I’ve been decidedly vague about where exactly we stayed while in Florida on Spring Break last month. Sometimes, you just want to keep places a secret for yourself, you know? What I will say is that it was just a couple miles from Grayton Beach, so we spent our nights out in the funky little coastal community.
It was very windy the whole time we were down there, as is often the case in northern Florida in March, so not a lot of time was enjoyed on the beach. Worry not: We made up for that in hours logged at the pool.
On the last afternoon there, I braved the pelting sand and drove out to the 2,000-acre Grayton Beach State Park alone to take a couple photos during golden hour. (Admission is $5 per car.) The tall grass perched atop marshland, protecting the wind-swept dunes, is worthy of a brief photo shoot, no matter the conditions.
Growing up we spent our family holidays elsewhere on the Panhandle—in Panama City or west in Destin usually—but as an adult, I like the sense of quiet and solitude Grayton Beach provides.
The last beach-goers were trickling out into the parking lots, their feet caked in wet sand, their cheeks tinged rose from a day spent under the hot sun.
And then…not a soul for miles.
And the sunset? All to myself. Just the way I like it.
Your pictures capture the spirit of one of my favorite places in the world…laid back, quiet, unassuming. I am going to have to plan the short drive over in the next couple of weeks. The pull is just too hard to ignore when I see pictures like these!
I just can’t believe this little slice of beach is located in the same bustling area as Destin!
These pictures are absolutely beautiful.
All of your pictures are great – they have a very dream-like quality to them. If you don’t mind me asking, how do you achieve this?
The two collages were taken with my Canon DSLR and post-processed in Lightroom. The sun was a bit high at the time, so I just tweaked the color and brightness a bit. The last four were taken with the Pro HDR app on my iPhone, so I didn’t have to do anything to them, just hold really still while the phone was analyzing the landscape!
Amazing that you got those last shots with your iPhone!
Owning an iPhone is making me lazy in my photography–I never want to haul around my DSLR and lenses anymore!
Lovely photos, and a nice post about Grayton Beach. Next time you’re in the area be sure to go back to the park & take the walking trail through the dunes and scrub oaks, it winds its way past the pine canopy on Western Lake. (That distinct grove of long-leaf pines you see when you pass the lake from the road side (CR 30A). A magical and inspiring place indeed!
Duly noted! I will be back in July, so I’ll definitely take your advice.
Good suggestion for a secluded and magical journey! Love that spot!
Reminds me of the coast in parts of Oregon.
One place I’ve never been! (Egads.) I mean, I’ve been to Portland and Bend, just not the coastal Pac Northwest.
Loved all the pictures, especially your “private” sunset
Gorgeous pictures – do you use an iPhone app to take the pics with or is that just the camera?
I usually just use the camera and then sometimes apply filters via Instagram (or post-process in Lightroom once I’ve uploaded them to my computer), but this time, they were all taken with the Pro HDR app. I love it, but you have to keep REALLY still and sometimes the colors look too fake.
I kind of like the way that the beach looks dark and desolate. It’s a nice change from the 50 million sunny, pretty beach pictures out there. Still beautiful, but in a different way.
These posts make me want to get out of my desk and head to the beach. Im actually going in a couple of hours even if it is just to walk around and get my toes in the water. iPhone pictures are great!! They need to fix the one from the iPad which is as good as the first iPhone cameras. Sometimes I take better pictures w the iPhone than with a camera. And there is instagram!!
How do I stop looking like a monster? Haha I’ve been meaning to ask you that and always forget!
Awesome sunset photos! I miss Florida – at times it was crazy (*cough* Miami), but there were some really peaceful areas as well.
Haha, yeah, Miami couldn’t be any different from Grayton Beach! Though I do love both places for very different reasons.
Family in FL and a lonesome sunset beach can’t get much better. Well, maybe not quite so much wind.
And maybe a fruity drink in hand. I like me some fruity drinks.
I have the same question one of the other commenters did: how do you achieve that dreamy look in your photos?
For the collages: post-processing in Lightroom (I edit nearly all my photos in it). For the four iPhone photos: the Pro HDR app.
I love that Florida still has some uncrowded and peaceful beaches. Love the photos and makes me miss home & spring breaks at the same time. Love the iPhone photos, too!
You come from a great state! Maybe one day–er, FAR in the future–I’ll retire down there =)
Every day I am more and more amazed by the iPhone this little thing is amazing!
Ditto! I’ve started using the Pro HDR app more and more, and the outcome is just amazing.
Absolutely gorgeous shots! I’m actually considering investing in equipment for my iPhone!!!
Not uncommon. I spoke at a blogging conference last month where a lot of people had lens attachments. I just fear that that would give me enough reason to ditch my DSLRs and multiple lenses entirely, and well, I’ve invested too much money over the years to do that =)
Incredible photos! I have a BlackBerry and covet the photo capabilities of the iPhone. Sadly while my work plan gives me a free BB, the iPhone would run me $500. For that price I’ll just keep coveting.
i want to go to florida really bad!! love these pics!
Fair enough too. If everyone knew about it would be nearly as perfect. Pristine and beautiful
Beautiful pictures. Naturally beautiful sceneries I’ve seen. Thanks for the share. Your blog is a good read today. =)
Seems like one of those picturesque towns with the long walks to the beach and the perfect sunny and sandy days that last for hours. This is what I love about Florida, they have so many of these towns, hard not to enjoy. I was just in my favorite, Palm Bay! Quaint and elegant, it’s precious. Stayed at the Palm Bay Hotel (www.palmbay-hotel.com), inexpensive and lots of charm!
No No NO! Don’t tell anyone about Grayton and the Red Bar :). It’s my favorite beach when I head stateside! I love the old Florida vibe..looks like you did too!