Navigating New Beach Access Rules:

With Spring Break and the upcoming travel season almost upon us, we know our partners and community stakeholders are fielding a lot of questions about the beach. 

How do the changes along the beach affect our incoming visitors and residents?

The Walton County Tourism Department is gearing up to launch a multi-media awareness campaign that provides the necessary information for visitors and locals alike to plan their stay. 

The hub of the campaign is an easy-to-navigate interactive map on By typing in an address, the visitor will be able to find the nearest County-owned/public beach access — these can be our Regional Beach Accesses or Neighborhood Beach Accesses, our state parks, and bay and lake access points — as well as privately-managed beaches, which include resort areas/neighborhoods like Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach and Seaside.

Walton County’s 26-mile shoreline has always had a mixture of public and private beachfront, much of which is county-owned. Despite some of the changes along the beach, it’s important to note that beachgoers can traverse the wet sand area along the entire 26-mile shoreline. 

This geo-locator interactive map more clearly depicts between county-owned public beach and privately-managed beach and gives detail on how and when these may be accessed.

In the next few weeks digital and social messaging will go out to future and current visitors speaking to beach access and encouraging them to check the map to see where they can access the beach. 

The tourism department is also working on signage with detailed access information (via a QR code) that can offer beach-side clarity to anyone with a mobile phone.  

We understand the importance of the guest experience within our community and as we rollout the map and signage, we also understand the importance of getting this information to our incoming visitors and potential visitors. 

Our accommodation partners are going to play a pivotal role in helping us communicate — both in the booking phase and prior to the stay — how their guests can access the beach. Upon launch, we’ll be asking for all of our partners to share a link to the interactive map on with their guests.

We all want the same thing — for our visitors to come and stay along our incredible, sugar-white sand beaches, making memories and enjoying quality-time with family and friends. 

Working together, we can ensure our visitors have everything they need to prepare for their stay. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can answer any questions. 


Walton County Tourism Earns Bronze Awards at HSMAI's Adrian Awards:

Walton County Tourism took three bronze awards at the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International’s Adrian Awards held Feb. 13 in New York City. HSMAI celebrates the best in hospitality advertising, digital, PR/communications, and integrated campaigns at this annual awards event. 

Bronze awards were presented to WCT for these three entries, developed in collaboration with its advertising agency, Zehnder: Digital Cooperative Marketing Website in the Technology category, Beach Safely in South Walton, Florida in the Business to Consumer category, and Icons for Iconic Communities in the Print Collateral category.

“The team is very happy with being selected to win these awards, especially for the Icons for Iconic Communities,” said Kelli Carter, director of marketing. “Those stickers truly represent a collaboration with entire team, both at the tourism department and the agency.”
Marketing Director Kelli Carter and Tourism Director Matt Algarin attended the 2024  HSMAI awards ceremony.


WCT Event Grant Program:

The Walton County Tourism Event Grant Program is intended to support, grow, and promote local special events that have the ability to generate economic impact and overnight stays, in Walton County. Applicants who score within the acceptable range and are approved by both the Tourist Development Council and the Walton County Commissioners will be contacted as applicable.

The application is now open and will close on Friday, March 29. Please click HERE for the application.

If you'd like to reference the program guidelines, click HERE. 
Please contact Rebekah Paul at or Ashlyn Temples at with any questions.


Book>Direct Accommodations Search Engine: 

The Walton County Tourism Department has partnered with Book>Direct to provide accommodation partners with the ability to display real-time rates and availability on We especially would like all bed tax collectors to review their rental property listing(s) to ensure we have the most current details in our database.

To view the Book>Direct user interface and its functionality, please visit the STAY page of our website. If you need more information about Book>Direct or signing up as a Walton County accommodations partner, please contact Darrelesha Kelly, database specialist, at or (850) 267-1216.


January Website Stats 

Users & Page Views: 

  • The number of sessions on the website increased in January.
  • There were 241,623 pageviews and 122,200 new users on the website in January. 
  • Users who visited the site in January were mostly female (66.0%) and were over the age of 45 (69.6%).
  • The traffic coming to the website in January mostly came from Paid Social, Organic Search, and Paid Search which combined to account for 67.8% off all traffic coming to the site. 
  • Eight of the top nine traffic sources increased in January, with Referral, Direct, and Paid Social experiencing the largest increases.


