Things To Do With Kids In Destin

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turned the kids into fishing fanatics. There is nowhere my boys will not fish including from the shore, at the jetties, off the docks, on a boat, from a kayak and at the pier. The adventure is never the same, and the species of fish change with the time of year, the bait we use, and the place we are fishing. This has become one of our favorite activities. The fishing report will always tell you what you can expect to catch depending on the season.
business keeps us so busy, and our boats are usually being used. You should see how excited our boys get when we find the opportunity to go. Crab Island has so many activities, but we always go to the Crab Island Water Park, and have a blast on the inflatable water slide. The ice cream man is grand, and he brings the ice cream by boat. Robbie uses a boat too, and has these amazing Cajun boiled peanuts. We collect hermit crabs, go snorkeling, and have the time of our lives.
years. There are new owners now, and they did a good job with renovations. When we went with our boys all the new offerings came as an amazing surprise. You can see all the scheduled shows, the animal displays, and have fun playing with small marine creatures, and sea plants at the touch tank for just regular admission. We paid the extra fee because we wanted the boys to enjoy everything. They had an encounter with the cutest dolphins, fed the penguins, and even fished in a tank that had been fully stocked. We were really impressed with everything the Gulfarium offers now, and as a parent I though it was an exceptional learning experience. The kids said everything was cool, and we all made incredible memories as a family. We can’t wait to go back again.
wife, are sand sculptors. Everyone has fun during their sandcastle lessons no matter what age they are. You can even buy a kit that has everything you need to make the most incredible sandcastles all the time.
**This article is a re-write from Heather’s Blog – a Local Destin Resident

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The Perfect Vacation Is In Destin and Fort Walton

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The Fort Walton Beach and Destin Communities are sweetly nestled within the Florida Panhandles 130-mile curve, right at the midway point between Mexico Beach and Pensacola. Many people still refer to this area as Redneck Riviera because this was where families of working-class all over the South often chose to take their vacations.

In 1935, a bridge leading to the barrier island was constructed, and Destin was no longer a sleepy little fishing village. Shortly afterwards, the bounty of the cove was discovered by anglers living close by. They started flocking to the charming coastal town. Luxury condominiums and enormous cottages came to the area during the development occurring in the 1970’s. The delightful new moniker was The Emerald Coast. It did not take long before word spread, and visitors from across the globe came to see this hidden gem. They adored the Gulf towns sun-kissed shores.

The Southern flavor and bountiful fishing were not diminished by the new visitors. Destin hauls in more billfish every year than a combination of every fishing port on the Gulf. The name Billfish Capital of the World was bestowed on Fort Walton Beach, and Destin became known as the World's Luckiest FishingVillage. The demeanor of the Old South is still laid back here, and along with the fishing tournaments continues to draw in the visitors. True Southern charm and specialties including buttermilk biscuits and grits still grace the area, and the conversations often finish with ya'll come back, now.


The main reasons visitors come to the area are the breathtaking views of crystal clear green waters and the whitest of beaches. A long time ago, the glaciers dropped Appalachian quartz. The result was the softest and most beautiful beaches in the world. Hundreds of vessels harbor in the waters of Destin offering everything from excursions to see the dolphins to deep-sea fishing. Free fish cleaning is often provided, and your catch can be cooked by some of the local restaurants. The only fishing requirement is a license for individuals between 16 and 64.

The Recreation Area for Henderson Beach State Park is right on the Emerald Coast Parkway, and encompasses over 6,000 feet of gorgeous shoreline. The most popular activities including picnicking, swimming and surf fishing. The park even offers showers, restrooms and campgrounds. The public beach access is in Destin, the Wayside, Beasley Park and Okaloosa Island. There is a total of seven places visitors can access the shimmering beaches, and four include both showers and restaurants.

Although Fort Walton Beach and Destin both offer abundant festivals, they are magnificent in October. The crowds come to Destin for the yearly Destin SeafoodFestival and Destin Fishing Rodeo. Approximately 35,000 anglers make certain they are there for the tournament. The dishes served at the Seafood Festival include fried alligator and shark kabobs. There is live entertainment and art exhibits on Destin’s Harborwalk, and the waterfront setting is divine.

Visitors should not miss the U.S. Air Force Armament Museum. This is the only museum in America that has dedicated themselves to the weaponry of the Air Force. Missiles, bombs, guns, and aircraft are showcased by the museum. One of the displays features the Big Tail Blackbird, the SR-71 spy

plane. This remains the only one constructed with the big tail.

The Gulfarium is on Okaloosa Island, and an amazing marine life park. Living Sea is the main attraction, and consists of a 60,000-gallon tank capable of simulating the conditions found on the floor of the ocean. The sensational entertainment includes dolphin and sea lion shows, and a program showcasing dolphin interaction.

The Indian Temple Mound Museum tells visitors the story of the four prehistoric tribes who used to live in the area. The Temple Mound is adjacent, and this National Historic Landmark is 600-years old.

