Deer Lake State Park Reopens With Improvements

November 15, 2022 by Kurt Lischka

Even though Deer Lake State Park is in the heart of SoWal, right on Scenic 30A between Seagrove and WaterSound Beach, it often goes unnoticed by visitors. But in recent years, as parking and public beach access have become harder to find, our beloved Deer Lake State Park has started hitting the radar of beach lovers.

In August of last year the 1,920-acre park was closed for improvements,  including the addition of a paved park access road with pay station, parking, picnic shelters, restrooms and connections to utilities.  Last week the park quietly reopened after delays that stretched through the summer and in to the fall. We are happy to return once again to one of our favorite spots in SoWal. We've missed the walk over the dunes on the long boardwalk to the beach. Once it was just a hidden, sandy road leading to a long walk through the dunes to South Walton's unofficial nude beach. Now it is a highly popular place to enjoy every other type of nature in our SoWal ecosystem.

Deer Lake State Park shares its name with the coastal dune lake within its boundaries - Deer Lake - and yes, it is common to see Deer in the park and along the roadsides of Walton County.

As you walk down the boardwalk to the beach, you will take in the awe-inspiring, 360-degree view of the ancient dune system of Deer Lake State Park. It is a must-see in SoWal. The dunes are home to many endangered species like the Choctawhatchee beach mouse, Gulf Coast lupine, Godfrey’s golden aster and Cruise’s golden aster. The dune ecosystem acts as the first line of defense against storms and wind and is protected by both federal and state law.

The Friends of Grayton Beach and Deer Lake State Parks citizen support organization is a nonprofit that raises funds to help carry out the park mission of educating the public and preserving the park for future generations.

October 2022 is the inaugural Coastal Dune Lakes Appreciation Month. Perhaps the most unique and precious features of SoWal are our coastal dune lakes found in our area’s beach dune system. The rare lakes are reportedly found only along the coasts of New Zealand, Australia, Madagascar, and in the United States along the coasts of Oregon, South Carolina, and here in Northwest Florida. South Walton's 15 coastal dune lakes hug the coast, embedded in our dune ecosystems. Most lake levels fluctuate due to rainfall and when overly full, open to flush fresh water in to the Gulf.




Kurt Lischka's picture

As a happy ambassador of South Walton, Kurt loves to share SoWal with the world through stories, photos, videos, texting, social media, and even telephone.

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