- Operates 7 days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Maintains and cleans 60+ beach, lake and bay accesses. All regional beach access restrooms and pavilions are cleaned and restocked daily.
- Maintains and services 600 garbage collection stations located on the beach, at the regional/neighborhood accesses, and along the multiuse trail. All garbage collections stations are emptied daily.
- Maintains and cleans 26 miles of multi-use trail. The entire trail and adjacent right of way is cut, edged, and cleaned of litter, sand, and debris every seven days.
- Coordinates and manages architect/engineers/consultants for capital improvement projects and beach re-nourishment projects.
Beach Access Updates:
Staff has completed the design and permitting phase for the Scenic Gulf Drive RBA (Miramar Beach) and has received approval from the Walton Co. BCC to move forward with advertising construction bids. Construction for this project is planned to begin in November and will span about eight to nine months. The access will be ready to welcome visitors come summer 2021.
The proposed Seagrove Beach RBA, located across the street from Café Thirty-A, has reached 85% completion within the design and permitting phase and construction is expected to begin next year. Construction is anticipated to span between eight to ten months and will be ready to welcome visitors in fall 2021.
The Walton Dunes RBA (Beachfront Trail) conceptual design plans were approved by the Walton Co. BCC earlier this year and staff is currently working through the permitting and design phase. This new RBA will have approximately16 parallel ROW parking spaces, restrooms and an ADA-accessible boardwalk.
The Santa Clara RBA, located in Seagrove Beach, will begin its anticipated boardwalk and dune walkover renovations starting this fall. The Walton Co. BCC has approved the invitation for construction bid and crews will begin construction in November. This renovations will take about 60 days to complete.
Closed Beach Accesses:
- Holly Street Neighborhood Beach Access (NBA), located at 2845 East Scenic Hwy 30A in Seagrove, is currently closed to the public. Alternative beach access can be made one block east or west.
- Campbell Street Neighborhood Beach Access (NBA), located at 3694 E Scenic Hwy 30A in Seagrove, is currently closed to due to neighboring erosion and construction traffic within the coming days. This access is not damaged and will be closed temporarily as crews work in neighboring areas.
For a list of all neighborhood and regional beach accesses within South Walton, click here.
Public Beach Access Parking Projects Updates:
The TDC has purchased four properties to help provide more parking for our visitors and residents in South Walton. Currently, staff is incorporating community input, as well as working with feasibility study experts, NUE Urban Concepts, to help design the best plan per site.
Conceptual plans for these sites are ongoing and will be presented at a later date. The public will have the opportunity to provide input on these sites as these projects develop.
- The Driftwood Road parking project is on a 1.119-acre parcel located at 76 Driftwood Road in Miramar Beach.
- The County Road 393 parcel is 2.3-acres and located north of Gulf Place Town Center on the west side of County Road 393.
- The County Road 283 parcel, also referred to as “Grayton Central” parking lot, is 6.995-acres and located on the eastern portion of County Road 283 South, across from the Shoppes at Grayton. This property has been leveled and improved with more than 300 designated parking spots currently used by visitors to Grayton Beach, employees and patrons, as well as shuttle location for Grayton Beach, Seaside and other nearby businesses.
- The Eastern Lake Road parking project consists of two neighboring parcels, located at 392 and 406 Eastern Lake Road in the Seagrove neighborhood. 392 Eastern Lake Road, .215-acres, is located just south of Williams Street on Eastern Lake Road. 406 Eastern Lake Road, a .278-acre parcel, is located just next door (east) of 392 Eastern Lake Road.
Currently, all public workshops for these proposed parking projects have been postponed due to COVID-19. Updates will be provided at a later date.
As summer comes to a close and we move into the fall months, Beach Operations crews are continuing to take extensive measures to help minimize the impacts of COVID-19 for visitors, residents and staff visiting South Walton’s beaches.
Crews are maintaining cleanliness on and off the beach by disinfecting all public beach access bathroom facilities and boardwalk handrails with industrial cleaners, as well as removing trash and lost/personal items from boardwalks, parking areas and common gathering areas. Staff is continuing to maintain additional trash containers that were added to all regional beach accesses and select neighborhood accesses for the busier months. Overall, protecting the public and following CDC recommendations has been a priority for the department.
