Grayton Beach Scrub Oaks – Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach

Scrub oaks flanked by saw palmettos shade the path through the sand dunes to the beach at Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

© Scott Holstein – All rights reserved.

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The Making of the Grayton Beach Scrub Oaks Landscape Photograph

I used to photograph regularly across the Florida panhandle and the Emerald Coast, including Grayton Beach along Florida Scenic Highway 30A. However, I had not been out this way in years.

I remembered from an environmental portrait I had made in Grayton Beach State Park in the past that there was an interesting area of scrub oaks. They were located up on a sand dune on a short footpath to the beach, so I stopped by one evening to see if I could make a landscape photograph.

As the sun was sinking into the horizon, I made this image with the last light of the day. In the image, saw palmettos skirt the trunks of scrub oaks – stunted, gnarled oak trees that have somehow thrived on the sand dune, despite the coastal wind and salty air.

Grayton Beach

Grayton Beach is a historic neighborhood of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida along Scenic Highway 30A in south Walton County. It is located along the Gulf Coast between Panama City Beach and Destin on the Emerald Coast of Florida and was founded in 1980. Grayton Beach is home to art, music, and restaurant and bar scenes, including the world-famous dive bar, The Red Bar.

Grayton Beach has a mile of white sand beach that has been named the most beautiful beach in America. The local region including Grayton Beach is known as the Beaches of South Walton.

Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park is a 2,200-acre state park located along County Road 30A in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The state park includes Western Lake, a 100-acre rare, coastal dune lake with brackish water. A unique feature of the dune lake is that it occasionally breaches the sandy bank separating it from the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico, called a “blowout,” which then allows the gulf water to backwash into the lake, altering its salinity.

Grayton Beach State Park offers recreational opportunities such as paddling sports on Western Lake and hiking and biking on trails through the pine flats. A recognizable section of tall, skinny pine trees visible from Florida Scenic Highway 30A is a popular subject for local artists.

The park also has cabins for rent and a campground.