Grayton Beach celebrated its 100th anniversary on July 4th, 1990. It is one of the area’s oldest and most adored beach communities. It was named after an Army major, Charles T.Gray, who built a home with his wife Elizabeth in Grayton in 1885, according to legend. A few years later, their home burned down along with all of their possessions and it was another 30 years before Grayton would be settled again.
There was very little to draw people to Grayton at that time. The Federal government owned most of the land, the soil was too sandy for farming and it was a very difficult place to reach. There were no bridges over the south end of the Choctawhatchee Bay and the roads were sandy and narrow. In 1913, the Butler family settled Grayton Beach and had the plan to turn it into a resort. They bought most of the property at a very good price and began building, renting cottages and selling lots. They also operated the only store, which also turned into a dance hall on Saturday nights and drew people from as far away as Destin.
Many more houses now surround it, but Grayton continues to have a special “small cozy town” character with narrow tree lined streets and friendly people. It has a modest “downtown” with interesting shops, bed and breakfast inns, a general store and a handful of restaurants. And of course it has a beachfront that has been called one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It also has a public dock on scenic Western Lake where one can take their canoe or kayak and explore one of the largest of the dune lakes.
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