Sandnsol Destin Vacation Rental

The Turtles are Coming to Destin Beaches

Beach-goers in Destin this time of year are likely to hear something about sea turtle nests, but few give it much thought. What does sea turtle nesting in Destin Mean for beach-goers? We may be slightly aware that turtles like darkness or that they are kind of rare, but that that is usually the extent of our thoughts.  The truth is all four of the turtle species (Loggerhead, Green, Leatherback, and Kemp's Ridley) nesting in Destin are either threatened or endangered. How we treat our beaches directly impacts the survival of hatchlings.

I often see people walking the beach with flashlights after dark. They are searching for crabs scurrying about the shoreline, but regular flashlights are actually harmful to baby turtles and nesting mothers.  Late summer and early fall is the busiest time for hatchlings who are trying to make their way from their nests to the ocean. Hatchlings use natural light of the horizon over the ocean, along with the white crests from waves to find their way to the ocean when they leave their nests

turtle species
This journey is one of the most dangerous in a turtle’s life because of the predators and obstacles it faces along the way. It’s an important stage in their lives, as this imprinting will determine where they return to lay eggs for up to 30 years.   Disoriented or lost turtles likely burn in the sun or fall prey to birds, dogs and other predators. It’s estimated that only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will reach adulthood.turtle hatchlings sand

Although most of the turtles on Okaloosa beaches nest at night, Kemp’s Ridley turtles typically nest during the daytime. What can we do to help ensure the safe passage of these tiny amazing creatures?  First of all, if you happen upon a nest or hatchling, call Okaloosa Sheriff’s office at (850) 689-5705.  Per state laws, they cordon off nests, with stakes, tape and a sign to tell people to stay away. Do not shine a flashlight on them. It is illegal to harm, harass or kill any sea turtles, their eggs, or hatchlings. sea turtle nest

What else can you do to help during your visit? Follow the county motto “Leave no trace.”

  • Keep things clean and flat; knock down sand castles and fill in beach holes
  • Remove chairs, umbrellas, toys and tents when leaving the beach for the day
  • Keep it dark; turn off lights on balconies and close drapes in rooms that can be seen from the beach
  • Plan ahead: Bring specially designed red flashlights for exploring at night, or use a turtle-safe sticker to filter the light

Follow these tips, and increase your chances of having an close encounter with one of these bigger guys in the future!

Seagar’s for Cocktails and Prime Steak in Destin

seagars martinis

Friends and guests often ask for a recommendation on a good place to treat yourself with a cocktail and steak dinner in Destin.  Seagar’s in Sandestin is our go-to restaurant for a true fine dining experience.  It’s the area’s only AAA Four Diamond steakhouse, and it lives up to the standard of being a “culinary experience to savor and enjoy”.

seagars entrance

Whether celebrating a special birthday, anniversary, new job, or just needing a romantic evening, Seagar’s is just the spot.  On our latest visit, the hubby and I began the evening with a cocktail in the bar; a dirty vodka martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives for him and a Seagar’s Lemondrop rimmed with sugar for me. Live piano music, elegant table settings, rich wood finishes and a fireplace create an intimate space. It was so enjoyable, we actually decided to stay in there and dine at the bar rather than the dining room.

As we moved from our cozy bar table, a friendly bartender welcomed us to the bar.  He was attentive and happily recommended a nice Pinot Noir from their extensive wine list. Resisting one of the numerous appetizers, we split the Seagar’s Wedge salad with Blue Cheese.  Lettuce was fresh and crisp and garnished with roasted tomatoes. For entrees, I had a mouth-watering petite fillet perfectly cooked to medium rare. Tom’s fillet oscar was prepared medium rare and we shared grilled asparagus. 

seagars fillet

Several dessert items caught our eye, including Bananas Foster, which is prepared tableside and served over ice cream.  However, in the end, we decided we would have to plan ahead next time in order to leave room for dessert.

For those who prefer surf over turf, Seagar’s offers a large selection of gulf fresh seafood as well as several lobster and crab options. Another nice touch is that the menu varies by season, as different fresh fish, vegetables and fruit become available. Several items are gluten-free as well.

It’s always entertaining to observe the staff bringing out other selections while waiting for food to arrive. Seagar’s takes presentation seriously, and the chefs make some beautiful creations. This time, we happened to see Steak Diane prepared tableside.

I could go on and on, but I better go…need to book a flight for my next visit!

More Information:

Seagar’s is located in the lower lobby of the Hilton SanDestin Beach Resort and Spa.
4000 Sandestin Blvd. South, Miramar Beach, Fl 32550

Written by Stacy Loux of 

#tododestin #wheretoeatdestin #seagars #steakindestin #emeraldcoast #sandnsol #sandestin

Shoulder Season: Escape Summer Crowds and Fully Enjoy Destin

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!

destin average water temp

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.

boogie boards destin

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


Hot Summer Nights: Fireworks and Music in Destin and Fort Walton

baytowne wharf

Nothing says summer more than music and a night sky illuminated with colorful fireworks.  If you’re vacationing in Destin, you don’t have to wait until July 4th to enjoy a fireworks show. All summer long you can find a display near you.


Tuesdays: Head to the Miramar Beach area for Boomin Tuesdays on the wharf.  Festivities kick off in Baytowne Wharf beginning at 6:30.  Activities include lawn games and inflatables for kids, as well as shopping and dining.  The fireworks over the wharf begin at 8:30. Bring a chair or blanket.

