Grayton Beach is an Original 30A Community
Founded back in the late 1800’s, Grayton Beach is an original South Walton neighborhood. It has a certain laid-back, artistic, old Florida vibe that makes it unique among all the other 30A beach towns. Grayton Beach is a place that tends to put folks at ease in spite of whatever craziness might be going on in their lives.
Unrivaled natural beauty along with an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops makes Grayton Beach, FL a truly special place. Part of greater Santa Rosa Beach, it neighbors Blue Mountain Beach to the west and WaterColor to the east. It’s a toes in the water, beer in your hand type of village where time stands still and fun is had by all. In this Guide to Grayton Beach, we’ll talk about our favorite fishing charters, beach access points, rentals, snorkeling spots and more so let’s get started…
Grayton Beach Public Gulf of Mexico Access Points
There are 3 public boardwalk access points to the Gulf of Mexico in the 30A town of Grayton Beach. However, there are actually 5 Gulf access points if you include the 2 vehicle drive-on spots. That’s right, this 30A town allows 4-wheel vehicles to drive on the sandy beach but there is a caveat… You must have a special permit issued by Walton County in order to drive on the beach.
The Grayton Beach vehicle permit process goes something like this…
A limited number of Grayton Beach vehicle permits are given out each year and the process by which they are issued is a lottery system. You must own property in Walton County in order to enter the drive on the beach permit lottery. You can learn more about the Grayton Beach vehicle permitting process on Walton County Florida’s website here… Co.Walton.Fl.Us
If you’re like me and do not have a beach driving permit you’ll need to use one of the public access points in Grayton. From West to East, below are the Grayton Beach Public Access Points to the Gulf of Mexico…
Ray’s Multi‐Mountain Beach Access is located just west of downtown Grayton. It’s not far from the main vehicle beach drive-on access which is at the corner of Defuniak Street and Hotz Ave.
Address: Ray’s Multi-Mountain 125 Sandy Lane, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Grayton Dunes Beach Access is an ADA Accessible South Walton Gulf access point. You’ll find a few handicap parking spots at this access and there are no steps to navigate. Grayton Dunes is a beautiful South Walton public beach access point that hugs the Western Lake Outfall and offers great photo opportunities. There’s also a vehicle drive-on access that runs along the west side of the Grayton Dunes Beach Access boardwalk.
Address: Grayton Dunes Beach Access 288 Garfield Street, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Grayton Dunes Beach Access 2 hooks up with the main Garfield Street access above and so they are essentially one-in-the-same. They both wind around the Western Lake Outfall and end up in the same spot on the beach. So, the starting points are the only differences.
Address: 199 Banfill Street, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Western Lake Outfall at Grayton Beach is a Lot of Fun
Western Lake meets the Gulf of Mexico in Grayton Beach and the outfall is a ton of fun for kids and adults alike. It is one of the best spots to kayak and stand-up paddleboard on 30A. I would go as far as saying that the Western Lake Outfall at Grayton Beach is one of the most kid-friendly activities in South Walton County. It’s the ultimate natural playground where you can hunt for blue crabs, swim, snorkel, SUP, kayak or just drink cold beer.
Grayton Beach State Park Turtle Reef Snorkeling
South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) is an awesome organization that installs reefs off the beaches of 30A. Turtle Reef is located about 350 feet off of Grayton Beach State Park and is easily accessible via kayak or stand-up paddleboard. The Grayton Beach reef was built in the shape of a sea turtle and is one of the best places to snorkel in all of South Walton County. In fact, guided Grayton Beach Turtle Reef Snorkeling Tours have become one of the most fun things to do on 30A.
You can see Western Lake and Grayton Beach State Park from the air in this 30A Prime montage video…
Grayton Beach Fishing Charters
Deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico out of Grayton Beach is a truly special experience for a couple of reasons. First and foremost the fishing is almost always fantastic but also because Grayton Beach fishing charters literally launch their boats right off the sand into the Gulf. That is something that just doesn’t happen in other parts of Florida or the United States.
The Captain and his clients ride on the back of the boat as a person drives the rig out onto the sandy beach and backs the boat into the water. Before driving onto the sand, they deflate the tires of the truck and boat trailer about halfway which provides better traction. Once the boat is submerged in the Gulf waters, the captain reverses the boat hard to get off the beach. He then navigates through the break of the first sandbar into deeper, calmer waters. It’s one of the most thrilling starts to a fishing trip you will ever experience!
Below are some of the best Grayton Beach Fishing Charters listed in no particular order…
Fish- On Charters
Van Butler III
Family Tradition Charters
Capt. Phil’s Charters
Not a Dog Charters
Dead Fish Charters
Fishy Booty Charters
Check out some of these other awesome South Walton area Fishing Charters… 30A Fishing Charters
Grayton Beach Restaurants
Of all the 30A communities, Grayton has the best mix of restaurants in my opinion. Below are some of my favorite places to eat in Grayton…
AJ’s Grayton Beach – Like the original AJ’s in Destin, the Grayton Beach location offers good food, great drinks and a fun atmosphere. AJ’s is a great spot to enjoy Happy Hour, watch the game and listen to some of the best live music in South Walton.
