South Walton’s stunning beaches were created by the weathering of the Appalachian Mountains over millions of years. Particles of quartz from this mountain range were washed into riverbeds and eventually transported by these rivers to the Gulf of Mexico. The ebb and flow of the water over this long distance broke down these particles and buffed their edges, making the sand as fine as sugar when it finally rested along the Florida Panhandle. There are no large sediment-heavy rivers directly influencing the water in South Walton and so the reflection of the sun on the white sandy bottom of the Gulf of Mexico creates the water’s brilliant turquoise hue.
A variety of cultural influences can be seen in the area. South Walton has been touched by the traditions and influence of early Native American, Spanish, French, and English cultures. Each of Walton County’s four municipalities, DeFuniak Springs, Paxton, Freeport and Santa Rosa Beach continue to reflect these cultures today.