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Designing an Idyllic Lifestyle Along Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A

Originally featured in BEACHES, RESORTS & PARKS magazine
30A South Walton scenic beach walk 960 30A: Paradise Planned

Paradise Protected

Since the very beginning of time, mankind has demonstrated a special knack for ruining a perfectly decent Paradise. It seems to be somehow ingrained into our genetic code. As picture-perfect as any place may be, we tend to believe that we can somehow improve upon it.

That’s always been the problem with writing about an “undiscovered” piece of pristine paradise—as soon as a few folks learn about it, you can bet that it won’t be too long before there are condo towers, water slides, goofy golfs and loud cannons blasting off to spoil that otherwise serene sunset.

Time and time again, Paradise is lost. Lost to greed, poor execution or just a general lack of vision.

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30A South Walton beach walk 252x252 The Panhandler... A Short Story

Photo: Jacqueline Ward Images

Burt sat on the pollen-laden hood of an otherwise maroon Honda Accord. It wasn’t his car, of course, but that didn’t matter. “This is a public beach,” he thought. “I can sit wherever I damn well want.”

He shifted his dark eyes up and down the bike path, scouring for a potential victim.

“Slim pickins today,” he thought.

Burt was a diehard local, having grown up along the Emerald Coast. In all his days, he had never strayed far from the water. He couldn’t explain why. Something primitive anchored him here; something ancient. Perhaps it was the soothing ebb and flow of the Gulf. Perhaps it was just the fresh seafood.

Still, Burt was a shiftless drifter; routinely meandering from Ft. Walton to Destin to Panama City, and back again. But this 20-mile stretch of sugary beaches along 30A was his favorite.

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30A South Walton truman Finding Truman

The Truman House

By Laura Braune Smyer

For fifteen years after its inception, 30A’s quaintly idyllic beach community of Seaside was a little-known secret gem of a vacation spot along Florida’s Emerald Coast. But in 1996, the master-planned New Urbanist beach town hit the big time when it was chosen as the primary location for the filming of Jim Carrey’s next blockbuster, The Truman Show.

Acclaimed Director Peter Weir’s wife told him about Seaside, and he was immediately sold on the location. One of Seaside’s original homes — the perfectly precious yellow and white cottage at 31 Natchez Street — was well on its way to becoming perhaps the most recognizable building on 30A.

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In case you haven’t had time to enjoy a South Walton sunrise lately, we condensed this one down to 60 seconds for you…

Want to buy or sell something? Check out 30A Classifieds!

30A South Walton Blue Mountain Draper Biking Bike Path Etiquette   Your Guide to Biking Along Scenic Highway 30A

The 30A Bike Path Along Draper Lake

By Jenny Snelling Etheredge

It is no secret that the 30A Bike Path, also known as the Timpoochee Trail, is an amazing way to explore the unique coastline of South Walton via bicycle, foot, or any other preferred human-powered method.

Stretching 18 miles along the complete length of Scenic Highway 30A from Dune Allen to Inlet Beach, the bike path is paved and generally flat, making it an easy and fun experience for the whole family — furry friends included.

Following a few general guidelines while on the bike path will ensure an enjoyable experience for all trail users.

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30A South Walton hammerhead 960 The Facts About Sharks in South Walton

A hammerhead shark glides through shallow waters.

By David Demarest

Are there sharks gliding through the emerald clear waters off the coast of Scenic Highway 30A? You betcha. But 99 times out of 100, that shadow you see slipping through the shallow waters near the beach is something far less… toothy. And even if it is a shark, they’re certainly not interested in you.

In fact, according to the International Shark Attack File, there’s only been one documented shark attack in Walton County in the last 130 years!

Pods of filter feeding rays and dolphins are much more common here, while the truly lucky might even see a manatee making the slow transit between bays.

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