USA Flag  Attractions of the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast - Emerald Coast - 3




Blue Mountain Beach Grayton Beach Grayton Beach State Park Watercolor Seaside Seagrove


Cruising along the coastal highway of US 98 in the Panhandle calls for some detours if you want to see unique attractions in this area of Florida. One such alternate route should be 30A (Alt 30) which runs along the southern edge of Washington Point State Forest in an area known as "Beaches of South Walton." This scenic route passes through some small, enchanting gulf side villages built in the high sand dunes created by wind and water over hundreds of years. For Floridians the tour will be special, viewing ocean side residences high on hills above the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, when we say "high", we're talking in the range of 30-50 feet. Still, compared to other Florida locations, where 8-10 feet above sea level is "comfortable", that's a lot.


Interestingly, even though the area has many attractions such as the great beaches, emerald waters, wildlife and the high quality of life, it has been reported that a surprising number of the home owners of these primarily residential areas don't actually live here. Due to the great demands imposed by tourism on this locale, real estate speculation in rental properties is quite high.


The entire area included for the cities and state park on this page is quite small and a traveler going from one end to the other by car would traverse the distance in less than 30 minutes. Touring the area is another story because each city has unique charms and assets. Visitors staying in the area have the advantage of seeking out the attractions in the higher density cities nearby, like Destin and Fort Walton Beach to the west and Panama City and Panama City Beach to the east, but returning to the quiet solitude of these small villages.


Click on each picture to get a larger view and use your browser's BACK button to return to this page. Bookmark this page ("Cntrl" key + "D" key) so that you can return to review it and look for updates. For additional information, most of the cities or attractions on the page have embedded links to the website or the area's Chamber of Commerce.


Click for more Panhandle cities, attractions and pictures.



Blue Mountain Beach

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Blue Mountain Beach view east. Access stairways along beach. Public beach access. Blue Mountain Beach
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Beach houses on 40' dunes Blue Mountain Beach view west. Blue Mountain Beach off-water houses.
Blue Mountain Beach is situated on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, nestled into the impressive sand dunes Mother Nature took hundreds of years to develop. It is by no means mountainous or blue, the sandy white dunes reaching an elevation of forty feet or so. However, it is impressive to see descending stairways to a Florida beach! Sea views and sounds from the hills of this upscale oceanfront village are what one would expect with white sandy shorelines bearing the endless crash of the rhythmic surf and bejeweled emerald waters blending into the dark blue of the deep sea. Inland in this primarily residential community, lush vegetation sets against hundreds of well-trimmed and landscaped family homes built along the dips and curves of the paved roadways.

Grayton Beach

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Grayton Beach Houses


Views of Grayton Beach streets: paved, unpaved, shell-top, sandy, etc.


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Grayton Beach off-water houses.


Grayton Beach as viewed from neighboring Grayton Beach State Park.


If you're looking for that "blast from the past", the proverbial "old Florida" town, you might just find it at Grayton Beach. Surrounded by lusciously upscale coastal communities with brick-lined streets, manicured lawns and matching paint schemes, Grayton Beach refuses to budge. Older houses, heavily shaded in native settings along  unpaved streets lead to newer houses closer to the beach, but as their kin before them, await nature to transform their look. Crab traps, fishing nets and marker buoys stacked next to the houses tell the tale of an old fishing village or simply old fishermen.

Grayton Beach State Park

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Grayton Beach State Park


View west along wind-swept dunes. Ramp down to beach. Park facilities. 
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Scrub-covered sand dunes make an impressive showing of native lands.


Grayton Beach State Park seems to always come up on someone's list for "best beaches." The best guess is that it helps to have dazzling emerald waters, white sandy shores and windswept dunes. Aside from these favorites, the park features hiking/biking trails, a lake and boat ramp, parking, picnicking and sanitary facilities. It also allows for overnight stays in cabins and camping or RV'ing includes all facilities.


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Watercolor town center.


Outdoor cafe in town center. Mosaic fountain Watercolor house.
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Views of Watercolor's streets and houses; note lampshades on streetlights.


You're cruising along the scenic route (Alt 30) through the dunes at the foot of Point Washington State Forest when suddenly... eh, what's this? It must be Watercolor and you'd know that without the welcoming sign. Dozens of beautifully water colored buildings mark your arrival into this small resort town on the Gulf of Mexico. A planned community by one of Florida's largest resort-style developers, the St. Joe Company, Watercolor presents a storybook setting in the sand dunes of the Emerald Coast.


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Entering the city of Seaside.


Town center and real estate offices along Route 30A. View of Seaside street.
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Decorative beach access.


Pictures of houses in Seaside, Florida.


Seaside, Florida received national attention when "The Truman Show", starring Jim Carey was filmed from this location. An upscale, chic community and a favorite of the tennis, golf and gulf crowd, Seaside charms its visitors in a quiet elegance. Known as much for its cultural activities as it is for its beach settings, this planned community sprang from native lands in the 1980's.


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Beach view east Seagrove has a goodly number of public beach access areas.
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Beach view west.

Pictures of Houses in perched high on the sand dunes Seagrove.


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Pictures of street scenes in Seagrove.

Off-water houses in Seagrove.


At the eastern end of the line of small towns built in the dunes is Seagrove. Stories of potters, bootleggers and the Civil War dot its archives.  The town does, in fact, have a number of active pottery studios in the area owned by and employing artisans and craftsmen. The cottage industry is one, along with its splendid beaches, of the area's attractions and folks come from far and away to tour and purchase wares.


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