A Guide to Hiking in South Walton, Florida - 30A


A Guide to Hiking in South Walton, Florida

By: Susan Vallee | Posted Dec 20, 2021

Do you feel like taking a break from the beach and heading out for a hike? Within South Walton are 200 miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through state forest, state parks and border 30A. Your efforts will be rewarded with serene views of coastal dune lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, scrub oak, longleaf pine flats and wetlands.

Remember to swap out flip flops for hiking shoes, and carry a bottle of water and a cell phone at all times.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

At the west end of Scenic Highway 30A are 1,600 acres of protected bald cypress swamps, sand dunes, beachfront and two freshwater coastal dune lakes. Seven trails within Topsail offer 13 miles of hiking, from paved paths to white sand (and difficult) paths. The Morris Lake Trail is difficult, but gives hikers the only chance to see one of South Walton’s rare coastal dune lakes. There are also five rare plant species that are only found within Topsail Hill.

A fee is required to enter the park.

Point Washington State Forest Trails

Point Washington, Florida ????️???? 30A

30A ????️???? visits Point Washington, a quiet wooded community of locals just north of Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A.

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Posted by 30A on Friday, 5 June 2020

The Point Washington State Forest system has more than 27 miles of trails that transverse the 15,000-acres. Trails vary from easy to difficult and will lead you through longleaf pine flat woods, sandhills, coastal scrub and wetland areas. Along the way you might see wild boar, deer, gopher tortoise, black bear or the rare white-topped pitcher plant. Some of these trails are isolated. Always carry water and a cell phone when hiking.

Grayton Beach State Recreation Area

Grayton Beach state park borders 30A (you can see it when you cross the Western Lake bridge by WaterColor) but its trails feel a thousand miles from civilization. For a nominal fee you can enjoy the solitude of the park’s two easy-to-moderate hiking trails. Be sure to look for the “Prayer of the Woods” that’s hidden beneath a dune canopy on the south side trail.

Deer Lake State Park

Deer Lake State Park, 30A, Florida

There’s simply no denying the jaw-dropping beauty ???? of Deer Lake State Park! LEARN MORE: https://30a.com/deer-lake-state-park

Posted by 30A on Monday, 27 January 2020

Deer Lake State Park is one of 30A’s best kept secrets. On the north side of 30A is a 1.5 mile nature trail, but the real treat is on the south side. Here you’ll find the most secluded public beach access along 30A. Limited car parking borders a public composting toilet. A shaded boardwalk turns to reveal magnificent dune views that seem to stretch on and on. The boardwalk is extremely long, but there are benches and a shaded area to sit mid-way. The beach is absolutely pristine and quiet. While you’re walking across the boardwalk keep your eyes out for the endangered beach mice. This area is where the mice were relocated when construction began in other areas along 30A.

WaterColor Hiking Trail

Did you know there is a gorgeous walking trail that circles part of Western Lake in WaterColor? You can access this trail (and find maps) by the wooden bridge next to the WaterColor Boat House. Take a camera because the trail features several beautiful bridges, views of wetlands and Western Lake.

Eden Gardens State Park

Eden Gardens State Park

Photo Credit: Lowell Gehman

Just north of Highway 98 in Point Washington is the breathtakingly beautiful Eden Gardens State Park. Home to a former lumber baron, the historic home of William Henry Wesley is available for tours throughout the week and houses the second largest collection of Louis XVI furniture in the country. Tours are offered Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. for an additional fee.

The grounds of Eden Gardens border the Choctawhatchee Bay and are landscaped with majestic oaks, rose gardens, camellias and azaleas. A short trail through the surrounding woods is well marked and offers Bayfront picnic tables and places to rest.

Beach Happy ????️ ???? visits Eden Gardens State Park

How many of you have been to Eden Gardens State Park ???? just north of Scenic 30A?

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Posted by 30A on Wednesday, 19 May 2021


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Susan Vallee is an award-winning journalist who has spent the past 20 years writing about the 30A area. She’s the author of the popular guidebook, “Meet Me on 30A,” a content creator, a published fiction writer and an editorial reader for the Peauxdunque Review, a literary magazine. She’s currently working on a few short fictional stories and a book proposal. You can follow her writing exploits on her occasionally-updated blog at susanvallee.com