Western Lake is a 214 acre natural lake located approximately 24 miles east of Destin and it is one of the "Coastal Dune Lakes" that are common to this area but are rare throughout the rest of the world.
It is relatively shallow, being 8' deep at the best. The lake is primarily a freshwater lake but does have increased salinity from periodic overflows from the ocean during storms and seepage through the ground. It is fed by several small streams with no permanent outflow. When water levels are high enough, it will flow into the ocean. The beach overflow is at the south end of the western lake, next to the town of Grayton.
The water in Western Lake is "tannic". (As vegetation decays, tannins leach into the water, making a transparent, acidic water that is darkly stained, resembling tea or coffee) Although tea stained, it is still relatively clear and is a clean lake. The bottom of the lake is sand with no known structure. There are several areas with lily pads and other floating vegetation if you want to fish a frog or other weedless lure.
The lake is divided into four parts, separated by bridges. There is access between the four parts, but bridge heights vary with the water level. The section between the east and western portions of the lake is navigable by kayaks and small boats, depending on water levels. A bass boat would probably run aground.
COASTAL DUNE LAKES
About the Lakes: Walton County is home to 15 named coastal dune lakes along 26 miles of coastline. These lakes are a unique geographical feature and are only found in Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, Oregon, and in Florida’s Walton County.
Our coastal dune lakes share an intermittent connection with the Gulf of Mexico. The lake water is fed by streams, groundwater seepage, rain, and storm surge. The connection with the Gulf, called an outfall, is a flood control and pours lake water into the Gulf as needed.
Salt water and organisms flow back into the lake, depending on tides and weather. Each lake's outfall and chemistry is different. Water conditions between lakes can vary greatly, from completely fresh to significantly saline.
Protecting the Lakes: Walton County has an aggressive program to protect our coastal dune lakes.