Being an early bird has its advantages, especially if you wake up to an ocean view. Sunrises on the beach are amazing and wildlife abounds.
Wondering what activities you should do in Destin over the 4th of July? Look no further, because we’ve got 15 great ideas for you. If you’ve been to Destin before, you already know the basics. However, if you are a newbie, you are in for an exciting week!
First and foremost on everyone’s mind is where to watch fireworks on the 4th. In 2019, there are several options: Destin Commons, Destin Harborwalk Village, Baytowne, and Okaloosa Island.
1. Destin Commons: FREE July 3rd 5:00 Get things started early with the Smoke the Coast BBQ cook-off in Destin Commons. Following Smoke the Coast BBQ cook-off is the fireworks show at 9:30.
2. Okaloosa Island Boardwalk: FREE Wednesday July 3rd at 9:00 1450 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 Bring a towel, blanket or beach chair
3. Destin Harborwalk Village: FREE Thursday July 4th Festivities on the Harbor begin at 7:00 with entertainment. Live music features Eli Hannon and The Manly Hero. Fireworks kick off around 9:00. Some of the best places to watch the fireworks include; the patios of restaurants on the Harborwalk, Noriego Point, the Jetties and the Bridge. Capping off the night at 9:30 is a fire spinning show. Keep in mind that many of these viewing points require some walking. Also remember that parking at Harborwalk Village is $10.
4. Baytowne Wharf: FREE July 4th The Red, White and Baytowne Festival kicks off at 7:00, with fireworks shooting over the lagoon at 9:15. During the festival, kids can play on the inflatables, get faces painted, and play lawn games.
5. Bike Parade: FREE July 2nd 4:45 The City of Destin hosts this annual bike parade at the Destin Elementary Track, for children 14 and younger. Registration begins at 4:45, followed by the parade at 5:30. Prizes are awarded for various categories in each age division. Decorate your bikes, scooters or wagons and join the fun!
6. Smoke on the Coast: $1+ July 3rd 5:00 This annual BBQ charity cook-off is held at Destin Commons from 5-9:30 and is followed by fireworks. Activities include shopping, food, family entertainment and live music. Tastings are $1 each. Participants vote for their favorite food. Sample from the 18 local restaurants and BBQ groups who are competing for the coveted People’s Choice Award. Live music provided by Forrest Williams Band and Heritage Band.
7. The Trak: Daily 9 a.m. -11 p.m. Go Karts, mini golf and So much more. Located just down the street from Sandnsol, at 1125 Highway 98 East, Destin, Florida 32541 For pricing: https://funatthetrack.com/pages/destin-location
Beach and Water Activities
8. Big Kahuna’s Water Park: Daily 10-6 Special Declaration Celebration July 4-7th When you are tired of the sand (gasp), cool off at this family friendly water park. Activities include All-American Buffet, Hot dog and Pie eating contest, Frozen t-shirt contest, and Flag raising ceremonies. As seen in the picture, Sandnsol is right across the street! They have rides for all ages. Get your discount tickets here: https://bigkahunas.com/discounts
9. Crab Island: Rent a Pontoon, jetski, or water taxi and get to the coolest floating party around. Around high tide, head out to the submerged sandbar on the bay side of the Destin bridge. Hang out with thousands of your closest friends. It will be crowded, so pack your patience along with your cooler. We’ve had good luck with Boogie’s Watersports and Gillligan’s, but there are several great options.
10. Jetski: For the adrenaline junkie, this is another favorite activity of vacationers and locals.
11. Paddle Board/Kayak: Available on site at Sandnsol, our guests can rent these for an hour or two right on the beach. If your complex does not have them, just walk up or down the beach and you will find a place that does.
12. Fishing Charter: Another option is to enjoy some of the best deep sea fishing around. Private and group charters are available.
13. Parasail: Get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Emerald Coast or the Chocktawatchee Bay. Just Chute Me, Boogie’s and Luther’s are a good place to start.
For the Adults
14. Live Music: In the evening, there are plenty of options for live music all week. Boathouse and AJ’s each have several artists scheduled this first week of July. See a Tim McGraw Tribute band AJ’s Tuesday night, or get your fill of Beatles, Blues, and rock with Phil and Foster at Lulu’s Saturday.
15. Coyote Ugly’s Independence Day Red White And Booze Bash Weekend July 4th -6th. Starting Thursday night, Coyote Ugly has drink specials, Dj’s and giveaways.
