Scenic Highway 30A in South Walton is a wonderful world unto itself. Traveling about two miles east of Sandestin on the Emerald Coast Parkway, (aka Hwy 98), this scenic road jogs straight down towards the Gulf of Mexico where it then curves around Stalworth Lake and runs along the shore's edge all the way to Rosemary Beach. The curve in the road marks the location of Dune Allen Beach, a small enclave of residential single family and multifamily homes which have been around for decades. Some of the simple older homes were built in the fifties and sixties with brand new larger residences completed in recent years. Originally, Dune Allen Beach was home to workers from all over who settled there in the late 1800s to work in the lumber plantations that existed here at that time. Ocean Reef is pleased to offer some wonderful newer private vacation rental properties in this charming little enclave.
Dune Allen Beach is sandwiched in between Stalworth Lake which adjoins Topsail State Park and Oyster Lake which is shaped like...you guessed it...an oyster shell! Both of these coastal dune lakes are rare and precious because there are very few places in the world where they exist. Tides ebb and flow into these lakes from the Gulf periodically, creating an exotic environment for diverse flora and fauna. Amazingly enough, besides in South Walton, these lakes are only found in the Pacific Northwest, Madagascar, Australia and New Zealand.
There are three public beach access points in Dune Allen Beach. There is a small one at the western most edge at Stalworth Lake and another towards the east near Vizcaya, a Mediterranean inspired private residential community. The main beach access, complete with bathroom facilities is located near the center of the other two. The access point at Stalworth Lake is the smallest of the three with limited parking but if you are able to find a spot, it is well worth it. This walk-over connects to the beach near the lake and is right next to the expansive Topsail State Park. You can walk the beach here towards the west for almost three miles in almost complete isolation because it has been a well kept secret. Towering dunes run along the north side of the shore which is protected from pedestrian traffic. However, the beach itself is wide open and the undeveloped landscape is awesome. If you wish to hike the interiors of this park, the main entrance nearby off 30A. Trails abound here which meander around more coastal dune lakes, the largest of which are the Campbell and Morris Lakes. The vast, unspoiled forests which surround them have an almost primeval look and sometimes you can even see deer grazing on the dunes near the sea at dusk.
Dune Allen has two restaurants nearby. The newest is called Vue on 30A which is part of the old, established Santa Rosa Beach Club with an eighteen hole golf course that has been described by Golf Magazine as “the purest golf on the Florida panhandle.” Both the restaurant and golf course are open to the public but do have private memberships. Vue on 30A is brand new with renovations just recently completed. The official grand opening was scheduled on April 4, 2011. It features Floridian as well as Caribbean beach cuisine and offers superb views down across the beach below. An ultra modern cocktail lounge displays decorative lighting and comfortable furnishings. The elegant dining room has a wall of windows that look out upon the shimmering, jewel toned waters of the Gulf. There is also a large outdoor terrace with seating around a pool which has made this place a popular destination for beach wedding receptions in years past.
Another popular restaurant is called Stinky's Fish Camp. Despite the strange name, this rustic looking place serves fresh seafood and specializes in locally caught fish which are displayed daily on a chalk board. Stinky's looks like an old Southern fish camp too with lots of wood, high ceilings and simple tables. There is a wide selection of beer and an ample variety of wine. Besides their dinner specials, many locals flock here for their lunches which include seafood Po' Boy sandwiches and a special salad. Oysters are served day and night with ten different recipes. These include style variations such as Ceviche', Bienville, Rockerfeller, Gratin and even Champagne Broiled. Since Dune Allen is such a small area, most of Ocean Reef Resort's vacation rental properties are within walking distance to these two restaurants.
