Imagine your perfect getaway. If it includes white sand beaches, turquoise water, championship golf, award-winning cuisine and dazzling sunsets, head to South Walton on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast to luxuriate in nature’s splendor.
SEE YOU IN SOUTH WALTON!
You can find your perfect beach in South Walton, where 16 coastal neighborhoods tempt you to visit. Their 26 miles of sugar-white sands are framed by pure blue sky and turquoise water, each with its own distinct flair.
Whether you want to swim in the Gulf of Mexico, where you can see clear down to your toes, kayak on a freshwater dune lake, or paddleboard through an inland estuary teeming with life, this is a magical place.
Year-round beautiful weather makes South Walton an ideal escape in every season. Upon arrival, the first thing you’ll notice is the natural beauty of the surroundings; more than 40 percent of the land is preserved. Next, absorb the tranquility, for this is an uncommonly relaxed and restorative place.
Upscale yet casual and filled with one-of-a-kind experiences, South Walton is likely to inspire you to play challenging golf courses, go sport fishing, savor scrumptious seafood, attend delightful festivals, find family-friendly activities, and celebrate picture-perfect sunsets.
Sophisticates will appreciate the area’s walkability, eclectic shops, art galleries, spas and restaurants that excel in creating mouth-watering Gulf-to-table fare. Outdoors lovers will revel in exploring pristine nature trails on foot or by bike. Thanks to a wide selection of accommodations, South Walton is a perfect place to vacation with your family—and create lasting memories
WHAT’S YOUR PLEASURE?
There’s so much to do in South Walton that you can enjoy activities you love, in addition to mastering new ones. Consider some of the area’s most popular pastimes:
Sugar-white sand and the warm Gulf of Mexico water lure sunbathers, swimmers and sand castle builders.
BIKING AND HIKING
More than 200 miles of trails entice nature lovers to visit the area’s four state parks and Point Washington State Forest. The Eastern Lake Trail System offers a choice of 3.5-, 5- and 10-mile double-track loops to follow.
KAYAKING AND STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING
Glide along the Gulf of Mexico and the area’s other calm waterways, which include 15 coastal dune lakes. Sports rental shops along the beach can outfit you; some provide lessons.
Courses overlook the Choctawhatchee Bay and the area’s natural beauty. The 6,900-yard, par-71 Raven Golf Club at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort has played host to the PGA Tour. Tom Fazio-designed Camp Creek Golf Club was named one of the best public courses by Golf Digest, and the area’s other courses are home to a variety of design styles and layouts, suitable for players of all skill levels.
Deep-sea anglers who explore the Gulf of Mexico on a charter boat can hook a wide variety of fish, from grouper and red snapper to Spanish mackerel. And the shallow waters of Choctawhatchee Bay overflow with red fish, speckled trout and flounder.
South Walton’s mix of shops—from sophisticated seaside boutiques to the Silver Sands Premium Outlets—enhance the area’s appeal. And many of the 16 beach neighborhoods have town centers filled with attractive stores, restaurants and inviting public spaces.
FEAST ON GULF-TO-TABLE CUISINE
Gulf-to-table cuisine is possible thanks to local chefs who demand the best seafood, receive it daily, and incorporate classic techniques and locally sourced ingredients to yield a fusion of flavors. The bounty of the sea first drew settlers to this area centuries ago. An appreciative population continues to respect the marine environment by dedicating themselves to conservation and keeping the waterways pristine.
Gentle breezes, ice-cold cocktails and incomparable sunset views combine to make dining al fresco beside the Gulf of Mexico a peak experience. Whether you prefer a beach bar that’s directly on the sand, like Royal Palm Grille in Miramar Beach’s Surfside Resort, rooftop views of Rosemary Beach at the newly opened seafood grill Pescado, an eatery such as Stinky’s Fish Camp, which offers views of Lake Allen, or Caliza in Alys Beach, where customers eat steps from the pool, open-air dining delights the senses.
In addition to savoring selections from restaurant wine collections, visitors to South Walton attend popular annual events that bring winemakers from around the world to share their passion with guests. These celebrations include the 30A Wine Festival each February, the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival in April and October’s Rosemary Beach Uncorked. Travelers with a thirst for handcrafted beer can sample ales and lagers, stouts and IPAs from local craft breweries. And October’s Baytowne Wharf Beer Fest showcases American specialty beers from around the nation.
EYE ON SOUTH WALTON
Many noteworthy artists have a home in South Walton, and their work hangs in a variety of settings. Visitors can browse and buy work by local artists in fine art galleries or at open-air farmers markets. Among them are the Seaside Farmers Market, the Farmers Market at Grand Boulevard in Sandestin and the 30A Farmers Market in Rosemary Beach. Held each May for 10 days, Art Week South Walton showcases the visual, performing and literary arts in multiple venues. Events include the ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival at Grand Boulevard, Seaside Writers Conference, Digital Graffiti in Alys Beach, the Northwest Florida Theatre Festival and the Rosemary Beach Sculpture Exhibition.
GULF TO CANVAS
Being surrounded by natural beauty is not only a balm for the soul but it is also creative inspiration. Many visitors return home with stunning artistic creations that capture South Walton’s magnificent sunsets.
Artist Kathleen Broaderick has made painting her passion and profession. Named 2018 Artist of the Year by Visit South Walton, Broaderick excels at depicting beach scenes, seabirds and lush floral compositions. Through the bold use of color and light, she creates vibrant eyecatching paintings that have been featured in national publications. Visitors can buy her originals at Chroma, and also create their own at social paint-and-sip classes she hosts. Canvas and acrylic paints are provided.
The arts of South Walton extend below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Located about threequarters of a mile offshore and 60 feet deep, the just-opened Underwater Museum of Art (free admission) is both a unique way for divers and snorkelers to view art and part of a reef development program. The initial installation features seven sculptures, both figurative and abstract. Visitors can book a private charter to scuba dive the museum.