Let’s Go Exploring!

There are so many ways to explore along Scenic 30-A! From spending the day at one of the beautiful public beaches, to picnicking with your family at Point Washington State Forest, there is something to do for everyone and every occasion!

User Facilities

There are more than 12,000 lodging units available along Scenic 30-A, many of them directly or indirectly accessible from the corridor. Accommodations range from luxury rooms in Seaside, WaterColor, and other beach communities to RV sites and campgrounds. Campgrounds and RV sites are located in Grayton Beach State Park, Peach Creek RV Resort, Topsail Hill RV Resort, and Willows Campground. The Peach Creek and Topsail Hill facilities have full RV hook-ups.

A number of businesses along the corridor provide opportunities for visitors to engage in outdoor activities. There are five businesses offering bicycle rentals so visitors can explore the area or ride one of the many local trails by bike. Many businesses also cater to water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can rent a kayak, canoe, surfboard, catamaran, or even charter a fishing expedition. There are four certified nature-based businesses that offer interpretive river tours in the Choctawhatchee Bay, Intercoastal Waterway, and Black Creek areas, as well as camping and kayak, canoe, and tube rental.

There are more than 120 restaurants along Scenic 30-A. Six of them are in Florida Trend’s “Top 500 Restaurants.” There is also abundant shopping, including the open-air market and artist colony in Seaside.

Golf courses can be found at Camp Creek Golf Club (off of CR-30 A between WaterColor and Rosemary Beach) and at the Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club. There are also 50 tennis courts available to the public along Scenic 30-A.

Visitors can also enjoy the amenities available at the State Parks located along the corridor. Camping is available at Grayton Beach State Recreation Area and Topsail State Preserve. Public beach access is available at Grayton Beach State Park, Topsail State Preserve, and Deer Lake State Park. Hiking trails are available at Grayton Beach State Recreation Area, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Deer Lake State Park, Eden State Gardens, and Point Washington State Forest.

The Beaches of South Walton Visitor Information Center is located at the intersection of US 331 and US 98. Information specialists at the center provide directions and answer questions about accommodations, shopping, dining, and any other activities.

Scenic 30-A is served by passenger airports in Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, and Pensacola, and by general aviation airports in Destin, DeFuniak Springs, Crestview, and Panama City.

State Parks

Approximately 40% of the total acreage surrounding Scenic 30-A (25,000 acres) is state-owned. This includes five state parks. In Seacrest, Deer Lake State Park consists of 172 acres of beach and lake areas south of Scenic 30-A, and more than 1,900 acres of hiking trails north of Scenic 30-A. Grayton Beach State Recreation Area is home to Grayton Beach, which has been rated the “Best Beach in the U.S.” The park offers nature trails, camping, a boat ramp on Western Lake, cabin rentals, and picnic areas. Topsail Hill State Preserve features 1,600 acres of gulf-front pine forest, as well as nature trails and two coastal dune lakes.

One mile north of US 98 on CR 395, Eden State Gardens includes the Wesley Mansion, a fully renovated Greek-Revival style home filled with antiques. The mansion is surrounded by an elaborate garden. Also, near CR 395 is the Point Washington State Forest, encompassing 15,810 acres and containing the Eastern Lake Bike/Hike Trails that weave through a wide variety of plant communities such as sandhills, coastal sand pine scrub. Longleaf pine flat woods, cypress ponds, wet prairie, and titi swamps.

Trails

Numerous hiking and biking trails crisscross the corridor. Since more than 40% of the total land area in Walton County is dedicated to preservation, hikers and bicyclists are free to explore the area on more than 200 miles of trails.

The Longleaf Pine Greenway System consists of more than eight miles of trails throughout different areas of the county, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Choctawhatchee Bay. Trails range from beginner to expert level and users can view wildflowers, freshwater lakes, and sea oat-covered dunes.

The Eastern Lake Bike/Hike Trail in the Point Washington State Forest offers three-, five-, or ten-mile loops to accommodate all skill levels. The trail winds through a variety of natural vegetation and wildlife habitats. Donations are accepted for the continued maintenance of the trails.

The Timpoochee Trail, named after a Euchee Indian Chief, is 19 miles long and runs along Scenic 30-A parallel to the Gulf. The trail is paved, and it winds through nine of the beach towns along Scenic 30-A while passing by several state recreation areas, state parks, sand dunes, and coastal dune lakes. The trail is open to bikers and hikers.

Other trails located on state lands include:

  • Butler School Nature Trail, Santa Rosa Beach
  • Gulfview Heights Trail, Santa Rosa Beach
  • Blue Mountain-Grayton Trail, Blue Mountain Beach-Grayton Beach
  • Grayton-Seagrove Trail, Grayton Beach- Seagrove
  • Deer Lake Trail, Seacrest

 Ecology

South Walton County is recognized as a leader in beach management and preservation. All 26 miles of coastline in South Walton are certified Blue Wave beaches, a mark of cleanliness and good management from the Clean Beaches Council. In 2004, South Walton County hosted the inaugural Sustainable Beach Summit.

