Many have visited scenic 30A along the Emerald Coast and have enjoyed the beautiful sugar sand beaches, and clear gulf waters. This unique stretch of land from Rosemary Beach to Santa Rosa is only 24 miles long, but did you know there are 4 State parks along that 24-mile stretch? If you haven’t visited them, you are missing out. Each one is different and unique, but all have stunning landscapes and serene spots to take in the natural surroundings. From the coastal dune lakes and saltwater marshes to massive sand dunes and winding nature trails through scrub oak forests, these 4 State parks should be at the top of your “must see” list.
At the far East end of 30A in Inlet Beach, is Camp Helen State Park. Bordering the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Powell, one of the largest coastal dune lakes in Florida, Camp Helen offers many outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Just a short distance West on 30A, is Deer Lake State Park. This beautiful, 1,920-acre State Park borders the Gulf of Mexico and Deer Lake, one of the 15 coastal dune lakes in Walton County. Newly renovated, this state park has picnic areas, hiking trails and a long high boardwalk that stretches hundreds of yards over the dunes to access the beach.
As you go West on 30A, you’ll reach Grayton Beach State Park and my personal favorite. Home to the 100-acre Western Lake, another coastal dune lake, Grayton Beach State Park is idyllic. It also has massive dunes, hiking trails, canoeing, kayaking, boat ramp, and a beautiful beach. There’s camping and cabins to rent at the park.
Topsail State Park is at the far West end of 30A in Santa Rosa Beach and is more like a resort than a state park. It has campground, bungalows, swimming pool, tennis and shuffleboard courts and of course hiking trails, bike paths, and 3.2 miles of beaches. They even have a tram service that picks up throughout the park.
Each park holds events throughout the year and sowal.com is a great website for information about the parks and all of 30A. There’s so much to do and see within these 24 miles of land and we hope you plan to visit one or more of these beautiful state parks on your next trip to 30A. You won’t regret it.
Did you know that coastal dune lakes are rare and found only in a handful of locations around the world?
In the United States these coastal dune lakes can be found in Oregon, South Carolina and here on 30A. From Dune Allen to Inlet Beach, there are 15 of these beauties and something you won’t want to miss on your next trip to 30A.
What’s a coastal dune lake? It’s a shallow, permanent body of water that forms along a coast where fresh water and salt water are exchanged. Most of the water in these lakes come from ground water seepage from the coastal sand dunes surrounding them. The rest comes from rain, streams, and storm surges.
These beautiful lakes are home to a variety of plants and animal species including the Little Blue Heron and the North American river otter, and there are many opportunities to see them along the hiking paths or while enjoying the outdoor activities available on them. Surround yourself in nature and take in the sites that these rare coastal lakes offer with a kayaking or paddle boarding excursion. The largest coast dune lake on 30A, is Lake Powell, located in Inlet Beach Here you can also, motorboat and jet ski.
Next time you’re visiting the Emerald Coast, don’t just hang out on the sugar white sands, check out these beautiful coastal dune lakes. You won’t regret it.