From the very first moment she stepped onto the mat, Angela Ragsdale knew that yoga was her life’s calling. Her fun and friendly style of instruction is welcoming for both beginners and seasoned yoga experts. Angela offers private personal and group lessons on the beach and in private residences, tailored specifically for you and your needs. […] Read More
Whether you’re in a $1 million RV with flat-screen TVs and granite kitchen counter tops, or a 2-person pup-tent with a gas lantern and mosquito net, South Walton is truly a camper’s paradise. Routinely voted one of the best campgrounds in America, the Gregory E. Moore RV Resort at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has gorgeous shaded lots, full hook-ups, cabins, exceptional amenities, vast miles of hiking and biking trails to explore and access to over 3 miles of state-protected beaches. Although the campground at Grayton Beach State Park features fewer amenities than Topsail, the waterfront sites on Western Lake are spectacular and the crashing waves of Grayton Beach are within easy earshot. This is also South Walton’s most affordable camping option (unless you’re camping in your backyard, which works just fine too). In the 15,400-acre Point Washington State Forest, primitive camping sites are available for only $10 a night. Enjoy over 10 miles of trails for hiking and biking and many miles of off-road paths perfect for your four-wheel drive. Call 850-373-1801 for more information and to reserve a spot. Just north across Choctawhatchee Bay, Live Oak Landing offers campsites, quaint cottages, guided fishing excursions and more, all along the gorgeous Black River. The mouth of the river is a gorgeous and untouched habitat, home to bald eagles, ospreys, alligators, dolphins and more. If you venture out here, you’re seeing something quite special that even most South Walton locals never get to enjoy! But perhaps the most unique camping experience in South Walton is found just a few miles west of 30A, in Miramar Beach. Just across the street from the largest designer outlet mall in the nation, you’ll find Camping on the Gulf, where you can not only camp close to the beach… you can camp on it. There’s not much shade here, but that direct Gulf breeze will certainly keep you cool on those long, hot summer days! Or you can have a beach bonfire on a cool, winter night.
Clear and deep sea or brackish and shallow, however you like your fishing conditions, South Walton offers almost too many options. Whether you’re an amateur or a passionate professional, you’ll quickly find that we have some of the best fishing in the world. Although the bustling harbors of Destin and Panama City Beach are better known for deep-sea fishing excursions (mainly because their harbors have direct access to the Gulf), that certainly doesn’t mean that you need to drive to either place to get your fishing fix. Book your fishing trip now. South Walton is home to some of the most experienced and successful fishing guides, who host captivating charter trips. With a little help, they’ll have you saying, “I got one!” as soon as you’re out in the water. The water in the Choctawhatchee Bay and the connecting river runs from a few feet deep to over 50 feet. Out fishing, you can catch anything from redfish and speckled trout to jack crevalle and flounder. And of course, the dolphins will be out there to cheer you on as they do their own fishing. The best part? You can take whatever you catch home with you to cook your very own “Bay-to-table” dinner. A few fishing charters launch directly from the sand at Grayton Beach, returning a few hours later with grouper, cobia, wahoo, red snapper, king mackerel, flounder, pompano and more, depending on the season. Pretty soon you’ll be fishing like a local! The next step is to get a vintage cast-net and have a good old-fashioned mullet-fry. Hey, don’t knock it ’til you fried it, folks. Watch this video to learn more about fishing in South Walton: For a list of our local fishing guides, visit 30Afishingcharters.com. The 30A Company interns, Caroline Giddis and Lindsey Rogers, contributed to this article.
