The Emerald Coast offers uninhibited access to the beautiful crystal-clear emerald-colored waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The roughly 100 mile stretch of coastline has captivated visitors from all over the world. Travelers will find a wide assortment of entertainment, restaurant, and high energy activities no matter what time of year they visit. From lazy days relaxing on the beach to adventures like helicopter tours, and high-speed boat dolphin excursions, the Emerald Coast has something in store for everyone.
Officially, this area is called the panhandle of Florida. According to the Daily News, the term “Emerald Coast” was coined in 1983 by a junior high school student, Andrew Dier, who won $50 in a contest for a new area slogan.
Destin, Florida is the self-proclaimed “Luckiest Fishing Village in the World,” and sits in the heart of the Emerald Coast. What once was a little sleepy fishing village, is quickly becoming an international vacation destination spot.
When visiting this beautiful slice of paradise, there are a few things you need to know. Please review these seven things to help improve your vacation experience.
1. What do the Flags mean at the beach?
Sadly, it seems every year there are drownings and multiple water rescues. There is nothing sadder than going home from a vacation with one less family member. Please, please learn what the flags mean and abide by them. It could save your life or a loved one’s life.
Here are a few resources to help you with Beach Safety:
2. Jet Ski Rules and Regulations
Speed and reckless navigation are two of the biggest causes of accidents. Summer and holidays are extremely busy in the marina and bay area. Your rental provider should provide you with information regarding wake zones (slow speed) and other important rules. Please be mindful of them. It could save your life or the life of someone else.
3. Parking in Destin
If you haven’t visited Destin recently, one of the big changes you will notice is it will cost you to park in most public areas. Parking spaces are on a first-come, first-served basis, and patrons are not guaranteed a spot if they leave and come back within the paid time frame. Extended overnight parking is prohibited.
You will need an app to pay for parking as the spots are not metered. Get the app here.
Here is a list of parking districts and details.
Enjoy a fresh, bright & cozy condo sleeping up to six. Perfect for those in need of a getaway. Close in proximity to Sandy Feet Retreat. Can be rented together when multiple units are needed
Cozy 2 bedroom with a two-minute walk to a private beach. New appliances, furniture, crib, baby gate, and high chair for your family needs. Neighboring unit to Seacove 6A *Poolside Paradise*
4. Crab Island
What happened to the floating restaurants at Crab Island? Crab Island is one of the highest-rated and talked about attractions in Destin. If you haven’t visited in the last couple of years, you may be disappointed to find out the water park is no longer there as well as many of the restaurants/barges. There are new regulations in place that don’t allow the businesses to anchor overnight, thus requiring them to break down or take everything apart and leave the area each night. Since this is not practical for several of the businesses, they have chosen not to be there. Also, taxis or shuttle boats are no longer allowed to take you out to Crab Island and drop you off. They must stay with their passengers. Read more…
5. Festivals and Events
Destin has a variety of festivals and events all year long. Everything from the family-friendly Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival to the Annual Destin Seafood Festival. Read more...
6. COVID FAQ’s
Obviously, 2020 was a very stressful and unusual year for all of us. As we continue to deal with COVID and the impact on the community, be sure, and get your updates only from official sources. We do not allow questions regarding COVID in the Facebook groups or pages.
- COVID updates for Destin/Ft. Walton Beach areas
- Florida Health
- City of Destin Health Alert Center
- City of Destin Chamber – Local updates
7. Hurricane Guide
Hurricanes are a fact of life in Destin. Hurricane season is June 1 through November 30. Be sure and download the hurricane guide and have it with you if traveling during this time. It is always advised to purchase travel insurance as you don’t know when you will need it.