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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Know your Beach Flag WarningsSeeing 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 HazardCalm 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 HazardAnother 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 HazardRed 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 ClosedOccasionally, 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 PestsOften 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. https://sandnsol.com/sandnsol-galleries/ Written by Stacy Loux of Sandnsol Destin vacation rental #destinbeachwarningflags #beachwarningflags #sandnsol #tododestin #destinglass #oceanfrontvacationrental #tododestin #moenfaucets #bluebuttonjellyfish #sharks #sealice
St. Patrick’s Day was briefly mentioned in my previous post about live entertainment in Destin. Today we take a closer look at what’s happening up and down the Emerald Coast. You’ll be seeing green more than just in the emerald waters this weekend.
Saturday, March 16th
Yes, I know, St. Patrick’s Day is on Sunday this year, but who can object to getting a jump-start on fun?
Start out the celebration with downtown Fort Walton’s Lucky Leprechaun 5K/10K Run/Walk. Before you head out, grab your favorite green attire, as costumes are encouraged. Entry fees $30-35. Register that morning, or online: https://www.active.com/fort-walton-beach-fl/running/distance-running-races/lucky-leprechaun-5k-10k-run-walk-2019?int&fbclid=IwAR1JYc9njqtZC7UVqAib32qJXnjFFWW8fZnhVcUx8LX34lGVi5iBziOJNyI
Later, join the locals in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl in Fort Walton. Complete your pub crawl card by visiting each of the following establishments throughout the night: Fokker’s Pub, The Block, Salty Duck, Giovanni’s One89, and Coasters. http://fwbpubcrawl.com/
30-A Starting at 3:00, that’s where you’ll find the area’s free to enter, St. Patrick’s Day parade. The 4 mile parade route runs from The Preserve 30-A to County Road 393 Gulf Place. They expect a record number of floats vying for the coveted Best in Parade trophy. This year, Oliver Petit, owner of the recently burned down Red Bar, is the Grand Marshall.
McGuire’s: You can bet your lucky Irish stars that McGuire’s is a great place to be Saturday night as well. With music by Pete O’Dea and Whiskey Kiss, the place will be rocking! In fact, because they’re open until 1:45 a.m., technically, you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day twice!
Sunday, March 17th:
Harborwalk Village, Destin Harbor
Bring the whole family down to the harbor for the St. Paddy’s Day family party noon-2:00 p.m. Enjoy kids’ crafts and a leprechaun treasure hunt. During the festivities, there is also a performance by the Carpenter Academy of Irish Dance.
McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza Of course, McGuire’s Irish Pub is the most logical place to get your fill of Irish grub. For the complete St. Patrick’s Day experience, Corn beef and cabbage, boxty’s and green beer are a must! Can we start now? Although festivities begin at 10:00 a.m., you can’t get your signature Irish Wake or green beer until after noon Sunday. If you have the luck of the Irish, you might even hear bag pipes playing the classic Irish tune “Danny Boy’”! Fun continues throughout the day with music by Pete O’Dea, Austin Jennings, A Drunker Shade O’Green, Horseshoe Kitty, and DJ Zoran.
Village of Baytowne Wharf:
Finally, the St. Patty’s Day Delight kicks off at 6:00 p.m. with the funky rhythm and blues music of The Blenders. Following this four piece band, is a performance by the Drake School of Irish Dance at 7:00 p.m.
Remember Sandnsol vacation rental when booking your stay in Destin. Our oceanfront 3 bedroom 3 bathroom condo in the heart of Destin has amazing views! Always save by booking direct: https://sandnsol.com/availability-and-rates/
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Entertainment options abound this month in Destin. If you’re lucky enough to be in town, there are plenty of events and activities to keep you entertained. Because of all the options for music and food, locals and spring breakers won’t be bored.
Music lovers have plenty of options to get their fix during March. Several area restaurants and bars have live music, so enthusiasts should be able find something to that appeals to them seven nights a week. This month, Hog’s Breath features some regular musicians such as Jason Findley, Cole Jordan, Austin Jennings, and Jordan Ballantyne, as well as special appearances from The Rhino Jockey’s and Roshambo. https://www.hogsbreath.com/destin/events/
Although local band, Cadillac Willy performs in several area venues, in March you’ll find them most often at Funky Blues Shack. Over the years, they’ve been recognized for their talent in many ways including Best Dance Band, Best Jam Band and Best Keyboardist. This energetic band was influenced by classic bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Grateful Dead, but also enjoys playing in the style of James Brown. Occasionally, they have even been known to break out in rap jams. Find out more here:https://www.cadillacwilly.com/?fbclid=IwAR2i7770nQloYZQyiwgAcL5wqvd_UIMdb-0YCTNICqZZIchXtXVdeFD03JY
Another popular place for live entertainment is at AJ’s Club Bemini. From 5-8 you’ll enjoy sounds of Beach, Reggae and Pop music, while a guest band and dj’s play from 9:00 p.m.-2:00 am. Although music lovers of all ages are welcome until 9:00. After that, guests must be 21 and over to stay.
