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.
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.
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.
It gets its brackish color from the ocean water feeding into freshwater springs.
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.
Absolutely beautiful pictures! Can’t wait to go there myself!
Hopefully, you’ll get the chance soon! =)
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.
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.
Another place to check out, added to my list!
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.
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!
Looks so peaceful and that’s my kind of vacation. Hope you had a fabulous time 🙂
I did! Where are you guys headed when you go down to Florida in May? SO sad I’m missing you.
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!
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.
Gorgeous photos, I am glad places like this still exist and can be retreated to for a few days of peace.
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 =)
Really gorgeous shots! I love the reflection in the second one, and the cool effect with the brackish water.
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.
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!
The only parts of Florida I’ve ever seen were crowded with tourists. Nice to know there are some lovely peaceful destinations.
I’ve never been to that side of Florida. I have to go some day! Beautiful pictures – like always!
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!
You always take such beautiful pictures. I’ve been to this area in Florida and absolutely loved it.
Thanks, Nichole! It’s still one of my favorite places on Earth, despite all the other more exotic places I’ve been.
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.
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.
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.
Next time, you should stick around a couple extra days and head west for some R&R =)
It looks so peaceful!
Lovely captures. My favorite is the bird feets.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 😉
I fond this place really peaceful I live to visit places like this to spend good time.
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?
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.