Monday, June 27, 2011

The Redneck Riviera

Beaches of South Walton
Disclaimer - Let me make it clear, I am likely risking the scorn of fellow Southerners for sharing this information with such indiscretion. Many of our friends from the northern states are not privy to the region we affectionately call the "Redneck Riviera," a place where you can still enjoy a peaceful beach sunset with no one but loved ones by your side. A place that knows no crowds. A place with emerald green waters, fine snow-white sands, and daily magical sunsets. Regretfully, I feel obliged to introduce this tropical paradise to all our friends, regardless their latitude relative to the Mason Dixon line. So, my Southern brothers and sisters, please forgive me. I mean well.

Walton County spans the Florida panhandle from the Alabama line to the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. You'll see no high-rise condos in Walton County. There is an ordinance that restricts such construction. The beaches of Walton County are stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of nearby Panama City Beach and Destin. But don't expect shacks. This portion of the Panhandle is very much up-scale, in a Panhandle sort of way.

Most visitors of Walton County stay in rental units and beach houses. The beaches are pristine and remarkably NOT crowded. Renting a beach house for a week isn't cheap, but a much better value for a large family than a hotel. Having a kitchen will save a fortune alone. The popular beaches long Scenic Route 30A are Rosemary Beach, Seagrove, Seaside (The Truman Show), Grayton Beach, Blue Mountain, Santa Rosa, and Dune Allen. The beach/golf resort town of San Destin defines the western-most part of Walton County.

An affordable alternative to hotels and beach houses is camping. On the West end of Scenic Route 30A is Topsail Hill Preserve, a beautiful state park with miles of unspoiled beach and giant blinding-white sand dunes. Camping at Topsail Hill is very affordable. It is, after all, a state park. One big bonus of this state park? FULL HOOKUPS!   Read the rest of the story.

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