Ocean Reef wants to be the first to welcome all our new arrivals to paradise. Our regular return guests already know a little known secret, that South Walton County is blessed to have the purest, whitest beaches in the entire world! The beaches here have been compared to the color of sugar, baby powder and even Summer snow. Actually, the sand is white quartz crystal originally pushed down from the Appalachian Mountains and ground down through the ages to white powder. The reflection of the sunlight through the crystal clear water produces a dazzling effect that ranges in color from turquoise to mostly a radiant emerald green. That is why this twenty-six mile stretch from Destin to Panama City Beach is known as The Emerald Coast. This beautiful, unique coast has only been developed in recent years and is considered to be one of Florida's last true frontiers. Scenic Highway 30A transverses most of this stretch of sand towards the east with Scenic Gulf Drive in Miramar Beach running beside the jewel toned water's edge towards the west. Ocean Reef Resorts is proud to have our offices conveniently located at both ends of this tropical paradise. Our main office is less than one mile west of the world renowned Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort on the Emerald Coast Parkway in Miramar Beach. Our South Walton office is located on the eastern edge of Scenic Highway 30A in Seacrest Beach.
South Walton includes over 225,000 acres of state parks, forest preserves and gulf front beaches along the national seashore. Literally miles of undeveloped, pristine beaches run along the coast with sandy forest trails that lead to secluded inland lagoons and lakes. Along the Gulf there are rare and precious Coastal Dune Lakes that ebb and flow with changing tides which provide an ever changing mosaic of natural beauty as well as abundant wildlife. There are only four other specific places in the entire world where this occurs and the Emerald Coast is blessed to be one of them. The Lakes run the entire length of the adjoining beach bordered by forests and dunes. The largest of these are located in state parks which include Topsail, Grayton Beach and Deer Lake along 30A. Not surprisingly, these same parks consistently rank as among the most beautiful in the nation per annual published surveys. Paved bike trails connect each end of the county which run along the highway's scenic countryside through charming, picture perfect towns and villages. Ocean Reef offers a huge variety of pleasing, vacation rentals in South Walton including the communities of Miramar Beach, Dune Allen, Santa Rosa Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Seagrove Beach and Seacrest.
If you're looking for action as well as recreation, Miramar Beach has it all. The prestigious, gated Sandestin is famous for its 2,400 acre resort which extends across the peninsula from the gulf to the south, all the way to the Choctawhatchee Bay. This bay is five miles across from the mainland to the north and competes for awesome views across the water with its sister's gulf shore to the south. Sandestin has four world class golf courses which meander across the entire resort. A big marina is located on the bay side at the relatively new Village of Baytowne Wharf. It was deliberately designed to look like a colonial harbor town with southern, New Orleans inspired architecture. This charming village borders the water and you can walk there through an unlighted forest if you enter it from the marina, although parking is available on site. The long wharf at the end of the village looks out towards the west which provides awesome sunsets over the water during the summer. Restaurants, retail shops and live entertainment abound here as well as on the upscale Grand Boulevard which serves as Sandestin's main town center. Besides properties here, we also have luxury high rise condominiums, cozy cottages and beach front mansions available for your use along Scenic Gulf Drive. This two lane road was formerly Highway 98 and runs along the shore from Miramar Beach to Destin. Besides the lovely lifestyle amenities offered here, Miramar Beach is also a popular shopping mecca with the convenient location of Silver Sands, the nation's largest Designer Outlet for clothing and more.
Going east from Miramar Beach to Scenic Highway 30A you come across the small residential enclave of Dune Allen Beach. This was originally settled as part of a lumber plantation in the late 1800s. Although the original buildings no longer exist, it was rediscovered in the 1940s as family's began to build beach homes here. Little Dune Allen has a lovely location, sandwiched in between Oyster and Stallworth Lakes on a narrow stretch of sand which also borders Topsail State Park. At Topsail you may walk along three miles of beach in isolated splendor between the towering dunes and the shimmering gulf. Inland there are two large coastal dune lakes named Campbell and Morris. Raised boardwalk type trails lead you through an almost primaeval setting of undisturbed forest around the two bountiful lakes. Here in Dune Allen we offer everything from a 5,600 square foot, five bedroom contemporary beach house to Mediterranean and new “Old Florida” styled residences or town homes.
