Each year, YOLO Board hosts one of the most fun outdoor activities you can find in South Walton — the YOLO Board Relay Series. The three-part, family-friendly event is open and encouraging to paddle boarders of all skill types. (Believe me, I should know, I raced last year and it was my first time on a board!) It’s carefree and friendly competition, offering an opportunity for people of all skills to get involved, spectators to cheer on their favorite teams and for everyone to learn more about the increasingly popular water sport of stand-up paddling. This year, the ninth installment of the series, is presented by Garden of Life and again held at The Bay restaurant on the beautiful shores of the Choctawhatchee Bay. All races start at 4:30 p.m. The final race will be held July 21 at 4:30 p.m. Check out this video from the 30A Team at last year’s race: The 2015 men’s race: This year’s edition will feature team relay-style competition in three recreational divisions: men’s, women’s and coed along with the return of a division dedicated to Special Olympics Florida-Walton County and Special Olympics Florida-Okaloosa County athletes. The event also includes giveaways, live music, refreshments and kids’ activities. “Each year we are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and participation of the local SUP community for the race series,” said Jeff Archer, founder of YOLO Board. “When the series began, we had no idea that it would still be a highlight of our season nine years later. Adding the Special Olympics athletes has been such a rewarding experience for all involved. “I love how this sport brings joy and empowerment to everyone who tries it!” For more information regarding sponsorship or team registration, please visit www.YOLORace.com, call 850.424.6852 or email info@YOLOBoard.com. Receive race updates by joining the Facebook event at www.facebook.com/events/ 945811502161318. Find more info and how to register here. Check out these awesome photos by Shane Sauer from last year’s races:
For those who prefer a little more action in their daily diet (instead of just beach bummin’ it all day), South Walton offers plenty of activities that will get the adrenaline pumping. Here’s our list of the Top 5 activities for all of you thrill-seekers along 30A. Kiteboarding Kiteboarding combines aspects of wake boarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and gymnastics into one extreme sport that is not for the faint of heart. The kiteboarder straps their feet into a board and uses their arms to control cables attached to a large kite, allowing them to catch wind and make incredibly jumps high into the air. “I think one of the most compelling aspects of kiteboarding is your ability to be completely in tune with your environment,” said local Ed Rolen of Rolen Studio. “Engaging in the surf conditions, being pulled around under your own volition and being immersed in the amazing beach environment we have along 30A makes this sport something I try to do as much as possible.” Where to find it: You can often find Ed sailing through the surf and sky along Grayton Beach. Cave Diving Around 30A, freshwater springs have formed some deep-water caves that are perfect for the thrill-seeking cave diver. To access most of these caves, divers need the use of scuba gear, so certification and experience are absolutely necessary to ensure safety. For those with the proper credentials, these caves are filled with crystal-clear water and a view of nature that only the daring get to behold. For those without certification, area springs offer guided courses and lessons. Where to find it: Morrison Springs, a free public park, boasts three underwater caverns, including one about 300 feet deep. Definitely hire a guide or instructor to accompany you. Vortex Springs, a private park, also offers equipment rental and scuba lessons on site. Parasailing Parasailing involves a parachute towed behind a boat, sending the rider about 500 feet into the air. Feel the rush of the wind and enjoy the quiet peacefulness of the sky as you sail over the emerald waters around 30A. No experience necessary for this adrenaline rush. Want to see our beaches in a way you’ve never seen them before? Fly through the sky and catch a glimpse of South Walton from a pelican’s-eye view on a Parasailing adventure! Hop on an inflatable banana boat to hitch a ride out to the parasailing boat and enjoy your time in the air. Off-Roading Throw together a rainy day and the vast amount of nature trails and back roads in the area and you have perfect conditions for off-roading! The 15,400-acre Point Washington State Forest is criss-crossed with dirt-and sand trails, popular with both off-roading motorists and bicyclists. “After a really heavy rain, splashing through the muddy trails of Point Washington Forest is simultaneous relaxing and exhilarating.” -Mike Ragsdale, The 30A Company Where to find it? Find more information and maps of the Point Washington State Forest trails here. The Longleaf Pine Trail system, which has 3.5-, 8-, and 10-mile loops, is great for off-road mountain biking as well. Surfing Although 30A’s Gulf waters are often as smooth as glass, on many days of the year, the waves are ideal for surfing (particularly when there’s a tropical storm brewing somewhere down in the tropics). Professionals and amateur surfers alike patiently bide their time, waiting for red flag beach conditions or a tropical surge that might create the perfect moment. Everyone starts off as a beginner, but kids visiting the beach this summer have a really cool opportunity to get some surf experience at 30A Surf and Stand-up Paddleboard camp! “Surfing is very different from all other board sports due to the fact that everything around you is moving and the ocean can be very unpredictable,” said Chef Phil McDonald of Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar. “The feeling you get from catching a really great wave is something I can’t quite describe. You are so focused on that exact moment and nothing else matters. I guess the best description of feeling while surfing would be freedom.” Where to find it: Anywhere along the Gulf is a good place to start. If you haven’t been on a board and want to learn, 30A Surf Camp‘s experienced instructors can get anyone riding the waves in just a few hours on the water. Book a day for you and the kids with 30A Surf and SUP Camp now! Author Jordyn Knott (who reportedly had the “best summer ever” interning at The 30A Company) contributed to this article. Knott lives in West Lafayette, Indiana, until she can get back to the beach. Check out her blog at happilychic.com.