It’s never too early to book next year’s trip, consider locking in Sandnsol now! Book your 2020 dates by July 15th 2019, for this year’s rates https://sandnsol.com/availability-and-rates/
Written by Stacyloux of Sandnsol Destin Vacation Rentals
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There’s a proper turtle etiquette you ask? Who knew turtles have manners? You might have guessed we are actually talking about human behavior that impacts turtles and other creatures on your visit to Destin beaches.
On the first morning of your beach vacation, you spot a section of sand near the dunes staked off with yellow caution tape. Did someone spill a caustic substance on the sand? There are also some strange tracks leading away from that area. At the end of a long day of relaxing at the beach, you spot a group of teenagers filling in the hole they spent all day digging. Why do they bother, they’ll probably be back at it digging another hole tomorrow.
As you head in for the evening, you wonder why all the curtains are closed, and there are pale amber lights on the porches. Those dim lights make it very difficult to see if you drop something when you’re enjoying a drink on the balcony after dinner. As you head to bed, you might notice red lights moving along the shoreline.
For years your friends told you what an awesome place Destin is, and you’ve finally made the trip to the beautiful Emerald Coast. But What is it with this place? You saw some strange things today, like no other place you have been.
For the Turtles
The following morning, the mystery begins to unravel. You spot several more areas staked with caution tape, and decide to check it out. Upon closer look, you discover a sign that explains what you see is a protected turtle nest. You ask the teenagers why they fill in their holes and they say “it’s for the turtles.” When you ask a maintenance guy about the curtains and the special lights on the porch, you get the same response; “it’s for the turtles”. And those red flashlights, you guessed it; they’re for the turtles too!
As you may or may not realize, sea turtles are a protected species. It is our responsibility to make sure we don’t hinder their chance of survival. Since the gulf coast is prime turtle nesting ground, people are making an effort to do their part. Volunteers walk the beach in the early morning hours to identify new nests and stake them before someone accidentally disturbs them.
Every year in late spring adult female turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in shallow nests usually near the dunes. When the hatchlings emerge from their shells in late summer, they make their perilous journey to the ocean. Sometimes this happens during the day, but often it occurs at night. In this case, they return to the ocean, using the reflection of the moonlight on the ocean to guide them.
What Can You Do?
Both Adult and hatchlings can get confused by white flashlights or white lights in homes and buildings along the beach. This is why you see people walking along the beach with red flashlights. It’s also why you should fill in holes and knock down sand castles at the end of the day. Do anything to make their journey to the ocean easier. That’s proper turtle etiquette!
In short, proper etiquette means follow the motto “Leave no trace.” Do it for the turtles! Follow these tips and you just might find one of these guys swimming along as you paddleboard or kayak!
Written by Stacy Loux of Sandnsol Destin vacation rental #turtlenests #turtleetiquette #seaturtles #sandnsol #destinturtles #oceanfrontvacationrental #tododestin #turtlelights #turtlehatchlings
Easter Weekend is Full of Activities for the family.
Although Easter traditions may differ for every family, you won’t have trouble finding whatever activities you’re looking for if you’re in Destin next weekend. From sunrise service to brunch, and Easter Egg hunts, we have you covered.
Family Easter Events
You don’t have to wait until Sunday for Easter fun. In fact, Thursday April 18th, Destin Methodist church hosts a free family friendly Easter event. From 4-7 p.m. at Destin Life Center, there is an egg hunt, Easter crafts and a hot dog dinner. Miss Patty Cake will make sure the whole family has fun.
Another fun event is on the front lawn of the Henderson Beach Resort on Sunday. Remember to bring Easter baskets and hunt for thousands of candy filled eggs. Find one of the golden eggs and win a free scoop of ice cream with sprinkles. Must have a brunch reservation to participate in the egg hunt.
After Sunday brunch, visit the Easter Bunny on the main stage in Harborwalk Village from 2-4 p.m. Other activities include face painting and an art walk. SB Photos of Destin provides one free 4×6 photo per family.
Speaking of brunch, there are several options in the area. Besides the egg hunt, Henderson’s brunch includes live entertainment, a grand buffet and sparkling wine or apple juice. Not to be outdone, The Emerald Grand also offers an Easter Brunch. This year, they actually have 2 options: Plated brunch in the Grand Vista Bar and grill from 11-3 or enjoy the buffet in the Harborview Room. Highlights of the buffet are the omelet station, carving station and extensive dessert choices.Remember that onsite parking at the Emerald Grand is $10. After brunch at the Grand, visit the Easter bunny in the Harborwalk.