Right next door towards the east is Santa Rosa Beach. This town was also originally part of an old timber plantation. It sits perched high upon some dunes that look down on the beach below with breath taking views across the jeweled waters that extend all the way to the southern horizon. Santa Rosa Beach is home to Gulf Place, a colorful collection of art galleries, retail shops, casual family restaurants and delightful vacation rental residences. These all wrap around an expansive town green that contains an outdoor amphitheatre which serves as a focal point for a multitude of art festivals and live entertainment. Musical concerts include the annual 30A Songwriter's Festival which is popular and very well attended. Multiple pools, tennis courts, splashing fountains and a lovely lagoon complete the landscaped setting. Here we offer chic, contemporary styled condos as well as giant Mediterranean styled mansions right on the beach. The latter of these, Salt Air and Blessings have become a favorite spot for wonderful weddings on the beach and have been featured in other articles.
A short drive through the rolling hills towards the east leads you to the residential colony of Blue Mountain Beach which sits on one of the highest elevations on the entire Gulf of Mexico. It was named by early Spanish explorers who spotted it from far out in the gulf back in the 1500s. Rising out of the otherwise flat Florida coast, the hills were covered by indigenous Blue Lupine flowers which still grow there today. Since the sailors did not venture close by, they marked their maps with what they thought they saw...a Blue Mountain Beach! Today this unique place has a kind of northern California lifestyle with a distinct Southern charm. The rolling, forested hills and dunes rise up above the clean “Blue Wave” designated beaches from twenty-five to seventy-five feet in height. Blue Mountain Beach is home to South Walton's first health store called, appropriately enough, For the Health of It. They offer organic foods, a refreshing natural juice bar, aroma therapy and of course, massage. Next door is Big Daddy's Bike Rentals so that guests can take advantage of the miles upon miles of scenic trails. Across the street is Sally's by the Seashore which serves yummy country breakfasts and great coffee. Behind the store is Sally's Back Side which is a particular favorite among locals. This fun, somewhat funky bar has regular live entertainment and a lot of high jinks. It also specializes in tantalizing, savory BBQ. Blue Mountain Beach is also the home to the nationally acclaimed artist, Justin Gaffrey who creates colorful, almost 3D styled, floral oil paintings in his studio which is open to the public.
A little further down the road as you continue east you will get a stunning view of Grayton Beach State Park as you cross the isthmus at Western Lake. On the other side of Watercolor and the iconic Seaside, you will come into Seagrove Beach. This is the oldest established community along Scenic Highway 30A and started to attract tourists more than seventy years ago. It is comprised of quaint cottages as well as newly completed, luxurious condominiums and opulent beach homes that are available for as private vacation rentals. Seagrove Beach was named after the thick groves of Live Oak trees that predominates this area which also sits along the dunes. There are a number of restaurants, art galleries, antique stores and popular bars that have live bands on a regular basis. Seagrove Beach borders Eastern Lake and is only a short distance from Deer Lake. These areas provide serene sanctuaries for woodland hikes, kayak rides and walks along the sugary South Walton beach. Wild life is abundant here. You might even spot some deer grazing along the dunes at twilight with the Gulf serving as a majestic back drop.
If you are seeking serenity, Seacrest Beach is also nearby. Seacrest Beach is at the far eastern edge of 30A and Ocean Reef's South Walton office is located here for convenience. The laid back lifestyle here is readily apparent as soon as you enter this casual community. You are welcomed by “Seacrest Beach” signs at each end of “town” that are posted on a big life guard platform. This pre-planned, residential vacation rental community was established in 1996 and contains an enormous, 12,000 square foot swimming pool, this watery and lushly landscaped oasis is centered within the residential area. All of the pools interconnect in a luxurious, lagoon setting complete with waterfalls and a giant misting fountain. As they say, “life doesn't get much better than this.” Here in Seacrest Beach we offer everything from a nine bedroom, beachfront mansion with dazzling views of the gulf to romantic, Art Deco inspired one bedroom condominiums. We also have a great selection of Florida styled homes with tall ceilings, breezy balconies and wrap around porches that front flowered yards with picket fences. Shops and fine restaurants are within walking distance of Seacrest in the European styled, Village of South Walton complex next door as well as the Dutch Indies inspired Rosemary Beach.
We hope you have enjoyed our brief tour of the South Walton Beaches. Now you may find or rediscover your own little piece of paradise, here among the most beautiful beaches in the world. Every town and village has its own individual personality just like. Ocean Reef has property available for any occasion whether a special wedding, romantic anniversary, fun family vacation, reunion with friends or a much needed, soul invigorating respite. You may choose the one place that feels best in order to create the happy memories of tomorrow while you can do it today. Enjoy perusing our friendly website to find a private rental property that will suit the needs of family and friends. It gives us great pleasure here at Ocean Reef Resorts that our “paradise found” can now become your paradise shared!