It’s summertime in South Walton, and summer means outdoor adventures! Biking, hiking, and walking are great activities to stay healthy while exploring the world just steps outside your door. South Walton is home to some of the most scenic trails and highly-diverse ecosystems in all of Florida. If you’re new to SoWal, visiting for the weekend, or even a hometown native, check out our top four must-visit trails that will leave you breathless. (Due to their beauty, not necessarily the difficulty of the trails. We’re not trying to make an Olympic adventurist out of you!)
This 18.6-mile paved trail is the perfect path to explore the neighborhoods, parks, and beaches of South Walton. Running parallel to the Gulf, biking or walking this scenic route gives you views of the sugar-white beaches and emerald green waters our town is famous for. Named after Timpoochee Kinnard, an influential Indian Chief of the Euchee Indians, this trail provides direct access to several state attractions including Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Grayton Beach State Park, and Point Washington State Forest.
For a shorter walk or ride, explore Creek Trail in Santa Rosa Beach. Four miles of hiking and biking paths, this great little trail is perfect for the whole family. It features bridges crossing over wetland areas, forest footpaths, and trees of all variety including scrub oak, pod cypress and titi trees. Veer off from the trail and take a break at Eastern Lake, where you’ll find locals fishing and beautiful coastal dunes.
Located within the Point Washington State Forest, this trail offers a variety of terrain and displays the diversity of Northwest Florida’s ecosystem. On very hot days, Cassine Trail is a great alternative to the beach, due to its shady tree-lined pathways and the cool breeze that passes through. Not many bikers or hikers know about this trail because it is tucked away in the privately-owned Cassine Garden. However, it is open to the public. Just park your car outside the neighborhood. You can access the path by bike or foot.
The Tucker Bayou Trail
If you would rather see nature at a slower pace, The Tucker Bayou Trail is a great one-mile walking option. Located inside Eden Gardens State Park, it features towering moss-draped oak trees, magnolias and even a deer or two. This trail boasts a butterfly garden with reflecting pool, picnic area, and stunning Heritage Rose Garden. There are plenty of benches along the way if you need a break. While you’re resting, take in the beautiful wilderness view, birdwatch, or try to spot a dolphin!
Grab the family and spend a day exploring one of the many nature trails. Whether it’s on a bike or a leisurely walk, there is a path for everyone right here in South Walton.