Amavida Coffee and Love Bakery serve up delicious treats and artisanal coffee.

Shopping and Nightlife

The village of South Walton Beach is a center of shopping and dining beautifully set between Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach. There you will find an array of fine dining, cafes, and boutiques. 

Boutique Shopping at Peddler’s Pavilion - This shopping area in Seacrest Beach is home to a variety of boutique stores, offering everything from beachwear to artisan crafts. It's a great place to find unique souvenirs or enjoy a casual stroll.

Spa Day at Serenity by the Sea - Located in the Hilton Sandestin, this spa offers a range of treatments from massages to facials, using organic and high-quality products. It's the perfect way to unwind after a day of beach activities.

  • Boutique Shopping - 30A is dotted with unique boutiques and shops. From the artsy shops of Seaside to the high-end boutiques of Alys Beach, there's something for every shopper.
  • Vibrant Nightlife - After the sun sets, the area comes alive with a variety of entertainment options. Enjoy live music at The Hub or sip cocktails at the rooftop bar at The Pearl.
  • Baytowne Wharf Village - A family friendly village that has everything within walking distance from boutiques, eateries, and galleries. 

History of South Walton Beaches

When warmer temperatures ended the last ice age, the ice caps began melting and large volumes of water were carried by the rivers to the world's oceans. The water carried the quartz particles from the rock that forms the Appalachian Mountains and deposited them in the Gulf of Mexico. As the sea level began to rise, these quartz sands eventually formed a new shoreline. Normally, such quartz has a rosy pink tint because of its oxide coating, but the sugary-white quartz lost it's coating somewhere along its watery journey.

Now the area is made up of a long stretch of 16 stunning and beautiful beaches and miles of coastal dune lakes. These particular dunes are so unusual that they are only found in Walton County, Florida.  In the northern part of the area, in the heart of the historic town, DeFuniak Springs, is one of two naturally round spring-fed lakes in the world.


Map of the Beaches of South Walton along 30A

Additional Emerald Coast and South Walton Florida Articles




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