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Stroll the charming streets of Seaside to delight in spectacular holiday light displays.

’Tis the Season

Holiday Festivities Abound

Story and photography courtesy of Walton County Tourism

As the holiday season heats up and things start to get hectic, the beach stays laid back. That’s why winter is the perfect time to start a new tradition in Walton County, Florida. While everyone else worries about trimming the tree and sweating over the stove, you can kick back and enjoy yourself on the sugar-white sand!

During a season known for its traditions, there’s always room for brand-new ones. Bring your family to the beach for Christmas; it’ll become a family custom in no time.

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Spend Time Together

If a seaside Christmas celebration is on the menu, restaurants like Havana Beach Bar & Grill in Rosemary Beach go all out, offering a traditional festive dinner and kids’ events like cookie decorating with Santa. And steps away in South Barrett Square, the twenty-five-foot Christmas tree is a majestic spectacle your family will look forward to each year.

Another annual holiday tradition in Walton County is DeFuniak Springs’ Merry Main Street. Each Saturday in December, various vendors gather on Baldwin Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets, offering a series of signature holiday-themed events, including live music and theatrical performances, an outdoor market, food trucks, rides on the Choctaw Express Train, visits with Santa, and more.

True to its name, Christmas Reflections turns Lake DeFuniak at Chipley Park into a shimmering mirror of holiday illumination that complements the charming Victorian homes surrounding it. More than 10 million lights are part of the breathtaking display – truly a must-see. Thousands of decorations add to the festive atmosphere of this ongoing event. And Santa has a fun workshop to keep kids of all ages entertained!

Get pampered together or treat your loved one to a spa day. Choose from manicures, pedicures, facials, scrubs, or a couple’s massage at one of the luxurious spas throughout sixteen beach neighborhoods along Scenic Highway 30-A and beyond.

Gallery hop and enjoy world-class local art, or enjoy the pristine natural setting. Historic downtown DeFuniak Springs is filled with local shops and restaurants. Stroll along these quaint streets, popping in and out of a few boutiques before treating yourself to an incredible meal.

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Check off your holiday gift list with unique works of art from local artists like Francisco Adaro.

Making a List, Checking It Twice

The holidays are a time for festive celebration, and part of that reveling is finding great holiday gifts for everyone on your list. Fortunately, like most things in Walton County, shopping can be stress-free! From jewelry and loungewear to foodie-approved pantry staples, you’ll find the perfect present with our small business shopping guide.

Want to spoil someone special? McCaskill & Company in Miramar Beach carries fine jewelry and watches that make just the right statement. Pish Posh Patchouli’s in Rosemary Beach is a high-end apothecary boutique offering everything from luxurious bath and body products and exclusive fragrances to comfy loungewear and decorative candles. Browse for designer clothes and accessories at Willow + Mercer in Inlet Beach or MERIT in Alys Beach.

If your loved one’s house is their pride and joy, head to Bastide Home & Garden in Dune Allen for an impressive selection of curated gifts and goods that add a tasteful touch to any space. Next, stop by Seagrove’s Bungalow Home & Life to peruse its collection of unique furniture, home decor, boutique apparel, and jewelry. They also offer a handpicked selection of colorful crafts from talented local artists. Are you searching for a unique work of art for a creative friend? Explore the assortment of shops and art galleries at The Big Chill in WaterSound.

With several local breweries, South Walton serves specialties for all the lager-lovers on your list. Grayton Beer Company captures the laid-back essence of its namesake neighborhood with balanced, refreshing beer selections. Meanwhile, Idyll Hounds Brewing Company pays tribute to its beach roots with options like Ghost Crab Pilsna’ and the Divide and Conch’r Double IPA. If you’re uncertain what to choose, both these stops have taprooms where you can savor a few different samples.

Complement these tasty suds with something delicious from 30A Olive Oil Co. at 30Avenue in Inlet Beach. You’ll find a great selection of gourmet foods, wine, olive oil, and jams alongside kitchen gifts, including handmade wooden charcuterie boards.

For the little ones, Gigi’s Fabulous Kids Fashions & Toys in Rosemary Beach is your headquarters for art supplies, beach toys, costumes, puppets, and more to celebrate every child’s individual creativity and style.

Don’t forget to explore North Walton! Main Street in DeFuniak Springs is a charming destination for strolling and window shopping. Katie Beth’s Boutique & Spa carries a wide range of stylish women’s apparel and accessories. Nearby, Vault 46 offers eclectic home decor, unique art, candles, and gifts, including one-of-a-kind jewelry.

Freeport is home to a great assortment of shops. Lou Lou Beans Gift Shop stocks everything from whimsical decorations to playful jewelry. Just being in this shop will put a smile on your face. And if you want to pamper a friend, The Little Yellow Bench Company has a full line of handmade skin and spa products, as well as candles. They also custom design and produce incredible wood furniture (hence the name).

Embrace shopping-as-exploration in Walton County by setting out on your retail adventure. Even if you don’t have an official gift list, you’ll find treasures you didn’t know you needed!

If you haven’t already, you’ll soon discover why the warm winter in South Walton is the ideal time to plant the seeds of a new holiday tradition that you and your loved ones can celebrate for years to come.

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Head to to learn more or start planning your holiday getaway!

Where to See Holiday Lights in South Walton

While there’s no better light show than a South Walton sunset, we’ve got the next best thing! After a day at the beach or some last-minute shopping, load up your crew and take a self-guided tour of lights through Walton County, starting on the east end in Inlet Beach.

1. Inlet Beach – A trip to 30Avenue is enhanced by holiday lights along its signature palm trees, complete with classic characters from The Nutcracker ballet and a giant Christmas tree.

2. Rosemary Beach – Twinkling lights lend a festive touch to the live oaks circling both sides of Barrett Square, with a gorgeously decorated Douglas Fir Christmas tree as the main attraction.

3. Alys Beach – Always beautiful, Alys Beach’s signature architecture is enhanced with holiday wreaths, lights, a twenty-five-foot Christmas tree, and packages decorating the amphitheater.

4. Seaside – A visit to Seaside Amphitheater treats guests with a large Christmas tree added to the top of Airstream Row. Be sure to walk under the arch of the beachfront Coleman Pavilion, where the decorative lights provide a striking and romantic backdrop for photos.

5. WaterColor – Plan a stroll through the walking trails of Cerulean Park, where bright stars overhead are accentuated by a beautifully lit Christmas tree, holly-covered arches, and more.

6. The Village of Baytowne WharfSandestin’s town center is a classic destination for checking out holiday lights and festivities, such as Baytowne On Ice and a series of holiday concerts.

7. Miramar Beach – Combine shopping with a spectacular display at the Holiday Lights in Concert at Silver Sands Premium Outlets. Lasting about half an hour, this impressive presentation synchronizes many holiday songs with colorful lights.

8. DeFuniak Springs – The annual Christmas Reflections holiday light show transforms Lake DeFuniak into a shimmering mirror of holiday illumination with more than ten million lights and thousands of festive decorations, including classic favorites like Santa’s workshop, toy soldiers, and a ticking grandfather clock.

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