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    Grayton Beach

    Local Haven for Chefs and Creatives

    Grayton Beach Sign

    Grayton Beach, one of the jewels of Old Florida’s coastal communities dotted along famous 30A on the Emerald Coast in Walton County, is truly a feast for the eyes.   Dr. Beach (Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman) voted Grayton Beach the most beautiful in the world in 1994 and 2020, and that’s saying something. 

    Origins of Grayton Beach

    In the late 1800s, there were no bridges or roads to get from there to here, just forest and dirt paths and sand dunes ending at the shimmering Gulf.  Army Major Charles T. Gray arrived and established a homestead in 1885, and 5 years later Army Generals William Miller and William Wilson moved here and mapped out the village.  They named it Grayton Beach after Charles Gray.

    The Butlers then came to town some years later, ended up renting out cabins to vacationers and building a general store where dances were held every Saturday.  It was the popular gathering place.  During the 50’s and 60’s the store was outfitted with a pinball machine and jukebox and the dancing continued.  After all those years, the Red Bar now sits on the site and remains a local icon you must visit while you’re in Grayton Beach.

    Grayton Water

    Malcolm Patterson, a long-time resident of Grayton Beach, came here as a young boy with his family as often as they were able to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the place.  “Grayton Beach has always been the apple of my eye, and always will be.”

    The Grayton Beach Recreation Area was established in 1967, and Grayton Beach is surrounded on the east, north, and west by state land, effectively keeping the village small.  It’s considered a funky and eclectic place now with artist shops, galleries, boutiques and plenty of places to enjoy the local cuisine, like Chiringo’s and the Grayton Seafood Company, the Grayton Beer Brew Pub, Nanbu Noodle Bar, and Hurricane Oyster Bar.

    Western Lake

    Within Grayton Beach and the park sits Western Lake a 100-acre dune lake, one of the Emerald Coast’s natural dune lakes where you can fish, kayak and paddleboard all the way to the Gulf if the outfall is flowing.  This dune lake, along with 14 more tucked in along 30A, are protected ecosystems found only in a few places around the world. The residents of Walton County and lovers of this pristine stretch of coastline fought hard to keep them as unspoiled as possible for future generations to enjoy.

    In the recreation area you can camp and enjoy glimpses of bald eagles, osprey, deer, turtles, even black bear, and sometimes a quick siting of the tiny Choctawhatchee beach mouse, a little guy who contributes to the health of the sea oats and flowers on the beach by scattering their seeds as he tunnels his way under the sand.

    The beach at Grayton is wide and the sugar white sand is firm and the light dancing on the water is mesmerizing.  Whether you’re lounging on the beach or walking along the water’s edge, the gentle swooshing of the lapping waves and the white foam tickling your toes calms your soul.   Lynne Tanner who has lived in Walton County since the mid-80s, describes the beach as “wide and flat and a joy to walk on.”

    One more thing Grayton Beach has that is unique – the fishing charter launches the fishing boats right off the beach into the surf.  You’ll be throwing your line in within a matter of minutes.

    Visiting Grayton Beach for the first time? CLICK HERE to check out Visit South Walton’s First Timer’s Guide.

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