Grayton Beach Underwater Museum

Underwater Museum of Art
Rivard

Ok, so you think you’ve done all of the exploring in Grayton Beach that you can. You’ve eaten at the Red Bar, browsed at the Zoo Gallery, shopped at Tribe Kelly, and sunbathed on the beach all day. But don’t fret. There’s a whole nother world for you to explore - underwater!

Opened in late June of 2018, the Grayton Beach Underwater Museum is the only one of its kind in the United States. A collaborative effort between the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County and the South Walton Artificial Reef Association, this underwater sculpture garden has gained national recognition and brought the spotlight onto our humble Grayton Beach.  The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County is a local arts agency that supports the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs, and education.  The South Walton Artificial Reef Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and understanding of our delicate and unique ecosystem while affording guests the ability to appreciate and see marine life up close.

At this time the Underwater Museum of Art consists of 7 sculptures resting about 55 feet under the water. Not only do these one-of-a-kind pieces of art serve as an attraction sight for scuba divers and snorkelers, but they also do their part by serving as an artificial reef as most of South Walton’s seabed is flat, sandy, and barren. The sculptures are all created of clean and environmentally sustainable materials and help to improve marine life in the area because they can provide habitats for reef life to grow and biological life to prosper. Therefore underwater spectators can also expect to see a wide variety of sea life swimming in and around the art pieces! Reef Association President Andy McAlexander remarked that “When you dive down and view the exhibit and see the marine life clustered around the structures you gain appreciation.” McAlexander is certainly onto something with this idea because the Underwater Museum of Art helped land South Walton County a spot on National Geographic’s coveted “Best Trips of 2019” list published earlier this year.

Those interested in visiting and paddling out solo or with their own dive boat can park at Grayton Beach State Park. The site is about 0.7 miles offshore, so visitors can also book a charter boat to make it to the dive site. Scuba dive trips are also offered from various companies including 30A Snorkel who also provides tours to the other artificial reefs in our area as well.

One of the most exciting features of this underwater museum is that it is an ever-changing and growing exhibit. According to the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, they plan to add more to the collection annually. In other words, what you see this year could be completely different than what you could experience next year. McAlexander describes the experience as a “living, breathing, thriving museum that will be different every time you dive...it fundamentally changes literally moment by moment.”

This rare treasure is another reason to put on the list of why you should make Grayton Beach your next vacation destination. We have the largest selection of Grayton Beach vacation rentals and tons of other Highway 30A rentals for you to choose from. Book one today and don’t forget to pack your GoPro so you can show everybody ashore what you discovered down below!