Beach Access Updates:
The Scenic Gulf Drive Regional Beach Access in Miramar Beach (907 Scenic Gulf Drive) is currently in the construction bidding process after resubmission last month. Construction is expected to begin this October and completed 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 and the project is working its way through the design and permitting phase, with plans to begin construction this winter. Improvements will include 16 parallel ROW parking spaces, restrooms, and an ADA-accessible boardwalk. Construction is expected to be completed by late summer/early fall 2022.
Crews are finishing up the final phases of construction at the Santa Clara Regional Beach Access located in Seagrove Beach. A new boardwalk and a dune walkover leading to the beach will be the most notable enhancements.
The design and permitting phase continues on the Kellogg Park project. The proposed community/nature center will be an 800-1,200 square foot building, constructed on the existing building pad. Visitors of the park will still have access to the kayak launch and other county-maintained facilities throughout this process.
In 2008, the county formalized the bayside park, added a seawall, benches, water fountains, and a parking area. The TDC is currently responsible for maintaining the trails and existing facilities in the park. This 10-acre property was donated by the Kellogg family and is located on the Choctawhatchee Bay.
Capital Improvement Updates:
The Walton County Tourist Development Council continues to take an active approach to improve parking and transportation throughout the county. Here's a look at some projects currently undergoing or preparing for improvements.
- 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.
- Temporary restroom facilities, landscaping and sail shades have been added to the area, as well as the expansion of the current drop-off area have been made ahead of the 2021 season.
- This property has been leveled and improved with 238 designated parking spots used by visitors to Grayton Beach, employees and patrons, as well as a shuttle location for Grayton Beach, Seaside and other nearby businesses.
- 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 winter 2021 and be completed by summer 2022.
- 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. Construction is expected to begin in early winter 2021 and be completed by summer 2022.
- 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.
- Construction is expected to begin late winter 2022 and be completed by summer 2022.
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.