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Wheelchairs available at five South Walton beach accesses

High tech chairs offer beach enjoyment for mobility challenged Being mobility challenged can be frustrating, especially when one wants to enjoy our beautiful beaches in South Walton. However, five South Walton Fire District Lifeguard Stations offer beach wheelchairs for public use, making access much easier. This service is offered at no charge through a partnership between South Walton Fire District (SWFD) and the Walton County Tourist Development Council. The beach wheelchairs are located at the following accesses from west to...

Sea turtle season in South Walton runs May 1 – October 31

South Walton Turtle Watch watches over our nesting sea turtles According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, sea turtles are among the oldest creatures on earth, and have remained essentially unchanged for 110 million years. However, they face an uncertain future. Illegal harvesting, habitat encroachment, and pollution (physical and light) are only some of the issues sea turtles face as the beautiful creatures struggle to stay alive. Each year from May – October, there are four species of Florida...

Gulf coast lupine blooms along South Walton area beaches

Beautiful blue shrub a welcomed sight In the springtime, sand dunes along the beaches in South Walton are dolloped with beautiful blue lupine. The gulf coast lupine (Lupinus westianus) is a native plant and endemic to Northwest Florida. Lupine habitats are sand hills, scrubs and coastal dunes. This particluar perennial shrub is only found in a few counties with Walton fortunate enough to be one of them. The beautiful blue flowers provide a delicate lavender-like scent. Early settlers to the...

Beautiful railroad vines help protect South Walton beaches

Beautiful plant strengthens sand dunes Always a pleasant sight along South Walton’s beaches, the beautiful blooming railroad vine is also an important protector of our sand dunes. As with the sea oats, the plant helps to stabilize the dunes by rooting at nodes all along its length, and is often planted for that purpose. Each flower opens only once, in the morning, but keep blooming almost all year long, peaking from May through November. The railroad vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae) is...

Day use entrance fees waived at Grayton Beach and Topsail Hill Preserve State Parks May 29 – Sept. 4

Walton County, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Grayton Beach State Park and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Division of Recreation and Parks are teaming up to provide parking at no-charge for summer beach goers between May 29 to Sept. 4, 2017. Starting on May 29, regular day-use admission fees will be waived for public entrance to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and Grayton Beach State Park through a reimbursement program administered by Visit South Walton (VSW). The arrangement will...

Conradina covers South Walton

Beautiful lavender flowering shrub graces our  sandhill forests in spring Ever wonder what those beautiful lavender plants are along our byways in South Walton? False rosemary (Conradina canescens) is actually part of the mint (Lamiacae) family. To explore these beautiful plants, head out to our area trails. Learn more by clicking here....

Prescribed fire benefits Walton forests

Ever wonder why Forestry Service and our State parks set fire to the forest? With more than 20,000 acres of managed forest in South Walton, it’s important to know the answer to the burning question. The answer is quite simple – to preserve a healthy environment. Not only does the wildlife thrive after a burn, the forest floor rejuvenates to a proper natural balance. Many of Florida’s ecosystems such as longleaf pine sandhills, flatwoods and sand pine scrub cannot survive...

Portuguese man-of-war can pack a powerful punch

Don’t touch or come in contact with the blue “bubbles” that wash on shore Many interesting things wash ashore along the beaches of South Walton. Often we find interesting creatures within the beach wrack and the tide often washes in beautiful seashells. However, there is one creature, the Portuguese Man o’ War (Physalia physalis), also known as man-of-war, or bluebottle that is not a fun critter to come in contact with. Although spectacular to behold with its blue “bubble,” it...

FWC approves 70-day recreational red snapper season in Gulf state waters

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a 70-day recreational red snapper season for Gulf state waters at the April 16 meeting in Tallahassee. Red snapper is a popular species that has a strong economic impact for many coastal communities throughout Florida. The 2015 season will start the Saturday before Memorial Day (May 23) and run through July 12, resume for all of Labor Day weekend (Sept. 5-7) and finish with Saturdays and Sundays throughout the rest of...

Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance offering invasive plant removal in South Walton

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Longleaf Alliance will begin the second year of the Habitat Rx invasive plant removal program in South Walton County. The program is designed for interested property owners who wish to improve local habitat and restore plant and animal biodiversity. Invasive plants disrupt the delicate balance of ecosystems by out-competing beneficial native plants, diminishing biodiversity, and reducing food sources and...

Learn surf fishing at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park June 5

Date/time: Friday June 5th, 1 – 2:30 pm Surf fishing is a popular sport along the beaches of Topsail Hill. This program will teach you what types of bait will work, what times of year certain fish can be caught, and common fish you can catch from the beach. Fishing gear is optional, the park has fishing gear. This program will take place at the Beach Access, park in the Day Use parking area and catch the 1:00pm Tram to...