Words by Paige Townley
There’s really no better vacation destination than the beach, and for anyone that has ever visited the idyllic shores of South Walton, there’s no better place to experience it than one of its coastal communities.
Situated in Northwest Florida, South Walton is home to 16 beach neighborhoods, each one as unique as the next. In total, the communities boast 26 miles of sugary white sand all giving way to the turquoise water for which the area is known.
Sixteen beach neighborhoods may seem like a lot, but each is ideal depending on the type of stay you’re looking to book. Looking to bring the whole family to enjoy plenty of quality time together? Look no further than Santa Rosa Beach, Sandestin, or Grayton Beach. Each offer plenty of accommodations, space for the kids to run and explore, and activities for the whole family, including water activities and even zip lining.
If looking for more of a couple’s retreat, Seagrove, WaterSound, and Rosemary Beach provide beautiful surroundings for sunrise or sunset strolls on the beach, leisurely bike rides, or simply enjoying quiet time together in the sun.
Adventure seekers certainly aren’t overlooked in South Walton. The area features four state parks, a 15,000-acre state forest, and 15 rare coastal dune lakes—not to mention the Gulf of Mexico. Recreational opportunities like stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing are available in many locations, so there’s a heart pumping adventure just waiting to be enjoyed any day of the week. If you prefer more of your activity on land, there’s also 200 miles of trails for hiking or biking through state parks and forests, and many of those trails offer great spots for bird watching. The 19-mile Timpoochee Trail is a favorite for runners and cyclists alike as it winds through New Urbanist neighborhoods and features a picturesque backdrop to enjoy the day.
While there’s plenty of amenities that make South Walton special, one is that no matter the neighborhood, there are a plethora of dining options sure to please any palate. In fact, the area is known as a foodie destination thanks to the many restaurants boasting world-renowned chefs. Whether you’re searching for fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood and other locally-sourced ingredients or an international flair, there’s certainly a restaurant—or two or three—where you’ll find it and so much more.
No matter the South Walton community you may find yourself in this year—Alys Beach to WaterColor, Seagrove to Santa Rosa Beach—one thing is always certain: there’s no better seaside spot to find your perfect beach.