Although there's little doubt that many of Florida's communities are growing, developing, and changing, many Floridians like to keep special places - like its beaches and parks - as untouched as possible.
That's why some people choose beaches that are reminiscent of "old Florida" - places that have welcomed visitors to the sunshine state for generations - which haven't changed all that much from one visit to another.
Each of these destinations has attributes that make them stand out from others. Florida's Grayton Beach is no exception. It's special and unique for many reasons, as follows:
"Nice Dogs, Strange People:" Believe it or not "nice dogs, strange people" is actually the town motto. The community of under 20,000 people is an eclectic mix of artists and those who want to escape a fast-paced lifestyle.
This makes Grayton Beach an amusing and fun place to visit and ensures that the vibe is laid back. It has vibrant art galleries and excellent restaurants and is located in Florida's panhandle. Specifically, it is part of the region known as "South Walton."
There's a Gorgeous Public Beach Park on Three Sides of the Town: A must-visit when in Grayton Beach is the Grayton Beach State Park. (One reason that Grayton Beach is somewhat undeveloped is that the park surrounds the community on three sides.)
The park is nearly 2,000 acres and contains some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But these beaches are a bit different because they include three extremely rare coastal dune lakes.
The lakes are a geologic anomaly because they spill fresh water into salt water. These dune lakes are not known to be anywhere else in Florida, (and the only other place to see them in America is Oregon.)
Grayton Beach State Park is also home to Western Lake, where you can kayak or paddleboard. There are also nature trails in the park, and the ability to hike, bike, and camp. You can also see wildlife such as a large variety of birds, foxes, deer, bears, and turtles. (Grayton Beach State Park's beach is pictured at the top of this article.)
Nearby Topsail Preserve State Park - More Beautiful Beach Options: There are many beach communities in the vicinity of Grayson Beacalong scenic 30A, and nearby Santa Rosa Beach (about a 20-minute drive) is one of them. While there, you can check out Topsail Preserve State Park. The beach here is not only beautiful, but it is also unique because its sand dunes are higher than in any other Florida park.
Topsail is also home to coastal dune lakes, as well as wooded areas that offer great birdwatching. The park also offers cute cottages for rent.
The Iconic Red Bar in Grayton Beach: If you visit Grayton Beach, consider heading to the Red Bar. It's an iconic landmark and it has the bohemian vibe that makes Grayton Beach so special. You'll find live music and fresh seafood. Reviewers compliment the atmosphere and food, although some note a wait time due to the restaurant's popularity. The bar sadly suffered from a fire in 2019, but has happily been rebuilt.
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