WALTON COUNTY-- It's a place beyond the beaches and a road less traveled.
For years Captain Andy Coleman has been taking visitors and locals up and down the Choctawhatchee River to explore one of the several natural beauties of Florida.
"It is a good alternative if people get tired from the beach after seven days," said Captain Coleman, of Backwater Tours. "It is nice to come up here and relax and get back in the wildness."
In fact tours, like this one, have started to become a more popular activity. Members of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance have partnered with the Walton County Tourist Development Council to help grow ecotourism throughout the entire county.
"We offer anything from historical tours at the Coffeen Nature Preserve, to surf fishing, to wet prairie tours in the state parks and the state forest," said Brandy Foley, of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance. "We also offer paddle tours, so you get to go out on the coastal dune lakes."
"So whether it is the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance or the new artificial reef association that just went in," said Jon Ervin of the Walton County TDC, "the TDC is proud to be one of the primary funding tools so that we have year round tourism."
While the Walton County TDC continues to grow their shoulder season, last year 25% of their visitors participated in some type of eco-tour, and they hope that number just continues to grow.
"People just love it because it is different," said Captain Coleman.
If you want to know more about Backwater Tours, you can visit their Facebook page.
If you want to learn more about the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance and their eco-tours visit their website.