You don’t have to venture far from Panama City to find some of the most beautiful beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, and Grayton Beach State Park is no exception. The pristine, sugar-white sand beaches are consistently ranked among the most beautiful in the country and, being a state park, there are no large hotels or resorts lining the 1-mile of beach here. While Grayton Beach State Park is popular with those who have already discovered it, it still remains somewhat of a hidden gem.
Where is Grayton Beach State Park?
Grayton Beach State Park lies roughly half way between Panama City Beach and Destin, with the main entrance being just off CR 30A. Altogether the park covers a large area of approximately 2,000 acres that is split into two main sections that include a shoreline on Western Lake and the Gulf of Mexico. A good number of facilities make this park a great choice for a day visit or a longer stay.
What can you do at Grayton Beach State Park?
The name of this state park is the first clue as to what you can do here – the beach is definitely the main attraction and considering it is often ranked among the most beautiful and pristine in Florida, you can see why.
The sugar-white sand contrasts wonderfully with the emerald colored waters of the Gulf of Mexico, making this the perfect place to go swimming in the Gulf’s warm waters. The soft sand is also great for relaxing on, whether you’re sunbathing or playing games. You can go surf fishing in the Gulf as well as fishing on Western Lake, provided you have the proper license and adhere to the local fishing regulations.
Away from the beach there are plenty of other activities for visitors to Grayton Beach State Park. Western Lake offers an assortment of things to do – bring your own small engine boat and use the park’s boat launch to explore the waters of this lake, or go paddle boarding, canoeing or kayaking. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at a very reasonable rate, allowing you to take your time exploring the 100 acre coastal dune lake.
Between the lake and the Gulf there are trails through the forest including a 1-mile nature trail that provides a great introduction to the different ecosystems of Grayton Beach State Park – you’ll walk through dunes, salt marshes and pine flatwoods, or if you’re visiting for longer hike or bike the 9-mile round trip trail through the forest.
Whatever you’re doing at the park, keep your eyes open for birds and wildlife including osprey and bald eagles, black bears, deer and grey foxes.
With picnic pavilions and restroom facilities, Grayton Beach State Park is a lovely place to visit for a day trip out of Panama City, or use their overnight facilities and stay for longer. You can camp on one of the 59 sites and enjoy one of the prettiest camping areas of the Gulf Coast. All sites have electric and water plus some provide sewer hook-ups, and the maximum RV length is 40 feet. Another option is the park’s very popular cabins. There are 30 cabins that can each sleep up to 6 and they’re located within the pine woods just minutes from the beach.
Grayton Beach State Park, 357 Main Park Road, Santa Rose Beach, FL 32459
(20 – 30 minute ride from Panama City Beach)
- Canoeing & Kayaking
- Wildlife viewing
- Boat Ramp
- Canoe and Kayak rentals
- Picnic Pavilion
- Wheelchair Accessible
Open 8am to sundown, 365 days a year.
What to Bring
- Swimming gear
- Fishing gear
- Walking shoes
- Camping equipment/RV