For a unique take on Easter, try the Solaris brunch cruise. Their three course dinner is just $25 per person. Special Easter baskets are available for table delivery as well. Check in begins at 12:15, and they will depart at 1:00. Reservations required.
Henderson’s: Adults $75 Children 5-12 years $24 and children under 5 are free. Reservations are required. please call 850. 424.4400.
Emerald Grand: Grand Vista Adults $29 (14 years and up) Harborview Adults $32 (16 and up) children 3 and under are free. Reservations recommended. 850.424.0621
Solaris: $25 per person. Deadline for Easter baskets is Monday April 13th. 850.650.2519
OceanClub: Ranging from $15-$33. 850.267.3666
Brotula’s: Adults $30.95 Children 10 & under $14.95 .850.460.8900
Next, Hop on down the bunny trail that leads to the Henderson Beach or Crab Trap Easter morning for worship on the beach. Once again, Destin Methodist church greets the sunrise from Henderson Beach at 6:00 a.m. Easter morning. In addition to the sunrise service, there is another beach worship service at 7:30 at both the Destin and Okaloosa Crab Trap locations. Worship on the beach is amazing, and Easter is all the more moving.
If you prefer a more traditional venue for Easter services, there are plenty of those from every denomination. Some of the most recommended churches include Destin United Methodist, The Gathering Sandestin, Resurrection Catholic Church Miramar Beach and First Baptist Church of Fort Walton. For more information, refer to their websites.
Destin Methodist: http://destinumc.org/start-here/service-times/
The Gathering Sandestin: http://www.thegatheringsandestin.com/
First Baptist Church Fort Walton: http://fbcfwb.org/
*Resurrection Catholic Church Miramar Beach: http://resurrectionbythebeach.org/ (website shows it is under construction, but keep scrolling down for Easter times, they are there)
Written by Stacy Loux Sandnsol oceanfront vacation rental
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Wine, Wine and More Wine
Spring is in the air, and wine festivals abound in Destin this April. Begin this wine trek with Sandestin’s 33rd annual event this week, head to South Walton Beaches wine and Food Festival and finish with the Destin Wine Auction Weekend the end of the month.
33rd Annual Sandestin Wine Festival at Baytowne Wharf
For those of you looking to get your wine fix this weekend, Sandestin is the place to be. Beginning the 4 day event is the kick off party, April 11th, from 6-8 p.m. Enjoy samples from Rum Runners and Timber Creek. Continuing Friday and Saturday, participants will find samples of hundreds of wines from around the world. Whether you prefer pinots, cabs or chardonnays, there’s bound to be several from every price point. Grand Tastings are Friday from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday 1-5 p.m.
During the festival, enjoy food pairings from local favorite restaurants including Seagars, Roberto’s Pizzeria and Vue on 30A.
Some other events include the Solaris Champagne lunch Cruise and Slick Lips Seafood brunch event. See the local guide for complete schedule http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/477836/28110629/1554830869360/2019_Tasters_Guide_Web.pdf?token=HkiCgTwVquepxAB8NBs832NyxK4%3D
Purchase Kick off party tickets for $30
Rum Runners at Sandestin
9100 Baytowne Wharf Boulevard
Miramar Beach, FL 32550 https://www.bigtickets.com/e/sd/kickoff/?referral=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Esandestinwinefestival%2Ecom%2Fsavor-south-walton-food-tents%2F
Purchase tickets before the event at the regular price of $55/$65 day of (Friday) and $85/$95 day of (Saturday) plus tax https://www.bigtickets.com/e/sd/grandtasting/?referral=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Esandestinwinefestival%2Ecom%2Fschedule%2F
South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival
Later in the month, another tradition continues at Grand Boulevard’s Town Center in Miramar Beach. The South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival is April 25th 28th. Unlike many wine festivals, organizers aim not only to provide great food and wine, but also to educate people on the stories behind the wine. Through their charity Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation the event benefits children in the Northwest Florida area.
Kicking off the event is the Wine Maker’s and Shakers tasting with some of the biggest names in the industry. The rest of the weekend is filled with several different events, such as culinary offerings, tasting seminars, live music and chef demos. VIP tickets which provide entry to all events except Makers and Shakers are available at a discounted price.
Consider attending the Reserve Tasting and silent and live auctions on Saturday afternoon. According to their website, “the event will culminate with a high-energy live auction, which includes rare and distinctive wines, spectacular trips and other incredible one-of-a-kind items.”http://www.dcwaf.org/events/2019/4/14th-annual-destin-charity-wine-auction
Makers and Shakers: Thursday April 25th 5-7 p.m.
