Walton County Acquires More Land for Public Beach Access

Image courtesy Tourist Development Council, Walton County

The Walton County Board of County Commissioners recently approved Visit South Walton‘s purchase of a new beachfront parcel for $1,537,500. The final price was $50,000 below the property’s average appraised value.

The property – located in Miramar Beach at 907 Scenic Gulf Drive – is directly adjacent to property that was purchased by Visit South Walton earlier this year. A structure is also included with the new parcel, which will enable Visit South Walton to build a bathhouse facility there without limiting existing Gulf views. The new parcel expands the total frontage of the to-be-constructed regional beach access to 410 feet.

“This property adds beachfront to South Walton’s planned regional beach accesses,” said Visit South Walton Executive Director Jay Tusa. “Our goal is to ensure continued ease of beach access so both locals and visitors can experience our beautiful beaches.”

Miramar Beach

Since August 2016, Visit South Walton has purchased seven beachfront parcels for a total of 747 feet of beachfront, all to be used to create three new regional access points. They also purchased a 7.35-acre inland property that currently serves as additional parking in the Grayton Beach area. The total spend for these properties is $25.6 million.

When these new beachfront properties open to the public, South Walton’s total number of regional beach access points will increase from seven to ten.

Each regional beach access point features parking, bathroom facilities, and a lifeguard station. The three new regional beach access points will be located in Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach and Dune Allen Beach.

The new properties were purchased with – and will be maintained using – “bed tax” dollars, a 4 percent tax that’s collected on short-term rentals. Bed taxes for May 2017 are reportedly up 7 percent over the same time period in 2016, with the year-to-date total up 11 percent. Bed taxes provide a good indication of visitor demand, as they are influenced both by number of visitors and the average daily rates of short-term rentals.

For more information, visit VisitSouthWalton.com.