Your Guide to Exploring Florida’s Best-Kept Secret

Located between Panama City Beach and Pensacola, the perfectly planned communities of South Walton, Florida are what Fathom.com deems, “the Hamptons of the South.” In their Travel Guide, Fathom outlines everything you need to see and do to experience the very best the area has to offer. Here are some of our favorites:

Things to do in South Walton

Go to the beach.

If you only do one thing, Fathom writes, go to the beach. There are eight public beach entry points in South Walton, but many rental homes will usually offer access to that neighborhood’s private beach. This Emerald Coast town lives up to the hype with calm, Gulf waters and sugar-white sand you can dig your toes right into with the family.

Explore the State Parks.

Forty percent of the land in South Walton is protected by the state of Florida. There are four state parks and one 15,000-acre state forest, which Fathom explains is home to diverse wildlife and hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails and the rare-to-find yet beautiful coastal dune lakes.

Stroll the towns.

All of South Walton’s planned towns are unique. Fathom points to Rosemary Beach and Seaside as the easiest to explore, with pedestrian-friendly, lively downtown areas filled with shops and restaurants and nearby residential streets for wandering. Visit Grayton Beach too, home to Grayton Beach State Park, the Shops of Grayton and funky dives like The Red Bar and Hurricane Oyster Bar.

Try stand-up paddleboarding.

What Fathom argues might as well be the official sport in South Walton, stand-up paddleboarding is a favorite activity among locals and visitors alike. It’s the best way to explore the area’s dune lakes, as you drift past seagrass marshes and rolling, white sand dunes.

Visit the art galleries.

South Walton is home to a vibrant artistic community, from glasswork to funky, recycled 3D wall art. You’ll also find artists who paint gorgeous, textured works depicting South Walton’s local wildlife and gulf coast landscapes. Find a gorgeous piece to bring back home as a souvenir.

Read the rest of Fathom’s detailed guide to plan your next South Walton beach vacation, and browse vacation rental homes with private pools, beach access, full kitchens and more.