South Walton is an unheralded Florida gem

December 14, 2014 - bbq set

Poolside cabanas during a Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach wave in a sunshine. Poolside cabanas during a Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach wave in a sunshine.

Florida is famous for a many beaches, with many travelers flocking to southern spots like Miami or The Keys to shun New York winters, or streamer internal for a entertainment parks in Orlando. Yet many have never been to, nor listened of, South Walton.

It’s no wonder, as many of a 16 little beach towns that make adult South Walton, like Rosemary Beach, have signs saying “Established in 1995.” This is nouveau beach stylish during a best.

Highway 30, or 30A as it is locally known, ties a 16 towns in this Florida Panhandle segment together and is one of a state’s many scenic drives. we wondered how these tony towns, in northwest Florida’s Walton County, along a pristine, 26-mile fibre of beaches, slipped by a transport tracks.

Rosemary Beach alone is reason adequate to revisit South Walton. And a 16 towns together make a revisit mandatory, as no dual towns are alike. One thing they do have in common is a common Gulf of Mexico coast.

Going true from a airfield to cooking was a ideal intro to a allure of South Walton.

Surfer contemplates a nightfall in Seacrest. Surfer contemplates a nightfall in Seacrest.

It was dusky so there was usually adequate light to take in a fugitive attract of Rosemary Beach. The Euro overtones via a village-like vibe were a decisive curtsy to New Orleans.

Classic cocktails during The Pearl hotel’s Havana Beach Bar Grill set a voluptuous tone, along with a evocative black-and-white photography that would make Ernest Hemingway feel during home.

The 55-room ultra-luxe beach hotel had all of a vast potion grill doors far-reaching open. The ambient song was complemented by a sound of loose locals and a pleasing beach zephyr that wafting in.

The Pearl is no place to count calories, though it’s a good place for romance, decrease and rooftop cocktails before or after sauna treatments. Most bedrooms exaggerate a Hollywood Regency design. The beach and encampment perspective of a Gulf and Main Street from a Pearl Suite’s time building left me wondering how had we never listened of this hotel, let alone a neat and voluptuous beach city of Rosemary below.

Kayakers go exploring in Fort Walton Beach.Visit South Walton Kayakers go exploring in Fort Walton Beach.

You are good wakeful when we leave one South Walton city and cocktail into another, as a pattern disproportion is drastic. You go from sheer white complicated Mediterranean, to an about-face display of dark embellished beach bungalows, afterwards homes ripping with splendid Caribbean colors. Aesthetically, any city has it’s possess architectural angle, appeal, feel, supporters and reason to visit.

Start your walkabout in Central South Walton in Grayton Beach. It is one of a longest determined towns, set roughly in a center of a fibre of 16. It’s also a best place to get your art on. The laid-back, hippie kitsch, catchy ambiance is home to a Grayton Artists Collective. They underline several art exhibits, galleries and an considerable and heterogeneous brew of mediums and artists. Modus Photography’s expanded prints on vast pieces of reclaimed steel and timber are monumental and utterly expensive.

The subsequent city of WaterColor is like a Hamptons, sans a scene. The award-winning, 60-room WaterColor Inn Resort is in circuitously Santa Rosa Beach. As a usually AAA Four Diamond Resort in South Walton, it is tres chic. The property’s 499 acres are nestled between a singular coastal dune lake and equally singular longleaf hunger forest.

The WaterColor Inn is a nightfall and cocktail spot, a beach breakfast of French toast on feathery challah stop, and a ideal place for vast beachy “I do’s.” It’s also a good place for spotting famous faces from Hollywood, Nashville and ESPN.

View from Rotunda room during a WaterColor Inn in Santa Rosa Beach View from Rotunda room during a WaterColor Inn in Santa Rosa Beach

WaterColor’s neighbor Seaside Beach feels like a heart, essence and heart of South Walton. Founded in 1982, one of a initial of a kind in a New Urbanism transformation or village planning, this modern-day Mayberry is always abuzz and full of surprises.

Individuality is enforced in Seaside, as no dual early-1900 Florida homes nor Southern antebellum designed houses on a same street, can have a same picket fence. The city plays horde to many a impression and wows with a vast amphitheater, a repertory company, an heterogeneous coffee emporium and Airstream Row — a set of trailers offered food.

Airstream Row’s 5 vendors — The Meltdown’s many grilled cheeses, Barefoot BBQ’s brisket, Wild Bill’s Beach Dog sans hormones and antibiotics, Raw Juicy’s vegan options, and Frost Bites’ shaved ice — simulate a local, Gulf and farm-to-table fare.

There are copiousness of ways to work off overindulgences in South Walton. As one of Florida’s greenest regions, 40% of Walton’s land is preserved. There are 5 state-owned parks, preserves and forests, that make for a pristine, nonetheless furious and sensuous coastline.

The noble Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach is super accessible and fun. The noble Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach is super accessible and fun.

The segment is also home to 15 coastal dune lakes, longleaf pines, sea-oat-covered dunes, wetlands, marshes and a dual tip points in a state of Florida. This is anything though your normal beach.

Getting out and enjoying a furious biodiversity is utterly common for locals and tourists seeking beach adventures. Horseback riding, kayaking, canoeing and standup paddling are seen via a region.

If we cite a some-more laid-back proceed to your activity, take in a beauty, design and impression of any city accidentally on foot, or by bike. The paved trail via a 26-mile widen of beach is your bike’s personal 30A.

Every in. of South Walton is a photographer’s dream.

 Wild Bill's Beach Dogs on Airstream Row in Seaside is a musty place to squeeze a bite.  Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs on Airstream Row in Seaside is a musty place to squeeze a bite.

Maybe that’s because Walton County has surged onto a inhabitant radar, being ranked a No. 1 beach end in Florida interjection to $183 million spent on accommodations there this past Jun and July. And Santa Rosa Beach was named to Travel + Leisure’s America’s Favorite Towns 2014 list.

So go while a parochial allure is still alive and thriving.


If we go…


The Pearl ( during Rosemary Beach and The WaterColor Inn Resort ( on Santa Rosa Beach were named a 2014 tip hotel and review in Florida, respectively, by Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards.

South Walton is a vast second home market, so home rentals abound. Timeshares are also common, quite in Sandestin. TOPS’L Beach Racquet Resort by Wyndham Vacation Rentals ( is a some-more affordable option.

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