Grayton Seafood Co – This is one of the most underrated restaurants on 30A and I believe that is due to its location. It is sort of tucked back in the Uptown Grayton complex that’s a mix of shops and restaurants. Don’t let that be a deterrent however as it’s one of the most legit food spots on 30A and always has fresh Gulf seafood cooked up to perfection.
The Red Bar – Easily the most famous restaurant in South Walton County, The Red Bar needs to be on your short list of things to do on 30A. The menu is small which is kind of nice and everything on it is amazingly delicious. The portion sizes are huge so you get your monies worth and the drinks are stiff. The Red Bar is almost always busy so just make sure to plan for that before you go.
Chiringo – Super fun spot located across from The Red Bar. You’ll find some of the best burgers on 30A as well as indoor and outdoor seating at Chiringo. It’s one of my favorite places to go when I need a break from the beach and a cold beer or two in my hand.
Chanticleer Eatery – My favorite lunch spot in Grayton Beach and on 30A is Chanticleer. It’s located on the north side of town at the end of Clayton Lane. Everything on their large menu is exceptionally good and the prices are reasonable by 30A standards.
Hurricane Oyster Bar and Grill – One of the best Happy Hour Spots on 30A is how I like to describe Hurricane Oyster Bar & Grill. It’s located on the north side in the Shops of Grayton and is one of my favorite food spots in Sowal.
See our complete list of Grayton Beach Restaurants
Grayton Beach Shops
On the far north side of Grayton off of County Road 283, you’ll find a bunch of fun boutiques at the Shops of Grayton. Just off the south side of Scenic 30A is Uptown Grayton which offers a nice mix of shops and delicious restaurants. Downtown Grayton you’ll find more of the same in terms of great shopping and tasty food spots. Below is a list of some of our favorite shops in Grayton Beach, Florida…
Gypsea Boutique – Located in the same building as Chiringo, Gypsea is a fun women’s boutique. It has apparel for ladies of all ages and it’s a great place to find affordable gifts that are unique to South Walton.
Nicole Paloma – Everything at Nicole Palomo is original, hand-sewn, one-of-a-kind. It’s located at Monet Monet which is a courtyard and a great place to hold small events such as wedding showers.
Saczynski Gallery – Original art by 2013 South Walton Artist of the Year award winner Andy Saczynski. Saczynski Gallery is one of the best places to purchase 30A inspired pieces to enhance your home.
The Zoo Gallery – Located downtown Grayton across from the Red Bar, The Zoo Gallery is a great place to find all sorts of cool things.
Treasure in Paradise – This is one of the most underrate shops on 30A. Hard to find, interesting items galore is what you’ll find at Treasure in Paradise.
See our complete list of Grayton Beach Shops
Grayton Beach Vacation Rentals
You’ll find awesome Grayton Beach vacation rentals on Rent 30A and Emerald Coast by Owner. They are local booking sites that do not charge transaction fees like VRBO, FlipKey and the large national vacation rental listing platforms. These local booking sites bring all the best Grayton Beach rental properties together in one place which makes it much easier to find something that fits your specific needs.
Sanctuary by the Sea and the Preserve At Grayton Beach are two of the more popular gated communities in the area if you’re looking for more privacy. Both are located on the west end of Grayton and offer easy access to Blue Mountain Beach via the Timpoochee Trail. You’ll find all types of vacation rentals throughout Grayton so happy searching.
Chair, Bike, Kayak, SUP Rentals in Grayton Beach
For beach chair, umbrella, kayak and SUP rentals in Grayton Beach my recommendations would be La Dolce Vita, Jongle Beach and Live Well 30A. You can rent bikes in Grayton Beach at Yellowfin Ocean Sports and in front of AJ’s you can rent electric Green E-Bikes. The 30A Bike Trail runs past Grayton Beach State Park, across Western Lake, and into WaterColor / Seaside to the east. To the west, it runs through Blue Mountain Beach, Gulf Place all the way to Dune Allen Beach.
Important Notes Pertaining to Grayton Beach, Florida
If you’re not staying in Grayton Beach please note that parking is an issue. Like most of the 30A beach communities, downtown Grayton is really a small village and so there are few parking spots available especially during the summer months. My recommendation is to get there early or to park in the new overflow lot and hop on a shuttle service.
The new Grayton Beach parking lot is located off of County Road 283 South across from Clayton Lane and Hurricane Oyster Bar. It’s a large South Walton public parking lot and new 30A shuttle services are popping up all the time. Large golf carts and luxury vans will drive you from the parking lot to downtown Grayton where the Gulf access points, Red Bar, Zoo Gallery and Chiringo are located.
The 4 way stop intersection of County Hwy 30A and County Road 283 is almost always really busy. Please use caution at this intersection and remember to watch closely for bikers cruising along the Timpoochee Trail.
Finally, you’ll find the Western Lake Boat Launch on the east end of downtown Grayton Beach. It’s the perfect spot to launch a kayak or hop on a standup Paddleboard and explore the rare coastal dune lake. Many people like to start at the boat launch and follow the Western Lake Outfall all the way into the Gulf of Mexico.
Hopefully, this guide to Grayton Beach helps you better plan your 30A vacation. Things in South Walton are always changing so we’ll continuously update this article as well as our main 30A Guide. One way we like to document the area and keep up with all the new things is via our interactive 30A Map which you can view below…