Turtle Talk: Come Explore With Us!

Thousands of visitors come to South Walton beaches every year to vacation in pristine settings and enjoy the Old Florida lifestyle that 60,000+ of us are lucky enough to call home every day of the year!

They come for the beaches, sure. But, they could find beaches in any number of Florida towns. Here, they also come for the relaxation that accompanies a community full of natural beauty and outdoor activities.

They come, and we stay, for the magic of the peaceful natural surroundings that flank those beautiful white sandy beaches where sea turtles love to nest before their hatchlings head back out into the emerald green Gulf of Mexico waters.

It is all connected! We are all connected!

Organizations committed to conservation education and awareness about the natural beauty that makes our Northwest Florida region so special are coming together this Saturday to celebrate the great Walton County Outdoors as a whole.

WaltonOutdoors.com, the one stop nature and outdoor focused resource for Walton County, strives to educate about great local natural places and outdoor family-oriented community events and activities.

As such, Walton Outdoors is hosting the sixth annual Explore The Outdoors Festival from 10 am to 2 pm, this Saturday, Oct. 10th!

The event will be held along the beautiful waters at Live Oak Landing less than 10 minutes from South Walton by way of Highway 331. This fun-filled community event will introduce children, and maybe more than a few adults, to the wonders of exploring local nature and the many outdoor experiences available here in Walton County.

The festival will also showcase the little area known to locals as Black Creek, just north of Fluffy Landing and Jolly Bay, a few minutes south of Freeport, along the gorgeous Choctawhatchee River system that connects so much of our Central and South Walton region.

And, you can be sure that Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles will be there to represent the great work being done for sea turtles on our Gulf-front beaches!

What more do you need to know about Walton County than how to get to the beach? What makes the Walton Community so special?

As noted by WJHG News Channel 7, “It’s a place beyond the beaches and a road less traveled… It is nice to come up here and relax and get back in the wildness.”

There is a reason far beyond the beaches, after all, that Smithsonian Magazine recently highlighted the E. O. Wilson Biophilia Center and the area north of the bay.

For those of you looking solely for turtle connections, consider the obvious: the health of the waters of the Choctawhatchee Basin are connected to the health of our beaches and therefore the health of our nesting sea turtles and marine life.

Hands on activities at the FREE festival will include fishing, kayaking, wildlife encounters, interactive exhibits, nature-based crafts, etc.

For a full list of the many great activities and exhibits at the Explore The Outdoors Festival, check out WaltonOutdoors.com for complete details!

The site of the event, Live Oak Landing, is an RVC Outdoor Destination with direct access to the Choctawhatchee Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Intracoastal Waterway & Black Creek River System.

North of Seaside and east of Destin, the site offers 71 pristine acres of virtually untouched landscape. Open to sportsmen and nature enthusiasts, many visitors and new residents are surprised by the vast open area just minutes from the hustle of the Scenic Highway 30A Corridor and the ever-expanding Highway 331 developments.

Why is all of this important to sea turtle conservation?

Every time another child is inspired to care about and study the natural world, it helps all conservation minded efforts. Whenever a community becomes engaged in the sustainable care of its watershed areas, it helps all aquatic related awareness efforts. And, as residents learn about all of the many great organizations working on various nature-based activities, it encourages more involvement, voluntarism and collaboration!

What we do inland impacts what happens at our beaches. To increase sea turtle conservation success, it is imperative to unite the community from north to south county and across the region to collaborate on projects and new ideas.

The Explore the Outdoors Festival is a great opportunity to do just that! 

We hope to see many of our friends, volunteers, and sea turtle friendly business partners at our booth at the event.

And, we can’t wait to meet new friends that could lead to new partnerships to accomplish even more!

 

To get to the #ExploreTheOutdoorsFestival this Saturday from South Walton, take Highway 331 north over the bridge, then take the second right (after Jolly Bay Road) at the light for CR3280. Enjoy the forested road before taking a right onto McDaniel’s Fishcamp Road at the Black Creek General Store. Follow the road on down to the end and Live Oak Landing, and the Explore the Outdoors Festival, will be on your left. 

Follow and RSVP to attend the event on Facebook!