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Florida Coastal Access Guide - Walton County at a Glance Quicklinks

Walton at a Glance

Coastal Cities Miramar Beach
Popular Spot Grayton Beach State Park
Sandy Beaches 26 miles
Public Accesses 55
Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail 4 sites
State Parks & Lands Acres
Deer Lake State Park 1,995
Eden Gardens State Park 162
Grayton Beach State Parks 2,162
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park 387
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park 1,643
Point Washington State Forest 15,399
Federal Lands Acres
Eglin Air Force Base (Santa Rosa, Okaloosa) 463,448
Pensacola Beach 66,550
Bays & Inlets
Choctawhatchee Bay, Grassy Cove, Basin Bayou, Bunker Cove, Jolly Bay, Alaqua Bayou
Rivers & Paddling Trails
Choctawhatchee River, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

Walton County attracts visitors worldwide to its white sand beaches and dunes, emerald waters and rare coastal dune lakes. It claims the highest point in Florida at 345 feet-the lowest high point of any state. One of the most biodiverse areas on the continent, over 40% of its 26-mile coast is in preserves and parks.

The county proudly showcases fifteen coastal dune lakes found in only a few other places in the world-Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand and Oregon. These rare, fragile lakes were formed by wind 2,000-10,000 years ago. Each lake is unique varying from fresh to salty depending on its source of water-a stream, groundwater, rain or saltwater. These shallow (5-feet-deep) lakes are separated from the gulf by dunes up to 30 feet high, but connect intermittently with gulf waters.

Three state parks on the gulf have coastal dune lakes. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park features Morris, Campbell and Stallworth Lakes that span 196 acres. Western, Alligator and Little Redfish Lakes in Grayton Beach State Park cover more than 200 acres. Deer and Camp Creek Lakes spread over 53 acres fed by blackwater streams in day-use-only Deer Lake State Park. These parks have miles of secluded, pristine beaches, up to 25-foot-high dunes, nature trails, and excellent fresh and saltwater fishing. Topsail and Grayton provide RV campsites and furnished cabins.

The Beaches of South Walton is fifteen diverse beach communities dotted along the county coastline interspersed between dune lakes and state parks. These communities have historical and cultural festivals, art galleries, shopping, fine-to-casual dining, vacation rentals, and water activities for visitors.

Springs and creeks feed the 27-mile-long Choctawhatchee Bay, an estuary that rims most this coast, rich with forested wetlands, patches of oyster beds, endangered Okaloosa darters, bony-plated Gulf sturgeon, alligator, gar, rare snails, reptiles and amphibians. The huge bay along with the Choctawhatchee River, Intracoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico offer excellent grouper, trout and snapper fishing. Overlooking Choctawhatchee Bay, Eden Gardens State Park offers a glimpse into the area's past of lumbering, turpentine production, agriculture and fishing. Its special attraction, Wesley Mansion, once a lumber baron's antebellum home, is surrounded by camellias, azaleas and butterfly gardens.

Eglin Air Force Base, the largest military installation in the country, spreads over a vast portion of Walton County. This huge conservation area and other conservation lands safeguard almost a quarter-million acres of land and more than 50 threatened animal species, including sea turtles and red-cockaded woodpeckers and over 200,000 acres of longleaf pine.

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Last updated: March 12, 2012


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