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Grayton Beach

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Things to do: nature
Grayton Beach is a small, historic beach village on the Florida Panhandle Gulf coast halfway between Destin and Panama City in Walton County and adjacent to Grayton Beach State Park. Collectively, the area is known as the “Beaches of South Walton,” with South Walton referring to the southern portion of Walton County below the Choctawhatchee Bay.GeographyThe village is in the center of a 20-mile long stretch of coastal dune lakes that are so rare they are only found in Walton County and remote portions of Africa. Grayton Beach has a broad natural beach and is one of the few beaches in the Panhandle that issues permits for about $250 a season that allow for the driving of vehicles on the pure white sand.HistoryWhen Army Major Charles T. Gray built his homestead in 1885, the federal government owned much of the land and few people had reason to settle here; the soil was too sandy to farm and there were better timberlands inland. The closest settlement was about five miles to the north at Point Washington on Choctawhatchee Bay. The town of Grayton Beach was founed in 1890 when Army Generals William Miller and William Wilson moved in and mapped out the village; they named their new community in honor of Gray.At the beginning of the 20th century, Grayton Beach attempted to become a popular vacation retreat for families from the inland towns of Northwest Florida and Alabama, but reaching Grayton Beach from the north was not easy. There were no bridges over the southern parts of the Choctawhatchee River, and what roads existed were merely sand trails crossing miles of low-lying forests.
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