A First-Timer’s Guide to Paxton
A big part of what makes Walton County such a unique place is the great diversity of history, scenery and activities. All of these local communities are filled with hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered.
And whenever you’re looking for a diversion from the 16 beach neighborhoods of South Walton, there’s plenty to explore just north of the Choctawhatchee Bay.
Here, at the northernmost edge of the county, amid the pastoral beauty of rolling pastures and woodland areas, you’ll find the quiet little town of Paxton, Florida.
With a small population, the town is very family-oriented and welcoming. A history of farming had already been well-established when Paxton became home to the area's first sawmill back in 1903. As commerce around the mill gradually expanded, the surrounding community began to flourish.
But it’s from those early roots in farming that Paxton continues to grow today. The Paxton Agricultural Center is a fun place to learn more about how the farming industry works, including up-close introductions to cute animals and big machinery. Throw in the nearby baseball field, and it’s always a hit with the kids! The Ag Center also hosts events during the year, including the annual Bobby Kemp Sr. Heritage Day festival in September.
The great outdoors also plays a vital role in the area’s recreational culture. Paxton is nestled right against Lake Jackson, which straddles the Florida-Alabama line, providing an ideal outlet for leisure time and nature appreciation. Perhaps the best way to fully enjoy the lake is by getting out on the water. Bring a canoe or kayak to paddle around in search of local wildlife.
If you’re putting in a motorized boat, Walton County Parks and Recreation manages a fee-free public boat ramp, which you can find at 81 Lake Road. And keep in mind that you can fish the lake with a valid Alabama or Florida fishing license, but it must match the state side where you launch and pull out your boat.
Another great place to explore is Lakewood Park, just northeast of Paxton. The wooded trails carry you through peaceful landscapes. And within the park, you can actually climb to the highest point of geographical elevation in all of Florida. At a modest 345 feet above sea level, it’s the lowest high point of any state in the U.S. (contrast that with the highest – Alaska’s Denali at more than 20,320 feet). However, this plateau known as Britton Hill still offers plenty of photo-worthy views for adventurers who want to change their altitude.
Most importantly, as you wander between attractions here, you’ll encounter plenty of genuinely friendly locals who are happy to share their love of the area. It’s a day trip that will reveal a whole new slice of life to lift your spirits.