Roads Less Traveled In South Walton
January 25, 2016 by Richard Olivarez
South Walton is beautiful in ways that challenge the imagination. Word has gotten out about our sleepy collection of sophisticated-yet-casual communities whose prominent allure is the pristine white-sand beach and its complement – the glistening emerald-hued Gulf. While the shore whets travelers’ appetites, it’s what’s off the beach that may be most deserving of our attention.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." – Robert Frost
Forty percent of Walton County’s land is dedicated to preservation – an astounding attribute that guarantees our destination’s reign for future generations. This wealth of nature is comprised of thousands of acres of forests with landscapes of unspoiled natural ecosystems, uncommon coastal dune lakes and some of the country’s most rare and endangered bird species.
Throughout the year, smiling visitors and locals commingle on the paved path that follows Scenic 30A. Walkers, runners and cyclists traverse this route and experience a range of man-made and natural splendors. However, this is only a foreword to South Walton’s enchanting tale.
Opting for the path less traveled is the only way to truly embrace the depth of our unique natural surroundings. Fortunately, for those seeking authentic experiences in the wilderness, Walton County is home to 200 miles of hiking and bike trails that meander through our prestigious Florida state parks, forests and preserves.
Here you’ll discover an abundance of flora as you trek along footpaths, multi-use paved trails and wooden bridges that crisscross wetlands. Many of the trails lace through shaded canopies provided courtesy of trees such as sand pine, scrub oak, magnolia, wax myrtle and pond cypress. Other forms of delightful vegetation include a variety of flowering shrubs, wildflowers and pitcher plants.
Although less prevalent than the flora, fauna can often be noted. Vigilant wanderers may spot deer and grey fox, however it’s the birding that is truly captivating. South Walton is unique in the country for bird watching. Factoring in migratory birds, well over 200 species can be spotted in South Walton home, including the red-headed woodpecker, Bachman’s warbler and the bald eagle.
When you arrive in South Walton and the paths diverge, be sure to choose the one that is less traveled by. I promise, it will make all the difference.