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Morning beauty along Northwest Florida’s Gulf coast
By Tom Adkinson
April 30, 2021

(Editor’s note: This is one in a series of travel stories spotlighting destinations and activities to consider in a time of coronavirus and to inspire safe outings elsewhere.)

northwest florida gulf coast
Down to the sea. Image by Tom Adkinson.

WALTON COUNTY, Florida – The serpentine sweep of a coastal dune lake in near Grayton State Park in northwest Florida provides the setting for a modern-day treasure hunter to scout for the previous day’s lost coins, keys and rings.

The lake is one of 15 coastal lakes in the county between Destin and Panama City Beach. The region is one of the few places on earth where freshwater lakes occur so close to saltwater. Others are in Oregon, Australia, New Zealand and Madagascar.

treasure hunter florida gulf coast
Treasure hunter. Image by Tom Adkinson.

Coastal lakes are within two miles of a coastline and gain new water from rainfall, groundwater seepage, springs, creeks and storm surge. Some of the Florida coastal lakes occasionally open directly into the Gulf of Mexico, as this one is in this photo. That happens when water levels get especially high and when storms breach the dune system. Their shallowness makes them particularly attractive to swimmers, kayakers and others when gulf waters are too cold for comfort.

Trip Planning Resources: and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

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