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Get to know Seacrest Beach

Seacrest Beach has a reputation as one of the quieter towns on this stretch of the South Walton beaches, and that’s by design. Tucked away between some of the highest dunes on the Gulf and the wildly gorgeous Camp Creek Lake, it’s a destination rather than a drive-through, and you’ll know when you’ve arrived. The neighborhood (in feel, if not in size) is close-set, making everything an easy jaunt, even in flip-flops, and the homes here typically rise three stories to take advantage of spectacular views over the dunes. There are quite a few small shops and restaurants, and one very large pool, but the primary activity is simply loafing around in glorious relaxation. Seacrest is close to several more-engineered communities, making it an easy drive (or even bike) to world-class dining, art galleries, and upscale shopping — or, in the opposite direction, into the green wilderness of Coastal Florida.

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Living on the Emerald Coast

If the Northwest Coast of Florida has been overlooked, it’s because it’s just perfectly out of the way. Compared to other parts of the state, the scale of things is smaller and development came later, so the white-sand communities here seem thoughtfully planned rather than hodgepodge legacies of land rushes. Though the feel (and the traffic) is less metropolitan, today’s Northwest has plenty of top-notch culture, exceptional restaurants, and incredible retail experiences. This is a natural wonderland in its own distinct way, with wide rivers flowing through thick forests, vast stretches of preserved parkland, and a variety of beaches — from wild and rugged to picture-perfect strips of white. There’s plenty of golf and tennis, but the focus is on the pristine water and a boating culture that runs from yachts to fishing boats to kayaks, and from deep water to grassy flats to sparkling bays — and to the requisite bayous, teeming with waterfowl and fish. The sand is softer, the summer’s a little cooler, and the reservations are a little easier to come by — but it’s still 100 percent Florida.