The Gulf of Mexico, the 17 fresh and saltwater lakes, and the Choctawhatchee Bay provide a multitude of natural, recreational, scenic, and archeological features. Preservation efforts also provide abundant habitat for wildlife, including many endangered species like the Gopher tortoise and the Red-cockaded woodpecker.

Natural Resources

The sand on the beaches is sugar-white because it is mostly pure quartz crystal. Millions of years of erosion have weathered these crystals into this extremely fine sand. The sun reflects off the sand and combines with the clear Gulf to give the water its signature blue-green hue.

Sand dunes are formed by the wind and are the first defense against wave action, which depletes the sand on the beach. Sea oats comprise more than 85% of the plant life on the dunes. They are protected by state law. Their root system grows both vertically and horizontally, stabilizing the dune and protecting it from wind, thus allowing the dunes to grow.

Distinct ecological communities include beach dunes, mesic flatwoods, scrubs, scrub flatwoods, depression marshes, wet flatwoods, coastal dune lakes, and estuarine marshes. There are five very rare plants present in South Walton: Large-leafed jointwood, Godfrey’s golden aster, Cruise’s golden aster, Gulf coast lupine, and Long-leaf pine. Threatened animals in the area include the American alligator, Atlantic loggerhead sea turtles, Snowy plover, Piping plover, Southeastern kestrel, Least tern, and the Choctawhatchee Beach mouse.

Archeological

Physical evidence or remains of known historic or prehistoric human life, activity, or culture such as significant ruins, artifacts, and inscriptions.

  • Native American Burial Grounds
  • Stallworth Lake– Globally rare Coastal Dune Lake defined by an intermittent connection to the Gulf of Mexico, creating an aesthetic staple of our natural landscape
  • Draper Lake– Coastal Dune Lake
  • Dune Allen Lake– Coastal Dune Lake
  • Oyster Lake– Coastal Dune Lake
  • Big Redfish Lake– Coastal Dune Lake
  • Little Redfish Lake– Coastal Dune Lake
  • Alligator Lake

Recreational

The following sites are accessible from the corridor that are used for hiking, biking, picnics, camping, fishing, boating, and swimming.

  • Topsail Hill Preserve State Park– Exceptional adventures the whole family can enjoy adjacent to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico
  • Morris Lake, Campbell Lake within State Park– Boat launch for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, exploring, or floating on Coastal Dune Lakes
  • Ft. Panic– Beach access
  • Ed Walline Public Park– Public beach access with parking adjacent to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Grayton Beach State Park Cottages– The public can rent cabins to enjoy the amazing State Park
  • Grayton Beach State Park– Dramatic white sand dunes alongside the green waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern lake
  • Eastern Lake– A historic Coastal Dune Lake offering recreational activities along its shoreline
  • Timpoochee Trail– Scenic bicycle pathway through 28.5 miles of scenic highway- a recreational “Tour de force” protected by Walton County and its residents
  • Blue Mountain Beach Access– Marked with two coastal dune lakes: Little Redfish Lake and Big Redfish Lake
  • WaterColor Inn on the Gulf
  • Cerulean Park, WaterColor
  • Deer Lake State Park– Coastal Dune Lake with recreational facilities, walkover, and restrooms
  • Barrier Dune Nature Trail, Grayton Beach State Park– Walking trail within the Grayton Beach State Park
  • 38 Public Beach Access Points

Natural

Come enjoy these natural features associated with the region that have minimal human disturbance.

  • Topsail Hill Preserve State Park– Natural scenic beauty, natural habitat, enormous unspoiled historic sand dunes
  • Tucker Bayou– Significant waterway
  • Gulf of Mexico– Natural and historic body of water that hugs the shoreline of Walton County
  • Point Washington State Forest– Minimal disturbance of the natural features associated with the region
  • Eastern Lake

 Scenic

Features, whether natural or human-made, are measured by how memorable, distinctive, uninterrupted, and unified they are.

  • Emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico- Picturesque scenery
  • Vistas from the 11 Coastal Dune Lakes
  • Native Vegetative Communities
  • White Sandy Dunes
  • Venacular architecture of 30-A communities
  • Modernist architecture of 30-A communities
  • Seaside Post Office
  • Rosemary Beach Town Hall and public places
  • WaterColor Clock Tower
  • Alys Beach Butterflies and landscape medians
  • WaterSound Bridge over Camp Creek Lake
  • Old Seagrove Canopies
  • Historic grid pattern streets and homes of Grayton Beach
  • Blue Mountain Beach blue haze at dawn
  • Sunsets and night skies
  • Covered Bridge over Draper Lake
  • Gulf view at Ed Walline Park
  • Historic Santa Rosa Beach Club and Golf Course visible from 30-A
  • Views of Stallworth Lake and Dunes
  • Venacular architecture of Cypress Dunes
  • Topsail Preserve State Park Access
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