It’s a place and a state of mind. Some of us are on “SoWal Time” – it’s just “beach time” in South Walton, Florida. They say things move slower in the South. Well, they move even slower on a Southern beach. Nice days are the days you call in sick. There are rays and fish to be caught.
SoWal is made up of the Florida panhandle beach communities of South Walton County on the Emerald Coast between Destin and Panama City Beach – from east to west: Inlet Beach, Rosemary Beach, Seacrest, Alys Beach, WaterSound Beach, Camp Creek, Seagrove Beach, Seaside, WaterColor, Grayton Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Dune Allen, Sandestin, Miramar Beach, Seascape. Directly east is Carillon Beach and Panama City Beach, and directly west is Destin. Point Washington, south of the bay north of Hwy 98, and Freeport north of the bay round out SoWal.
Why is the sand so white?
The Beaches Of South Walton are made of clear quartz sand eroded and washed down rivers from the Appalachian Mountains. Quartz, a hard, durable mineral, survives transport by fast-moving streams, while softer minerals break down and dissolve, or remain suspended in the water. Sedimentary particles available for deposition along the Gulf Coast are thus pure white quartz.
A sand dune today was once, thousands of years ago, a mountain top near the Georgia-South Carolina border. Swept into the Gulf of Mexico, powerful currents pushed the quartz sand westward. The stunning white beaches extend from Cape San Blas in the east, to the Gulf Islands National Seashore of Mississippi to the west.