South Walton's Community Website
Beach Like A Local!
Create Account
New posts

Jimmy T

Beach Fanatic
Apr 6, 2015
717
469
This is another one of those things that wasn't a problem 5 years ago. Just like the ropes, chains, and signs. Now, we have more tourists and more vendors and the old "rules" just aren't working any more. So, we need our government representatives to step up, come up with some new "rules", and enforce them. The vendor problems will not solve themselves. They will only get worse if nothing is done.
 

JustAnotherTourist

Beach Comber
Jun 21, 2016
7
14
Atlanta
I also visited the Seacrest Beach area last week and was SO dismayed to see a solid line of chairs stretching from the Sandy Shores neighborhood all the way down to Rosemary. We bring our own two chairs and one umbrella and could not find a single tiny piece of water front sand to sit on without hiking down to Paradise by the Sea and "trespassing" on "their" sand. We stay in Sunset Beach which shares the access with the big Seacrest neighborhood across the street. That access has always been busy, but it all my years coming here I have never seen the chair vendors so bad. It's a sad day when you can't sit at your own neighborhood access without sitting behind three rows of chairs.

It seems like the chair vendors are being hired to basically build temporary fencing every day marking off "their" private beach. The menacing PRIVATE PROPERTY signs and chair set ups created a terrible vibe on the beach between vendors and people who want to carry in their own chairs. I witnessed angry confrontations between chair vendors and people who tried to set up around them. One person tried to sit between the property lines / a gap in the chairs and was told to move because they "have" to keep the lane cleared for water sport rentals. BS. The mood on the beach that week was anything but chilled out and relaxing. The look of the beach was the exact opposite of what is being heavily marketed by local realtors, rental agencies, the tourism board and sites like SoWal.com and 30A.com.

People who have never been there before probably assumed you HAVE to pay $60+ a day to rent a chair. Some people do want to rent chairs, but not everyone. There has to be room on the beach for both. I understand there is a complicated public vs private debate, and that these guys are just doing a job that they have been hired to do, but there has GOT to be a better solution. Most of these chairs sat out all day at less than 50% occupancy. I even thought I would "outsmart" them one day and set up my own chairs at 7 a.m. but they were already out there in full force at that early hour!! I don't want to sit right in front of a rental chair anymore than they want me to.... and I would practically have to sit IN the water because they set up so close to the wet sand.

Seems like an easy solution would be to not set them up until people actually arrive to use them. If they arrive at noon, they sit behind other visitors who've arrived early. If they leave early, the chair gets picked up or dusted off and reset for the next guest. No moving other people's chairs. Leave a towel on your chair if you're leaving for lunch and coming back later. Or restrict vendors to 50% of the area, and not the 50% right next to the water! But it all comes down to enforcement and it seems like these vendors have been allowed/hired to have the run of the beach, to the detriment and disappointment of MANY visitors. Everyone I chatted with that week was shocked at how much valuable beach real estate the vendors were taking.

As to the discussion above, our beach set up consists of two $30 Nautica chairs and a $40 SportBrella from Sam's Club. The umbrella is very sturdy and we can safely stake it down if it gets windy. This set up has served us well for years and we don't mind carrying it over. A set up to last for years for the same price as two days of chair rentals - makes sense to me! Now if only we could find a piece of water front sand to put it on! I really do try to "beach like a local" but these rampant chair vendors sure do make it hard!!

IMG_4745.JPG IMG_4750.JPG IMG_4769.JPG IMG_4770.JPG IMG_4852.JPG
 

Kurt Lischka

Admin
Staff member
Oct 15, 2004
12,457,789
4,563
SoWal
mooncreek.com
I also visited the Seacrest Beach area last week and was SO dismayed to see a solid line of chairs stretching from the Sandy Shores neighborhood all the way down to Rosemary. We bring our own two chairs and one umbrella and could not find a single tiny piece of water front sand to sit on without hiking down to Paradise by the Sea and "trespassing" on "their" sand. We stay in Sunset Beach which shares the access with the big Seacrest neighborhood across the street. That access has always been busy, but it all my years coming here I have never seen the chair vendors so bad. It's a sad day when you can't sit at your own neighborhood access without sitting behind three rows of chairs.

