Favorite Destin Restaurants
We've been coming to Destin for thirty years or so and have enjoyed many wonderful restaurants over that time. One of our favorite special occasion places is Marina Cafe. We've brought many friends and family members to the restaurant and everyone has always had an outstanding meal. The ambience is wonderful with the view of the large yachts in the marina. You'll see fireworks during New Years, or you can simply watch the sun set or view the varied watercraft as they return from a day on the water. The large bar area is definitely a place to be and been seen during happy hour.
If you enjoy people watching, this is a fun place to be. Say Hi to Wally and tell him the Benders sent you. Casual family favorites include Dewey Destin's, owned by one of the decendants of Destin. Sit outside and enjoy the sun on your face and a great view of the harbor. The food is always fresh and served with a smile.
Other beachside places include Captain Dave's (right next door to Green Reef 19) and Pompano Joe's a little further east of the townhome. Camille's is a short drive west off the scenic highway and is great for lunch or dinner. If you have a taste for sushi, Osaka, off of the divided Highway 98 is the perfect place. It is always the freshest fish available and a favorite, since we love shushi.
You also won't go wrong with Boneheads, Louisiana Lagniappe, Cuvee, Lucky Snapper, The Beach Walk Cafe or AJ's Seafood and Oyster House. Favorite breakfast places include, The Donut Hole and Another Broken Egg. Take a day trip to Seaside and have lunch (or drink at the bar) at Bud & Alley's. You'll also enjoy walking around the town of Seaside with its many different and varied shops.
Maybe you don't feel like going out to a restuarant, but don't feel like cooking either. Then you'll need to stop by or call Sarah K's Gourmet (sarahks.com/850.269.004). She's been featured in Souvenir Magazine and even shares some of her special recipes. The food is excellent. You'll especially love the crabcakes and the brownies.
Fudpuckers is a Destin icon for casual family food and it's always fun for the kids. Plus the Destin location has Gator Beach, where you can view dozens of alligators (which our granddaughters just love) and the feature attraction, Pearl, the Albino alligator. If you’re a foodie, you probably won’t be impressed, but the kids will love it (they can write their name on any available surface). It’s centrally located next to Fat Daddy’s Pizza and Laser Tag.
The Back Porch is another Destin icon with casual food, but it’s located directly on the beach and has those amazing ocean views!
Destin The World's Luckiest Fishing Village
Destin is known as the "World Luckiest Fishing Village" due to the number of trophy fish caught off its shores. Locals take their fishing very seriously. Destin is home to the largest private fishing fleet in the entire Gulf of Mexico, with fishing being a large part of the local culture. It is an enjoyable way of life for many residents.
What can I catch?
Anglers compete for hundreds of thousands or dollars in various tournaments throughout the year. Some of the fish found in the beautiful emerald waters include, bluefish, blackfin tuna, cobia, king mackerel, barracuda and Spanish mackerel. Destin has a large selection of charter fishing boats that deep sea fish in the Gulf of Mexico for Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi, Tuna, Wahoo and more. Inshore fishing trips focus on Red Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, King and Spanish Mackerel and Bay fishing trips go for Redfish, Speckled Trout, Black Snapper, Bluefish and Flounder.
Types of Destin Fishing
There are also several types of fishing in Destin, including: Inshore Bottom fishing for Red Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, Scamp, or Flounder. Sight fishing for Cobia, and Tarpon. Inshore Trolling for King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Mahi, Tuna, and Sailfish. Plus, Surf fishing for Pompano, Sheepshead, Redfish, Black Drum, and more. Or, Bay fishing for Redfish, Speckled Trout, Pompano, Spanish Mackerel and more.
The following link: will take you to some of the Destin Charter Boats that make up the Destin Charter Boat Fleet and this link will give you a graph of the months and type fish available: We do not book these boats; the links are included here for your convenience and if you need a vessel that can accommodate more than 4 passengers. If you would like to charter one of these boats then please contact them directly. Prices for the charters vary by boat, may include bait and tackle. Meals can also be arranged with the boat capitain.
So whether you are a serious fisherman, looking to add a trophy fish, or simply having a family adventure, Destin has every type of charter and style of fishing you could possibly want.
Our granddaughters have enjoyed an exciting time on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruises (http://southernstardolphincruise.com/). Seeing dolphin's frolicking around the boat and playfully jumping out of the water is something that we never tire of seeing.
The kids get to wear a Captain's hat and "steer" the boat. A great photo opportunity for you and your kids (see our picture here). For a small fee you'll be able to get a picture of everyone at the bow of the boat as you begin your exciting day and the photo will be ready for you when you leave. A picture that will keep the fun day in your family's thoughts for a long time.
A sister ship called the Buccanneers Pirate Ship (http://destinpirateship.com/) lets your family (and you) pretend to be a pirate for the day. What a blast, who wouldn't want to be a pirate for a day - practice saying Arrrh-Matey!
More adverture for the family may include a day with Banana Boat rides (http://www.mobilesportsllc.com/).
Want to learn a little history of Destin? Then do not miss the Destin History and Fishing Museum.
The Gulfarium. Regular admission gives you access to see all of the animal displays and scheduled shows, as well as spend some time at the “touch tank” where you can play with sea plants and small marine creatures.
