Mother Nature shows off her best features at this gem of a park
Those that live in the Florida Panhandle are blessed with the diversity and natural beauty of our local Florida State parks. One of several great parks located in the Walton County area is Grayton Beach State Park.
Nestled on both the south and north of Scenic 30A, we took a journey with our own personal tour guide, Patrick Hartsfield, Park Service Specialist.
Patrick has an enormous amount of enthusiasm for this 2,200-acre park, and its unspoiled natural magnificence. It is easy to concur, as the majority of the park is left untouched and full of diversity with sand dunes, scrub oaks, Western Lake’s salt marsh, multiple ecosystems and remarkable trails. This area is the perfect habitat for wildlife.
Grayton Beach State Park offers a wide variety of activities for the visitor. Along with the beautiful beaches, there are two unique trails to enjoy, along with camping and cabin rentals.
Take a walk along the trail nicknamed the “Hobbit Hole,” through the dunes where you find yourself enveloped in the scrub oaks and as you become one with nature. Flowering spiderworts and blue lupine provide colorful highlights along the trail in the springtime. Walk a bit further and you will be taken aback by a panoramic view once you reach the vista at the top of the dunes. This incredible view is quite famous, as it has been painted many times by local artists, and become the quintessential signature view of Scenic 30A.
Thanks to a local volunteer group, Friends of Grayton Beach interpretive signs are provided along the trail to enhance and educate the hiker’s journey.
On the north side of 30A, you will find a 4.2-mile bike trail through the pine flatwoods. Along the trail you may discover endangered pitcher plants, snakes and lizards along with quiet places you can stop, sit and ponder the forest.
The second largest coastal dune lake in the Florida Panhandle, Western Lake, is the perfect location to paddle a kayak and explore the lake’s diversity. The lake and its outfall to the Gulf of Mexico provide the perfect feeding ground for shore birds.
On any particular day you may see blue herons, cattle egrets, royal terns, common terns, snowy plovers and laughing gulls along the lake’s outfall.
There are also nesting least terns that have returned in the last couple of years, nesting in June and July. I hope folks shooting fireworks from the beach on the 4th of July will remember to point them toward the Gulf, as the return of these incredible birds is a special treat.
The park offers 47 campsites; with each one nestled in the scrub oaks.
On the west side of the park, there are 30 cabin duplexes each with 2 bedrooms 2 baths, along with screened in porches and barbecue grills. The cabins offer guests a unique experience, with their own private entrance and acres of untouched wooded areas.
For more information about Grayton Beach State Park, call (850) 267-8300.
Hours of Operation
8:00 a.m. to sunset
Grayton Beach State Park is located in Walton County, South of U.S. 98 off of Scenic Road 30A. Take county road 283 south from U.S. 98, turn left at the stop sign on 30A (approximately 1/4 mile east of the intersection of C.R. 30A and C.R. 283 the main entrance is on the right). ::MAP::
Admission Fee $5.00 per vehicle (2-8 people per vehicle) $4.00 single occupant vehicle
Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicles with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Permit – Admission Fee $2.00
$24.00 per night, plus tax, Old campsites. Includes water and electricity.
$30.00 per night, plus tax, New campsites. Includes water and electricity.
Florida residents who are 65 years of age or older or who hold a social security disability award certificate or a 100 percent disability award certificate from the Federal Government are permitted to receive a 50 percent discount on current base campsite fees. Proof of eligibility
Cabin fees and reservations, click here.