When it opened in December 2019, the Dune Allen Regional Beach Access was the first new beach access along South Walton’s popular stretch of the Emerald Coast in better than a decade. A new way to get to the soft, shining sugar sands ramping down to the Gulf of Mexico’s inviting waters is only a good thing, we’d say!
Dune Allen Regional Beach Access is an inviting place to pull off the highway, what with its palm-studded parking area and clean, modern restroom facility. There are some 18 parking spots as well as designated places for golf carts.
It’s also worth highlighting the bike racks here, given Dune Allen Beach lies along the Timpoochee Trail. Just shy of 19 miles, this multiuse path linking Dune Allen with Inlet Beach offers cyclists the opportunity to do a little beach-hopping under their own pedal power. Starting from the west, the Dune Allen Regional Beach Access delivers the Timpoochee’s first sightlines directly out to the Gulf.
An accessible boardwalk leads any and all sun-, sand-, and surf-lovers to Dune Allen Beach itself, which encompasses about 220 feet of strand. It’s often pretty easy to get some elbow room in this comparatively quiet area, especially on weekdays.
This is a good place to take a dip in the Gulf: There’s a lifeguard station at Dune Allen Beach as well as posted color-coded warning flags cueing you into current conditions and any hazards. Remember, a green flag means calm conditions and a low danger level, yellow means moderate surf or currents and medium hazard; red means strong currents or surf warranting “high hazard” status; and a double red flag indicates the waters are officially off-limits. A purple flag, meanwhile, warns of potentially dangerous marine life in the vicinity. (Always remember that just because there’s a green flag—or, depending on the location, no flag at all—it doesn’t mean swimming’s entirely safe: You need to practice good judgment and be aware of your own swimming abilities and physical limitations.)
The Dune Allen Regional Beach Access is one of Walton County’s westernmost. Just a shell’s throw to the east, you’ll find the Fort Panic Regional Beach Access as well, which also includes restrooms, a parking area, and a lifeguarded beachfront.
The fact that you can so easily combine a visit to either Dune Allen Beach or the Fort Panic sands with a classic Emerald Coast seafood feast at Stinky’s Fish Camp along Allen Lake only ups the appeal of a beach day here, needless to say…
– If you can spare the time, it’s really well worth visiting Topsail Hill Preserve State Park as part of your Dune Allen Beach R&R. Just minutes away to the west, this awesome park includes towering dunes, coastal dune lakes, old-growth pinelands and scrub, and loads of wildlife.