Summer Journal: South Walton Where to Stay & What to Do

As I mentioned, I LOVE visiting South Walton on Florida’s panhandle.  And over the years, and my several visits, I have learned a thing or two about where to stay and what to do.

So here are my tips that you can use if you have the ability to make it to South Walton anytime soon (please do, you’ll love it — it’s even better in the Fall).


Where to Stay:

South Walton is mainly a rental destination – you rent a beautiful condo or home for your family in any of the 15 neighborhood beaches throughout South Walton. There are great options for everyone.  Small condos for two, luxury bungalows for honeymooners and the romantic types.  Big, beautiful homes in every single community — all with different features, decor and ambiances. In high season, Spring and Summer, you will find that most rentals require a seven-night minimum.  But, if you want to check the area out during an off season you will often find rental owners willing to shorten their stay rules.

The rental homes in South Walton are nothing short of amazing.  Their architecture is absolutely distinctive, and the best feature is that they are absolutely built for families of all sizes.

You need 6 bedrooms for your entire family?  You’ll find a house.

You want the house of your dreams?  You’ll find a house.

You want homey/comfortable?  You’ll find a house.  I promise.

TIP – When searching for rental listings, first find the beach you are most interested by perusing through this Web site – – then Google search your requirements to find your perfect vacation home on your beach. For example, to find our home we Googled “5 bedroom rental Seagrove Beach” … it took some time, but that was the best way for us to search tons of sites all at once.  Or, enter your selected beach neighborhood name into and search away.

If you are visiting only for a few days, or are more of a “full-service vacationer,” there are several amazing resorts along the way including my favorite, the WaterColor Inn & Resort.  I adore this place — the service is amazing, the food to die for, and the ambiance is fun, relaxed and refined.  During our recent stay we enjoyed the resort’s spa (for a girl’s day).

And had a romantic dinner out at Fish Out of Water — our favorite date night in South Walton due to amazing local food and seafood, top-notch service and a beautiful dining room.

There are also several other resorts worth checking out – you can see them all and tons of rental options here.

What To Do:

There is so much to do in South Walton that it is hard to summarize in one post.  But let me say one thing — families rule in South Walton.  It was soooo nice to have something to do every night if we wanted to.  We could go to a live concert one night, which we did in Alys Beach one night.

We could go see a live free play for the kids one night, which we did in Seaside.

We could simply sit in our home, veg, play on the beach, sleep and eat.  Which we did … tons.

There are so many places to eat (more on that tomorrow), tons of places to shop, including the cutest little Publix that had everything we needed for our kitchen (seems odd to most to list a grocery store as a top shopping destination on a vacation, but with a house of cooks it was key).

For the more adventurous (which I am not one of), there are tons of water sports along South Walton, including something fun and funky called Yolo Boarding, and beautiful natural areas including Grayton Beach Park.  This is natural beach, real beach, unspoiled beach.

Essentially, there is something for everyone, every family, every age and every preference of vacation pace.  We liked to mix it up with one day of vegging … followed by a day of activity.

But before you go, this goes for every destination most times, check out the destination’s event listings online.  Then when you’re there, pick up all the local beach community newspapers and newsletters.  Sometimes the locals have the best suggestions, and sometimes just walking the communities will help you find your favorite places and things to do!

Happy End-of-Summer!


Disclosure: Our trip, we paid and loved it.


Julia Montgomery Stewart

Nicknamed “Julia Child” at a young age, our own Julia is most at home in the kitchen. Lately, she has combined her culinary talents with a new hobby—fitness and healthy living. As a result, her recipes reflect an intriguing balance between eating well without sacrificing flavor. Outside the home, Julia is a consummate event planner, and spent the first ten years of her career as a publicist before expanding her portfolio of talents with the launch of Live Pretty in 2010. Balancing the busy demands of career and family, Julia lives with her husband and daughter in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her work in marketing, she serves a number of community organizations and initiatives in Central Florida.

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