By Susan Vallee Think you’ve got this whole 30A beach thing down? Well, let’s see … you’ve cheered the sunset ringing of the bell at Bud & Alley’s, you’ve sipped mimosas while grooving to Dread Clampitt at The Red Bar and you’ve YOLO’d your way across Western Lake … but have you experienced the magic of a bonﬁre on the beach? When you combine the fun of a campﬁre (s’mores, cuddling and shared laughter) with the dramatic beauty of the beach at night, it becomes an experience that is hard to top. Cool sand between your toes, the warmth of a roaring ﬁre, the sound of waves crashing in front of you while burning embers ﬂoat upwards towards the sky — it really is an extraordinary experience. Book your beach bonfire now. Of course, the only thing better than enjoying a beach bonﬁre is not having to haul all the chairs and coolers down to the beach, setting up the fire pit, and then cleaning up the ensuing mess in the dark. 30A has plenty of companies willing to come down to the beach and set one up for you — and they know how to do it right. You can even add s’mores to your evening of fun — great for kids and adults alike. Who doesn’t like to roast a good marshmallow? If you’d rather do it all yourself, it’s not hard to obtain a permit from the South Walton Fire District. Cost is $50. Visit their website for more info. WARNING: Fines for a not properly permitted or executed beach bonfire range from $200 to two months in jail, so make sure you understand the rules and regulations before setting out on your own. Book your beach bonfire here now or visit this page for more information about permits and regulations. SUSAN VALLEE has been writing about the beauty and quirkiness of 30A for longer than she’d care to admit. A transplant from Atlanta, Susan loves the small-town feel and tight-knit local community here. Susan is the author of Meet Me on 30A.
If you’re looking to get the kids involved in some fun and a little exercise, look no further than a surf and stand-up paddle kids camp. The camp began Memorial Day and will be offered daily through August. The three-hour camp will teach your child the basics of surfing or stand up paddle boarding, and it will provide memories that are sure to last a lifetime. Book your day camp now. South Walton is the perfect spot for kids to learn to surf and paddle. The waves in the Gulf of Mexico are generally pretty mild, making it less intimidating for kids. And the beautiful coastal dune lakes are calm with shallow areas perfect for kids to learn the balance needed for stand-up paddle boarding. The surf camp meets at Gulf Place and Seagrove while the paddle board camp takes place at Eastern Lake and Lake Powell. Each location caps at a maximum of 12 campers to provide your child with the most individual instruction. Each camp includes an instructor on site, surf or paddle board camp gear, a snack pack and water. The camp is available for children ages 6 and up. It is required that children are able to swim to participate. To learn more and sign up, visit: 30atours.com.
By Lindsey Rogers White sand and crystal-clear water aren’t all South Walton has to offer. In fact, all the other activities — fishing, horseback riding, hiking, bike riding — are what make this area so special and attractive to people of all kinds. One of the most popular activities among visitors and locals alike is stand-up paddle boarding, a relatively new activity involving what looks like an elongated surf board that users stand on and use a paddle to move across the water’s surface. Rent a board or book a paddle board tour! South Walton is an especially perfect place for the budding sport, which is something Jeff Archer stumbled on when he founded his company YOLO Board here in 2007. Archer said South Walton is one the best places to stand-up paddle because of the variety of beginner friendly water and the huge diversity of paddling experiences. With the Gulf of Mexico, the Choctawhatchee Bay, coastal dune lakes and rivers, you’ll never get bored of the scenery. Plus, South Walton’s climate allows for year-round paddling. “Stand up paddle boarding to Walton County is like snow skiing to Aspen or Breckenridge,” Archer said. Paddling in the gulf offers a paddler beauty in every direction and the opportunity to have a close-up encounter with species such as dolphins and sea turtles in their natural habitat. Archer suggests you paddle the gulf in the morning when it is flat because as the south winds arise it is more difficult to paddle. If you’re new to paddle boarding, the coastal dune lakes are for you.These lakes are mostly protected from the winds, which results in flat, smooth waters perfect for those first timers. You get the best of both worlds paddling in a coastal dune lake because the outfall will take you directly to the gulf when you’re ready to hit the beach. The Choctawatchee Bay, fresh water rivers and natural springs are other flat venues for paddling. The bay is located just north of U.S. Highway 98 while the springs are a little further drive. Morrison Springs in Ponce De Leon is Archer’s favorite spring to paddle. Paddling affects both the physical and mental well-being of the paddler, Archer said. Physically, it improves core strength and balance. It also leads to better overall cardiovascular health. Plus, being out on the water can act as a mental release, providing exhilaration and time to get in touch with nature. Although it can be nice to spend some time alone, paddling is also a great activity to enjoy with friends and family. Archer likes distance paddles with his dog, Flea, paddle adventures with his friends and surfing expeditions with his son and brother. “It has allowed me to mix work and play in a seamless way that fits my lifestyle,” he said. This is a 360º video! Use your mobile device to pan around and see all angles of Camp Creek Lake! You may have to open it on the YouTube app for the full 360º effect. Rent a board or book a paddle board tour at 30atours.com. Lindsey Rogers is a summer intern with The 30A Company.
