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Step Back in Time at Rosemary Beach

One of 30A’s planned New Urbanist communities, Rosemary Beach is an architectural treasure trove, boasting influences from the West Indies, New Orleans, Charleston and St. Augustine, among others. The grand homes (many with adjoining carriage houses that are just as extraordinary) are interconnected by a discreet network of pedestrian paths and boardwalks, which become even […] Read More

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Point Washington State Forest

Over 40 percent of South Walton’s land is protected, and the majority of that acreage is part of the Point Washington State Forest system. A popular access point is the Eastern Lake Trail System, located along S. County Road 395. Over 40 percent of South Walton’s land is protected, and the majority of that acreage is part of the Point Washington State Forest system. A popular access point is the Eastern Lake Trail System, located along S. County Road 395. This particular trail system offers 3.5, 5 and 10-mile loops, ideal for both hikers and bicyclists. Pets are also allowed, if on a leash. The 15,400-acre forest is home to ten natural communities, including sandhill, cypress swamps, basin swamps, wet flatwoods and wet prairie. Overnight camping is allowed in special primitive areas of Point Washington State Forest. You can get more info and reserve a spot for only $10 by calling 850-373-1801. Check out this 30A Facebook Live video of the primitive camping sites: South Walton Campinga secret spot in South Walton for only $10/night?? 30A.com/camping Posted by 30A on Monday, November 7, 2016 You can also find wonderful (and affordable) camp sites nearby at Grayton Beach State Park and in Topsail Hill State Preserve‘s higher end RV Park. If you don’t mind getting your car a little dusty, feel free to turn down one of those little sandy roads and take a casual drive through the forest. But unless you’re in a 4-wheel drive, it’s probably best not to turn off the main corridors, as some of the smaller roads get pretty tight, pretty fast. For official information, visit Point Washington State Forest. Truman explores Point Washington State Forest: Best places to go off-roading:

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SATURDAY: Run, Paddle and Race to the Finish at Run/SUP Event

The Walton Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced they will host the second annual 2016 South Walton RUN/SUP Series event on Saturday, September 24, 2016, at Grayton Beach State Park from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The after party and awards ceremony will be held at The Craft Bar 30A in Grayton Beach from 2 to 5 p.m. that day. Registrant packet pick-up will take place at The Craft Bar 30A on Friday, September 23, from 5 to 7 p.m. The race takes you on a two-mile run through beautiful Grayton Beach State Park followed by a two-mile paddle on Western Lake, one of the area’s rare coastal dune lakes. With four total races, a world-renowned venue and both Family and Competitive/Advanced groups, the 2016 South Walton RUN/SUP Series will continue to set a standard in the local and regional athletic communities for the future. With RUN/SUP once again sponsoring the event, they will offer a limited amount of their new RUN/SUP boards for rental on the day of the event, should a participant need one. Just be sure to select that you will need a board provided when registering. Board rentals are limited and available for an extra fee when registering online. Boards up to 12’6 are allowed. Participants in the first race can arrive as early as 8 a.m. with the races beginning promptly at 9 a.m. The event schedule will go as follows: Race 1: Competitive Division at 9:00 a.m. (Cash prize will be awarded in this category.) $75 entry fee Race 2: Recreation Division 1 at 10:15 a.m. $65 entry fee Race 3: Recreation Division 2 at 11:30 a.m. $65 entry fee Race 4: Family Division at 12:45 p.m. (This race includes youth participants age 8-12.) $55 entry fee *Please note that this race is shorter and is only a one mile run and a one mile paddle. Register now at Walton Area Chamber of Commerce or by clicking here. Day of event parking is available at Grayton Beach State Park. Overflow parking will be available at The Craft Bar 30A and Pandora’s Steakhouse & Lounge for those renting boards or for those strictly there to observe the race and cheer family and friends to the finish line. Parking instructions will be noted in all racer packets. The 2016 South Walton RUN/SUP Series is produced by Barber & Gall promotions in conjunction with RUN/SUP and the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce, the benefiting organization. Current sponsors and vendors include: Silver Sands Premium Outlets, Chelco, Insurance Zone, VIP Destin Magazine, SoWal, The Craft Bar 30A, RUN/SUP, Salt Water 30a, Gulf Wind Paddle and Surf, Sunrise Chair Company, Advance Media Group and Visit South Walton. For more info, sponsorship opportunities or to register, contact the Walton Area Chamber office at 850-267-0683.

