O' the Places You Will Go with your ebike

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located near the western end of “Scenic Route 30A” in Santa Rosa Beach. The State Park is primarily defined by white sand beach, towering dunes, coastal dune lakes, and camping. . There are two paved trails leading to the two most popular Park features; over 3 miles of pristine Gulf beach, and a “coastal dune lake“. The visitor parking lot also serves as a trailhead for the 18.5-mile Timpoochee Trail, across the road from the State Park entrance.

Starting at the visitor parking lot, we explored mostly riding on the paved bike trails – short, easy rides through natural areas – to the main State Park features. The paved trails run mostly through long-leaf pine flatwoods with limited shade, so bring a hat, sunscreen, and water.

Location: South Walton County (Santa Rosa Beach)

Mileage: 2.25 miles paved, 15 miles unpaved, 18.5-mile Timpoochee Trail runs outside Park

Trailheads: Topsail Hill Preserve State Park parking lot

Surface: Paved, sand, dirt, pine needles.

Nearby Points of interest: Grayton Beach State Park, Deer Lake State Park, Camp Helen State Park, Eden Gardens State Park, Point Washington State Forest

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Timpoochee Trail

18.5-Mile Paved Bike Trail along 30A

The Timpoochee Trail parallels virtually the entire length of Scenic CR 30A, going past 3 Florida State Parks and through multiple beach communities.

Biking is a perfect way to explore the area’s natural features – the coastal dunes, coastal dune lakes, State Parks, and many beach accesses (with bike racks).  The ride is variously through busier beach communities and quieter natural areas.End Points: CR 30A, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park to Inlet Beach(approx.. 19 miles)

Mileage: 18.5 miles

Surface: Asphalt, most 8′

Trailheads/Parking: Free Public Parking – Dune Allen Beach Access, Ed Walline Beach Access Blue Mountain Beach, Seaside, Greenway Park, Walton Dunes

Point Washington State Park

Point Washington State Forest was purchased under Florida's Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) program in 1992. Using an ecosystem management approach, the Florida Forest Service provides for multiple uses of the forest resources. The forest is managed for timber, wildlife, outdoor recreation and ecological restoration. Point Washington State Forest is made up of 10 natural communities. The majority of the area consists of sandhill, basin swamps/titi drains, wet flatwoods, wet prairie and cypress swamps. Although much of Point Washington State Forest has been cut over, there are some excellent examples of intact sandhill ecosystems.

Several plants and animals that are listed as threatened, endangered or species of special concern can be found in the forest. These rare species include American kestrel, gopher tortoise, flatwoods salamander, white-topped pitcher plant, and the world's largest population of Curtiss sandgrass.

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An important management tool used in the forest is the prescribed burning program. Controlled fire is used to manage timber, wildlife and ecological resources. Reducing fuel loads (undergrowth), improving hazardous conditions, and maintaining biodiversity are some of the objectives of the prescribed burning program.  Point Washington State Forest is available to the public for various types of outdoor recreation. The forest is widely used for hunting, off-road bicycling and hiking.

Point Washington State Forest is part of the Point Washington Wildlife Management Area. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regulates the hunting seasons and game limits in the forest.

The Eastern Lake Trail System was the first trail established in the forest. This trail system consists of three double-track loop trails. The hiker or bicyclist can travel the 3.5-, 5- or 10-mile loop. The Eastern Lake Bike/Hike Trail is included in the Florida Forest Service's Trailwalker Program. The trail system can be accessed at the parking lot and trailhead on County Road 395.

In addition, a greenway trail system that crosses the forest is being developed. This trail will provide connections to Grayton Beach State Park, Deer Lake State Park, Topsail Hill State Preserve, Butler Elementary School and numerous residential developments. Upon completion, this trail system will provide over 27 miles of trails for recreational use.

Overnight camping is available at Eastern Lake Campgrounds, located off Forest Road 7. There are eight primitive campsites, and reservations are required. For camping information and reservations, visit FloridaStateForests.ReserveAmerica.com or call 1-877-879-3859

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Dune Allen

If you dream of a pure beach getaway, Dune Allen may be just what springs to mind.  With sprawling beaches, five coastal dune lakes – Allen, Campbell, Morris, Oyster and Stallworth – and miles of trails, Dune Allen, is a nature lover’s paradise without many commercial businesses.Love to camp and explore Florida’s natural habitats? Head over to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, home to a 3.2-mile stretch of secluded beaches with coastal dune lakes and sand dunes stretching far off into the distance.  For lunch or dinner in Dune Allen, head over to Stinky’s Fish Camp, which was named one of the Top 10 places to eat by USA Today. Local Chef Jim Richard’s restaurant is a showcase of fresh seafood and Gulf-to-table cuisine. Stinky’s Stew is a local favorite. Just a short jump up the road is Elmo’s Grill, a low-key seafood restaurant serving up everything from crab legs to fresh fish for dinner nightly.

