My husband and I are beach bums and snobs. We enjoy emerald costs boasting cyan waters against pristine white sand. There must be good seafood, places to shop, and excellent wine. We need some additional entertainment besides the beach, so festivals, water parks, dancing, and shopping are lures as well.
We’ve visited many locations in the Caribbean and several here in the United States, but the place that remains the most pleasing to our eyes, pocketbook, and distance is Destin, Florida. Destin is a place for families and lovers. A short, scenic 5 hour drive from Atlanta takes you through very rural Alabama (Phenix City, Dothan, ) and a surprisingly rural Florida where we take the 10 to the beach areas. Stay alert as you drive down the main strip lined with seductive condominium high rises with beach towels billowing off the rails to dry. Surf shops beckon you at every strip mall with colorful water toys, chairs, and attire.
Our favorite place to stay is the Sun Destin, which we normally book through ResortQuest, which gives repeat guests discounts and special treatment. Sun Destin is a building of Condos right on the beach. There are one, two, and three bedroom units to rent that are each independently owned by individuals who pick out their own beach decor and furnishings and let building management take care of everything else. We always get a one bedroom corner unit with a partial view of the ocean and a balcony that is accessible from the bedroom and the living room, or we get an ocean view unit with a balcony that is accessible solely from the living room.
Sun Destin units have fully functional kitchens, which is a huge lure for us because we save money by cooking most meals and going out to eat on select days. We eat a light breakfast, make our lunch, and go out for dinner. Alternately, we go out for lunch and cook our own dinner.
There is a private beach with chairs and umbrellas that you can rent. During the peak tourist season, it is best to secure chairs and umbrellas on the first day that you arrive for the duration of your stay…especially if you want to be closer to the water. There are usually three to four rows of chairs.
Most accommodations in Destin require a minimum three-night stay. You will pay more if you stay less than three days. Ideally, they want you to book seven consecutive days. The longer you can stay the more money you will save.
Sun Destin also houses a tasty eatery just steps away from the beach. Cuisine is plentiful and varied, but we don’t go to the beach for Curry or Italian. We want seafood near the sea…good seafood. My favorite is Crab Legs, so we always pay the Crab Trap a visit, at least three times while we are in Destin. The Crab Trap lounges conveniently on the beach with an outside Cabana and an open dining area that welcomes the smell of salt and a cool breeze that rolls in off the ocean. Some other restaurants that are worth mentioning are Landry’s Seafood, Fisherman’s Wharf, Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar & Grill, and Pompono Joes’.
Besides frolicking and sunbathing on the beautiful beach or feasting at the delicious eateries, you can also rent mopeds, take jet ski tours, and fishing excursions. You take dolphin tours, rent Yachts, ride in a glass-bottom boat, play Putt Putt golf, ride go-carts, or visit the water park.
Destin, Florida is spectacular in the warm months. The sun is blazing a trail of warmth and heat across the balmy sand and the whimsical ocean. However, the locals say that the weather in Destin is typically the same as the weather in Georgia and Alabama. Which means, do not go to Destin in November expecting warmth…you need to venture further south in Florida for that….say to Miami!