For an extra fee you can have encounters with various marine life, i.e. feeding the penguins, having a dolphin encounter, and “fishing” in a stocked tank, etc. It makes for a great learning experience. The kids will think "that was cool”, you'll add good memories and will love going back to try new encounters!
The Track. Gokarts, an arcade, bumper cars, and mini golf, just to name a few. It’s like a carnival, only it’s open year round. Great for kids, but adults will love this place, too!(http://www.destintrack.com/). You and your kids may enjoy Laser Tag, you can check out there site at this link:
Learn Something New
Want to be involved in the lastest thing? Then you've got to try SUP. What is SUP, you ask? The emerging global sport of Stand Up Paddleboarding. This less than a decade old sport has individuals from the kids to grandpa venturing out and exploring waterways of all sorts. The sport is new, but the origination of SUP traces back to 1960 in Hawaii. Surf instructors used the paddleboard for taking photographs.
It eventually caught on as a fun way for virtually anyone, from beginners to veteran surfers to get out on the water and ride the waves (or not). No waves needed, just a board and a paddle to propel the board through the water. This new found mobility had made SUP an excellant fit for Nothwest Florida's Emeral Coast. Destin has a growing community of Paddleboard companies that offer lessons for the entire family. One such company is YOLO which has 6 locales to SUP; in the Gulf of Mexico, Choctawhatchee Bay, East Pass and the Harbor. Impress your friends and family with a lesson on the next big thing in global sports. yoloboard.com 850.424.6852.
With more than 1,250 golf holes all within a short drive of the Coast the options for great golf in Destin, Sandestin, and Fort Walton Beach are almost limitless. A dozen great, public access golf courses are all close at hand, for example: Regatta Bay, a public, 18-hole championship course designed by Robert Walker; or the Fred Couples Signature course at the Kelly Plantation; then there are two nice public courses at the Fort Walton Beach Golf Club; or you can choose from a whole host more, including:
Golf in Destin:
· Regatta Bay Golf Club
· Kelly Plantation Golf Club
· Indian Bayou Golf Club
· Emerald Bay Golf Club
· Seapines Golf, Beach and Tennis Resort
All five of these semi-public courses in Destin and within a mile of each other.
Golf in Sandestin:
In Sandestin, just a few short hops east on Highway 98, there are four more championship golf courses at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort:
· The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
· The Raven Golf Club
· The Baytowne Golf Club
· Burnt Pine Golf Club
Golf Courses In Fort Walton Beach:
The options for great golf in Fort Walton Beach are just as plentiful. Here are just a few of them:
· Shalimar Pointe Country Club: A semi-private 18-hole course, quiet and professionally run
· Fort Walton Beach Golf Club: Two championship courses - The Pines at 6,800 yards is an upland pine forest layout, and The Oaks offers more than 6,400 yards of narrow, oak-lined fairways and challenging water hazards.
Golf Shoping In Fort Walton Beach:
· Edwin Watts Golf Shop.
Destin has some fantastic shopping experiences. A spot not to be missed is the Silver Sands Premium Outlet Mall which is East of the townhome and only 10 minutes away if you take the divided Highway 98. The beach road, right in front of the town home will take a little longer with all speed bumps and gawkers, but you get a spectacular scenic drive and will take you right into the Mall when you cross over the divided Highway 98.
Whether you need to buy gifts or splurge on yourself this mall has everything from Houseware, Home Furnishings, Gift & Specialty items, Accesories & Jewelry, Fine Leather & Luggage, Shoes (be still my heart!), Childrens, Designer Fashion and Sportswear you'll find it at the Silver Sands Premiun Outlet Mall. With 110 outlet store, you'll find impressive savings at Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, DKNY, Gap Outlet, J.Crew, Kenneth Cole, L'Occitane, Michael Kors, Nautica, Nike, Perfumania, Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Tommy Hilfiger and many more. See the complete list of stores and map at the links below:
When you need a break from shopping (or your husband is getting restless) there are numerous places to rest and get a bite to eat:
32 Degrees A Yogurt Bar
Carrabba's Italian Grill
Cheeseburger In Paradise
Ciao Bella Pizza
San Gelato Cafe
Also, check out the following retail areas. The link below will take you to a list and description of each shopping area:
Historic Downtown FWB
The Market Shops
Antiques and More...
Do not miss Smith's Antiques and Interiors Market (http://www.smithsantiquesmall.com/). The beautiful beaches of Walton County near Destin, Florida are home to Smith's Antiques, which opened its doors in 1993. They have been receiving rave reviews and awards ever since.The 25,000 square foot showroom (one of the largest antiques malls in the country) is home to a wonderful selection of high-quality antiques and collectibles, supplemented by unique contemporary items for professional and do-it-yourself decorators.
They continue to be the locals' and vacationers' favorite destination for decorating, collecting, gift buying or an afternoon of entertainment and relaxed shopping. Voted "Best On The Emerald Coast" by the readers of Emerald Coast Magazine for 13 consecutive years. Smith's is the only business to win every year since the competition began! Also, voted "Finest on the Emerald Coast" each year since inception.
Known for quality, quantity and variety, Smith's was highlighted in Southern Accents Magazine..."a must do when visiting the beaches of South Walton". Smith's has been mentioned in, Country Living, Veranda, Emerald Coast Magazine, Southern Ladies Journal, Log Home Designs, Southern Accents, VIE magazines and more.