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Coastal Dune Lakes of South Walton
15 Feb

Coastal Dune Lakes of South Walton

Many visitors to South Walton come for the beautiful beaches, the phenomenal shopping, the art galleries and culture of 30A, the amazing food… the list goes on, and on. (Are you wishing you were here right now?)

Not many travelers, however, are aware that South Walton offers a unique outdoor experience only found in a handful of places in the world.  Coastal dune lakes are defined as bodies of water found within two miles of a coastline.  Our coastal dune lakes in Walton County frequently form connections to the Gulf of Mexico, called outfalls, allowing for an exchange of freshwater and saltwater.  An outfall happens when the coastal dune lake water levels are high, and break through the dune system separating it from the Gulf.  How. Cool. Is. That?

Outfall of Draper Lake(1)

Coastal dune lakes are only found in Oregon, New Zealand, Australia, Madagascar and here in the Florida Panhandle. Each lake contains its own unique biosphere depending on the ratio of saltwater to freshwater.  There are 15 named coastal dune lakes along the 26 miles of coastline in Walton County, each rare and unique in its own way.  They provide a special habitat for plant and animal life and offer spectacular and breathtaking views for locals and visitors alike. Some estimate that the coastal dune lakes of Walton County could be as much as 10,000 years old.

Several of the coastal dune lakes are located within state parks, including Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Grayton Beach State Park, Deer Lake State Park and Camp Helen State Park.  Many of the coastal dune lakes in South Walton are available for kayaking and canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, fishing and bird watching.  For more information on what activities are permitted at each lake, click here.


Visit for more information on how you can plan your coastal dune lake activities.

Have you visited one of our coastal dune lakes? Which was your favorite?