Oysters are not only a delicacy, they are also critical to the health of the Choctawhatchee Bay, which the community depends on for fishing and recreation. In celebration of the oyster, the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), a non-profit organization responsible for sustaining healthy local waterways, and Whole Foods Market – Destin are teaming up to […]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.
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.
Sunset Bay Cafe, located near the Linkside Conference Center in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, is now serving dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. The family owned and operated restaurant uses local produce and seafood, delivered fresh daily from the docks in Destin. Menu items include homemade spinach and artichoke dip, beer braised pork belly, lemongrass yellowfin tuna and a number of sweet desserts made daily. Overlooking the Choctawhatchee Bay, Sunset Bay Cafe is known for its spectacular views, excellent service, breakfast favorites and innovative twists on the classics. “We’ve had amazing success with breakfast and lunch, but we don’t want that to become all we are known for,” said Bryce Jarvis, owner of Sunset Bay Cafe. “We are excited to offer a variety of dinner options made with the same commitment to locally sourced ingredients and sustainable seafood.” Reservations are not necessary for Sunset Bay Cafe’s dinner service, but are suggested for large parties. For more info, call 850-267-7108 or visit Sunset Bay Cafe.