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Gulf Place: One of South Walton’s Most Colorful Communities

With wonderful restaurants and numerous boutiques, including the 30A Store at Gulf Place, there’s something for just about everyone at the colorful Gulf Place development. In addition to great meals and drinks, Gulf Place features live music almost every night of the week. The music can be enjoyed on La Playa‘s open-air patio overlooking the Gulf of Mexico or while unwinding in Perfect Pig‘s quaint bar. And don’t miss the summer concert series on the Gulf Place lawn. The series runs every Sunday evening June through August. Bring your chair and grab some 30A Wine and 30A Beach Blonde Ale from the 30A Store at Gulf Place. The Artists of Gulf Place find plenty of inspiration in this artistic community and the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Hang out and shop for local art in the unique colorful huts or check out Gulf Place’s First Friday Artwalk. Your furry friend is always welcome at Gulf Place to enjoy the music and events with their people. Gulf Place has specialty shops, groomers and even a Veterinarian. You can get your 30A-branded dog tags and merchandise at Furry Fanatics. Whether you are shopping, eating or just strolling through Gulf Place, don’t miss the three sea turtles sculptures, spread throughout the colorful community. The turtles serve as a figure of the community’s commitment to environmental conservation and dedication to the protection of South Walton natural beauty. Take a 360° video tour of Gulf Place using your computer or smartphone. To interact with this video, either use the controls on your computer or tilt your phone. Enjoy! And, check out this 30A Radio interview with Gulf Place’s manager, Erin Chekaoui: For more info, visit gulfplacefl.com.

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Grab Your Boards, It’s Time For YOLO’s Relay Series

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:

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Unique 30A: Hit the Water for a Dinner Cruise

Cruising every week from Sandestin‘s Baytowne Marina, Sunquest Cruise’s SOLARIS yacht is a truly unique 30A experience, and it happens to be one of the very best places to enjoy a South Walton sunset. (In the summer months, the sun sets over Choctawhatchee Bay, not the Gulf). The family-owned 5,300-square-foot fine dining and dancing yacht (built right here in Walton County) features two dining salons, a full-service gourmet galley and a full-service bar. Enjoy an afternoon or evening cruising around the Bay, hanging out on one of the yacht’s open-air decks, dining on a gourmet meal, kicking up your heels to a live band and dancing under the stars. Book your cruise now. Learn more about the story behind the SOLARIS in this interview with owner James Murray: After the cruise, hop on the boardwalk that leads away from the marina and meander through moss-draped oak trees over to The Village of Baytowne Wharf. There you’ll find some seriously fun and funky blues, a dueling piano bar and tons of other nightlife options. It’s the perfect way to wrap up an evening on the bay. The Solaris is also a perfect venue for special occasions, including banquets, corporate retreats, V.I.P. functions, and of course, weddings and rehearsal dinners. Learn more at 30aweddings.com. Check out this 30A Video Tours episode, featuring the Solaris: Book your cruise now.

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Silver Sands Premium Outlets

Just a stone’s throw from the white sands of Sandestin and Miramar Beach, Silver Sands Premium Outlets is a shop-a-holic’s paradise. Silver Sands Premium Outlets is home to 110 designer and name brand outlet stores with 465,200 square feet of retail space. You’ll find impressive savings of 25% to 65% every day at Banana Republic Factory Store, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan Outlet, Columbia Sportswear, Gap Outlet, J.Crew Factory, Kate Spade New York, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Nike Factory Store, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Swarovski, Vera Bradley and more. Silver Sands Premium Outlets is visited by over 7 million shoppers each year in search of those deeply discounted bargains and the annual “After Thanksgiving Weekend Sale” hosts over 60,000 shoppers burning the midnight oil in search of unheard-of deals. Silver Sands Premium Outlets is also home to a few great restaurant chains, including Panera Bread, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Cheeseburger in Paradise. Click here to visit Silver Sands Premium Outlets website.