South Walton Is The Place To Race
South Walton visitors and locals tend to enjoy an active lifestyle, whether they are running, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. From scenic trails winding through state parks and forests to the paved biking and walking pathways that connect our 16 unique beach neighborhoods, it’s no wonder South Walton is an ideal place to run.
From organized events to solo/group jaunts with endless natural views and breathtaking vistas, South Walton doesn’t disappoint the running enthusiast. So where are some of the best places to run?
Deer Lake State Park
For a quick run, why not take a jog on the Deer Lake Trail? The 1.5-mile loop trail is nestled alongside one of South Walton’s beautiful coastal dune lakes and offers runners views of native wildflowers, plants, birds and butterflies. The trailhead is located on the north side of Scenic Highway 30A across from the Deer Lake State Park entrance.
Point Washington State Forest
With 15,000 acres of forest and more than 27 miles of trails, Point Washington State Forest offers runners quite the scenic adventure, with views of longleaf pine flatwoods, wet prairie, coastal scrub and swamplands. Trails range from the relatively short 3.5-mile Western Trail to the 11-mile Orange Loop.
The Seaside Half Marathon Route
If you’re up for a longer challenge, why not take the same 13.1-mile route that thousands of runners traverse during the annual Seaside School Half Marathon? The mostly flat course takes you westward along Scenic Highway 30A for 6.5 miles through WaterColor, Grayton Beach, Blue Mountain Beach and Santa Rosa Beach before turning back to return to Seaside.
The Timpoochee Trail
At 19 miles long, the Timpoochee Trail is the most widely used paved path in South Walton. A run on the trail from start to finish would take runners through 12 of South Walton’s 16 beach neighborhoods, with views of state parks, the state forest and rare coastal dune lakes.
When it comes to races in South Walton, there are plenty of options to choose from, including shorter, family-friendly races, half marathons and a triathlon. Though some of these events were canceled during 2020 and early 2021, keep checking back for updates on future plans.
- Alys Beach 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run: Held annually in Alys Beach, the course takes runners through the town and ends with an oversized obstacle course for kids of all ages. For more information, visit alysbeach.com.
- 30A 10K, 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run: Held on Thanksgiving Day in Rosemary Beach, this annual race takes runners through Alys Beach, Seacrest and WaterSound before heading back to finish in Rosemary Beach. For more information, visit 30a10k.com/.
- 30A Half Marathon & 5K: Held annually at Gulf Place, the 13.1-mile half marathon course takes runners through Blue Mountain Beach, Grayton Beach and WaterColor before turning around and returning to Gulf Place. For more information, visit 30ahalf.com/.
- Seaside School Half Marathon & 5K Run: Held annually in Seaside, the race features a 13.1-mile half marathon course and a 5K course. For more information about the event, visit runseasidefl.com/.