Grayton Beach Boat Ramp

Grayton Beach is one of those magical hidden places, tucked off a quiet, forested beach road on the far side of Florida, and that's why people love it. The two greatest gifts here are the crystal clear Gulf waters and the quiet peace-fullness, solitary nature. The brackish inlet here feeds several rare coastal dune lakes, a perfect liquid highway to the state park, and farther east the coastal towns of WaterColor and Seaside. All this, and more unforgettable moments await the adventurous traveler, from a humble little boat ramp, just at the end of Hotz Ave.

Tucked away in the far corner of this quaint little original cracker home community, just a block west of the now world-famous Red Bar sits the Hotz Ave Boat Ramp. Hotz Ave endcaps Pine Street, which is simply the part of CR 283 that extends south of 30A in South Walton. On the north side of the access, there are a handful of parking spots, each large enough for an SUV (keep in mind there is no place to leave a boat trailer). That being said, this ramp is clean and gentle, as boat ramps go. The entrance is wide, and the depth at 10 feet out is better than 3 feet depending on tides. Launching at Hotz is a pleasure.

Along the north side, there is also a classic medium length wooden dock. It is the best spot to tie off your boat and a great staging area for getting your paddleboard set up. Small watercraft really are ideal for this location; kayaks, bass boats, stand-up paddleboards, electric-powered surfboards, rafts, and even some small sailboats, pretty much anything you can fit in the back of your pickup truck or on a roof rack. Even if you're just walking, by the dock is worth a quick visit. From there, you can take in the vast expanse of the inlet, the marshes, and the calm waters.

Once you're out on the water, you'll have plenty to explore. Grayton Beach to the west is the obvious choice, plenty of shore fishing from the sand, and if you're lucky, you might just reel in a redfish, brim, or bass on the calm side. Following the narrow channel to the east, you'll pop out onto Western Lake. This "tannic" body of water gets its rich brown hue from decaying vegetation that leaches into the water and gives it that dark tea or cola color. On the edges there are large areas covered in lily pads and other floating plants and birds, lots of birds. On this aquatic adventure, you'll likely see Blue Heron, Osprey, and a wide variety of winged visitors gracing the coastline.

There you have it, the Grayton Beach Boat Ramp, may not sound like much - but it's easily one of the best-kept secrets in South Walton, and a "grayt" nature experience like no other. Rivard by Ocean Reef Vacation Rentals offers a variety of accommodations in Grayton Beach and many with ample parking to set your trailer down. Next time you're in town, stop by and see where the water takes you!