NOTE: Scroll down for a complete schedule of Independence Day activities. By Jessie Taylor Here on Scenic Highway 30A, July Fourth is not only a national holiday, it’s a deep-rooted local tradition. From all-day beach parties on Grayton Beach to symphonies and fireworks shows, this is one of the busiest weekends on 30A. For my family, this is the assumed “schedule” that we go by each year: 1. Wake up at 5:30 a.m. to brave the fierce battle for the best spot on Grayton Beach. 2. After helping my dad set up, we go on a short run down each road in Grayton in advance of the parade to scope out the other decorated cars and see if we have any chance at being honored as the best float. (Unfortunately, this has never happened). 3. Arriving back from our run, we frantically wake up the lazy members of the Taylor family, explaining that we have exactly 30 minutes to make the best float in Grayton Beach. 4. Throwing on our best red, white and blue bathing suits, we grab duct tape and the box of Fourth of July decorations and get to work, while dad yells not to rip the paint off of the Jeep. (This happens every year). 5. The Grayton parade starts around 8:30 a.m., with plenty of candy-throwing and children waving from the sides of the road. 6. The parade ends around 9:15 a.m. at Grayton Coast Properties, my aunt, Kitty Taylor’s business. They serve watermelon and popsicles for everyone that shows. When all of the watermelon is gone, we all agree to go home, pack our coolers, and “meet ‘ya at the beach.” So after reading this, I’m sure you’re ready to weigh out your options and create your own 30A traditions for your family. In addition to Grayton Beach, there are plenty of events planned all over South Walton, and they’re included below. Happy Fourth! Learn more about the Grayton Beach parade from local Grant Blackwell of Coastal Insurance: Looking for more freedom-centric fun? Here’s the full-line up of local activities: ALYS BEACH 6 – 9 p.m. 4th of July Concert featuring the Atlanta Party Band 9 p.m. Fireworks GRAYTON BEACH 8:30 a.m. Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade Decorate your bikes, golf carts, cars, jeeps, boats, scooters, etc. and take part in the parade. Parade line up starts at 8 a.m. at Red Bar. Everyone is welcome! After, enjoy watermelon and lemonade at Grayton Coast Properties. Rosemary Beach 7:30 a.m. Bike Decoration Contest & Breakfast at North Barrett Square 8:30 a.m. Bike parade through the Town Center 9 a.m. Family field day on Western Green Sack races, water balloon toss, games, prizes and more! 6 p.m. The Like Totally Hep Cats on Western Green 6-9 p.m. 4th of July Picnic Dinner Party Join us poolside for an All-American full buffet, craft beer bar available for purchase. $45 per adult | $25 per child (12 and under) 8:45 p.m. Fireworks on the beach SEASIDE July 3: 7:30 p.m. Stars & Stripes Pop Concert featuring the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra July 4: 8 a.m. South Walton 4th of July Parade (from Seagrove to downtown Seaside). Make sure to register in advance to have a float in the parade. Please note that a portion of Scenic Highway 30A will be closed for a few hours to accommodate the parade. 7 p.m. The Victory Belles Concert 8:30 p.m. Fireworks Spectacular over the Gulf of Mexico WATERCOLOR INN & RESORT 7 – 10 p.m. Fourth of July Picnic on the Beach (behind WaterColor Inn). Enjoy live music, refreshments and fun. Advanced reservations or tickets required. Please call 850-534-5041 for more info. 9 – 10 p.m. Kick back and enjoy the Fireworks show over the Gulf of Mexico on WaterColor Beach VILLAGE OF BAYTOWNE WHARF 6 – 9 p.m. Red, White and Baytowne runs all day long with lawn games, inflatables, kids crafts and face painting at Baytowne Wharf. 7 p.m. Live Music by Soul Track Mind 9:15 p.m. Fireworks over the Choctawhatchee Bay! Also, check out our 30a.com/events calendar for plenty more fun events happening throughout the weekend! Did we miss something? Please let us know so we can add it to our official schedule.
Submitted by South Walton Fire District New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, a time many Americans observe the start of a new year by sending bottle rockets into the sky, exploding miniature bombs and unfortunately, breaking a state law. Most fireworks are illegal for consumer use in Florida, even if they’re available for purchase. That can make […]
Marina Bar & Grill was recently awarded the 2016 Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site. Now in its sixth year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience. It accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months “We are very proud of Marina Bar & Grill for earning the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor,” said Robert Kallmeyer, director of operations at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. “This award truly represents the voice of the customer, and this accolade is evidence of the hard work and dedication of our staff.” Heather Leisman, vice president of industry marketing at TripAdvisor said the award helps customers idenify restaurants that regularly deliver great service. “TripAdvisor is proud to play this integral role in helping travelers feel more confident in their decisions,” she said. For more info, follow Marina Bar & Grill on Facebook.
