New Scenic Gulf Drive Regional Beach Access Opens
October 17, 2022 by Kurt Lischka
Last week the county held a ribbon cutting for a new regional beach access in Miramar Beach, christened Scenic Gulf Drive Regional Beach Access.
The new access features a coastal cottage design similar to the county’s other beach accesses and has 20 vehicle parking spaces, nine golf cart parking spaces, bike parking, sidewalk lookover, an ADA-accessible dune walkover, restroom facilities, and a picnic pavilion with dune walkover. Next spring a lifeguard tower is expected to be added.
The project first started in 2017 when the county bought the 2.1-acre property for $5.75 million. Additional project costs, such as permitting and construction, were about $3.4 million, for a total cost of $9.15 million. All expenses related to the project were covered using the tourist development tax, a 5-percent tax collected on short-term rentals.
“It is not just for the tourist, but for everyone that lives in Walton County who wants to come to our beaches and enjoy them,” Brian Kellenberger, director of beach operations said.
The Scenic Gulf Drive access is the 10th regional beach access in Walton County. Work is underway on two additional regional beach accesses, Seagrove Beach RBA in the heart of Seagrove Beach across from Café Thirty-A, and Walton Dunes RBA in the Eastern Lake community. Keep up with county operations and private developments on the SoWal Forum.
“There is a lot of hard work that goes into completing something like this, and to see it come to fruition is a great feeling,” Tourism Director Matt Algarin said. “Anytime we can open a new beach access and provide the opportunity for our residents and visitors to enjoy the sugar white sands is a good day. The beach is a gathering place. It is where people can come to make lifelong memories.”
Beach Access Updates from Walton County:
The proposed Seagrove Regional Beach Access, located across the street from Café Thirty-A, is approximately 95% complete through the design/permit phase. The development order application is currently under review. Construction is expected to begin by late fall of 2022.
Efforts are underway to enhance the Walton Dunes (258 Beachfront Trail) beach access and the project was issued a development order (with conditions) in July. Improvements will include 14 parallel ROW parking spaces, restrooms, and an ADA-accessible boardwalk. Construction is expected to begin by late fall of 2022. See BeachCam >
Capital Improvement Updates from Walton County:
The Walton County Tourism Department continues to take an active approach to improve parking and transportation throughout the county, as well as other projects that enhance the quality of life. Here's a look at some projects currently undergoing or preparing for improvements.
The County Road 283 parcel, also referred to as the “Grayton Central” parking lot, is 6.995-acres and is located on the eastern portion of County Road 283 South, across from the Shoppes at Grayton. Temporary restroom facilities, landscaping and sail shades have been added to the area, as well as the expansion of the current drop-off area have been made ahead of the 2021 season. This property has been leveled and improved with designated parking spots used by visitors to Grayton Beach, employees and patrons, as well as a shuttle location for Grayton Beach, Seaside and other nearby businesses. Plans call for the facility to have 180+/- parking spaces, dedicated RV, golf cart and bicycle parking areas, restrooms and public transportation facilities.Construction is expected to begin by fall 2022.
The Driftwood Road parking project is on a 1.119-acre parcel located at 76 Driftwood Road in Miramar Beach. As part of the design and permitting phase, plans will include a parking lot, public transit and a restroom facility. Design and permitting efforts continue. Construction is expected to begin in winter 2022.
The County Road 393 parcel is 2.3-acres and is located north of the Gulf Place Town Center on the west side of County Road 393. The design and permitting phase is currently ongoing. Plans include 90+/- parking spaces, dedicated RV, golf cart and bike parking areas, a public transportation building and restroom facilities, as well as and connectivity to the multi-use path. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2022.
The Eastern Lake Road parking project is located at 407 Eastern Lake Road in the Seagrove neighborhood. As part of the design and permitting phase, plans will include a parking lot. Plans include 16 +/- parking spaces, 12 golf cart parking spaces, and a bike parking area. Construction is expected to begin in October/November 2022.
Kellog Park Project: The proposed community/nature center will be an approximately 1,600-square foot building, constructed on the existing building pad. The assembly-type building to be built will be used for nature watching and community gatherings. Visitors of the park will still have access to the kayak launch and other county-maintained facilities throughout this process. In 2008, the county formalized the bayside park, added a seawall, benches, water fountains, and a parking area. The TDC is currently responsible for maintaining the trails and existing facilities in the park. This 10-acre property was donated by the Kellogg family and is located on the Choctawhatchee Bay.
Camp Creek Lake Public Access: This Coastal Dune Lake Access project is to be located on the east side of Camp Creek Lake, north of 30A. The public access facility will include a canoe-kayak launch, parking, paths, landscape, and hardscape. A task order has been sent to continuing services contractor for the design/permit proposal. Design/permit efforts are expected to take approx. 8 months, and construction to take approx. 4 months.
Miramar Beach Municipal Parking project: This recently acquired 4.5-acre parcel in Miramar Beach is to be used for a beach-related municipal parking project. Property development will be included in overall design/permitting efforts for the Driftwood Road/Ellis Road corridor.
New Visitor Center / Discovery Center/ DMO Administration Facility: Arch/Eng. for the project is completing final revisions to plans in preparation for bidding. All federal/state/ local permits or letters of intent to issue received. Project to be advertised for construction bids to determine cost.
Grayton Beach Community Center: Parcel on Hotz Ave. was acquired to be developed into a public beach access restroom and public transit facility. Site investigation and preliminary design efforts are underway.
Eastern Lake Beach Property: Beach parcel acquired near the Eastern Lake outfall (approx. 3 acres) to be developed into a public beach access. Public workshops will be held in the fall to receive input on how to develop the property.
Headland Avenue Neighborhood Beach Access: Design and permitting efforts continue with the development order application under review. Construction is expected to begin late winter of 2022.