Grayton Beach State Park
There is always something different about each state park, which, for avid RVers, is part of the draw of camping at state parks. Frankly, in comparison to commercial RV camps, state parks offer a higher level of quality camping. State parks, for instance, are typically much more expansive and secluded, with beautiful regions of lush, protected beauty. After traveling across the country and staying at one state park after another, many people end up with their favorite. The problem with finding your favorite, however, is that you might stop looking for other options. If this sounds like you or if you are simply looking for your next truly unique park, you can stop your search. Grayton Beach is a truly unique park.
About the park
Some state parks are situated in and among commercial facilities and urban areas. Although these state parks can still feel quite secluded, driving out of them to enjoy the area can disrupt that secluded feel. This particular state park, however, sits between Dolphin Grove Beach State Park, directly to the east, and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, to the west. Because it is on the Florida panhandle, a few miles to the north is Santa Rosa Beach. To the south is the shoreline because Grayton Beach State Park edges right up against the water.
Although the panhandle has plenty of modern amenities in and around the park, the overall area consists generally of state parks and beaches. What, precisely, could be better than this? The answer: lots (because we are just getting started).
Of course, the RV sites have all the traditional services, electric, water, sewage, and fire pits. What is different about these sites is where they are situated. For RVers, RV camping takes place in two loops nestled between Western lake to the southeast, and a smaller lake to the east. That might not sound amazing, but these lakes are something unique.
For instance, the entire terrain is comprised of coastal dunes. Within these dunes are a series of coastal lakes, and this particular state park is situated right in the middle of all these lakes. The interesting thing is this: these types of coastal lakes are so rare, they only occur in this part of the Florida panhandle and some remote coastal portions of Africa. Quite literally, the RV sites are situated among a beautiful landscape available no where else in the entire United States.
Of course, some of the daily and nightly dining should be done at one’s campsite, enjoying the view of the dunes and the lakes. However, dining is just as enjoyable in any of the the beach-side picnic pavilions. There, campers have full access to BBQ pits, covered shade, and ocean views. Truly, RV camping does not get much better than this.
Hiking (sandals in hand)
The sand layering this section of the Florida panhandle is a soft, powdery, sugar-white sand. Of course, hiking is always good exercise. However, here, with the endless ocean view and sugar-white sand, hiking barefoot, sandals in hand, is something akin to a foot massage. In the heat of the day, the sand can get hot, so the best way to hike is in a meandering, leisurely fashion, to and fro, in and out of the water.
Grayton Beach, the town, is small and quaint, dotted with pastel cottage shops that provide a variety of unique shopping. Perhaps the best of the bunch is the Shard Shop, a participatory art gallery where visitors are equipped with a variety of glass beads, shards, shells, and enamel and spend time crafting their own shard paintings.
Back at the park
Evenings are the best time to enjoy the one-mile hiking trail, which weaves in and around the salt dunes and lakes. There are many opportunities for memorable photo shoots, so smartphone cameras are a must.
At least once, in the cool of the morning, campers should visit Western Lake’s marina where canoes, kayaks, or paddle boats can be rented. At 100-acres, Western Lake is the largest of the lakes, yet it is not so large that wind and waves become unpleasant. Consequently, just as the day begins to simmer while still remaining comfortable, floating and relaxing and exploring the lake in your own private water craft is the perfect, stress-free way to begin the day.
For more information, visit the park’s website or call 850.267.8300.