Of the few places on earth that can hope to be called the garden of Eden, this little area, known as South Walton, along Scenic Highway 30A, clearly is one. A friendly little slice of heaven, it offers fresh air and new chances to be immersed in nature. Even though it features a bountiful 26 miles of pristine white-sand beaches, this special place goes the extra mile to include all! These seven beach accesses were designed with love and everyone's comfort in mind. Each one is unique in its own way. Ample parking, gentle ramps, and very accessible bathrooms make these spots some of the most friendly locations on the coast. Some even offer specially designed beach wheelchairs, with fat sand tires, that are available from and courtesy of the local South Walton Fire Department, swfd.org. Roll this way …
1. Miramar Regional Public Access
Miramar Beach sits square between Destin and 30A. Just like the rest of this magical area, this access is the perfect mix of raw natural beach with the excitement and the hustle and bustle. Here we have the, now world-famous, Pompano Joe's Seafood House and beachfront bar. The wheelchair-friendly access ramp snakes its way down to one of the most populated action-packed places around. Parasailing, jetski, and paddleboard rentals dot the shore. Off the shore, you can explore miles of smiles on Scenic Gulf Drive. Along this beautiful, vacation rental lined Gulf highway, there is a wide, paved path connecting this access with the areas best shopping and quaint cafes. It is very smooth, ideal for any type of wheelchair, electric, or user-powered. Bathrooms are located conveniently at the entrance to the beach access ramp. You'll love the Miramar access if you love action.
2. Dune Allen Regional Access
Quite the quiet opposite, the Dune Allen area, is a four-step slower pace than Miramar Beach. Defined by the large coastal dune lake that runs East to West along Scenic Highway 30A. The differences start with the distance. The access ramp here gently drops you just a couple of dozen feet from the Gulf's green waters – where you will find more nature than people. More giant blue herons, less giant blue college sports team themed umbrellas. This is the first wheelchair-friendly public access on 30A, and although it is an even match for smooth, paved paths to traverse, unlike the last offering, you really should bring water, beverages, and snacks. The bathrooms are closer to the parking in this local. Moving East, there are fewer options to stop for refreshments and restrooms, just something to keep in mind. The trade-off is worth it though if it's the serene natural beauty you are searching for.
3. Fort Panic Regional Beach Access
You can't beat this location for the vistas. From the moment you pull off 30A, you are greeted with wide, long ramps and easily traversed sidewalks. Bathrooms are on the East side of this beautiful, Dune Allen-adjacent access. Coming down to the beach, you'll enjoy long views of the Gulf of Mexico. This special place is home to a variety of indigenous birds, some are tiny like the Sand Piper, and others are quite grand like the large Blue Heron. So much to take in at this wheelchair-friendly beach access.
4. Ed Walline Regional Access
Scenic 30A is known for serine vistas and quiet natural beauty, but not all of the beauty here is quiet. Across the street from the relatively new oyster bar, live-music, beach-bar, restaurant Shunk Gully and the relatively timeless Santa Rosa Beach town center, outdoor arena, and East 30A's unofficial nerve center, Gulf Place, we find the amazing Ed Waline Access. It's truly one of the most amazing accesses out there, with lots of parking and a second-story observation deck. But let's talk accessibility; this location features interesting long mats, like thick beach carpets that bring you out even farther than the ramp structures you find at other accesses. Don't miss this spot if you want to roll out onto the beach with a cocktail to go and lively music in the background almost every night.
5. Van Ness Butler Jr Regional Access
Right in the heart of 30A, tucked between Seaside and WaterColor, perched on the high dunes, we find Van Ness Butler Jr Regional Access. The grand, wide ramp zigzags down to the sea, offering Instagramable photos, with bomb lighting, courtesy of mother nature, at every turn. The sunsets from high upon the ramp are stunning. Fitting, as you are now in one of the highest real estate markets in the United States. If you are planning a wheelchair beach convoy, this is the 30A access for you. Parking is phenomenal, with lots of spaces and places, not to mention you are sitting just feet from some of the finest dining areas in the area. There really is something for everyone here. There are hundreds of shady, tree-lined streets, forest paths, and sidewalks to explore off the beach.
6. Santa Clara Regional Beach Access
In Seagrove Beach, just about a mile East and featuring one of the beach's easiest pathways, we come to Santa Clara Regional Beach Access. Cowgirl Kitchen is very close by; you may want to stop in here for provisions, champagne, pimento cheese, or a coffee. Lots of unforgettable vistas featuring the remarkable local architecture are a feast for the eyes in this location. Large bathrooms here are in the center of the parking area, everything is easy to get to, and a very modern layout makes this the prettiest of all, but that's really for you to decide.
7. Inlet Beach Regional Access
By far, the most private, easily the most remote of the bunch, and with plenty of parking on the very far, East side of 30A is the Inlet Beach Regional Access. From this access, one can look out far to the West and see Miramar Beach and not too far to the East for a glimpse of Panama City Beach. Inlet Beach a great gateway location if you are staying farther East and you want to taste the nature and ambiance of 30A; it's only a 10-minute drive West of Pier Park. You will love the remote nature of this wheelchair-friendly beach access, very private – every parking spot faces South.
Finally, we need to mention Grayton Beach. Although it's not officially a South Walton accessible access it does have some interesting features that bear mention here. First and foremost the access to the beach is a long low ramp. It winds its way along parallel to a coastal dune lake outflow, making for some of the most scenic vistas anywhere in the world. Speaking of, Grayton Beach has consistently won awards for being the cleanest, best beach in the country. Add to all of this the hustle and bustle of the actual town of Grayton Beach, and you have a very special, very unique combination. One that will have you picking up drinks at the world-famous Red Bar and then rolling out onto one of the world's most beautiful beaches!
When your next trip to the beach includes your wheelchair or one belonging to someone you love, call Ocean Reef Resorts. We offer a wide variety of fully-accessible vacation rentals on 30A and in Destin. You'll be rolling onto the shore in no time!