South Walton Is The Place To Race
South Walton visitors and locals tend to enjoy an active lifestyle, whether they are running, kayaking or paddle boarding. From trails winding through the state parks and forests to the paved biking and walking pathways that connect our 16 unique beach communities, it’s no wonder why 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 27miles of trails, Point Washington State Forest offers runners quite the adventure and scenery, from longleaf pine flatwoods and wet prairie to coastal scrub and swamplands. Trails range from a relatively short 2.5-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 paths in South Walton. A run on the trail from start to finish would take runners through 12 of South Walton’s 16 beach communities, 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.
- Alys Beach 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run: Held annually in Alys Beach, the course will take runners through the town and ends with an oversized obstacle course for kids of all ages. The race is scheduled for Sept. 3. For more information, visit alysbeach.com/event/6th-annual-alys-beach-5k-1-mile-fun-run/.
- 30A Half Marathon & 5K: Held annually at Gulf Place, the 13.1-mile Half Marathon course will take runners through Blue Mountain Beach, Grayton Beach and WaterColor, before they turn around and return to Gulf Place. The race is scheduled for Oct. 13-15. For more information, visit 30ahalf.com/.
- 30A 10K, 5K and One Mile Fun Run: Held in Rosemary Beach, this annual race is held over the Thanksgiving Holiday and takes racers through Alys Beach, Seacrest and WaterSound Beach before heading back to finish in Rosemary Beach. The race is scheduled for Nov. 22-24. For more information, visit 30a10k.com/.
- Seaside School Half Marathon & 5K Run: Held annually in Seaside, the race will feature a 13.1-mile Half Marathon Course and a 5K Course. The 2018 race is scheduled for March 2-4. For more information, visit runseasidefl.com/.
- Sandestin Triathlon: Held annually at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, the race features a ½ miles swim in the Gulf of Mexico, a 20 mile bike ride along the flat, scenic coastline, and a four mile run on the beachside and bayside of the Sandestin resort. The 2017 triathlon is scheduled for Sept. 23. For more information, visit sandestintriathlon.com/.
About South Walton
A 26-mile stretch of sparkling white sand located along the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida, South Walton encompasses a strand of 16 beach neighborhoods, each with unique personality, architecture and energy. South Walton is home to four state parks, one state forest, and more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails. Find your perfect beach in neighborhoods renowned for scenic beauty, sugar-white sand beaches and turquoise water. South Walton was named one of the “Secret Florida Beaches” by Travel + Leisure, but is easily accessible as a drive to destination or by flying to nearby airports Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) or the Destin – Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS). An upscale, yet casual place to unwind, South Walton rejuvenates and builds lasting memories.
Learn more at www.visitsouthwalton.com