South Walton TDC pursuing new visitor center site | Page 3 | SoWal Forum - South Walton Florida
South Walton's Community Website
Beach Like A Local!
Create Account
New posts

30A Skunkape

Mr. Small Box
Jan 18, 2006
Backatown Seagrove
I want to hear people's ideas.

Bat houses.

NO palm trees!

Dune lake exhibit.

Beach crap education and potentially a site for drop off & pick up of said crap (ala the penny tray at a cash register). Recycle balls, chairs, toys, rafts, noodles etc. Maybe some local merchants would step forward and donate coupons for free/discounted food/drink/clothing in exchange for a drop off of beach might encourage one final food or service purchase in SOWAL instead of losing it to McDonalds or KFC on one of the exit routes. And it will keep crap out of our landfill!


SoWal Insider
Apr 7, 2006
New York/ Santa Rosa Beach
interactive displays that ask questions and that people can touch, especially about the turtles and other sea life. Free coloring books, like the one online at the turtle site.

A dune lake video and/or exhibit should be a definite. Most of my renters who have been to the area before have no clue how rare the dune lakes are and the measures taken to protect them. I send them a link to the video online and that is what I get most comments about.


SoWal Expert
May 8, 2007
I think some interactive displays and videos would be great - rip currents, getting your crap off the beaches, flag system (why this is so hard for everyone to understand is beyond me, but I also don't think the fire lane is a parking space), a calender with major events, dune lakes, why one should not drive golf carts down the bike path, turtles hatching, keeping bears away from your trash, recycling program (if we ever get one), basic rules, you name it.

Love the idea of a beach debris swap and AMEN on the "no palm trees".

And I can think of nothing more satisfying than using BP money to build a renewable energy building with any provided staff cars in the parking lot hybrids!


Beach Fanatic
Jan 25, 2005
Michigan but someday in SoWal as well
I like the idea of a new visitor center. I've been to the other one (but not in a while). As someone who rents out cottages and wants to give guests a great experience and also teach them how to "beach like a native" (such as be aware of the turtle "rules" and why they're important, taking stuff off the beach, knowing the flag system, etc.), I like to get nicely colored brochures (e.g,. the SoWal maps, the flag system, the turtle rules) and frame them in my rental cottages so visitors learn abou the area, have the maps to find their way around, etc. And these brochures and MAP are actually pretty in the cottages. I'm going to frame the local fish brochure that I bought at the fishing store as well.

Other things to have at the center:

- Really nice post cards (Kurt?)
- A video/interactive experience about "beach like a native" (I really like that slogan) and maybe a video about how the beach renews itself after hurricanes/tropical storms so people don't think hurricanes are completely bad things and they actually serve good purposes for the beach in many ways. Maybe "Meet Mother Nature" could be a theme as well - hurricanes, weather, endangered specials, not endanged specials, turtles, etc.)
- Something about the history of the area - the Native Americans, how the area was settled, how it grew, important dates in history. The TDC could also be an area that school children (local or otherwise) come to visit as well to learn something. Anything education could be done not to be boring or heavy handed (e.g., "you should do this to save the environment" or "you'll get in trouble if you don't take care of the environment) but rather something that helps visitors and locals honestly believe they're part of something really beautiful, really important, and something greater than themselves. And the educational part could be fun (how about using the original SoWal "Funn" somewhere at TDC)
-picnic tables, nice bathrooms, and things locals can do just to hang out there
-Maybe something about locally grown foods, crafts, art, etc. and where to find it
- I like the architecture to be more consistent with the local architecture (something class that says you're at the beach) rather than modern, though that's just my personal preference - I like places that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.


Beach Lover
Jan 16, 2009
It would be nice to see some time/attention spent resolving the Dothan Ave walkover mess. The TDC has plenty of money, but it's the typical blame game - DEP needs to issue a permit to fix the mess created by some people from Scotland building a house where the obviously raised the lot level and created a big time runoff/erosion issue. Meanwhile, the dirt on the beach looks like dirt on the beach and the walk over has been re-enforced to look like the Occupy Wall Street protest campsite. I'm sure a new visitor center would be nice though.


SoWal Expert
May 8, 2007
Nice bathrooms should be a priority - the ones at the current TDC are dark and don't even have toilet paper holders! And the ones at the new airport are nicely decorated, but don't seem very clean.

Like the idea of local art on display (like the library does), but to be fair I think it should rotate frequently and be on loan, not purchased.

Diamond Dave

Mar 6, 2011
I agree with you 100%. The TDC needs to focus on educating the visitors to the local laws, ordinances and safety issues. Every year someone dies from a drowning (rip), this could be prevented if people did not go in the water when conditions are such. A bit of education goes a long way. We need more than a beach crab magnet telling you about a current.

Also, how about "you" (tourist) pick up your trash at the end of the day? No bottles, glass on the beach (the local stores could get involved and stock up on more cans with their products and even sell the new soft plastic wine glasses (they are very nice).

Golf Carts, this too needs more clairification. Do they need to be registered (license plate)? I hear two trains of thought on this and one says that if the speed limit on the road is less than "xyz" you don't need one. Does anyone know? I don't think the sheriffs office even knows... They won't enforce DUI laws on private property (Sandestin).

The more we allow ignorantance to stand uncorrected, the only blame when something happens lies with us.

TDC is becoming the topic of too many negative conversations. This entity should be positive and productive. Spending $$$ to change a sign is not good management. Paying a manager $100k+ is not good business either.



Beach Comber
Sep 25, 2007
what a waste

I think a better idea is to do away with the TDC and eliminate the bed tax!

Lake Eastern

Beach Lover
Dec 17, 2005
Walton County
I thought the idea when they built the Visitor's Center was that it would be moved. Maybe there are some back issues of the paper that would explain the plans for that building before the BP windfall became available.
New posts