Grayton Beach State Park

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Grayton Beach State Park
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Map showing the location of Grayton Beach State Park
Map showing the location of Grayton Beach State Park
Location Walton County, Florida, USA
Nearest city Grayton Beach, Florida
Coordinates 30°18′14″N 86°04′44″W / 30.30389°N 86.07889°W / 30.30389; -86.07889Coordinates: 30°18′14″N 86°04′44″W / 30.30389°N 86.07889°W / 30.30389; -86.07889
Governing body Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Sugary white sand and clear emerald water are characteristic of the beach at Grayton Beach State Park.

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Grayton Beach State Park is a Florida State Park located between Panama City Beach and Destin, near the unincorporated area of Grayton Beach, on CR 30A, in northwestern Florida. Its sister park is Deer Lake State Park.

The 2,200 acres (9 km2) of land for the park was obtained from a lease from the Florida Board of Education in 1964 and opened in 1968. A separate unit of the park located one mile (1.6 km) west of the main park offers duplex cabins for rent and also has beach access.

About Grayton Beach[edit]

Grayton Beach State Park is one of the most popular parks in the state of Florida. Salt marshes, sea oat covered dunes, crystal-white sand, and beautiful blue-green waters make up this state park. Western Lake, the second largest coastal dune lake in the Florida Panhandle, is just one of the many coastal dune lakes that visitors see while driving down Scenic Highway 30A. This park also offers facilities for swimming, fishing, snorkeling, and camping. Grayton Beach provides visitors with lots of different activities. This park covers a 2,200 acre area. Included in this 2,200 acres there is plenty of space for RV and tent camping as well as 30 cabins accommodating up to six people.

Recreational activities[edit]

The park has such amenities as beaches, bicycling, birding, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, picnicking areas, swimming, wildlife viewing and full camping facilities.

History[edit]

According to the Coastal Heritage Preservation Foundation, in 1885 Army major, Charles T. Gray was the first to settle the land now known as Grayton Beach. During this time the federal government owned most of the land so very few people had a reason to even settle there. The soil was way too sandy for farmland, and better timber was located inland. The settlement that was closest to here was around 5 miles to the north. This settlement was located at Point Washington on Choctawhatchee Bay. In 1890 Army General William Miller and William Wilson became Gray’s neighbors. They mapped out where the newly found village’s streets and blocks would be constructed. They named the new area Grayton Beach, named after Charles T. Gray. In 1913, a man by the name of W. H. Butler and his son Van R. Butler made the day long trip from DeFuniak Springs to Grayton Beach. Soon thereafter the Butler family became the community’s leading promoter. In 1926 a major hurricane swept through the area resulting in Destin’s East Pass and leaving the beach wiped flat. This storm flattened most of the dunes, which left the beach flat. At the beginning of the 1930s Highway 98 was completed, Highway 331’s bridge was built, and the Intracoastal Waterway was cut right through Walton, which made Grayton Beach and South Walton(SoWal) County much easier for everyone to get to.

Present day Grayton Beach[edit]

Florida has kept Grayton Beach small by surrounding it with all park land. The state used land that it owned east of Grayton so that they could establish the Grayton Beach State Recreation Area in 1967. Florida purchased the village’s beach front, dunes, and forest land to the west and north, after they lobbied with residents for years. Grayton beach consistently remains ranked as one of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the United States.

References[edit]

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