Hidden in Florida's panhandle, Grayton Beach offers visitors a chance to experience a classic seaside village.
Two surfers call it quits at day's end. Although waves seldom reach heights that excite serious surfers, you can usually find a few devotees waiting for a good ride.
Western Lake at Grayton Beach State Park provides a sheltered place for easy kayaking or canoeing. Only a thin row of dunes separates the lake from the Gulf of Mexico.
In Grayton Beach, everybody comes to Picolo's Restaurant and The Red Bar. The restaurant menu changes daily and is handwritten on a chalkboard that's toted from table to table. (Bring cash―they do not accept credit cards.)
The Shops of Grayton, just north of Scenic Highway 30-A, offer upscale but unpretentious merchandise in keeping with the casual-chic vibe of the town.
Narrow paths lead over the dunes to the beach. Staying on the paths protects the sea oats and other vegetation that stabilize the dunes, which in turn protect the town from storms.
Grayton Beach residents equip their beach buggies with everything needed for a waterfront party―sometimes even a blender for mixing drinks. Four-wheel drive helps in negotiating the feather-soft sand.
The presence of motor vehicles on the beach, a cherished local tradition available only to county residents, doesn't interfere with anyone's fun.