6 South Walton Parks Approved by 30A Nature Lovers
Consisting of 16 different beach towns, Walton County, Florida, features an uncommon location on the Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. These two bodies of water coupled with open space provide nature lovers ample places to play, roam, or simply kick back and relax. And the 30A highway that runs through the area offers easy access to it all. Grab the bikes, pack a picnic and check out our picks for the best South Walton parks.
South Walton Parks Welcome Outdoor Enthusiasts
Camp Helen State Park (Inlet Beach)
Located in Inlet Beach, Camp Helen State Park is bordered on three sides by the Gulf of Mexico and by Lake Powell, among the largest coastal dune lakes in Florida. The 180-acre park provides opportunities for water recreation and wildlife-watching. Visitors are welcome to fish, swim, SUP, canoe and kayak, or simply soak up the sun on the beach. In addition, Camp Helen State Park has a hiking trail, historic site, exhibits and picnic areas, all suited for spending time with loved ones.
Frequent visitors rave about its quiet location, which provides a retreat from the bustling beach areas. Guests should also expect about a 20-minute walk to the beach from the park entrance, but it’s well worth it.
Deer Lake State Park (Santa Rosa Beach)
See native plants, wildlife and coastal dune lakes at Deer Lake State Park in Santa Rosa Beach. The park houses 11 different ecosystems seen from the hiking trail and boardwalk across the dunes. Visitors have access to lake and beach areas, providing the ideal spot for swimming, fishing and birding. Due to its hidden location near high-rises and condos, Deer Lake State Park offers a prime spot for family photos or watching a sunset over the Gulf.
Eden Gardens State Park (Santa Rosa Beach)
For local history and scenic beauty, head to Eden Gardens State Park in Santa Rosa Beach. The park features over 160 acres of land that once housed the Wesley family. The family settled around 1890, and the mansion has been renovated and offers tours.
In addition to the historic home, visitors find places to fish, canoe, hike and picnic. While exploring Eden Gardens, take time to view blooming flowers and plants scattered throughout the area. Planning a wedding in South Walton? Good news: Eden Gardens rents the grounds and pavilion for that special day. For information, call 850-267-8320.
Grayton Beach State Park (Grayton Beach)
Ranked among the best beaches in the 30A area, Grayton Beach sits in the 2,000-acre Grayton Beach State Park. The on-site boat ramp provides access to Western Lake where fishermen and women enjoy fresh- and salt-water fishing options. Four miles of trails welcome bicyclers and hikers and showcase the area’s natural beauty. Other things to do at Grayton Beach State Park include swimming, birding, canoeing, kayaking and unwinding on the beach. Grayton Beach is also dog-friendly.
Visitors who want to stay overnight have camping and cabin options. The park houses 59 camping sites, each with electricity and water. RVs that measure 40-feet or less are welcome, or book a vacation rental in 30a with all the luxuries of home.
Point Washington State Forest (Santa Rosa Beach)
Santa Rosa also houses Point Washington State Forest, an 15,000-acre forest with 10 miles of biking and hiking trails. Guests are welcome to bring pets on a leash and will see 10 different ecosystems and natural landscapes. The park also serves as home to several endangered species and plants, and is part of protected land in South Walton. While visiting, guests have access to a lake, campsites, horseback riding and picnic areas. Point Washington State Forest also ranks as a favorite for quiet drives and jogging.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
At Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, visitors enjoy access to over 3 miles of beaches, coastal dune lakes and opportunities for wildlife viewing. For fun on the water, canoe, kayak, fish and swim. Hikers and bikers can explore the 2.5 mile Morris Lake Nature Trail, and see ancient dunes and plenty of wildlife.
In addition to the natural amenities, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has a store located on-site stocked with snacks and refreshments, as well as equipment rental options. Need to keep the kids entertained? Go geo-seeking, where they experience a high-tech treasure hunt using GPS devices. Camping and leashed pets are also welcome in the park.
Enjoy reading about the top South Walton parks? Check out these activities for couples in 30A.