  • Mobile devices were the primary driver of traffic to the website, making up 73.7% of total sessions. Desktops continued to account for the most engagement in average engagement duration (1:07), the highest number of pages per session (2.4), and the highest engagement rate (64.3%).


  • Top Cities: Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Birmingham.
  • In January, users from Texas, Illinois, and Georgia were responsible for the most sessions.

Most viewed pages:

Online Visitor Guide Data:

  • Travel Guide pageviews were up sharply in January, as they increased by 88.3% from their mark in December. Engagements on the Travel Guide page were also up as Average Engagement Duration decreased and Engagement Rate both increased.
  • In January, there were a total of 231 Visitor Guide requests, which is 122 more than there were in December.


Social in Walton County:

Through our targeted approach, we can share the destination’s story and network to specifically targeted markets, while providing informational and inspirational content to motivate future visitation.

Check out some of the highlights from our channels:

January Social Media Stats – VSW

  •  Facebook
    • Total Followers – 330,882
    • Total Monthly Reach – 2,625,375
    • Total Monthly Engagements – 15,881
    • Total Monthly Post Reactions – 14,530
    • Total Monthly Link Clicks – 145
    • Top Performing Post –
    • Content: “Happy New Year from #SouthWalton! ✨We hope your 2024 brings less stress, more sunshine and plenty of trips to our sugar-white sands ☀️”
    • Impressions: 60,590

  • X (formerly Twitter)
    • Total Followers – 18,188
    • Total Monthly Impressions – 48,335
    • Total Monthly Engagements – 1,679
    • Total Monthly Retweets – 182
    • Total Monthly Mentions – 33
    • Top Tweet –
    • Content: “that moment when you're just a few small steps from the best beach day ever 🏖️”
    • Engagement Rate: 6.41%

January Social Media Stats – WCT

  • Facebook
    • Total Followers – 171
    • Total Monthly Reach – 1,946
    • Total Monthly Engagements – 89
    • Total Monthly Post Reactions – 76
    • Total Monthly Link Clicks – 10
    • Top Performing Post – Walton County Tourism
    • Content: “2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣4️⃣ marks 2️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ years of Walton County! We're reflecting on the rich history of this incredible destination and how it has evolved over the years while staying true to the unique founding spirit in this article. Read it all here ⬇️ Celebrating 200 Years and Countless Memories
    • Impressions: 403

  • LinkedIn
    • Followers – 183 
    • Post Reactions – 99
    • Top Performing Post –
    • Content: “The results are in! 🗳 Congratulations to all of our 2024 Perfect in Walton County Award winners! Thank you to all who attended last night's event celebrating our community. We're extending a special congratulations to our Van Ness Butler Jr. Award winner – Stacey Brady! 🏆”
    • Reactions: 24

January Social Media Stats – AW

  • Facebook
    • Total Followers – 2,901
    • Total Monthly Reach – 14,389
    • Total Monthly Engagements – 424
    • Total Monthly Post Reactions – 361
    • Total Monthly Link Clicks – 29
    • Top Performing Post – Authentic Walton
    • Content: “#DeFuniakSprings day trip itinerary idea 💡Dive into the history of Walton County at the Walton County Heritage Association Heritage Museum and discover how this town north of the Choctawhatchee Bay came to be. Admission is free! 🎟️#HeritageTreasuresDay
    • Impressions: 1,034

Don’t Forget to Tag Us:
(#SouthWalton and @SouthWalton) in all social media posts! Not only does this improve engagement, but it also allows our social team to stay connected to you and your business' news.  
Beach Safety Toolkit and Promotional Items:
The safety of Walton County's beachgoers is a priority. In addition to funding the South Walton Fire District's beach lifeguards, the Walton County Tourism Department shares beach safety information in a variety of ways, including beach flags and signs at our beach access points, printed materials (like our beach guides and maps, travel guides, coasters at local restaurants, beach flag magnets, stickers and window clings), beach condition text messages, social media posts, and radio ads.
There is a Beach Safety Toolkit page on our website, where partners and local businesses can download a variety of useful information related to beach safety or schedule a delivery or pickup of promo items. 
If you'd like any printed beach safety materials to share with your guests or customers, please contact Lisa Foster, industry relations specialist, at or (850) 333-2728. We can make arrangements for you to pick them up at the Visitor Center, which is open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For current beach conditions and flag updates, text "FLAG" to 31279*

*South Walton Beach Conditions: Message and Data Rates May Apply. Periodic Messaging. For help, text HELP, text STOP to end.