Media always says that any news…even bad news is good news. The only good news about the immense coverage we have had with the BP oil spill is that is has spotlighted our beautiful beaches into world wide media frenzy. Once the media actually took their cameras off the doom and gloom of the oil, they quickly saw how amazingly spectacular our beaches are. So spectacular that the recent media frenzy has garnered our area some great coverage.
One of the most recent is Santa Rosa Beach being named one of America's Best Little Beach Towns by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Another great featured article by Houston Style Magazine called Beaches of South Walton Offers Top 30 Reasons to Go Anyway with ‘Beyond the Beach’ Activities for Visitors.
Although I agree with most of the top 30 list…they did miss a few of our favorites:
1. Scalloping in St. Joe is a yearly MUST do favorite trip
2. Cycling, running, swimming and triathlons along the Emerald Coast attracts athletes from all over the world to compete in Ironman Florida Panama City Beach, Seaside Half Marathon, San Destin Triathlon and the Gulf Coast Triathlon. Our amazing weather offers some of the best landscapes for a competitive endurance athlete. There are events year round for every athlete.
3. Wild Blueberry picking at Daulphin Farm in Callaway. If you like blueberries, these are the BEST blueberries you can find. They are huge and as sweet as can can be.
Come on out and see what the fuss is about…one trip to Northwest Florida is all it took to get us out here permanently!
Here is the story below…
As the Gulf oil situation passes its 90th day, Beaches of South Walton, known for its emerald waters and white sand beaches, announces Top 30 Reasons to Go Anyway with unique ‘Beyond the Beach’ experiences for visitors regardless of beach conditions.
“Luckily, the impacts we have seen from the oil spill have been minor, and our 26-mile coastline has remained open for enjoyment from day one,” said Dawn Moliterno, executive director of Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council. “There are many reasons that our destination keeps visitors coming back every year and now is a great time to check out all those beyond the beach activities that make a vacation here such an unforgettable experience.”
Top 30 Reasons to Go Anyway
In Beaches of South Walton visitors can:
1. Rent a YOLO board , kayak or canoe to explore the bays and rare coastal dune lakes of Beaches of South Walton’s beautiful interior waterways. Beaches of South Walton is home to the world’s largest concentration of coastal dune lakes.
2. Take in a performance of the breathtaking Le Grande Cirque at Grand Boulevard in Sandestin, where champion international performers astound audiences with a fast-paced, heart-pounding spectacle suitable for the entire family.
3. Experience the many natural wonders of the area with a Certified Nature Based Outfitter who leads participants through the area’s nature lands showcases wildlife, ecosystems and historical elements of the Beaches of South Walton environment.
4. Rent bikes and tour Scenic Highway 30A—take in the beauty of the area’s rare coastal dune lakes, explore some of the area’s 15 communities, and stop in restaurants, shops and galleries.
5. Embark on a culinary experience unlike any other by attending a Culinary Gallery cooking class, or have an exquisite meal created in your kitchen by talented chef Philip McDonald from Table 5 .
6. Tour the towns of Rosemary Beach , WaterSound , Alys Beach , Seaside and others to see the breathtaking architecture inspired by the distinctive architectural styles of destinations such as the Caribbean, Antigua, Bermuda, old Florida and Cape Cod.
7. Zipline across the Village of Baytowne Wharf or try out the ropes course and tug boats in the Village’s “Adventure Zone” at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort , where you can also enjoy the many shopping, dining and nightlife opportunities the Village offers.
8. Visit the Seaside Farmer’s Market on Saturdays to choose from local produce, dairy, baked goods and other local specialties of the Beaches of South Walton.
9. See a show by the talented performers of the Seaside Repertory Theater for the theater’s10th anniversary season, with summer performances of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” “Charlotte’s Web,” “The Fisherman and His Wife,” “The Tempest,” “The Flaws” and more.
10. Be mesmerized by azaleas, camellias and moss-covered live oaks by spending the day at Eden State Gardens , which features the magnificent turn-of-the-century Wesley Mansion.
11. Hang out with a park ranger on Saturday morning for breakfast or explore the Topsail Hill Preserve State Park’s 1,600 acres of majestic pine forests, nature trails that cross over 25-foot-tall sand dunes and coastal dune lakes teeming with freshwater fish there for the taking.
12. Visit Grayton Beach State Park , which offers its visitors a host of activities beyond the beach including birding, wildlife watching, and hiking and biking along its four-mile nature trail.
13. Explore the more than 15,000 acres of Point Washington State Forest on horseback, foot or bike and see its many rare wildlife species among the sandhills, swamps, wet prairies and flatwoods.
14. Dive into the Beaches of South Walton’s rich art world by taking an art class taught by one of the area’s many talented artists or touring one of the galleries filled with work by local artists.