VIP Tasting at Culinary Village: Friday April 26th 4-6 p.m.
Craft Beer and Spirits Jam at Town Center and Grand Park: Friday April 26th 6-9 p.m.
Reserve Tasting And Wine Auction: Saturday April 27 1-4 p.m.
Grand Tasting: Saturday & Sunday 1-4 p.m.
Tickets for all events can be purchased online https://sowalwine.com/tickets/
For more information visit:https://sowalwine.com/
As you prepare for these fun weekends remember to book your accommodations at Sandnsol. Our 3 bedroom 3 bathroom oceanfront condo is the perfect place to spend your free time and enjoy the white sand beaches of the Emerald Coast.
DCWAF benefits several organizations including but not limited to:
Children in Crisis, Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Youth Village, Shelter House of Northwest Florida, Habitat for Humanity of Walton County, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Emerald Coast Autism Center, Pathways for Change, Food for Thought, Opportunity Place, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, Mental Health Association Okaloosa & Walton Counties, The Arc of the Emerald Coast, Westonwood Ranch, and AMIKids Emerald Coast
Written by Stacy Loux Sandnsol vacation rental
#winefestival #sowalwine #sandestinuncorked #destinnightlife #destinentertainment #livemusicdestin #wineauction #band #grandboulevard #townwharf #seagars #sandnsol #destinvacationrental #oceanfrontcondo #bookdirect
Know your Beach Flag Warnings
Seeing the rough waters this morning inspired me to get the word out on the meanings of the different beach flag warning colors. The local Coast Guard assesses beach conditions on a daily basis and assign colors based on the current water conditions.
Green: Low Hazard
Calm waters and clear blue skies over the the gulf coast are a common and welcome sight. No worries at all when we see a green flag. Paddle boarding, snorkeling, shelling along the water’s edge and floating on an inner tube are some of my favorite activities during a green flag.
Yellow: Medium Hazard
Another common flag in Destin is the yellow flag. It indicates light to medium surf or currents. Many travelers prefer a yellow flag because the light surf is ideal for boogie boarding and body surfing. There is potential for strong surf or dangerous current. Swimming is recommended only for strong swimmers and should be done near a life guard if possible. Young children or weaker swimmers should wear life jackets and stay close to shore. During a yellow flag, you experience a refreshing gulf breeze, which is perfect for flying kites.
Red: High Hazard
Red flags warn beach goers of severe hazards in the water. High surf and dangerous currents are likely. Although you can still swim using extreme caution if there is one red flag, you should only go in the water if you are a keen swimmer.
Rip currents, also called rip tides, catch swimmers off guard. The strong under tow carries a swimmer away from shore. If you get caught in a channel of water flowing away from the shoreline, don’t fight the current. As the diagram above illustrates, swim parallel to shore until you get out of the current, then return to safety.
Double Red Flags: Beach Closed
Occasionally, surf conditions are unsafe for swimmers and the beach is closed. In this instance, Double red flags are used. Typically this happens when a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching the area. Swimming is strictly prohibited, and you shouldn’t risk entering the water. Waves are several feet high and overtake even the best of swimmers.
Purple Flags: Marine Pests
Often flown with another color flag, purple or black flags warn beach goers that they may experience potentially dangerous marine life. This ranges from sea lice to jelly fish to sharks. If the beach is not closed to swimming, be aware of the potential hazards.
Most of us know what sharks and jellyfish are, but what about the other pests? Sea lice (the larvae of jellyfish), and Blue button jellyfish (not actually a jellyfish) can cause skin irritation if they are trapped in your bathing suit. They are often more of a nuisance than a danger. Depending on your sensitivity, you may not even notice them. On the other hand, if you experience itching or a rash, usually an over-the-counter 1% cortisone skin cream or an oral antihistamine offers relief. The good news is, they are not contagious and can not survive outside of salt water. Experts suggest wearing sunscreen and not wearing a t-shirt in the water to reduce their risk of getting stung by sea lice or blue buttons.
By heeding these warning flags and tips, hopefully your beautiful day at the beach won’t result in a trip to the hospital!
After your day at the beach, rinse off in one of Sandnsol’s three updated bathrooms.
Written by Stacy Loux of Sandnsol Destin vacation rental
#destinbeachwarningflags #beachwarningflags #sandnsol #tododestin #destinglass #oceanfrontvacationrental #tododestin #moenfaucets #bluebuttonjellyfish #sharks #sealice
Tropical Storm Gordon will be long gone by Saturday’s Jetski FunPoker Run on the Chochatawhatchee Bay. This family-friendly fun event has seven stops around the bay, and covers about 70 miles.
