The “Beach” that fronts the village of Grayton Beach and the adjacent Grayton Beach State park is regularly voted among Florida’s top beaches. And according to beach aficionado Dr. Beach, who is also Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University, Grayton Beach is one of the top 10 beaches in the World! In his annual ranking of Best Beaches World-Wide based upon 50 criteria, Dr. Beach has ranked Grayton Beach #3 for 2018.
Along with Apalachicola, the village of Grayton Beach is our favorite community along the Florida Gulf Scenic Drive (Scenic Highway 30A). In contrast to slickly landscaped condo communities created by a myriad of developers, little Grayton Beach is over hundred years old and has homes and cottages that are indeed that old. Aided by a community of artists and artisans, the town retains a unique character and whimsy. As the town’s website says “Grayton Beach is a state of mind. Our town is a funky little beach town full of free-spirited folks with a laid-back attitude. The narrow roads are shaded by southern magnolias, towering pines and moss-draped oaks. The salt air is ever present and so is the fine white sand covering the worn floors of our old beach cottages.”
The beach itself is a treasure, especially for those who have the special beach passes that allow them to drive on the beach itself. And since the town is actually surrounded by Grayton Beach State Park, there’s always plenty of room on the beach. (see Beach Scenes of Grayton Beach beaches here)
Best Grayton Beach Restaurants & Bars
There are two bars near the beach, The venerable Red Bar (see our review), with its crazy interior decoration motif and signature blackboard menus, and the recently remodeled Chiringo bar down the street. In 2015 we were introduced to the Red Bar, its fantastic Mahi-Mahi basket, signature Bloody Mary, and super-service from the Wait Staff. We also caught some great musical entertainment. The Red is a very popular place and if you can’t get a table right away, rather than wait in line, I’d give its neighbor Chiringo Bar down the street a try. Looks like it would be a fun place. We hope to do a review on our next visit.
- Another good dining option is away from the beach itself along Scenic Highway 30: The Grayton Seafood Company (see our review here).
Slide Show – A few of Grayton Beach’s Unique Cottages
Their tongue-in-cheek “Grayton Beach: Nice Dogs, Strange People” bumper sticker misleads a little bit because the people are also really friendly. As their website says “Grayton Beach is a state of mind. Our town is a funky little beach town full of free-spirited folks with a laid-back attitude.”
Grayton Beach Travel Links:
- The Red Bar Restaurant Review – See our review from our third visit in 2018 – still a great Bloody Mary & Funky interior, but the Mahi Basket slipped a little.
- Restaurant Review: Grayton Seafood Company – Good quality food, decent service, and comfortable atmosphere.
- Grayton Beach State Park. The state park, Grayton Beach State Park, actually surrounds the town and provides cottages for rent, excellent camping for RVs and tents, hiking trails, biking trails, and canoe, kayaking, and paddle-boarding on its coastal dune lake.
- Learn more about lodging, dining, and recreation at the Grayton Beach Website
- Gulf Coast Scenic Drive, Part 1. – Pensacola Beach to Grayton Beach
- Gulf Coast Scenic Drive, Part 2. – Grayton Beach to Apalachicola