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Where to Stand-Up Paddleboard Like a Local

Stand-up paddleboarding may not have originated in South Walton, but with endless beautiful waterways and scenery, plus the ability to paddle year-round, the epicenter of stand-up paddleboarding is right here.

But if you truly want to get the most out of your experience, you need to pick the best spots for what you want out of your excursion: are you looking for a beginner spot? The best views? Or maybe something a little more challenging to give you a great workout? Whatever your perfect stand-up paddleboarding trip, there's a spot in South Walton that's perfect for you.

Beginner Boarding

Stand-up paddleboarding on a coastal dune lake in South Walton

If you're just starting out, you're probably looking to get your feet wet (pun intended) without going overboard as you learn the ropes. A nice, peaceful glide through the water, while you see the sights and get your mechanics down, is just the ticket to launch a lifetime of paddleboarding fun.

Immerse yourself in a 360-degree view of a calm paddle here.

What you need is calm water and a beautiful location so that you'll increase your skill level without getting bored. The perfect spot for this is one of South Walton's coastal dune lakes: not only are they rare and beautiful, but they also offer calm and secluded waters, so you won't be rattled by choppy water or too much nearby activity. Grayton Beach State Park offers a gorgeous dune lake among a unique and hike-worthy natural landscape.

Intermediate and In It for the Views

Sunset on the Choctawhatchee Bay

Say you're more comfortable with your stand-up paddleboarding skills, and at this stage, you're mainly looking to explore nature and see the sights. As anyone who's seen sunrise or sunset in South Walton can tell you, dawn and dusk offer some of the most breathtaking natural spectacles around. Taking your board out for sunrise or sunset only adds to the experience, as you commune with the water and see the sun peek out or dip down below the horizon. Getting in a workout on top of it is just a bonus.

For some of the best sunsets you can see from a stand-up paddleboard, launch from Hogtown Bayou and hit Choctawhatchee Bay at dusk. It's a calm paddle with spectacular scenery, both natural and in the form of beautiful homes lining the water, and you'll wish the sunset could last hours.

Looking for a Challenge

Turquoise Gulf Water in South Walton

You've built up your skill level and you're confident in just about any situation. Now, you're looking for something to test your abilities. Push off from Western Lake early in the morning and make your way out to the Gulf to explore! The earlier you head out, the calmer the waters will be. If you're looking for more of a workout, you'll certainly get it as the waves build up later in the morning.

Nothing beats the feeling of coming home after you've wrestled the Gulf and won – paddling in the Gulf's open waters connects you with nature in a way few other things do.

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