There is still plenty of time to register for the 5th Annual FunPoker Run Jetski Classic on September 8th. $40 registration fee includes one t-shirt, one poker hand, and one chance to win the grand prize. $20 passenger fee includes one poker hand and a chance to win. You can register online or at the door at Lulu’s Saturday, September 8th beginning at 8 am. Pre-registration parties are at Lulu’s (Destin) and Giovanni’s One89 Friday September 7th from 6-8 p.m. Pre-registration allows you start from the location of your choice.
Participants pick up a card at each of the seven stops and compete for prizes. Stops include Lulus, The Gulf, AJ’s on the Bayou, Giovanni’s one89, LJ’s Schooners, Island Time, and 2 George’s. The first ski goes in at 10 a.m, and the last ski comes out at 4 p.m, followed by the After Party at Lulu’s. The prize for the best 7 card stud poker hand is a trip for 2 to Hawaii! If you prefer to stay on land, volunteers are needed as well.
Pre-registration through September 7, 2018
Pre-registration parties at Lulu’s and Giovanni’s One89 6-8 p.m September 7, 2018
Register at the door at Lulu’s 8 a.m. Saturday, September 8, 2018
After Party at Lulu’s 4 p.m. Saturday, September 8, 2018
The event benefits Children in Crisis, an organization that works to provide homes for children while keeping siblings together.
Written by Stacy Loux of Sandnsol Destin vacation rental
#funpokerrun #destinpokerrun #sandnsol #tododestin #jetskidestin
The term “Shoulder Season” is becoming a buzzword in the travel industry. You may wonder exactly what is considered a Shoulder Season. It is a term describing the period of time in between the high prices of peak season, and the less desirable weather of low season. What does that mean for Destin? Officially, it refers to the months of April and May, before the temperatures climb above 85. Unofficially, the fall shoulder season might be an even better time to visit!
Several factors make the fall shoulder season an ideal time to travel to Destin. In addition to lower prices, fewer bodies sprawled across the beach, and cheaper rates, one of the best reasons for a fall vacation in Destin is that the water temperature is warmer than in the spring. In fact, the average water temperature for April and May is 71.5 degrees, whereas, September and October temperatures average 79.5 degrees. That’s quite a difference, especially when you consider the air temperatures in the spring are cooler as well. This 40 something’s body appreciates a refreshing jump in the ocean as much as the next guy, but it’s much more enjoyable when I’m not shivering under my towel when I get out! That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
Let’s face it, the emerald blue water is what sets Destin apart from many other beaches. The fall shoulder season is a great time to enjoy the water and beach to the fullest. With fewer crowds, there is plenty of room to boogie board, float and play around without bothering anyone around you. That is, unless you count your annoying younger/older sibling. In which case, there is no such thing as too much space!
Another benefit is there are fewer people to scare off the wildlife. Consequently, snorkeling, tubing, paddleboarding and kayaking are quite entertaining this time of year as well. Turtles, dolphins and many fish play and even race alongside people in the water!
When planning your next vacation to the Emerald Coast, consider booking a place during the shoulder season. Whether that be during the official shoulder months of April and May, or the unofficial months of September and October, Destin will not disappoint. Escape the crowds, save some money and enjoy the ideal temperatures on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
*Written by Stacy Loux of Sandnsol vacation rentals
#tododestin #shoulderseason #emeraldcoast #sandnsol #season
Nothing says spring along the gulf coast more than a good old fashioned crawfish boil. Harry T’s Lighthouse is hosting the 2nd annual Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast Crawfish Boil from 11am-4pm on Saturday, May 19th. Come out and get your mudbug fix before it’s too late!
Enjoy fresh crawfish prepared once again by chef, Billie Adams. Take in the gorgeous harbor view, feast on delicious crawfish, and enter to win a raffle basket. As always, come for the view and stay for the fun.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased ahead at the Destin BGCEC. Proceeds benefit the local Boys and Girls club, allowing their continued efforts to inspire, encourage and motivate area children ages 5-18 years old. The Emerald Coast Boys and Girls Club currently serves over 1200 youngsters.
Contact: Bert Little
630 Kelly Street
Destin, FL 32541
Proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Coast.
Written by Stacy Loux of Sandnsol vacation rental
#tododestin #wheretoeatdestin #crawfishboil #emeraldcoast #sandnsol #harryts