Looking for some fun for the kids? Camp 30A is the only outdoors adventures camp for children in South Walton. Held at Grayton Beach State Park, the day camp gives kids ages 6-12 a chance to explore the sand and the sea, the longleaf pine forest and the coastal dune lakes. Camp leaders take kids on paddle board adventures, kayaking, hiking and even snorkeling. Book your day camp now. Michael Harrison, the camp’s director, has worked with kids camps for over 20 years and always dreamed of starting his own. The area around Scenic Highway 30A seemed like the perfect spot. “At Grayton Beach State Park, we have the Gulf of Mexico, but not only that, we have the lakes, we have hiking,” Harrison said. “It really lends itself to a great, unique camp experience.” Harrison has always loved working with kids, especially when he can introduce them to something they haven’t experienced before, like snorkeling or kayaking. “If you’re showing them something that’s maybe a little different, something they haven’t done before, they’re going to be really enthusiastic,” he said. “And kids are just fun to be around.” Learn more and book your day camp online.
By Lindsey Rogers Jazz up a regular movie night in South Walton with a film screening under the stars. More and more of our local communities have started outdoor movie nights and they’re perfect not only for families, but even date nights or picnic dinners after a day in the sun. Movies in the park add an exciting twist to watching a movie on your couch. First and foremost, you’re outside enjoying the night sky. In addition, your kids will love the freedom to run around in the grass and make new friends while watching a movie. Make sure to come prepared with your lawn chairs, blanket, bug spray and cooler. Some locations offer food and beverage for purchase. Movies in the moonlight are offered all across South Walton. Whether you’re staying in Rosemary or Sandestin, a film is bound to be playing near you. Here’s your list of where to catch a movie on the lawn: Rosemary Beach Rosemary Beach holds their Moonlight Movies and Face Painting on Thursdays at the Western Green. Face painting begins at 6 p.m. and show time is 8:15 p.m. Make sure to bring your blankets and lawn chairs. DogManDu will be selling popcorn and hotdogs. (They’re said to be the best on the beach!) Alys Beach The amphitheatre at Alys Beach is perfect for a family night. Catch one of their Summer Reels on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Kids can enjoy a movie and also run off some energy in the fountains. Bring your blankets and low-back chairs to comfortably enjoy the evening. The Hub If you don’t feel like bringing your own chairs, then The Hub is for you. With provided seating and lots of food and drink options, you’ll be set for the night. Movie Night is every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Seaside Enjoy a movie at Seasides‘s Central Square Cinema on Friday nights. Bring your blankets to the amphitheater for an 8 p.m. screening. If you’re looking for a bite to eat or treat to cure the sweet tooth, Airstream Row has you covered. The Village of Baytowne Wharf Spend your Sunday exploring the shops and restaurants of the Village. Test your strength at the Baytowne Adventure Zone or relax on Captain Rex’s Sailing Adventure. End the day with a Sunday Cinema at 8 p.m. in the Events Plaza. For a full list of events in the area, including movie nights, check out our events calendar. Lindsey Rogers is a summer intern with The 30A Company.
By Caroline Giddis Salty, meaty, flaky, mild. These are some of the characteristics of the favorite fish of executive chefs, seafood market managers and fishing captains in South Walton. Whether they come from the bay or the gulf, our local fish are some of the best in the world, and highly sought after by fish […]
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.