It seems like the chair vendors are being hired to basically build temporary fencing every day marking off "their" private beach. The menacing PRIVATE PROPERTY signs and chair set ups created a terrible vibe on the beach between vendors and people who want to carry in their own chairs. I witnessed angry confrontations between chair vendors and people who tried to set up around them. One person tried to sit between the property lines / a gap in the chairs and was told to move because they "have" to keep the lane cleared for water sport rentals. BS. The mood on the beach that week was anything but chilled out and relaxing. The look of the beach was the exact opposite of what is being heavily marketed by local realtors, rental agencies, the tourism board and sites like SoWal.com and 30A.com.

People who have never been there before probably assumed you HAVE to pay $60+ a day to rent a chair. Some people do want to rent chairs, but not everyone. There has to be room on the beach for both. I understand there is a complicated public vs private debate, and that these guys are just doing a job that they have been hired to do, but there has GOT to be a better solution. Most of these chairs sat out all day at less than 50% occupancy. I even thought I would "outsmart" them one day and set up my own chairs at 7 a.m. but they were already out there in full force at that early hour!! I don't want to sit right in front of a rental chair anymore than they want me to.... and I would practically have to sit IN the water because they set up so close to the wet sand.

Seems like an easy solution would be to not set them up until people actually arrive to use them. If they arrive at noon, they sit behind other visitors who've arrived early. If they leave early, the chair gets picked up or dusted off and reset for the next guest. No moving other people's chairs. Leave a towel on your chair if you're leaving for lunch and coming back later. Or restrict vendors to 50% of the area, and not the 50% right next to the water! But it all comes down to enforcement and it seems like these vendors have been allowed/hired to have the run of the beach, to the detriment and disappointment of MANY visitors. Everyone I chatted with that week was shocked at how much valuable beach real estate the vendors were taking.

As to the discussion above, our beach set up consists of two $30 Nautica chairs and a $40 SportBrella from Sam's Club. The umbrella is very sturdy and we can safely stake it down if it gets windy. This set up has served us well for years and we don't mind carrying it over. A set up to last for years for the same price as two days of chair rentals - makes sense to me! Now if only we could find a piece of water front sand to put it on! I really do try to "beach like a local" but these rampant chair vendors sure do make it hard!!

View attachment 60826 View attachment 60827 View attachment 60828 View attachment 60829 View attachment 60830

I understand your pain. At SoWal.com we don't intend to heavily market the beach, but I know it looks like it. All I've ever really wanted to do is share what I see, and hope someone somewhere appreciates it. I like to post photos and videos and a lot of them are pretty beach pictures that don't necessarily show a lot of people or chairs. But I do post those also, and I sometimes editorialize about what is good and bad in SoWal. If I post a photo of an empty beach, it's not a promise of what you will see. It's a pretty picture.

We do heavily market our business partners that advertise on here to support OUR COMMUNITY website. However I would still be posting photos and video even if I wasn't paid. We don't have any beach chair rental companies advertising with us, or any other beach vendors except a caterer and an adventure company, but we do have some resorts who advertise with us where chair rentals are expected by people who stay there.

As for your experience, as far as I know most of the beach from west of Alys Beach to east of Rosemary Beach is private. The resorts and associations on that stretch regulate vendors. I guess if you stay along that stretch you have to pay for a prime spot, and a house or condo also. If you are staying somewhere that owns 100 yards of beach to share among 500 rental houses, there might be an issue with crowding. Not a negative for people who like a lot of action and interaction.
 

John G

Beach Fanatic
Jul 16, 2014
1,804
552
I understand your pain. At SoWal.com we don't intend to heavily market the beach, but I know it looks like it. All I've ever really wanted to do is share what I see, and hope someone somewhere appreciates it. I like to post photos and videos and a lot of them are pretty beach pictures that don't necessarily show a lot of people or chairs. But I do post those also, and I sometimes editorialize about what is good and bad in SoWal. If I post a photo of an empty beach, it's not a promise of what you will see. It's a pretty picture.

We do heavily market our business partners that advertise on here to support OUR COMMUNITY website. However I would still be posting photos and video even if I wasn't paid. We don't have any beach chair rental companies advertising with us, or any other beach vendors except a caterer and an adventure company, but we do have some resorts who advertise with us where chair rentals are expected by people who stay there.

