Posted on 6/17/2022
For 40 years, our highly acclaimed Ocean Reef Resorts team has provided fine distinctive vacation rental properties to generations of guests. Parents brought their kids here years ago who have had their own kids, and now three generations of family members enjoy creating magical memories on our sugary shoreline every year. Our unique award-winning shimmering white beaches composed of pure quartz crystal and the glowing waters of the jewel-toned gulf are top attractions.
However, this area has some other precious natural treasures along the Emerald Coast in Northwest Florida! You have probably seen them, especially if you have traveled down Scenic 30A or stayed at one of our wonderful Panama City Beach vacation rentals. This stretch of gorgeous coastline includes over 15,000 acres of preserved forests and three state beach parks which contain several thousand more acres of pristine beauty. Many of them encompass particular natural treasures, rare exotic Coastal Dune Lakes! Besides here, such bodies of water are only found in only four other places on the planet, which include Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, and the state of Oregon. The lovely lakes along our coastline include artisan spring-fed water and connect to the salted gulf through creek-like tributaries. Ongoing tidal action mixes the two waters together, creating a unique salted fresh water mixture that supports abundant wildlife, a wide variety of fish, and waterfowl. There are a total of fifteen coastal dune lakes along the lovely 30A route, and three of them are located in state parks. They include the Topsail Hill Preserve, Grayton Beach State Park, and Deer Lake State Park.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park extends from near Sandestin in Miramar Beach all the way to the gulf along part of Scenic 30A at Dune Allen Beach. This park includes Stallworth, Campbell, and Morris Lakes, along with ancient primeval-looking forests as well as miles of soaring sand dunes along the beach.
Grayton Beach State Park
Grayton Beach State Park includes the windswept dunes and forested shores of Western Lake beside the gulf. This magnificent nationally renowned state park is in between Grayton Beach and the aptly named coastal village of Watercolor and provides a truly heavenly setting.
Deer Lake State Park
Indeed Lake Powell (also known as Powell Lake) is reported to be the largest coastal dune lake in the entire world and is certainly the biggest one not only in the state of Florida but throughout all of North America. If you have gone across the long bridge on Highway 98 that crosses over from Walton into Bay County, you have most assuredly seen it. You probably thought it was an expansive bay, but this is actually Lake Powell. It spans almost 800 acres and is bordered by the gulf, the coastal village of Carillon Beach, and Panama City Beach. Lake Powell wraps around The Camp Helen State Beach Park on the north side and the eastern edge, where the wide tributary connects to the gulf. This huge lake has been acclaimed with an “Outstanding Florida Waters” designation.
Camp Helen State Beach Park was originally purchased by an individual in 1928 as a family vacation retreat and then sold to the Avondale Textile Mill Company from Alabama to serve as a beach vacation destination for its lucky employees from 1945 till 1987. Afterward, it became a state park with 180 forested acres, which features the shores of the lovely coastal dune lake, sugary sand dunes, a bright beach, and the glittering gulf. The original beach lodge and a few other original buildings have been maintained there. Due to its unique history, it was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 2012. Besides the beautiful beach, the huge expanse of Lake Powell is the star of the show due to its unique habitat and wide array of wildlife. Several natural ecosystems along the lake include scrub oak areas, Flatwoods, and pristine marshlands. Nature trails meander throughout most of this park to explore its beauty. You may see Great White Heron, Snowy White Egrets, Pelicans, Ducks, Deer, Raccoons, Rabbits, and even some American Bald Eagles soaring overhead.
The tributary that connects across the white dunes into the gulf is quite a sight since, depending upon the tides, it flows in two different directions. When it’s approaching low tide, the water flows from the lake into the open gulf, and during high tide, it flows back from the gulf into the lake. Overnight camping is not allowed here since the park is only open from dawn till dusk. However, nature sightseeing, bird watching, swimming, boating, and fishing in designated areas are allowed. Many folks enjoy kayak, canoe, or paddleboard adventures while taking in the sensational scenery. Some use their own individual boats, but others rent them for short-term use in various places nearby. Motorized boats are not permitted on any of the coastal dune lakes in Walton County; however, Lake Powell in Bay County does allow them. The wide variety of fish that can be caught includes Bream, Bass, Pan Fish, Catfish, Flounder, Speckled Trout, and Mullet. Fishing Licenses are required in the state of Florida. Visitors may purchase a three-day pass for only $17.00, a seven-day pass for $30.00, and an annual pass for $47.00.
Ocean Reef Resorts has wonderful vacation rentals close to Lake Powell in Panama City Beach, Inlet Beach, and Carillon Beach. We also represent vacation properties near all the coastal dune lakes along Scenic 30A. They are located in Dune Allen, Blue Mountain Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Grayton Beach, Seagrove Beach, and Seacrest Beach. Each idyllic coastal village provides a delightful setting to enjoy time with family and friends at the beach as well as at a coastal dune lake of your choice.
Enjoy viewing vacation rentals here on our state-of-the-art, user-friendly website. You will find aerial views of each locale, vivid property images, detailed descriptions, seasonal rental rates, and calendar dates available to make your own reservation.