15. Take the kids to Jolee Island, located at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort , where they can play on the pirate ship-themed playground, parents can relax on porch swings and everyone can enjoy the nature trails overlooking spectacular views of Choctawhatchee Bay.
16. Grab binoculars and try to spot all the unique animals that call Beaches of South Walton home. With more than 40 percent of the area preserved as state parks and forests, bird and other wildlife watching is a favorite past-time.
17. Whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or somewhere in between, curb any craving at one of the countless restaurants unique to Beaches of South Walton, including the award-winning Bud & Alley’s , the iconic Red Bar , and the Old Florida Fish House .
18. Pick up a souvenir and admire the extensive collection of hand-blown glass jewelry, lighting and art from more than 200 artists at Fusion Art Glass , located in Sandestin and Seaside.
19. Shop at the nation’s largest designer outlet center, Silver Sands Factory Stores in Sandestin, and get great deals on clothing, accessories, home goods, shoes, electronics and more.
20. Be pampered at Serenity by the Sea day spa, or one of the many other spas in Beaches of South Walton, with a massage, facial, manicure or pedicure.
21. Attend one of the many free concerts and performances held all summer long at the Seaside Amphitheater.
22. Relax and recharge by taking a yoga class at Balance Health Studio , Grayton Beach Fitness , Rosemary Beach Fitness Center or one of the many other yoga and fitness centers around Beaches of South Walton.
23. Play a round – or two – of golf on one of the many golf courses found throughout the 15 communities of Beaches of South Walton.
24. Play tennis at one of the many resorts and racquet clubs scattered around Beaches of South Walton’s 15 communities, including TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort , rated a “Top U.S. Tennis Resort” by Tennis magazine.
25. Explore the rich history of Walton County in the town of DeFuniak Springs, founded in the early 1880s. Built around Lake DeFuniak, one of only two naturally occurring perfectly round lakes in the country, visitors explore historic buildings like Walton-DeFuniak Library, Hotel DeFuniak, Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood, Chautauqua Winter and the Chautauqua Theatre.
26. Take a relaxing guided horseback ride at Seaside Stables in Santa Rosa Beach where they offer beginner and advance riding sessions, and expert riders give riding lessons.
27. Be inspired in a class at Studio b with a creative course, where they offer a variety of creative courses on topics including cooking, drawing, photography, sculpting, painting, wine tasting, fashion design, digital art and much more.
28. Embark on a dinner cruise aboard the Solaris yacht from SunQuest Cruises , which features artfully prepared gourmet food and a full-service bar.
29. Take a short drive north to Morrison Springs, a popular diving area in Walton County, where you can enjoy a spring pool that produces 48 million gallons of crystal clear water daily. The recently redesigned park, now offers boardwalks overlooking the springs, boat ramp, picnic tables, and a diving dock.
30. Visit Perspicasity , the beachside clothing bazaar in Seaside, to shop the open-air cottages filled with clothes perfect for achieving the beach lifestyle.
In addition to the many beyond the beach activities, there are several events for visitors taking place in the coming weeks, including the following:
Late Summer and Early Fall Events
Sandestin Music Festival
Friday, August 13 and Saturday, August 14, 2010
Join us for a “little bit of country, a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll and a whole lotta sunshine” the weekend of August 13-14 during the inaugural Sandestin Music Festival. Featuring performances by some of the biggest names in the country and rock music industry and FREE for guests with a printed ticket from the website. http://www.sandestinmusicfestival.com/
Stories by the Sea
4 p.m., Monday-Friday until August 13, 2010
Treat your kids to a daily dose of storytelling in Seaside, as Seaside Repertory actors interpret classic fairy tales with their own improvisational twist.
Le Grand Cirque Performances
All Summer until Sunday, August 15, 2010
Enjoy the breathtaking Le Grand Cirque performances at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, where champion international performers astound audiences with a fast-paced, heart-pounding spectacle suitable for the entire family, running through August 15. www.cirquedestin.com
24th Annual Sandestin Triathlon
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Put your fitness to the test against a beautiful beachside backdrop in the 24th annual Sandestin Triathlon on Saturday, August 21. http://www.sandestin.com/ExploreSandestin/SpecialEvents/Triathlon.aspx
Santa Rosa Beach 100th Birthday Party
Saturday, September 11 and Sunday, September 12, 2010
Celebrate with Santa Rosa Beach as we honor its centennial anniversary throughout the month of September.
To keep visitors informed about beach conditions, Beaches of South Walton continues to post twice daily updates and images of the status of its coastline on www.BSWUpdate.com .
For more information about Beaches of South Walton, please visit www.BeachesofSouthWalton.com or contact the Visitor’s Center at (800) 822-6877.