The wonderful Grayton Beach community was recently featured in the Northwest Florida Daily News. Become part of one of the best kept secrets along 30A at the BetterBuilt community of the Village at Grayton Beach, located less than a five minute drive away.
Grayton Beach State Park, a niche of its own
By DEBORAH WHEELER
The Hamlet of Grayton is one of the earliest communities settled in South Walton and it remains one of the most popular. Crowds flock to the funky community day and night to experience a bit of old Florida ambiance and its popular beach has been named one of the most beautiful in the world by Dr. Beach.
While the public beach’s history, notoriety and popularity pulls in locals and visitors by the droves, just steps away, those seeking a quieter more peaceful beach experience will find a beach equally as beautiful, but offering the experience for which they are looking. That is Grayton Beach State Park. Located just off 30A, Grayton Beach State Park is also noted for its beautiful and pristine beach, as well as its peaceful serenity.
The beach provides an idyllic setting for swimming, sunbathing and surf fishing, but without the crowds. Via the park’s boat ramp, visitors can go out on the park’s rare coastal dune lake that offers both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Visitors to the nearly 2,000-acre park who venture past the swimming, fishing and sunbathing will find plenty more to do. There are canoes, paddle boards and kayaks for rent to help the adventurous get a closer look at a salt-marsh ecosystem.
Leave the water and discover a nature trail that winds through a coastal forest where scrub oaks and magnolias stand, bent and twisted by the salt winds. Hikers and bicyclists can enjoy more than four miles of trails throughout the pine Flatwoods.
Options for overnight stays include modern cabins and a full-facility campground. Patrick Hartsfield, park assistant manager, said the park is seeing a lot of activity in recent years as the whole area garners more and more press. “We stay busy now year around,” he said. “But holidays tend to be busier. It’s non-stop from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and the 80-space parking lot stays full during that time.” These days, the park sees more than 100,000 visitors per year. The park’s visitors don’t fit into a particular mold, said Hartsfield. They are all ages, races and cultural backgrounds. “It’s a diverse, even mix,” he said. Some return year after year. However, to get one of the park’s 30 cabins, one must reserve well in advance, anywhere from eight months to a year.
Tim Koehler is one regular who returns to the park often. Sometimes it’s for weekly visits, and sometimes daily. Koehler said he enjoys the lack of crowds at the state park, the available parking, clean bathrooms and shelters it offers for him and his family. “You have to walk a little ways, but in October, it is vacant and beautiful — no buildings, just dunes,” he said. Koehler said the price of the annual pass is well worth the cost as it allows him into not only Grayton Beach State Park, but all the state parks in Florida.
To view the article, visit: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/20160724/grayton-beach-state-park-niche-of-its-own