Get ready for some fun under the sun along the beautiful coastal waters of Destin, Fla. This sandy beachfront community features a wealth of outdoor activities and excursions that will make this vacation a standout in the memory bank. Located on the Florida panhandle, visitors will enjoy the shimmering waters and warm breezes that drift up from the Gulf.
The city as we know it today was established by Captain Leonard Destin, who moved to the northwest Florida coast from Connecticut in the mid-1800s. Captain Destin pioneered the fishing industry in the town that bears his name, and that tradition is still a major part of the community’s economy today. The largest and most elaborately equipped fishing fleet docks here in Destin due to its close proximity to the 100 Fathom curve and deep Gulf waters.
Golf has become a popular activity among tourists and locals alike, and visitors have a wide selection of courses to choose from. Whether you’re a PGA professional or an amateur golfer, you’ll be sure to find a course that is both challenging and fun. These are some of the best fairways scattered in and around the city of Destin:
- Raven Golf Club was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., and features an array of stunning vistas that carve through the marshes and pine groves of Sandestin. The 6,900-yard, par-71 course will present golfers with a challenging and strategy-filled match that is sure to test almost every club in their bags. Over the past few years, this club has played host to PGA events as well as NCAA championships and has been honored by quite a few publications as one of the best courses in Florida.
- Burnt Pine Golf Club is a spectacular 7,000-yard jewel that rests upon the Emerald Coast of Florida. The back nine stretches out along the shoreline of the Choctawhatchee Bay, which provides some absolutely breathtaking natural beauty. The front nine is spread out through the lush pine groves and wetlands that populate the area, but look out - these pretty vistas provide some tricky obstacles as you make your way from tee to tee. The course was designed by architect Rees Jones, and has been hailed as a superior one by Golf Magazine and other publications.
- The Links Golf Club deviates from the classic designs of other courses in the area and presents golfers with rolling hills throughout the fairways, as is typical in links-style courses. Resting along the coastline of the Choctawhatchee Bay with a backdrop provided by the Baytowne Marina, this picturesque landscape envelops players with a sense of calm and tranquility. Unless of course your ball ends up in the pits of one of the many bunkers that surround the manicured greens.
Relaxation and Beaching it Easy
There are numerous public beaches that sprawl along the beautiful Emerald Coast. The white sands and warm Gulf breezes make leisurely living come naturally to even the most high-strung travelers. Sink your toes into the sand and take a load off at one of these excellent beaches:
- Barracuda Beach located at Barracuda and Scenic 98 is open to the public, and presents guests with wide-open expanses of sun-baked coastline. Work on a killer tan or try your hand at some sandcastle construction at this incredible oceanfront locale.
- Calhoun Beach near Restaurant Row is another prime public spot that enables travelers to enjoy the coastal views. Open from dawn to dusk, this beach presents a great view of the crashing waves that surge inward from the Gulf.
- Norriego Point Beach is located on the eastern tip of the peninsula and overlooks Destin Bay. Pack a picnic lunch or a romantic sunset dinner for two on the sands of this natural sanctuary and watch the boats as they slowly drift into the harbor.
Activities in Sandestin
If lounging about in the sand all day gets a little hard to handle, there are quite a few local spots that make for an engaging and fun-filled excursion. This quiet oceanfront community offers visitors an array of great activities spread throughout the town. Take an afternoon to discover some of these excellent hangouts:
- The Destin History and Fishing Museum features a variety of exhibits that document the history of this once quaint fishing village. Visitors will find a variety of antique fishing equipment, including one split bamboo pole and Penn reel that belonged to the late American author Ernest Hemingway.
- Destin’s Main Street Market was established by transplants Tom and Amy Holt as a way to promote local farmers and their produce. Every Saturday morning, guests can find a wide spectrum of fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and baked goods, making the perfect picnic or just something to snack on during deep excursions.
Transportation To and Around Sandestin
It’s easy to get to Florida, lodging from Okaloosa Regional Airport, just 45 minutes away. Sandestin resort rentals are 60 miles east of Pensacola, about an hour and a half from Pensacola Regional Airport, and Sandestin is just an hour from Panama City-Bay County Airport. In Sandestin, much of your days’ activities are within walking distance, and Destin’s great shopping and restaurants are just a short drive away.