As for your experience, as far as I know most of the beach from west of Alys Beach to east of Rosemary Beach is private. The resorts and associations on that stretch regulate vendors. I guess if you stay along that stretch you have to pay for a prime spot, and a house or condo also. If you are staying somewhere that owns 100 yards of beach to share among 500 rental houses, there might be an issue with crowding. Not a negative for people who like a lot of action and interaction.

As for your experience, as far as I know most of the beach from west of Alys Beach to east of Rosemary Beach is private.

I didn't think any of the Beach was "private"...
 

John G

Beach Fanatic
Jul 16, 2014
1,804
552
Why does it appear that some feel it's OK for "resort areas or resort towns" to have a Private Beach, but not an individual homeowner?

It's all the same beach.

Where's all the push back to Rosemary, Watercolor, Watersound, etc.?

Seems odd.

Not a good argument.

The real issue will quickly become not where you CAN sit on the beach, it will be HOW you get there (access).

Just wait.

Pandora's Box is open.
 

dragonflycafe

Beach Lover
Apr 17, 2009
54
35
I also visited the Seacrest Beach area last week and was SO dismayed to see a solid line of chairs stretching from the Sandy Shores neighborhood all the way down to Rosemary. We bring our own two chairs and one umbrella and could not find a single tiny piece of water front sand to sit on without hiking down to Paradise by the Sea and "trespassing" on "their" sand. We stay in Sunset Beach which shares the access with the big Seacrest neighborhood across the street. That access has always been busy, but it all my years coming here I have never seen the chair vendors so bad. It's a sad day when you can't sit at your own neighborhood access without sitting behind three rows of chairs.

It seems like the chair vendors are being hired to basically build temporary fencing every day marking off "their" private beach. The menacing PRIVATE PROPERTY signs and chair set ups created a terrible vibe on the beach between vendors and people who want to carry in their own chairs. I witnessed angry confrontations between chair vendors and people who tried to set up around them. One person tried to sit between the property lines / a gap in the chairs and was told to move because they "have" to keep the lane cleared for water sport rentals. BS. The mood on the beach that week was anything but chilled out and relaxing. The look of the beach was the exact opposite of what is being heavily marketed by local realtors, rental agencies, the tourism board and sites like SoWal.com and 30A.com.

People who have never been there before probably assumed you HAVE to pay $60+ a day to rent a chair. Some people do want to rent chairs, but not everyone. There has to be room on the beach for both. I understand there is a complicated public vs private debate, and that these guys are just doing a job that they have been hired to do, but there has GOT to be a better solution. Most of these chairs sat out all day at less than 50% occupancy. I even thought I would "outsmart" them one day and set up my own chairs at 7 a.m. but they were already out there in full force at that early hour!! I don't want to sit right in front of a rental chair anymore than they want me to.... and I would practically have to sit IN the water because they set up so close to the wet sand.

Seems like an easy solution would be to not set them up until people actually arrive to use them. If they arrive at noon, they sit behind other visitors who've arrived early. If they leave early, the chair gets picked up or dusted off and reset for the next guest. No moving other people's chairs. Leave a towel on your chair if you're leaving for lunch and coming back later. Or restrict vendors to 50% of the area, and not the 50% right next to the water! But it all comes down to enforcement and it seems like these vendors have been allowed/hired to have the run of the beach, to the detriment and disappointment of MANY visitors. Everyone I chatted with that week was shocked at how much valuable beach real estate the vendors were taking.

As to the discussion above, our beach set up consists of two $30 Nautica chairs and a $40 SportBrella from Sam's Club. The umbrella is very sturdy and we can safely stake it down if it gets windy. This set up has served us well for years and we don't mind carrying it over. A set up to last for years for the same price as two days of chair rentals - makes sense to me! Now if only we could find a piece of water front sand to put it on! I really do try to "beach like a local" but these rampant chair vendors sure do make it hard!!

View attachment 60826 View attachment 60827 View attachment 60828 View attachment 60829 View attachment 60830
I also visited the Seacrest Beach area last week and was SO dismayed to see a solid line of chairs stretching from the Sandy Shores neighborhood all the way down to Rosemary. We bring our own two chairs and one umbrella and could not find a single tiny piece of water front sand to sit on without hiking down to Paradise by the Sea and "trespassing" on "their" sand. We stay in Sunset Beach which shares the access with the big Seacrest neighborhood across the street. That access has always been busy, but it all my years coming here I have never seen the chair vendors so bad. It's a sad day when you can't sit at your own neighborhood access without sitting behind three rows of chairs.

