Redfish Lake, Florida

Quiet Days Atop Florida’s Redfish Lake

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I just returned last night from vacation with my family and a few friends on the Florida Panhandle. While we’ve traditionally stayed in Destin, we opted for a place in South Walton this time around. I have to say I prefer the quieter, serene environment to that of the overdeveloped landscape of its neighboring cities.

Redfish Lake, Florida

Redfish Lake, Florida
Redfish Lake, Florida

Our condo rental was in Blue Mountain Beach, fringed by Redfish Lake, which as its name suggests was teeming with fish, birds and other wildlife.

Redfish Lake, Florida

While it may not look like it above in the twilight glow, the lake water glows an almost unrealistic hue of red during daylight hours.

Redfish Lake, Florida

Redfish Lake, Florida

It gets its brackish color from the ocean water feeding into freshwater springs.

Redfish Lake, Florida

When we first started going to Destin 20-something years ago—before “skyscrapers” (of sorts) and development took over—this is what the area looked like.

Redfish Lake, Florida
Redfish Lake, Florida

We’ll be back in July, and already, I’m counting down the days.

Redfish Lake, Florida

COMMENTS
  • March 23, 2012
    JeJe

    Absolutely beautiful pictures! Can’t wait to go there myself!

    • March 23, 2012
      Kristin

      Hopefully, you’ll get the chance soon! =)

  • March 23, 2012

    While I know this article is not about Destin, it is the second time in about a month I have heard about it due to the weekly Friday travel blog round-ups. I am “destined” to make it there at some point in the near future if I can convince the rest of my family to stay away from Orlando. Maybe we will look into Redfish Lake too while we are there.

    • March 23, 2012
      Kristin

      I have probably been there 20 times in my life, and I’d have to tell you now to head east to the beaches of South Walton (Grayton, Blue Mountain, Rosemary, etc.) if you want to avoid the Destin crowds. I can’t believe how much the area has blown up just since I was last there in 2009.

  • March 23, 2012

    Another place to check out, added to my list!

  • March 23, 2012

    Lovely photos!!

  • March 23, 2012

    Now that looks like a serene place to relax by the water.

    My Great Aunt had a resort in Michigan on Brandywine Lake and the color reflected the name. Probably caused by iron.

    • March 23, 2012
      Kristin

      Sadly, I’ve never been to any of the Great Lakes or anywhere in Michigan outside of Detroit. I think I’d like it there a lot, though!

  • March 23, 2012

    Looks so peaceful and that’s my kind of vacation. Hope you had a fabulous time 🙂

    • March 23, 2012
      Kristin

      I did! Where are you guys headed when you go down to Florida in May? SO sad I’m missing you.

  • March 23, 2012

    What a beautiful spot! I had no idea that there were still quiet peaceful spots like that in Florida. It’s been a long time since we visited anywhere in Florida other than Orlando or St. Petersburg – clearly we should be branching out a bit. And you must come north to the Great Lakes region – so many beautiful spots for you to photograph!

    • March 24, 2012
      Kristin

      Orlando could not be more opposite than the South Walton beach areas! I’ve never been to St. Pete (I don’t think) or Naples and would like to hit both of them up at some point.

  • March 23, 2012

    Gorgeous photos, I am glad places like this still exist and can be retreated to for a few days of peace.

    • March 23, 2012
      Kristin

      Which is exactly why I am NOT going to write anywhere online where we stayed while in South Walton–I want to keep this place to myself, ha =)

  • March 23, 2012

    Really gorgeous shots! I love the reflection in the second one, and the cool effect with the brackish water.

  • March 24, 2012

    I love that first shot especially. I think I drove through Destin but don’t recall seeing South Walton. It looks like a really nice place to relax.

    • March 24, 2012
      Kristin

      South Walton is a 26-mile stretch of beaches to the east of Destin. If you headed out of the city on 98 toward Panama City, you would have passed through South Walton. It includes Santa Rosa Beach, Rosemary Beach, Grayton Beach, Watercolor, Blue Mountain, Seaside, Water Color and more. Great little coastal area!

  • March 24, 2012

    The only parts of Florida I’ve ever seen were crowded with tourists. Nice to know there are some lovely peaceful destinations.

  • March 24, 2012

    I’ve never been to that side of Florida. I have to go some day! Beautiful pictures – like always!

    • March 25, 2012
      Kristin

      It’s such a long drive for you–it’s quicker for me from Tennessee to get to the Panhandle than it is for you being in the same state. Florida is so massive!

  • March 24, 2012

    You always take such beautiful pictures. I’ve been to this area in Florida and absolutely loved it.

    • March 26, 2012
      Kristin

      Thanks, Nichole! It’s still one of my favorite places on Earth, despite all the other more exotic places I’ve been.

  • March 25, 2012

    My family and I went to Destin frequently when I was a kid, and I too have hated the overdevelopment of the area. That looks far more relaxing.

    • March 26, 2012
      Kristin

      And the nice thing about South Walton/the Grayton Beach area is that they have all these rules to protect against overdevelopment, so hopefully it will never get built up to nearly what Destin has become.

  • March 25, 2012

    Beautiful shots – I love the flip flops in the water shot. I just got back from the Destin/Fort Walton Beach area on Friday, but unfortunately it was a work trip which meant I spent most of the week in the office and NOT on the beach.

    • March 26, 2012
      Kristin

      Next time, you should stick around a couple extra days and head west for some R&R =)

  • March 25, 2012

    It looks so peaceful!

  • March 26, 2012
    SVV

    Lovely captures. My favorite is the bird feets.

  • March 27, 2012

    So glad you were able to enjoy the Beaches of South Walton! Destin is vastly different, but has much to offer. My family enjoys fishing, and boating on Crab Island. We live on 30A and love the peace and serenity that can be found in many of the area’s hidden gems. The restaurants and delicious food are wonderful perks! I have visited the area for 30 years, and fortunately claimed it as home about 15 years ago. The county’s 50ft. height restriction was important to me, as cluttered billboard signs and looming condo’s were not something I wanted in my backyard. If you haven’t visited Grayton Beach State Park or Topsail State Park, both on 30A, you might want to give it a go on your 21st visit! The beaches are a throw back in time, untouched and magnificent! Till then…Best!

    • April 12, 2012
      Kristin

      I did go to Grayton Beach State Park but didn’t have time for Topsail. I’ll have to check out your blog for more dining recs before I come back down in July!

  • March 27, 2012

    So pretty! One of the reasons I love the Outer Banks so much is because so much of it is still wild. The tourist hot spot beaches are fun sometimes, but I’m more for a relaxed state of wildness.

  • April 12, 2012

    Loved my visit to that area, I can’t believe I lived in Florida all my life and I had to wait till I was already traveling to come back and do some camping there. Some of the best sunsets I’ve ever shot were around there.
    Your photos are beautiful.

    • April 12, 2012
      Kristin

      It’s such a fantastic state. You’re lucky to live there! Maybe one day, we’ll have the good fortune of retiring in Florida, though that’s still a few years off 😉

  • April 12, 2012

    I fond this place really peaceful I live to visit places like this to spend good time.

  • April 13, 2012

    The color in the picture of the feet dipping into the water is spellbinding! If I can ask, did you do anything in particular to get the image to appear this way?

    • April 13, 2012
      Kristin

      I just took that with my iPhone, and I want to say I used a filter in Instagram? Can’t really remember, but the color of the water really does look like that in real life! It was insane–I’ve never before seen water that vivid a shade of rust.

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