Western Lake and Other Coastal Dune Lakes in South Walton
South Walton has 15 named coastal dune lakes along its 26 miles of coastline: Fuller Lake, Morris Lake, Campbell Lake, Stallworth Lake, Allen Lake, Oyster Lake, Draper Lake, Big Redfish Lake, Little Redfish Lake, Alligator Lake, Western Lake, Eastern Lake, Deer Lake, Camp Creek Lake, and Lake Powell. Perhaps the most recognizable and well known is Western Lake, which has been the subject of countless photographs and paintings for many years. Andy has painted Western Lake more times than he can count, selling over 40 last year alone. I moved here in 1990, and the trees lining Western Lake still take my breath away every time I drive on the stretch of 30A connecting Grayton Beach and WaterColor.
Coastal dune lakes are rare, so it's pretty special that we have 15 of them. In addition to South Walton, they're also found along the coasts of Oregon, South Carolina, New Zealand, Australia, and Madagascar. Our coastal dune lakes were created by wind and waves thousands of years ago and are constantly evolving. They’re unusually shallow, with an average depth of about five feet, and the dunes surrounding them can get as tall as 30 feet high.
Recreational activities along the coastal dune lakes include kayak/canoe paddling, stand up paddle boarding, and fishing. Fishing is typically fresh water, however salt-water species can also be found in the lakes. Bream, bass, pan fish, catfish, redfish, flounder, speckled trout. and mullet are commonly caught. (Click here for a list of public access points.)
Lakes create an opening (outfall) to the Gulf of Mexico during periods of high water levels, causing fresh and salt water to mix. So, if you like the Gulf of Mexico to be sparkling turquoise, you should avoid Grayton Beach when the water levels are high, temporarily causing the water along the shore to turn a reddish-brown.
As mentioned, Andy paints South Walton's coastal dune lakes quite often, usually of Western Lake and the famous trees surrounding it. Here are a few examples of what he's painted over the last few years.