Blue Mountain

Nestled between bustling Gulf Place and funky Grayton Beach lies Blue Mountain Beach – a sleepy beach neighborhood known for its laid-back atmosphere natural beauty. Home to delicious dining and endless relaxation, this neighborhood evokes memories of beach vacations that families have enjoyed for generations.  Earning its name, Blue Mountain Beach boasts the highest elevation in South Walton, a towering 65 feet, as well as rolling dunes covered in Blue Lupine – a flowering plant that bursts with bright blues and lavender hues that can be seen for miles. With plenty of rental options available and two public beach accesses conveniently located in the heart of it all, visitors have all of the amenities needed for a perfect day at the beach.  Home to one of South Walton’s rare coastal dune lakes, visitors can explore Big Redfish Lake by water on stand-up paddleboard or by bike on the Timpoochee Trail, a 19-mile stretch of paved path that traverses the length of Highway 30A.  When traveling through Blue Mountain Beach, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, including various shorebirds and whitetail deer.

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Blue Mountain Beach is a foodie’s paradise, where dive bars, local cafes and sweet treats are all within walking distance! Start your morning at Blue Mountain Bakery and grab a freshly baked pastry and a cup of coffee for your morning walk to the beach. Conveniently located next door, Big Daddy’s Bike Shop has rentals available for exploring the Timpoochee Trail and neighboring beach neighborhoods while visiting. If Sunday brunch is more your style, head across the street to Blue Mabel Smokehouse & Provisions for bottomless mimosas and chicken and waffles.

If you’re in the mood for live entertainment and fresh seafood, look no further than the… local convenient store? Yep, you heard that right! Redd’s Fueling Station, tucked behind a gas station on Highway 30A, is home to one of the most unique South Walton experiences you’ll have! This local’s favorite is serving fresh seafood, endless entertainment and is known to be a host venue for the 30A Songwriters Festival. Just next door, Johnny McTighe’s Irish Pub has the tavern staples you’re craving, including fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage and authentic Irish beer. Cap off your night with an ice cream cone at Blue Mountain Beach Creamery, a must-visit when in South Walton.

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Grayton Beach

Funky and eclectic Grayton Beach’s unofficial motto is “Nice Dogs, Strange People.” As one of South Walton’s original beach neighborhoods, Grayton Beach is known as a creative haven for artists, musicians, chefs, or anyone who wants to escape convention and live the beach lifestyle.

Bustling  with life, Grayton Beach is home to art galleries, a world-famous funky dive bar (The Red Bar) and endless natural beauty at Grayton Beach State Park, which surrounds the neighborhood on three sides. Breakfast at Crackings or Black Bear Bread Company – don’t miss out on the house-made pastries –is a great way to kick-off your day. For Gulf views along with tasty eats be sure to stop by Chiringo where the open-air design channels the Gulf breeze, and cold drinks cool customers and complement the laid-back cuisine.

Seagrove

Seagrove’s collection of lush oak trees, magnolias, and laid back, yet luxurious lifestyles makes it a favorite of longtime South Walton visitors. The landscape is complemented by its diverse mix of boutiques, casual cafes and an altogether upbeat ambiance.

A stay in Seagrove is full of adventure. The proximity demands that visitors explore Deer Lake State Park and Eastern Lake, and biking along the Timpoochee Trail in Seagrove is the preferred way to get around. Seagrove is welcoming a new Regional Beach Access in 2021, making it even easier to dig your toes into the sugar-white sand.

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In Seagrove, dining at Café Thirty-A is a tradition. This South Walton favorite was one of the first to establish a foothold along Highway 30A. Not far to the west, on Highway 395, Seagrove Village Market is a must for succulent shrimp po boys and good old nostalgia, having been part of the Seagrove community since 1949.

To the east (overlooking the appropriately named Eastern Lake), Old Florida Fish House is the perfect place for lunch or dinner. You don’t want to miss out on their renowned sushi and live music.

For adults, Beach and Brew on 30A is one of the newest businesses in Seacrest and showcases a large variety of craft beer and unique wines in their taproom. South Walton’s Idyll Hounds Brewing Company and Grayton Beer Company brews are staples on their menu, along with other regional favorites. You can choose to hang out in the taproom or fill your growler to go, but either way our local breweries want to make it easy for you to enjoy a taste of South Walton while enjoying your stay in Seacrest.

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Watercolor and Seaside Trails Loop

The 8.9-mile trail system is the perfect setting for bikers as it gently meanders through picturesque neighborhoods. Go for an early morning jog or step out for a stroll among shaded and walkable pathways of mixed terrain.