Sponsored: The Ultimate Beach Bucket List
The beach neighborhoods of South Walton are full of beautiful, charming, eclectic, and downright delicious experiences that will make a trip to Florida's Gulf Coast Unforgettable.
1. Jumping Fish
Visit Camp Creek Lake, one of the world’s rare coastal dune lakes, and try to catch one of the jumping mullet fish. Or sit back, relax, and watch Great Blue Herons accomplish the task.
2. Bicycle Life
Enthusiasts can pedal more than 200 miles of trails, state parks and forests, designated bike lanes and sidewalks. South Walton is one of the most pedal-friendly places in the country.
3. Rare Ecosystem Hikes
Break a sweat on The Longleaf Pine Greenway Trail, home to the tall, splendid trees that grew abundantly along the coast and are now the focus of major conservation efforts.
4. Garnish Gardens
Step out of your cottage and walk through Mojito Alley or Daiquiri Garden, two garden paths planted with produce you can pick. Anyone staying in Alys Beach can grab strawberries, mint, lemon, and more.
5. Discover a Songwriter
Hear live music at one of South Walton’s 30 music venues. From dive bars to outdoor stages, there’s always a fresh sound around here.
6. Nesting Shorebirds
Look for Snowy Plovers and Least Terns while strolling the long, wooden walkway over the dunes to the pristine beach in Deer Lake State Park.
7. White Picket Fences
If you’ve always longed for a house with a picket fence, Seaside is your dream town. The pretty, pastel-colored houses are required to have fences, but the patterns can’t repeat on the same street.
8. Local Artwork
South Walton is a treasure-trove for art collectors hunting for works by budding artists. It’s home to more than 60 galleries and studios featuring creations by locals, many of whom work in unusual mediums such as broken glass or paint sculpture.
9. Paint Sculptures
Van Gogh provided the inspiration for chef-turned-artist Justin Gaffrey. He “sculpts” vivid and whimsical three-dimensional paintings with layers upon layers of paint. See his work at his gallery on 30A.
10. Beer at the Bait Shack
While waiting for a table at Chef Jim Richard’s Stinky’s Fish Camp, hit up the restaurant’s Bait Shack. It’s the only live bait supply shop with craft beers on tap from the local Grayton Beer Company.
11. Paddleboard at Dawn
Enjoy sunrise by paddleboard on one of South Walton’s 15 rare coastal dune lakes. The brackish waters nurture a diverse mix of plant and animal life. Support a local-turned-international company by renting your gear from YOLO Board.
12. The Beach at Midnight
Splash away in Seascape’s crystal-clear water on sugar-white sand where you can always see your toes through the surf, even by moonlight.
13. Water Yoga
Sign up for a class at Boathouse Paddle Club, and strike a seaworthy yoga pose on a paddleboard.
14. Gulf Golf
Visit Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and play challenging Burnt Pine and Raven Golf Courses. It’s the only instance where Rees Jones and Robert Trent Jones, Jr., courses meet.
15. That Blue Sticker
Pick up the iconic 30A sticker. As a South Walton original, the bright, sunny sticker represents a relaxing lifestyle and has also raised thousands of dollars for charity.
16. Old Cuba
The Pearl Hotel’s Havana Beach Bar & Grill is where you go to see and be seen. Order a classic cocktail and hunker down at its beautiful hand-carved bar.
17. Rent Your Ride
Grab some wheels at one of South Walton’s numerous bike rental shops, including Big Daddy’s or Butterfly Bike & Kayak.
18. Newgrass at Brunch
Catch the Dread Clampitt band (which brings down the house every Sunday) while sipping good $3 Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas at Red Bar.
19. Sugar-white Sand
Even during high season, Inlet Beach’s white-sand stretch is peaceful. Although it feels like a secret beach, it’s the most expansive public beach access in South Walton.