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Southlake Style

Fun in the Sun

Apr 05, 2016 02:59PM ● By Dia

Book your next vacation at a beach Destin-ation on the sunny shores of northwest Florida. The emerald coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico meet white sandy beaches in Destin, where there is plenty to do, see and eat—and topnotch accommodations to suit all your travel needs.


  South Walton’s Sandestin beach is located along the 30A coastal road, which follows the stretch of white-sand beaches along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. What Destin visitors come for, the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has provided for more than 30 years. Quick access to the coast’s emerald waters? Check. Amazing beachside balcony views? Check. And of course, because this full-service beachfront resort was designed with family vacations in mind, there is something for everyone. Just one of the four accommodation types, book a deluxe junior suite, which is complete with bunk beds for the kids, and sign them up for a few of the children’s activities offered through Kids Krew. The resort is also home to an indoor and outdoor pool, four championship golf courses, a spa, and seven different dining options.

Another option for vacation accommodations includes beachfront rentals. Silver Shells Beach Resort and Spa offers one, two, three and four bedroom condos, villas and penthouses, all of which include fully equipped kitchens, washers and dryers, and private balconies. The resort is located just west of Henderson Beach. Known for its 7,500-square-foot lagoon pool, complete with waterfall and whirlpool features, Silver Shells extends its poolside hospitality with fully furnished luxury cabanas that surround the water oasis. The cabanas each have a half-bath and a living area with a mini fridge.



Stretching almost a quarter of a mile along the Destin Harbor, the City of Destin’s Harbor Boardwalk is overflowing with shops, restaurants, activities and attractions. Walking along the boardwalk, you’ll be privy to amazing views of the Destin Harbor and the East Pass. Enjoy fresh seafood, live entertainment and genuine pirate ships—you can even become an official pirate for the day. Visitors also have access to local fishing charter boats and a wide variety of water activities.

Just five miles east of Destin, the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is open rain or shine. A few showers won’t ruin the day—there’s still plenty of fun to be had with numerous animal encounter opportunities, daily dolphin and sea lion shows, and a wide variety of exhibits. In addition to these activities, the Gulfarium offers scheduled chats by the reptile, shark and otter exhibits. You’ll have to reserve animal encounters, but nothing beats snorkeling with stingrays or splashing with dolphins.


Offering courses in swimming, diving and snorkeling, Emerald Coast Scuba wants to train you for 

 water activity success. Once certain disciplines are mastered, instructors are ready to take you to sea and put into practice what you’ve learned at the family-owned and -operated facility. Since you’ll most likely be spending your Destin vacation in or near the water, it’s a good idea that the whole family has some swimming experience. So if that’s something you forgot to “pack,” courses for all ages take place in the heated saltwater pool, the Sea Mint Pond, at Emerald Coast Scuba. If you’re long past the stage of getting your feet wet, dive right in to their SCUBA training courses. From age eight to 100, there are courses available for beginners and those who need refreshing. Train in the Sea Mint Pond or in open water. Is someone in your travel party still too young to SCUBA? Snorkeling class instructors pave the way for kids ages five to seven.

We can’t talk about a Destin vacation and not mention it’s nickname, “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” Action Fishing Charter Service and Silver King Charters of Destin offer deep-sea fishing, sport fishing, bay fishing and sunset cruises. Enjoy near-shore Gulf fishing in state waters at a 50- to 100-foot water depth using tackle to fish for red, white and black snapper, king mackerel, triggerfish and shark. Off-shore gulf fishing in federal waters starts nine miles off shore and reaches depths of 100 to 300 feet. Out there, you can fish for amberjacks, mahi-mahi and Marlin. Release what you don’t plan to eat (that’s the Destin way), and allow the chefs at Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer or Big Red Truck (both located onsite) to cook and prepare your finest catch of the day.


If you’d like to have more variety on your seafood menu—not just your catch— Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House in Destin Harbor is the place to experience it. With Chef Andi Bell’s knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico Basin and Caribbean cuisine, combined with his deep Southern roots, Boshamps is proud to offer local “Gulf to Table Southern Cuisine.” The restaurant uses local suppliers to create dishes for its lunch, dinner and kid’s menu. Menu favorites include oysters (they’re prepared seven different ways), the Cornmeal Dusted Gulf Grouper made with balsamic grilled local vegetables, or on the lighter side, the Gulf Coast Blue Crab Salad. Catering to locals and tourists alike, Boshamps wants to give families a place to “kick back and relax.” Docking facilities at the restaurant, which is located on the gulf along Harbor Boulevard, allow for easy access.