On Nat Geo's "Where to Travel in 2019"
"Northwest Florida’s South Walton County has four state parks and 26 miles of sandy beaches."
With Florida’s coastal regions increasingly threatened by hurricanes and red tides, South Walton is taking a proactive approach to protecting its shores. This collection of 16 beach communities on northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast is building beach accessible artificial reef systems, creating habitat for a wide variety of marine life. Each of the four snorkel reefs are arranged in the shape of an indigenous marine animal: a cobia off Inlet Beach, a sea turtle off Grayton Beach, a seahorse off Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, and a dolphin off Miramar Beach. The newest dive site, opened in June at Grayton Beach State Park, is the nation’s first permanent Underwater Museum of Art. “Each sculpture already feels like a living thing,” says Walt Hartley, a local diver and South Walton Artificial Reef Association board member.Read the article