Some people enjoy vacationing in South Walton for the sunshine, beaches, and the laid back atmosphere. You can enjoy all of those elements no matter what your reasons for visiting South Walton, but there’s also plenty of intellectual stimulation and culture throughout 30A for those who seek it. South Walton has a long history and it’s carefully preserved and celebrated, making it a popular place for history buffs. If you want to take a trip through time as well as place when you visit South Walton, here are some of our recommendations.
Walton County Heritage Association & Museum
The Walton County Heritage Association & Museum is actually located in the northern Walton County community and capital, DeFuniak Springs, so it might be a short drive north, but it’s worth it for those who want to learn some of South Walton’s history. It’s located in a historic depot station in the historic district, so you may in fact feel as though you’ve been transported through time. Check out the replicated Hotel DeFuniak or Allison’s Grocery exhibits, or learn about the agriculture and industry of South Walton. They even host events like heritage festivals and art shows.
The Point Washington Methodist Church
Located in Santa Rosa Beach, the Point Washington Methodist Church is one of the oldest churches in South Walton. It first opened between 1888 and 1893 and still holds services today every Sunday morning. This has the classic church look, whitewashed walls with a tall steeple, surrounded by a neat, green lawn. It’s the perfect place to host a wedding for history buffs or just imagine the generations of Santa Rosa Beach residents that have passed through the doors of the church in over 100 years.
Maybe historic homes are more your speed. If that’s the case, check out Wesley Home, also in Santa Rosa Beach. It was built in 1897 by Simeon Strickland and his son-in-law, William Henry Wesley. In time, it became part of the lush Eden Gardens State Park. During the Camellia Festival, you can stroll through the land and tour the house. Tour employees and volunteers dressed dressed in accurate period attire will add to the encompassing feeling of 19th century South Walton. You can also check out Eventure Tour Co.’s Eden State Park Bike Tour, checking out the historic manor and the beautiful gardens and bay from the perch of an ebike.
Fort Walton Beach
Located 15 minutes outside of Destin, Fort Walton Beach has a long and colorful history — one that includes early native tribes, piracy, and Civil War battles. Visit downtown and stroll slowly to see the mixture of history and modern life, including an old schoolhouse, the original city hall, and the historic architecture of some of the homes in the area. Fort Walton Beach can inspire you to imagine life in this area 200 or even 300 years ago.
Want to learn more about various reasons to visit South Walton? Check back with Think Local 30A for more news on attractions and upcoming events in the area.