City Profile: South Walton

By: VISIT FLORIDA staff

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South Walton's 15 beach communities are pristine, unspoiled and surrounded by acres of protected land where wildlife can be spotted.

Imagine a place where time stands still and the brush of waves against the shore is the only sound for miles. Where loggerhead sea turtles nest among dunes while visitors bask on white sand. Where cypress marshes and freshwater lakes are framed by the shade of century-old live oaks. This place exists. And it's closer than you think. It's South Walton in Northwest Florida.

While it may be tempting to spend all of your time stretched out on the clean, sugar white beaches, what lies beyond the dunes is just as treasured by visitors. South Walton's 16 beach communities are recognized for their pristine, unspoiled beauty. Approximately 40 percent of South Walton's 56,000 acres is owned by the State of Florida and thus is protected from future development. That's an amazing 25,000 acres of untouched property where native wildlife such as deer and fox and endangered species like the Gopher Tortoise and the Red Cockaded Woodpecker call home.

This easygoing region celebrates a richly diverse palette of art and culture. That's because people of many interests live side by side, their traditions merging to create an artistic community of neighborhoods that offer incredible energy and fascinating contrasts. So take a stroll down the winding streets of Rosemary Beach and get a feel for the neighborhood and local lore. Or peruse the galleries throughout the area -- from funk to fine art - and then take in a festival. This delightful series of hamlets offers everything from historic main avenues and relic railroads to artsy urban street painting and indulgent wine tastings.

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