Bikeable Beach Neighborhoods, Part 4: Gulf Place, Santa Rosa Beach, Blue Mountain Beach & Grayton Beach
Biking around South Walton isn't only about staying in shape or saving on gas – it's about savoring every moment of sun and sea breeze. Hop on your bike and join us as we take a spin around four more beach neighborhoods and see the sights from the saddle.
Kick off in Gulf Place, where you can rent a cruiser at YOLO Board + Bike to get you wherever you want to go. But first, you might want a snack, in which case The Perfect Pig is the perfect spot to grab a plate of upscale Southern comfort food before you ride. Another great option is Shunk Gulley, where you can enjoy Gulf seafood with a panoramic view of the sugar-white sand beach.
Pedal on toward Santa Rosa Beach, pausing once you reach Growler Garage to peruse the selection of 45 craft beers and wines on tap. Sample offerings from local breweries – grab one to go and enjoy it by the beach before jumping back on your bike and continuing through Santa Rosa Beach. Just make sure it's not in a glass container if you take it on the beach!
Here, you've got options. But one of your best bets is to stay outside, whether it's switching from a land bike to a hydrobike and pedal-paddling around the Choctawhatchee Bay, or taking an eco-tour of the Choctawhatchee Basin, one of the five richest biodiversity hotspots in North America.
Refuel at Goatfeathers Seafood Restaurant & West Market, where you'll find the freshest Gulf seafood in a casual atmosphere. As you roll out of town, pause by Draper Lake to take in one of South Walton's rarest natural wonders. Coastal dune lakes exist in just a few spots in the world, and we're lucky enough to have several!
Hope you worked up an appetite on the way to Blue Mountain Beach! It's home to several great restaurants, but most importantly, there's ice cream right by the beach. Blue Mountain Beach Creamery has served delicious ice creams, sorbets and frozen yogurts for many years, and folks still line up for it. Hang out on the front porch and cool off while you enjoy one of their many flavors, or take a stroll to the beach access, just down the street.
Interested in pursuing a bit of culture while you're here? Former Artist of the Year Justin Gaffrey's gallery is in Blue Mountain Beach – and it's a stunner, with several rooms full of his signature textured paintings, as well as forays into sculpture.
Onward, to Grayton Beach! One of South Walton's most recognizable outdoor spaces is Grayton Beach State Park, where you can admire the dunes and unique flora of the area. You'll see why more than 40% of the land in South Walton is preserved – it's too spectacular to risk.
Next stop: Shops of Grayton, where several world-class artists, jewelers and antique dealers have set up in close proximity and made an excellent place to find something that suits your style.
A pedal through Grayton Beach wouldn’t be complete without a stop by the recently opened Grayton Beer Brewpub. Here you’ll find some “grayt” downhome eats like deviled eggs, pimento & pickles, and a fried pork chop paired up with ice cold, locally crafted brews. Sip on a beer, grab a bite to eat and relax with live music.
Hop back on and pedal into the sunset.