It seems like the chair vendors are being hired to basically build temporary fencing every day marking off "their" private beach. The menacing PRIVATE PROPERTY signs and chair set ups created a terrible vibe on the beach between vendors and people who want to carry in their own chairs. I witnessed angry confrontations between chair vendors and people who tried to set up around them. One person tried to sit between the property lines / a gap in the chairs and was told to move because they "have" to keep the lane cleared for water sport rentals. BS. The mood on the beach that week was anything but chilled out and relaxing. The look of the beach was the exact opposite of what is being heavily marketed by local realtors, rental agencies, the tourism board and sites like SoWal.com and 30A.com.

People who have never been there before probably assumed you HAVE to pay $60+ a day to rent a chair. Some people do want to rent chairs, but not everyone. There has to be room on the beach for both. I understand there is a complicated public vs private debate, and that these guys are just doing a job that they have been hired to do, but there has GOT to be a better solution. Most of these chairs sat out all day at less than 50% occupancy. I even thought I would "outsmart" them one day and set up my own chairs at 7 a.m. but they were already out there in full force at that early hour!! I don't want to sit right in front of a rental chair anymore than they want me to.... and I would practically have to sit IN the water because they set up so close to the wet sand.

Seems like an easy solution would be to not set them up until people actually arrive to use them. If they arrive at noon, they sit behind other visitors who've arrived early. If they leave early, the chair gets picked up or dusted off and reset for the next guest. No moving other people's chairs. Leave a towel on your chair if you're leaving for lunch and coming back later. Or restrict vendors to 50% of the area, and not the 50% right next to the water! But it all comes down to enforcement and it seems like these vendors have been allowed/hired to have the run of the beach, to the detriment and disappointment of MANY visitors. Everyone I chatted with that week was shocked at how much valuable beach real estate the vendors were taking.

As to the discussion above, our beach set up consists of two $30 Nautica chairs and a $40 SportBrella from Sam's Club. The umbrella is very sturdy and we can safely stake it down if it gets windy. This set up has served us well for years and we don't mind carrying it over. A set up to last for years for the same price as two days of chair rentals - makes sense to me! Now if only we could find a piece of water front sand to put it on! I really do try to "beach like a local" but these rampant chair vendors sure do make it hard!!

View attachment 60826 View attachment 60827 View attachment 60828 View attachment 60829 View attachment 60830


Couldn't have said it better myself. Like I stated previously, I have been vacationing here for more than a decade (which is nothing compared to many) and the vibe on the beach at Rosemary/Seacrest absolutely sucks. The signs, the ropes...this is all new. Since I've seen (justifiably) angry people on the beach I've driven down to Grayton and enjoyed the beach there. Which makes me question...

Why were there no vendors there but vendors throughout my stops at Blue Mountain and Dune Allen...those beaches looked just as packed w vendors yesterday.

Another question...is this one of the reasons why there is movement toward incorporation of South Walton? To help with disciplined development?

If I see this, I cannot imagine what actual residents must be going through. We have often thought of buying here but want to see how things shake out before we invest. And so far, as gorgeous as the area is, I see so much future development that I can't imagine what the beaches will look like in 10 years.

And to address another Sowal reply... Anything "west of Seacrest and east of Rosemary is private beach" that sounds like the entire 30a? I thought all beaches in Florida were public...did this recently change?

Great thread and all the info is appreciated. I love this area and also have a weird interest in city planning so it's fascinating.
 

Dawn

Beach Fanatic
Oct 16, 2008
942
376
Why does it appear that some feel it's OK for "resort areas or resort towns" to have a Private Beach, but not an individual homeowner?

It's all the same beach.

Where's all the push back to Rosemary, Watercolor, Watersound, etc.?

Seems odd.

Not a good argument.

The real issue will quickly become not where you CAN sit on the beach, it will be HOW you get there (access).

Just wait.

Pandora's Box is open.
They sholdn't be private either but the point is that people who go there expect to be told what they can and can't do ro where thay can and can't site on the beach. They want to pay for an umbrella on the front row and that's what they come for.
 
New posts