Grayton Beach State Park - South Walton, Florida
Did You Know? 40% of the Land in South Walton is Preserved

One of the many reasons South Walton is a special destination is the feeling that you're surrounded by pristine, untouched nature. What you may not know is that it's literally true. Forty percent of the land in South Walton is preserved – that's around 25,000 acres of land. Two hundred miles of hiking and biking trails, and numerous state parks add a dimension of outdoor fun that extends far beyond the beach.

None of this is an accident. South Walton's residents and local organizations have always made preservation a priority, and it shows.

Sunset at Deer Lake State Park - South Walton, Florida

Several local groups, like Friends of Grayton Beach and Deer Lake State Parks and Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, are dedicated solely to volunteering and raising funds for state park preservation. With the area's coastal dune lakes and unique ecosystem, there's plenty of built-in reason to draw support for preserving the land.

The South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) is building reefs and has deployed the first underwater art museum in the United States, both of which should help ensure the Gulf remains hospitable to nature.

Maybe you've noticed how many state parks, forests and trails we have, but you didn't realize how beautiful they are – or how much fun you could have exploring them.

Traverse the boardwalk above coastal dunes to picnic, swim or fish on the beach at Deer Lake State Park:

Hike, bike or camp at Grayton Beach State Park, which consistently ranks among the most beautiful beaches in the country. In fact, Stephen Leatherman, a coastal ecologist who is known as Dr. Beach, ranked Grayton Beach #3 on his 2018 list of Top 10 Beaches:

More of a history buff? Tour the Wesley House or stroll through the gardens at Eden Gardens State Park:

If you've been meaning to check out a state park or two, now's a great time. All summer long, the Walton County Tourist Development Council has covered the cost of entry to Grayton Beach State Park and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. In addition to giving you easier access to the natural splendor of the parks, this also helps to spread out visitor parking, making it much easier to park and enjoy any beach you choose!