If you want to stay beach side here, we offer Dune Vista. This 5,600 square foot home has five bedrooms, four and one half baths and can sleep up to fourteen. Dune Vista is contemporary in design and comfortable by furnishings. Downstairs is perfect for all the kids, their friends and cousins. There are two twin bunk rooms with their own living play area, a sofa bed and a mini kitchen. The large, private swimming pool is at this same level making a quick dip after visiting the Gulf ever so easy. On the second floor are two more guest rooms and one of two Master bedroom suites. On the top floor is the main living area with high beamed, cathedral ceilings, a slate fireplace, and rich looking Brazilian Cherry cabinetry in the state of the art kitchen. Another Master bedroom suite is located on this floor as well with a steam shower and deep tub for relaxation.
Just eighty yards from the Gulf's edge across Scenic 30A in Dune Allen is Laffy Taffy. This bright and cheery three story home has three bedrooms, two and one half baths and can sleep up to eight. The yellow exteriors are accented by white trim with a picket fence out front that provides a warm, nostalgic feel. The porch has square columns that go up to one of two balconies which are accessible. The rich, comfortable surroundings on the main level includes an overstuffed couch with chairs in the living area, a dining room for six and a breakfast bar for three more in the open kitchen. Upstairs are two guest bedrooms with a shared balcony and bath. This level also includes an additional Master Suite with a private balcony and bathroom. The third floor is a delightful “crow's nest” with a den, sofa bed, half bath and its own viewing balcony for beautiful vista views.
Footprints in the Sand is a contemporary four bedroom, four bath home that can sleep up to sixteen. This tall, three story home also has views of the Gulf across from a picturesque, Mediterranean inspired, gated community. It is within easy walking distance of the aforementioned Vue on 30A restaurant. The main level has honey blonde colored wood flooring accented by comfortable chocolate brown furnishings. A beautiful open kitchen has gleaming stainless steel appliances, a table top state of the art range, granite counter tops and four stools at the breakfast bar. A big squared, solid wood dining table next to the kitchen seats eight. Bedrooms are located on all three floors with double bunk beds on the first, a guest room on the second and two more including the Master Suite on the third.
Sandy Shoes is a three bedroom, four bath private townhome that is located in beautiful, tranquil wooded surroundings on Oyster Lake with views of the Gulf in the distance. The first floor has a den, (or playroom perfect for the kids), with a pullout sleeper sofa and shower bathroom. The second floor has the main living area with pretty views through the trees of Oyster Lake and a long balcony for enjoying ocean breezes and a cool drink. There is a white, bright kitchen with a side bar containing four seats and a cute corner niche with a dining table with four more. A guest bedroom with a queen sized bed is also on this floor with a bathroom that doubles as a powder room. Upstairs are two more bedrooms which are beautifully appointed, each with king sized beds and a private bath. The Master bedroom has lots of windows looking out onto a great, covered balcony with lake views through the forest.
Nearby is Haven by the Lake which is a larger version of the other with four bedrooms and four bathrooms located directly on the lake and can accommodate up to twelve. Both of these units have access to the large, oval shaped pool that is centered perfectly between the trees for views of the water. There is even a little dock for the complex on Oyster Lake and kids can fish or wind surf across it on a windy day.
Ocean Reef also has other single and double duplexes in Dune Allen Beach at this location called Sand D Breeze A and Sand D Breeze B. They share the same tranquil surroundings near the lake but have a different style. Each has a garage below with full frontal balconies on the second and third floor levels. There are lots of windows for light and views, high ceilings, tiled floors in the main living areas with carpeting in the bedrooms. The open kitchens have a square island for plenty of counter space and can seat four. Adjacent dining areas accommodate six to eight. The single duplexes have four bedrooms and four baths which can sleep up to twelve including all the sofa beds. We have a side by side duplex called Sand D Breeze as well which can be rented as a whole so that it can sleep up to twenty-four! This unit has been a popular destination for family reunions and wedding parties since you can use one side for the bride's family and the other side for the groom's.
No matter what your plans may be, here at Ocean Reef we are pleased to offer such a nice range of choices for private vacation rentals here in the charming little enclave known as Dune Allen Beach. We look forward to seeing you soon!