Grayton Beach State Park Ranked #6 in 2016 by Dr. Beach
By enjoyFloridaBeaches.com Staff July 23, 2017
With its powdery white sand, striking dunes, clear emerald water, and a multitude of recreational activities, it’s no surprise Grayton Beach State Park made Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches list in 2016. In fact, Grayton consistently ranks as one of the best beaches in the U.S.
So, what sets Grayton Beach State Park apart from other beaches?
Soft Sand and Blue-Green Water
Located on Florida’s tropical Panhandle, Grayton Beach State Park offers a stunning visual experience, mostly because of its beautiful sand and water. The beach is known for its soft, sugar-white sand, which is perfect for sunbathing, shelling, and all sorts of beach activities. It also has gorgeous, clear, emerald water with small waves, making it great for swimmers of all ages.
One of the best features of Grayton Beach State Park is its unusual landscape, particularly around Western Lake.
At 100 acres in size, Western Lake is the second largest coastal dune lake on the Florida Panhandle. It’s part of a 26-mile stretch of coastal dune lakes found here in Walton County and also found in Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, and Oregon.
With its twisted, bent scrub oaks and magnolia trees, the area around the lake has an almost otherworldly feel. The park also contains salt marshes and dunes draped with sea oats. All of these elements make the park’s ecosystem unique from any other in the world.
Proximity to Restaurants and Shops
One of Grayton Beach State Park’s best attributes is that it is relatively unspoiled and rarely crowded. At the same time, however, it’s not isolated. There are some great restaurants and accommodations nearby in the towns of Grayton Beach and Seaside.
Grayton Beach State Park’s beautiful beach and dunes, freshwater lake, and coastal forest are perfect for eco-adventures and other outdoor activities.
The park is very popular for both RV and tent camping. There is a full-facility campground for year-round camping, as well as 30 clean, modern, two-bedroom cabins for rent. The cabins are situated in the pine woods and are only a short walk from the beach. They can accommodate six people, and feature central heating and air conditioning, a kitchen with basic amenities, linens and towels, a screened-in porch, and an outdoor grill.
The park features four miles of walking and biking trails, with some of them weaving between the dunes. One of these trails, Grayton Beach Nature Trail, begins near the beach parking area and meanders around the dunes, pine flatwoods, and scrub habitats.
Water lovers can canoe, kayak, or paddleboard on Western Lake, and there are both freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities, as well.
Also remember to take some food along for a picnic, because tables and picnic shelters are available.
Who is the man behind the Top 10 Beaches list?
“Dr. Beach” is Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor and the Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. Dr. Leatherman has his Ph.D. in Environmental (Coastal) Sciences from the University of Virginia. He has written or edited 16 books and has authored over 200 journal articles and technical reports, including articles in both Science and Nature.
Making it on the Top 10 Beaches list is not easy. Dr. Beach uses 50 criteria to measure beaches, including water temperature, sand softness, rip currents, amenities, trash and litter, and views and vistas.