South Walton is a destination to be enjoyed year-round
Words by Paige Townley
South Walton is synonymous with spring and summer, and for good reason. Nestled in Northwest Florida, South Walton is home to 26 miles of sugar-white sand, turquoise waters you can’t find anywhere else, and 16 neighborhoods—each boasting their own unique personality and style—just waiting to be explored. But this picturesque destination’s natural beauty and activities aren’t only made for warm weather—South Walton shines any time of year.
Situated in the Florida Panhandle, the weather in South Walton stays rather comfortable year round. That means outdoor activities can be enjoyed throughout the fall and even into winter, and the activities are abundant. There are the usual favorites like tennis, pickleball, and golf, but being a coastal destination, there are also a variety of water sports. Fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and even diving are always sought-after activities in South Walton, as are exploration of its rare coastal dune lakes. There are 15 named coastal dune lakes in Walton County, all irregularly shaped, shallow, and uniquely beautiful.
With nearly 40% of land in South Walton preserved for nature, there’s much more to exploration on land. A cool, crisp fall day is a great time for discovering the area’s 200-plus miles of hiking and biking trails, four state parks, and 15,000-acre state forest. A local favorite is Timpoochee Trail, a 19-mile trail with panoramic views ideal for cycling or running.
An activity all its own in South Walton is taking in the area’s culinary scene. With more than 200 restaurants spread across its 16 neighborhoods, practically any type of cuisine can be found, from high-end steakhouses to French-inspired bistros and, of course, southern fried goodness. That includes waterfront dining options featuring incredible views of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as local institutions that have been the favorites of residents for years. Regardless of the eatery in question, every dish is thoughtfully inspired highlighting the flavors of the coast. That includes fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood and locally-sourced ingredients, all of which is prepared by some of the finest chefs in the country.
Shopping and culture
What can’t be overlooked when planning any vacation are the opportunities to get out and experience the local culture, and throughout its 16 neighborhoods, South Walton has plenty. Interspersed among restaurants and luxury accommodations, the communities boast an eclectic mix of shops, art galleries, and unique boutiques, each offering something for the youngest of visitors to those simply young at heart.
Whether you’re seeking to plan your next family vacay, girls trip, or a couple’s getaway, South Walton’s the destination, and now’s the time to plan ahead for an extended stay this fall. To learn more, visit visitsouthwalton.com.