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South Walton County Beaches - The Gulf Coast
By Kenneth Ng

Between Panama City Beach and Destin, skip Hwy 98 in favor of one of the most enchanting, slightly surreal, drives in Florida; the so-(aptly)-called Scenic Hwy 30A. This 18-miles stretch of road hugs what's referred to as the emerald coast because of it's almost fluorescent, gem-colored waters lapping brilliant white beaches of ground quartz crystals swept down over centuries from the Appalachian Mountains and bleached and polished by the surf before washing back onto shore.

Leading off Scenic Hwy 30A are pristine-wild pack lands, pastel timber cottaged villages and, until you get to the end, not a high-rise in sight. There's much more seamless integration with the natural environment than you'll find elsewhere on the coast.

South Walton County's beaches begin around 17 miles west of Panama City 18.5 miles, with 9.4 miles of connector roads providing access north to Hwy 98 and across Chrostawhatchee Bay. A total of 26 miles scoops up all of the county beaches, commonly, referred to as the Beaches of South Walton.

The region is made up of 13 mostly new, some elite, individual hamlets. Running east to west you'll travel through Inlet Beach, at the start of Scenic Hwy 30A; wild rosemary-swept. Rosemary Beach; Seacrest, home to the idyllic Deer Lake State Park; the residential Seagrove Beach; the picture perfect village of Seaside; the whimsically named community of Watercolor; century-old beach, Grayton Beach, with paradisaical camping; the Gulf's highest point, Blue Mountain Beach, which conceals some artist's retreats; Santa Rosa Beach; and Dune Allen Beach. Scenic Hwy 30A then curves its way past Topsial Hill Preserve State Park and joins onto Hwy 98 (here its called Emerald Coast Pkwy), where you'll find the resort township of Sandestin, encompassing the waterside Baytowne Village. Miramar Beach and Seascape.

Thought it's a relatively short distance, allow at least an hour-and-a-half to drive even if you're not planning to stop as speed limits are low, kids and cars plentiful and sea views mesmerizing.

Author : Kenneth Ng

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Author Name : Kenneth Ng
Email : touristattractionguide@yahoo.com

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