South Walton State Parks and Forest
July 3, 2017
South Walton State Parks & Forests
- Once hailed as the “Best Beach in the U.S.” by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, this crown jewel of South Walton lives up to its reputation. The park features 1,133 acres of pristine coastal vegetation, a stunning stretch of beach and beautiful Western Lake.
- An extensive, self-guided nature trail system gives visitors an up-close look at the vast amount of ecological diversity found in the area including sand dunes, the coastal dune lake, pine flatwoods, marsh area and miles of beach.
- Facilities available include a pavilion, public restrooms, camping area, cabins, picnic areas and a boat ramp to Western Lake. Canoe rentals for lake tours are available. The park is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year. Please see website for admission and camping fees. Grayton Beach State Park is located off Scenic 30A, one mile east of the town of Grayton Beach.
- One of the most pristine and environmentally protected pieces of coastal property in Florida, this undeveloped area is 1,600 acres of breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico, sand dunes and two freshwater coastal dune lakes. Ten different plant communities inhabit this ecologically diverse area featuring long-leaf pine flatwoods, Morris Lake, Campbell Lake and sandy beach dunes.
- The park features a 140-acre RV resort including 155 sites, swimming pools and beach access as well as fifteen recently renovated cabins. The park is open during daylight hours only. Tent camping is not allowed. Please see website for admission and overnight fees. The entrance to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located on Scenic 30A and Highway 98.
- Once the site of a bustling, turn-of-the-century lumber mill, Eden is found in the historic community of Point Washington. The centerpiece of Eden is the Wesley Mansion, a Greek Revival-style home that has been fully renovated and filled with valuable antiques. In fact, the drawing room boasts the largest collection of Louis XVI Court furniture found in any one room in the United States.
- Elaborately manicured gardens surround the mansion, featuring numerous varieties of azaleas and camellias, a butterfly garden, reflecting pool and gigantic Spanish moss-draped live oaks - some dating back more than 600 years.
- Guided mansion tours are offered Thursday through Monday on the hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Picnic facilities, overlooking Tucker Bayou, are available. Please see website for admission and tour fees. Eden State Gardens is located one mile north of Emerald Coast Parkway on County Road 395.
- Located just east of Seagrove Beach off Scenic Highway 30A, the undeveloped and pristine beach and lake areas are accessible via a stabilized road that leads to a picnic shelter. This natural and rustic park gives visitors the chance to explore the unique dune systems in South Walton.
- The park consists of 172 acres south of Scenic Highway 30A, however, north of the highway, hikers can wander through 1,700 acres of old unmarked trails that meander through native vegetation. Future plans call for the installation of organized hiking trails.
- In this 15,399-acre state forest you will find the Eastern Lake Bike/Hike Trails established by the Florida Division of Forestry in cooperation with Beach to Bay Connection, Inc. The trailhead and parking area are located on County Road 395, just over a mile south of Emerald Coast Parkway.
- Trails consist of three double track loop trails of 3.5, 5 and 10 miles. The trails weave through a variety of plant communities including sandhills, coastal sand pine scrub, longleaf pine flatwoods, cypress ponds, wet prairies and Ti-Ti swamps. Maps are available through the Point Washington State Forest Field Office in Santa Rosa Beach.
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.