Also, check out the Boat House Oyster Bar, also located in Destin harbor. Today alone, they have three different live music events! Kelly Byrd kicks it off at noon, followed by Rusty Hammerstrom at 4:00 p.m. and Gunner at 8:00. http://boathouseoysterbardestin.com/events/
Finally, for country music fans, Fort Walton Beach’s The Block is the place to be this Friday, March 15th. Artist Mark Chesnutt will Rock The Block with his tunes praised by the likes of George Strait and George Jones. Get your tickets now for $25 https://theblockclub.com/index.php
Speaking of The Block, tickle your funnybone at their Comedy Zone every Saturday night. Each week you’ll see two different comedians who tour nationally. Many of these comedians have appeared on HBO and Comedy Central. Doors open at 6pm, seating at 7pm and the comedy begins around 8:15pm.
St. Patrick’s Day:
Don’t miss the Pub Crawl Saturday, March 16th. Participating pubs include Fokker’s Pub, The Block, Salty Duck, Giovanni’s One89, and Coasters. Each location has food and drink specials. If you visit every participating location, you are eligible to win awesome door prizes or even the Grand Prize. Return your completed card to The Block by 9:45 for the Big giveaway. Luck o’ the Irish to ya!
Stay tuned later this week for more about Destin St.Patrick’s Day fun!
Where to Stay:
Remember Sandnsol vacation rental when booking your stay in Destin. Our oceanfront 3 bedroom 3 bathroom condo in the heart of Destin has amazing views! Always save by booking direct: https://sandnsol.com/availability-and-rates/
#destinnightlife #destinentertainment #livemusicdestin #hogsbreath #cadillacwilly #band #markchesnutt #theblock #destinharbor #harborwalkvillage #one89 #Fokkerspub #Kellybyrd #boathouseoysterbar #pubcrawl #stpatricksday #ajsdestin #sandnsol #destinvacationrental #oceanfrontcondo #bookdirect
National Margarita Day is February 22! If you’re like me, you might assume that the day to celebrate margaritas would be Cinco De Mayo. However, it’s actually today! That’s good news if you like to imbibe in this sweet and sour concoction.
So where do you go for the best Margaritas in Destin? Now that’s a good question, and I’ve got some great suggestions for you.
Beginning in the Destin Harbor area, Crab Island Cantina has several fun options. They come in 3 sizes, regular, large and jumbo! If you get there around 5:00, you have plenty of time to make your selection, grab a seat and enjoy the sunset over the harbor.
If you want to go where the locals go, head over to Pepitos near the harbor. Choose your tequila; choose your flavor and your size. Not to be outdone, they offer 4 sizes of margaritas, including the over the top 64 ounce Pepito Pitcher! https://www.mypepitos.com/drinks
Besides the harbor area, Miramar beach has some great margaritas too. Lulu’s margaritas are made with their special house margarita mix. While sitting by the bay, try a lime, strawberry, mango or The Big Blue shark margarita. See their full drink menu here:
For something a little less traditional, ask the bartender at the Inn at Crystal Beach to make you a jalapeno margarita. This flavor is a bit unexpected when it comes to margaritas, but it is just the thing for those of you who like things a little spicy. I was lucky enough to be there when the bartender was trying his hand with this new recipe on a warm summer night a few years back.
More favorites for sipping margaritas include Pompano Joe’s and Royal Palm Grille. Although Cantina Laredo at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin isn’t on the beach, rumor has it they pour a pretty darn good margarita too!
Another option for the mixologists among you, is to stay-in at Sandnsol and make your own. Simply pick up some frozen limeade, limes, tequila and amaretto down the street at Winn Dixie. Our gourmet kitchen has a blender, and there is plenty of room in the Whirlpool freezer to store your ice and frozen drinks. Take one down to the pool or beach to catch the sunset, or just enjoy the waves and view from the balcony.
Stacy’s Classic Frozen Margarita:
1 can frozen Limeade
½ can tequila
¼ can amaretto
Juice from ½ lime
Dash of Sugar
Put the limeade in the blender. Using the limeade can, measure the tequila and amaretto and add to the blender. Add lime juice and sugar. Add ice cubes, leaving an inch at the top. Blend until smooth. Rim glass with salt and serve with lime wedge. For a fruity twist, add a handful of frozen berries in place of some ice.
