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DeFuniak Springs: A Guide for First-Timers

Walton County is certainly proud of our sugar-white sand, but there are so many things to discover north of the Choctawhatchee Bay, too.

One such destination is DeFuniak Springs, which is home to amazing restaurants, shops, activities and a Historic Downtown District. If you’ve never been, here’s a quick primer on a few things to check out on your first day.

You should probably start by scouting out some good eats, so you know you’ll be fueled up for exploring. For breakfast, swing by Perla Baking Co. to peruse their fresh-baked goodies such as pastries and croissants – and yes, desserts (judgement-free). They also have organic coffees and teas to perk you up.

Perla Baking Co. in DeFuniak Springs

No culinary tour would be complete without a stop at the oldest hot dog stand in Florida. Grab some legendary lunch at H&M Hot Dogs, where they specialize in incredibly creative dogs, but also serve up tasty burgers.

And when it’s time for dinner, Café Nola has great Gulf seafood to go with charming New Orleans-style ambiance. Either before or after your meal, plan on visiting their Bourbon Street Lounge for a craft cocktail.

H&M Hot Dogs in DeFuniak Springs

In between meals, doing a little shopping is a fun way to familiarize yourself with the town. With so many different options, you can find everything from vintage gems to the latest trends.

True to its name, Soirée celebrates everyday life with a festive selection of gourmet foods, jewelry and stylish home gifts, as well as balloons and floral arrangements. Vault 46 has a treasure trove of eclectic home decor, plus unique accessories, jewelry, art, candles and gifts. If you’re more in the mood for a little antique hunting, stop by Nook & Cranny. Locally owned and operated, this downtown consignment shop is home to a wonderful selection of high-quality antiques and collectibles.

Looking for a leisurely stroll that seems to take you back in time? Make your way around Circle Drive. Surrounding Lake DeFuniak are nearly 200 historic homes and buildings. About 40 of these are noted on the National Register of Historic Places, and many date back to the Chautauqua Institution that thrived here until the late 1920s. Eighteen detailed signs and a map of the original 1884 campus provide more perspective on the local history.

Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood

And when you’re ready to unwind after all your exploring, head to a house of a different kind. The Pink House is an aesthetics and wellness boutique offering a wide range of traditional spa treatments and services. Learn all the health benefits of their infrared sauna or schedule a facial to help refresh your outlook for the rest of the day!

The Pink House in DeFuniak Springs

All this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the fun that awaits you in DeFuniak Springs. Depending on when you visit, there are several festivals including LakeFest and Christmas Reflections. And the local residents are incredibly friendly and welcoming, so be sure to ask for tips as you jump from spot to spot!

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