Beach Access Updates:
The Scenic Gulf Drive Regional Beach Access in Miramar Beach (907 Scenic Gulf Drive) went out to re-bid this month, as previous bids for the project exceeded anticipated budget costs. Once the budget process is complete, staff and crews will prepare for construction, which is expected to begin in October. This beach access is expected to open by summer 2022.
The proposed Seagrove Regional Beach Access, located across the street from Café Thirty-A, is in the final stages of design and permitting and is expected to go out for bid early this summer. Construction is expected to begin this fall and be completed by summer 2022.
Efforts are underway to enhance the Walton Dunes (258 Beachfront Trail) beach access. The project continues to make its way through the design and permitting phase. Improvements will include 16 parallel ROW parking spaces, restrooms and an ADA-accessible boardwalk. Construction is expected to begin early this winter and be completed by late summer/early fall 2022.
Work is still underway at the Santa Clara Regional Beach Access located in Seagrove Beach but is expected to wrap up this month. A new boardwalk and dune walkover leading to the beach will be the most notable enhancements.
Capital Improvement Updates:
The Walton County Tourist Development Council continues to take an active approach to improve parking and transportation throughout the county. In addition to the improvements (paving, a shelter for passengers awaiting the Grayton Beach Shuttle and a restroom facility) at the parking lot in Grayton Beach (CR 283), staff is moving forward with design and permitting on three other projects that will increase parking for visitors and locals.
- The County Road 283 parcel, also referred to as the “Grayton Central” parking lot, is 6.995-acres and located on the eastern portion of County Road 283 South, across from the Shoppes at Grayton.
- This property has been leveled and improved with 238 designated parking spots currently used by visitors to Grayton Beach, employees and patrons, as well as a shuttle location for Grayton Beach, Seaside and other nearby businesses.
- Improvements will also include a paved lot, restroom facilities and canopies to provide shade for visitors waiting on the Grayton Beach shuttle.
- The Driftwood Road parking project is on a 1.119-acre parcel located at 76 Driftwood Road in Miramar Beach.
- As part of the design and permitting phase, plans will include a parking lot, public transit and a restroom facility. Design and permitting is expected to be completed by early fall.
- The County Road 393 parcel is 2.3-acres and located north of the Gulf Place Town Center on the west side of County Road 393.
- As part of the design and permitting phase, plans will include a parking lot, public transit and a restroom facility.
- The Eastern Lake Road parking project consists of two neighboring parcels, located at 392 and 406 Eastern Lake Road in the Seagrove neighborhood. 392 Eastern Lake Road, a .215-acre parcel, is located just south of Williams Street on Eastern Lake Road. 406 Eastern Lake Road, a .278-acre parcel, is located just next door (east) of 392 Eastern Lake Road.
- As part of the design and permitting phase, plans will include a parking lot.
While visitation remains strong this spring, beach maintenance crews continue to play a crucial role in keeping South Walton the pristine destination our visitors know and love. In January beach maintenance crews collected more than 6,400 bags of trash from county-maintained beaches. February saw more than 5,700 bags collected.
Beach Access & Customary Use Reminder:
While there have been changes for customary use of private beachfront property, much is still evolving currently. If guests have concerns, we hope the below information will be helpful.
Things to keep in mind:
- Visit South Walton currently maintains 58 public beach access points, including nine Regional Public Beach Accesses complete with parking, restroom facilities, and lifeguards. South Walton also enjoys additional miles of public beach thanks to our State Parks. The customary use changes do not affect our public beaches, only privately-owned beachfront property.
- A user-friendly interactive map of public beach access points can be found here: https://www.visitsouthwalton.com/beach-and-bay-access-locations
- Many beach neighborhoods and resorts already have dedicated beach areas available for guests staying with them.
What is customary use?
- Customary use is a common-law term referring to the public access of the privately-owned beachfront property. Some Gulf-front properties in Florida have a property line that extends to the mean high-water line.
What is changing?
- Essentially, some beachfront homeowners are restricting access to the dry sandy areas behind their homes. All wet sand areas remain undisputed public property and beachgoers cannot be excluded from these areas. The Walton County Sheriff’s Department will be the governing force for any conflicts or complications that may arise on the space in front of properties now considered private property.
Does that mean I can't walk all 26 miles of our white sand beaches?
- No, you can absolutely still walk our beautiful beaches for as far as you wish. There will still be plenty of space in the wet sand area for beach-walkers to enjoy, and plenty of public beach where access is in no way under dispute.
Customary Use Information:
Walton County Beach Maintenance Department has been denied access to collect trash on private property by some beachfront property owners. As a result, beach garbage pickup by TDC crews is no longer available on about 40-percent of beaches. That percentage not only includes the beachfront properties that owners will not allow access to or across their property but in some cases also adjacent properties that can no longer be accessed for garbage collection because crews are blocked on either side by property owners that will not allow collection crews to cross their property. The affected owners were notified. Public Regional and Neighborhood Beach Accesses will not be affected, and garbage collection will continue as usual on those beaches.