Whether you like them frozen, on the rocks, salty or without, National Margarita Day is just the right way to end the day Friday. Seas the Day and Sip Away!
#nationalmargaritaday #sandnsol #crabislandcantina #pepitos #lulusdestin #cantinalaredo #winndixie #publix #whirlpool #margarita #destinmargaritas #oceanfrontcondo
Gumbo craving? Come out to Sandestin’s 30th annual Gumbo Festival. The 2-day event kicks off tonight, February 15th from 5-7 with a seafood boil at Hammerhead’s Bar and Grill. Continue with the seafood treats during the main event Saturday February 16th. Where else can you sample gumbo from great restaurants like Dewey Destin’s, Harry T’s, Bubba Gump all at the same time?
During Saturday’s main event, festival goers enjoy samples of the area’s best gumbo recipes. Whether you prefer light or dark roux, chicken, sausage or seafood, your taste buds will be satisfied. Vote for your favorite and discover which one is selected as “People’s Choice”. Which concoction is the “Area’s Best”? That is up to celebrity judges to decide. Saturday’s activities begins at noon.
Wash down the gumbo with a cocktail at a new event this year: Best Bloody Mary’s on the Beach! Some of the Destin’s best bars and restaurants are serving their signature Bloody Mary’s and you get to vote for your favorite. Because the winner earns the title of “Best Bloody Mary’s at The Beach”, the cocktails are sure to impress.
During this annual event, listen to the live music from Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe. There are also children’s activities, so there’s fun for everyone.
Time is running out, however. Today is your last chance to order your tickets for the event online so order now. Tickets are $35. The Gumbo Festival happens rain or shine.
After being inspired by all this great gumbo, head back to Sandnsol to try your hand at making your very own batch! Guests say our gourmet kitchen is one of the best equipped in Destin. While cooking up your roux, take in the oceanfront view.
2018 Gumbo Festival Winners
1st Place People’s Choice: Dewey Destin’s
Veteran’s Award: Marina Bar and Grill
Best Non Restaurant: Gibson Catering
Top pick Under 5 years: Slick Lips
Best Display: Crab Island Cantina
New Participant: Slick Lips
Hammerhead’s Bar and Grill
137 Fisherman’s Cove
Destin, FL 32550
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Book direct vacation rentals is the key to saving big money . Today is the 2nd annual Guest Education #BookDirect day. I’m here to explain how to find, book safely and save on outrageous travelers fees.
Before rushing off to book your next oceanfront vacation through one of the large travel sites, there are some important things to consider:
First and foremost is your pocket book. Travelers Bookdirect at sandnsol.com for our Lowest Rate Guarantee. By booking direct through vacation rental owners, you avoid extra fees. Service Fees on major travel sites like VRBO and Air B&B range from 3%-20%! I’m not talking about a few dollars, in many cases it is hundreds of dollars of cold hard cash. Cash you work hard to earn. Cash you use to enhance your trip. Instead of paying those fees, rent that jet ski, parasail over the emerald green waters, or enjoy a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant!
Secondly, communication between the owner and guest is open and direct before you book. You can ask any number of questions you have before you commit to book. Oftentimes owners can accommodate special requests. There’s no pressure to instant book.
Another benefit of booking directly with an owner is the personal knowledge and attention you receive from them. Owners have a unique understanding and knowledge of the property and surrounding area. Access insider tips, videos, bucket list activities and numerous pictures on individual property websites.
Finally, did you know that many of the best vacation rentals, including Sandnsol, aren’t event listed on the major sites anymore? Because of the horrible business practices and cost of using the big sites, many rentals with the highest demand can no longer be found on the major booking sites.
HOW to #BookDirect:
*Social Media *No fee regional vacation rental sites *Branded property websites
Since the fees on major booking sites have increased exponentially, owners have taken to social media to advertise their spaces. Facebook is a great place to start, just search for your destination. For example, Destin has multiple groups where owners list properties and guests search for them. Destin Florida Vacation Rentals is one of my favorites.
Because of frustration with the bigs, numerous new listing sites are modeled after the “old VRBO”. Emerald Coast By Owner (ECBYO), Houfy, Vacation Soup and Alabama Vacation owners are just a few of the no-fee sites gaining traction. They allow owners and guests to communicate before they commit, and do not charge exorbitant fees to travelers or owners.
More and more owners are investing time and money in branding. They create websites for their individually named vacation rentals. If you find a named rental, search to see if it has its own website. This is where you will find all the insider information, extra pictures and the best rates. Call or email through their branded site.
Just yesterday, one of my repeat guests saved over $500 for a one week rental! She did this by booking our oceanfront condo directly rather than using our property manager!
You work hard for your vacation, cut out the middle-man and book direct.