Runners and families will gather in Alys Beach for the Fifth Annual 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run on Sunday, September 4, 2016. Proceeds will benefit Alaqua Animal Refuge, a no-kill shelter on the Emerald Coast that has helped find homes for 11,000 animals since its inception in 2007. The certified 5K will start in the Alys Beach Amphitheatre and wind through the Gulf-side community and nature trail. Following the 5K, a family-friendly 1-mile Fun Run will kick off for children ages 12 and younger. After the races, runners can gather in the Amphitheatre for awards, live music, a bounce house and more. Registration is now available online. Advance registration for the 5K is $35 and the 1-miler is $15 (children ages 12-and-younger) through Sunday, August 28. From Monday, August 29 until Friday, September 2, the price to participate in the 5K will go up to $50 and the 1-miler will be priced at $25. Any remaining registrations will be sold on Saturday, September 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Fonville Press during packet pick-up. For more information, or to register, visit alysbeach.com/5K.
Florida Department of Health: There is no flesh eating bacteria in Florida coastal waters Yesterday, reports came out about flesh-eating bacteria closing Panhandle beaches. Those are false and have been corrected. There is no flesh eating bacteria in the Gulf or other Florida coastal waters. There were […]
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2016 SANTA ROSA GOLF & BEACH CLUB PRESENTED BY Each year, 120 players meet at Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club for the 30A Charity Golf Classic — a wild one-day tournament that’s raised over $73,000 for charity so far! The 4th annual tournament — PRESENTED BY THE AESTHETIC CLINIQUE — will held on Saturday, October 22, 2016. This year’s tournament will benefit Children’s Volunteer Health Network. Learn more or make a donation at their website. Player check-in and breakfast will begin at 7:30 AM, with a shotgun start at 8:30 AM. Complimentary snacks and Bloody Marys will be served along the course, and carts will be making the rounds, serving ice cold beer. The team that wins the 30A Charity Golf Classic scores fantastic prizes donated by 30A friends, sponsors, partners and local businesses. Just like previous years, there will also be tons of fun prizes, raffles and giveaways throughout the day. THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT! We would like to sincerely thank THE AESTHETIC CLINIQUE along with all of our 2016 sponsors: PRESENTING SPONSOR: The Aesthetic Clinique $1 Million Hole-in-One Challenge: 30A Television Driving Range: St. Joe Club and Resorts Putting Green: Kiwanis Club of Freeport – South Walton Breakfast Sponsor: Another Broken Egg Beverage Sponsor: Henderson Barrett LLC Beer Cart Sponsor: Rent 30a Signage Sponsor: Press Print Graphics and Eloquent Signs Trophy Sponsor: Mercantile Hole #1: Shore Thing Cigars Hole #2 (Par 3): 30A Television Hole #3 (Par 3): Howard Hospitality Hole #4: Maison Bleu Properties Snack Station #1 Sponsor: Roux 30a Hole #5: Pelican Real Estate and Development Hole #6: EcoCentric Brands Hole #7: Red Bar and Louis Louis Hole #8 (Par 3): 30A Cottages and Concierge Hole #9: Berkshire Hathaway Beach Home Services | Beach Properties of Florida Bloody Mary Bar Sponsor: Stinky’s Fish Camp Hole #10: Summer House Lifestyle Hole #11: T-Formation Hole #12 (Par 3): O.B. Laurent Construction Hole #13: Maurice Stouse, broker Snack Station #2 Sponsor: Chiringo Hole #14: Cafe Thirty-A Hole #15: Think It Wear It Hole #16 (Par 3): Aqua Title Hole #17: Bud & Alley’s Hole #18: The Aesthetic Clinique Lunch Sponsor: Barefoot B-B-Q Click here to sponsor our 2016 30A Charity Golf Classic! 100% for Charity Again this year, 100% of all proceeds from the 30A Charity Golf Classic will be donated to charity. In its first year, $23,000 was given to Off The Mat and Shelter House Domestic Violence Center. In 2014, $27,000 was raised for Alaqua Animal Refuge. In 2015, $23,000 was donated to Food for Thought. This year, all proceeds from the tournament will be donated to Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN). CVHN seeks to enhance the lives of uninsured or underinsured school-aged children by facilitating free, immediate access to medical, dental and mental health care in Walton and Okaloosa counties. Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club Hugging the Gulf of Mexico, this hidden gem in Santa Rosa Beach has it all, including a highly sought after Gulf Front view. And if the view isn’t enough, this “member-owned” semi-private Club boasts an immaculate golf course that masterfully winds through natural habitats, making this course a must-play in the area. Holes three through five wind around a complex of dunes, all within a few hundred yards of the Gulf of Mexico. The 18th hole is a beauty and a superb finishing hole, as it doglegs hard right before rising to the green, perched on a hill with the club house in the background. Click here to learn more about Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club. Click here to become a sponsor or register to play! SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2016 SANTA ROSA GOLF & BEACH CLUB PRESENTED BY