COVID-19 related signage remains at all beach access points to promote and encourage safer practices when visiting South Walton’s beaches, as well as to inform visitors of executive orders put in place by our state and local officials.
Managed Beach Vendor Program:
The 2020 Managed Vendor Program experienced another successful summer season and plans to continue this trend until the end of October. A total of 12 vending companies are currently serving both South Walton visitors and locals, despite the unique limitations this year’s program brought to our beach community. In 2019, the pilot program began at the Ed Walline RBA, Inlet Beach RBA and Grayton Beach NBA and with much success. In 2020, the program was expanded to all regional beach accesses.
Expansion of the program was based off feedback from community members, partners and staff. As the program continues to work as designed, further expansion of the program to neighborhood beach access points will be considered in the future. During the winter months, staff and vendors will collaborate to assess any operational challenges to help improve the program for the 2021 season.
The Managed Vendor Program, overseen by the South Walton Beach Service Association, is now in effect at all regional beach access points, as well as the Grayton Beach Neighborhood Beach Access. This program has drastically reduced the amount of “ghost chairs” and has been well received by the public. With multiple participating vendors, the program has proven to be effective. As mentioned above, discussion to expand the program into neighborhood access will be considered as the program progresses.
So how does this new program work? Beach Vendors all have equal opportunity to participate in the managed vendor program. They have to be a permitted vendor in Walton County; sign the Association’s Agreement; drop off/pick up equipment as needed or store their equipment in the association’s storage boxes on the beach; are not allowed to set up/tear down equipment on their own; and pay a fee based on how many beach sets rented out.
A beach attendant, who is on site daily, works directly with guests to set up their beach equipment, whether it be chairs, or an umbrella. When the guest is done with their equipment, the attendant removes the equipment from the beach. This is designed to alleviate the issue of "ghost sets" or empty chairs on the beach.
The program regulates Walton County beach vendors for beach chairs/umbrellas. The program does not regulate or have any association to Special Event Permits/vendors, (including photographers, officiants), sandcastle lesson vendors, bonfire vendors or the like.
For more information about the program, contact Phillip Poundstone at email@example.com or call (850) 832-8715.
Beach Access & Customary Use Reminder:
While there have been changes for customary use of private beachfront property, much is still evolving currently. If guests have concerns, we hope the below information will be helpful.
Things to keep in mind:
- Visit South Walton currently maintains 58 public beach access points, including nine Regional Public Beach Accesses complete with parking, restroom facilities, and lifeguards. South Walton also enjoys additional miles of public beach thanks to our State Parks. The customary use changes do not affect our public beaches, only privately-owned beachfront property.
- A user-friendly interactive map of public beach access points can be found here: https://www.visitsouthwalton.com/beach-and-bay-access-locations
- Many beach neighborhoods and resorts already have dedicated beach areas available for guests staying with them.
What is customary use?
- Customary use is a common law term referring to the public access of the privately-owned beachfront property. Some Gulf-front properties in Florida have a property line that extends to the mean high-water line.
What is changing?
- Essentially, some beachfront homeowners are restricting access to the dry sandy areas behind their homes. All wet sand areas remain undisputed public property and beach goers cannot be excluded from these areas. The Walton County Sheriff’s Department will be the governing force for any conflicts or complications that may arise on the space in front of properties now considered private property.
Does that mean I can't walk all 26 miles of our white sand beaches?
- No, you can absolutely still walk our beautiful beaches for as far as you wish. There will still be plenty of space in the wet sand area for beach-walkers to enjoy, and plenty of public beach where access is in no way under dispute.
Customary Use Information:
Walton County Beach Maintenance Department has been denied access to collect trash on private property by some beachfront property owners. As a result, beach garbage pickup by TDC crews is no longer available on about 40-percent of beaches. That percentage not only includes the beachfront properties that owners will not allow access to or across their property, but in some cases also adjacent properties that can no longer be accessed for garbage collection because crews are blocked on either side by property owners that will not allow collection crews to cross their property. The affected owners were notified. Public Regional and Neighborhood Beach Accesses will not be affected, and garbage collection will continue as usual on those beaches.