Beyond the Beach
July 3, 2017
Beyond the Beach
South Walton may be known for its turquoise water and sugar-white sand beaches, but there are many reasons that the destination beckons visitors back year after year. For those who have always thought about trying something new, now is a great time to check out all of the beyond-the-beach activities that make this destination unique. South Walton visitors can:
- Relax and recharge by taking a yoga class at Balance Health Studio, Grayton Beach Fitness, Rosemary Beach Fitness Center or one of the many other yoga and fitness centers in South Walton.
- Play a round – or two – of golf on one of the many golf courses found throughout the 16 neighborhoods of South Walton, including Seascape, Camp Creek in WaterSound, Santa Rosa Golf Club, or any of the four championship courses at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
- Rent a YOLO board, kayak or canoe to explore the bays and rare coastal dune lakes. South Walton is home to the world’s largest concentration of coastal dune lakes.
- Attend one of the many free concerts, movies and performances held all summer long at the Seaside Amphitheater, Village of Baytowne Wharf or Rosemary Beach.
- Rent bikes and tour Scenic Highway 30A—take in the beauty of the area’s rare coastal dune lakes, explore 13 of South Walton’s 16 neighborhoods, dine al fresco and browse the diverse shops and galleries.
- Tour the towns of Rosemary Beach, WaterColor, WaterSound, Alys Beach, Seaside and others to see distinctive architectural styles inspired by historic and exotic destinations such as the Caribbean, Antigua, Bermuda, old Florida and Cape Cod.
- Zipline across the lagoon at the Village of Baytowne Wharf or try out the ropes course and tug boats in the Village’s “Adventure Zone” at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, where you can also enjoy the many shopping, dining and nightlife opportunities the Village offers.
- Take a relaxing guided horseback ride at Gulfside Trail Rides in Santa Rosa Beach where they offer beginner and advance riding sessions through Point Washington State Forest.
- Visit the Seaside Farmer’s Market on Saturdays to choose from local produce, dairy, baked goods and other local specialties of South Walton.
- See a show by the talented performers of the Seaside Repertory Theater, Northwest Florida’s premier professional theatre company.
- Be mesmerized by azaleas, camellias and moss-covered live oaks by spending the day at Eden Gardens State Park, which features the magnificent turn-of-the-century Wesley Mansion.
- Visit Grayton Beach State Park, which offers birding, wildlife watching, and hiking and biking along its four-mile nature trail. Explore Topsail Hill Preserve State Park’s 1,600 acres of majestic pine forests and nature trails that cross 25-foot-tall sand dunes and coastal dune lakes teeming with freshwater fish.
- Dive into the South Walton’s rich art world by taking an art class at the Bayou Arts Center taught by one of the area’s many talented artists, or by touring one of the galleries filled with work by local artists.
- Take the kids to Jolee Island, located at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, where they can play on the pirate ship-themed playground, parents can relax on porch swings and everyone can enjoy the nature trails overlooking spectacular views of Choctawhatchee Bay.
- Whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or somewhere in between, curb any craving at one of the countless restaurants unique to South Walton, including the award-winning Bud & Alley’s, the iconic Red Bar, or AAA Four-Diamond offerings, Seagar’s and Fish Out of Water.
- Explore the more than 15,000 acres of Point Washington State Forest on horseback, foot or bike and see its many rare wildlife species among the sandhills, swamps, wet prairies and flatwoods.
- Pick up a souvenir and admire the extensive collection of hand-blown glass jewelry, lighting and art from more than 200 artists at Fusion Art Glass, located in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin and in Seaside.
- Shop at the one of the nation’s largest designer outlet center, Silver Sands Premium Outlets in Sandestin, and get great deals on clothing, accessories, home goods, shoes, electronics and more.
- Be pampered at Serenity by the Sea day spa at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, or one of the many other spas in South Walton, with a massage, facial, manicure or pedicure.
- Play tennis at one of the many resorts and racquet clubs scattered around Beaches of South Walton’s 16 communities, including TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort, rated a Top U.S. Tennis Resort by Tennis magazine and Tennis Resorts online.
- Explore the rich history of Walton County in the town of DeFuniak Springs, founded in the early 1880s. Built around Lake DeFuniak, one of only two naturally occurring perfectly round lakes in the country, visitors explore historic buildings like Walton-DeFuniak Library, Hotel DeFuniak, Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood, Chautauqua Winter and the Chautauqua Theatre.
- Embark on a dinner cruise aboard the Solaris yacht from SunQuest Cruises, which features artfully prepared gourmet food and a full-service bar.
- Take a short drive north to Morrison Springs, a popular diving area in Walton County, where you can enjoy a spring pool that produces 48 million gallons of crystal clear water daily. The recently redesigned park, now offers boardwalks overlooking the springs, boat ramp, picnic tables, and a diving dock.
- Shop one the many designer boutiques filled with home décor, like Tracery Interiors or Pizitz Home & Cottage, to bring a little of the South Walton coastal lifestyle home with you.
- Browse intimate book shops including Hidden Lantern Gallery in Rosemary Beach and Sun Dog Books in Seaside, where you can meet the authors on the porch. If music’s more your thing, head upstairs to Central Square Records.
About South Walton:
Located along a 26-mile stretch of white sandy beaches in Northwest Florida, South Walton encompasses 16 distinct beach neighborhoods, each with its own visual style, amenities and charm. South Walton is home to four state parks, one state forest, and more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails. Renowned for natural scenic beauty, turquoise waters and sugar sand beaches, 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 is the place to recharge and build lasting memories. Learn more at VisitSouthWalton.com or follow Visit South Walton on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.