The eateries are beyond sensational and include everything from rustic oyster bars to romantic restaurants lit by candlelight to charming, open-air cafes. The locals know the gems in their neighborhood and this includes AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar. They serve a lot of succulent oysters and delicious seafood including a delectable yellow fin tuna in a local marinade.

Visitors captivated by the Destin Harbor Views should dine at the Marina Café. This is a contemporary yet romantic getaway, and the aromas of the Caribbean-spiced duck, pizza and steaks are tantalizing.

For those who adore Italian food, there is no place equal to Café Grazie. Their mouthwatering Italian selections include lasagna, pizza and decadent tiramisu.

Only a few miles from Destin, vacationers will find the Donut Hole II Café and Bakery.

The drive is worth the delights found within. The café is always filled with both locals and visitors, but squeeze in anyway. There is nothing to compare to a large breakfast, Southern-style. The shakes and burgers will fill you up, and still leave you wanting more.

Guests always get something extra special at the Louisiana Lagniappe. The sunset views are beyond words, and showcase Destin Harbor beautifully. The incredible menu includes marinated grouper, crawfish and crab fingers.

Henderson Park Inn is a bed and breakfast secluded at the seaside. A trip to Henderson Beach State Park’s eastern end will reveal 36 very comfortable rooms. The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers a hotel, villas, cottages, condominiums, and this luxurious resort encompasses 2,400-acres. The Hilton Sandestin resides on the grounds of the resort. The 598 suites are lovely, and most of them offer a view of the water. For a heated pool, tennis courts and condo rentals, the six-story mid-rise of Jetty East is absolute perfection.


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Waterscape resort condo rentals

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Destin Condos for Rent

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Although talking about leaving Okaloosa County may be just talk, it involves real issues. The Destin
City Council has become frustrated by providing most of the revenue for Okaloosa County every year through their tourist development, property sources, and numerous additional means. They are not seeing enough benefits for their efforts. One option being considered is annexing Destin into Walton County, and creating a tourist development department for the city. This created anger because the county had not budgeted for the efforts of the law enforcement provided by the Sheriff’s office for spring break. The country officials have plans to help pay for the cost.

The city of Destin was incorporated in 1984, encompassed 8.2 square miles, and provided approximately $59.5 million in taxes to Okaloosa County. An additional $11 million was provided by the taxpayers living on the unincorporated peninsula. If Walton County annexes Destin, the unincorporated areas will remain a part of Okaloosa County. Another issue is the $12 million generated by the hotels, condos, and properties for rent, the resorts in Destin, and the unincorporated areas.

Most options are unlikely, but the idea of Destin as a community stretching from the Bay County line, to the Marler Bridge has become an intriguing possibility. Walton County, and Destin have shared a border since the incorporation occurring in 1984. Until 1915, the area that is currently Destin, was a part of Walton County. The county was created more than a century ago by merging twelve miles of eastern Santa Rosa County, with twelve miles of western Walton County.

Another possibility is establishing a separate county for Destin. Unfortunately, history dictates this would-be a near impossible battle since it must be authorized by the Florida Legislature. This has not been accomplished since 1925, when Gilchrist City split from Alachua County. Five attempts have been made since then for the establishment of four new counties from 1917, until 2000. The last two attempts were made in 1999, and 2000, and neither effort was successful. The efforts were made in 1917 in Bloxham, and again in 1965 in Kennedy, and were also unsuccessful.

A new coastal city would be an incredible economic achievement. Destin is currently providing 27 percent of the taxes received by Okaloosa County, and South Walton contributes roughly ninety percent of the ad valorem taxes currently being collected in Walton county. The ad valorem tax roll receives 88 percent of their taxes from South Walton. This comes to $145,789,989.16, out of the total of all taxes collected in the amount of $165,493,361.43. The bed tax revenues are all collected in South Walton, and totaled $21,758,228 in 2016.

There are problems regarding incorporation in Destin that must be dealt with. The Destin City Council has set the date for the next meeting. The members of the city council intend to receive a report prior to the meeting. This is regarding the possibilities of Destin leaving the tourist development department for Okaloosa County, or Destin annexing into Walton County, and starting their own tourist development department.

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Landshark Pizza

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I have tried pizza all over, but I honestly have to say this is one of the best.
We were not sure which pizza to try, so decided to order 5 small pizzas and an appetizer so we could sample the different pizzas. We figured what we would need a togo box, but the pizzas were so great we finished them all.
We tried the Landshark Eggs appetizer, which are a cheese blend with pepper deep fried. WOW! They are great! For the pizzas we ordered The Landshark-signature pizza, Supreme, Buffalo Chicken, White and Cordon Bleu. They were all so good that I had a hard time picking the best one... so I just went with The Landshark.
The place is great for adults and kids alike. Plenty of TVs for sports, arcade for the kids. We happened to visit before tourist season on a Tuesday around 1pm and the place was not very busy, but from the few folks we talked to, the place is buzzing every evening and during tourist season it's always busy pretty much anytime of day. The good news is that the staff can get those pizzas out fairly quick.
















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Charlie's Burger Bar

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Favorite breakfast places in Destin

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Asiago’s Skillet

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The Donut Hole

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The Pancakery

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Another Broken Egg

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