Wednesdays: The Okaloosa Boardwalk bustles with activity prior to the fireworks show which begins at 9 pm. Bring a blanket, beach chair or towel as you watch the colorful display of pyrotechnics from the beach.

red white blue fireworksThursdays: Destin Harborwalk Village is the place to be if you want to catch a spectacular aerial display over the Destin Harbor.  The “Let Freedom Ring” show celebrates Americana and the Destin Harbor heritage. An airshow and music are followed by fireworks which begin at 9 p.m. Grab a front row seat at one of several restaurants on the harbor, such as Crab Island Cantina, Harry T’s or Margaritaville. If you’re up for a hike, venture out on the beach to find a spot on Noriega Point. For a more peaceful viewing, wander out to the pedestrian walkway on the bridge. It’s an easy 10 minute walk from the main parking at Emerald Grande, and there are rarely other people around. Anywhere on the bridge gives you a good view.

Special events:

June 1-2:  Kick of the summer with Billy Bowlegs 63rd Annual Pirate Festival in Ft Walton.  The fireworks portion is Friday night at 9 p.m. Want to avoid the hassle of parking downtown? Take advantage of the free shuttle service sponsored by EC Rider and Uptown Station. Pickup is at Uptown Station from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday night and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

July 3: – Smoke on the Coast – The annual BBQ and Fireworks festival is at Destin Commons from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Enjoy family entertainment and live music starting at 5 p.m. BBQ aficionados can sample treats from 20 area restaurants and BBQ groups and cast votes for their favorites. The evening is topped off with a patriotic fireworks display.  Proceeds benefit area charities.

July 4:  Okaloosa Island Pier Fireworks – Fort Walton Beach, FL
July 4:  Red, White, and Baytowne – Miramar Beach, FL
July 4:  4th of July Celebration – HarborWalk Village – Destin, FL
July 4: Fireworks at the Fort Walton Beach Landing – Fort Walton Beach, FL
July 5: Let Freedom Ring Tribute – HarborWalk Village – Destin, FL


Summer Fireworks Lineup:

Tuesday: “Boomin Tuesday” 9300 Baytowne Wharf Blvd, Miramar Beach, FL 32550 Fireworks at 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Okaloosa Pier Fort Walton. The last show of the season is Sunday, September 2, 2018 at 9:00 p.m.

Thursday: “Let Freedom Ring” Destin Harborwalk Village (May 31, 2018 through August 16, 2018).

  • 6:30 | WWII Vintage Airshow over the Destin Harbor
  • 7:00-9:00 | Modern Eldorados– An American Music Tribute on the Main Stage
  • 9:00 | Fireworks Show over the Destin Harbor
  • 9:15 | Just Add Fire on the Main Stage
  • 9:30-Midnight | Americana Music Videos on the Main Stage

For a complete calendar:

*Written by Stacy Loux of Sandnsol vacation rentals

#tododestin #fireworks #emeraldcoast #sandnsol #harryts

Cravin’ Crawfish? Come to the Destin Boys and Girls Club Crawfish Boil

crawfish boil

crawfish chefharry ts lighthouse

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.



crawfish dinner

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.crawfish boil flyer

Contact: Bert Little 
630 Kelly Street
Destin, FL 32541
(850) 833-3132

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

What’s on in Destin: Emerald Coast Volleyball Week

Beach volleyball

Time is running out to register for Emerald Coast Volleyball Week. One of the nation’s largest four-person volleyball tournament comes to the boardwalk on Okaloosa Island April 18-22, 2018.  If you love hitting the courts, there’s a spot for you.  Volleyball players of all skill levels are invited to register. Fudpucker 4 player divisions include Open, A, BB, B and Sr. in Men, Women and Co-ed.  Females may not play in the male division, and co-ed teams must include at least 2 women and 2 women. Register your team with a maximum of 6 players now. The cost for the 4 person division is $85 per player until April 14th, and $90 after April 14th as space allows. Bring your own doubles and Kind/Queen/kid of the beach is $30 per player. Top prize is $1000 and finalist apparel.

Register here:

volleyball net

In addition to the traditional 4 player format, there are also events for Best of the Beach doubles draw, Bring your own Partner, and King/Queen/Kid of the beach.  Players register for these events the day of the event.

Have some time to kill? Spectators are welcome to come on down to catch some rays and watch some of the best volleyball players battle at the net.  Over 250 teams are registered so far!


In addition to the sand volleyball tournament, Destin and Fort Walton businesses are hosting several events for the players throughout the week. There’s a luau at Al’s Beach Club, Player’s Reception at FudPucker’s, Player’s Party at Al’s and a pool party at Ramada Plaza Beach Resort.

emerald coast volleyball

Complete schedule for the week:

Tournament Information: 850-243-2555 or

Written by Stacy of SandnSol vacation rental

#emeraldcoastvolleyball #whatsondestin #okaloosaisland #sandvolleyballtournament #Fudpuckers #boardwalk #sandnsol

Dewey Destin’s Harborside; A Great Fish Restaurant

dewey destin wahoo fish

If you’re looking for a great place to enjoy high quality fresh fish and good company while watching the sunset, Dewey Destin’s Harborside the perfect spot. On our most recent trip to Destin, our family had the pleasure of dining with some of the co-owners on the upstairs patio which overlooks the harbor.

dewey destins porch
Dewey Destin patio

Being our first time to Dewey’s, our hosts were happy to suggest appetizers, entrees and desserts to satisfy our tastes. We started off with three delicious appetizers; Jalapeno hush puppies, fried jalapeno cheese grit cakes, and a smokey tuna dip served with crackers.

Offerings on the Blackboard fresh catch of the day can range from Grouper, Wahoo, Trigger, Cobia, Red fish, Trout and Swordfish. Our table enjoyed bronzed and seared Grouper, scallops and shrimp.  We were also offered coleslaw and 2 sides.  My husband, being somewhat of a sweet corn snob, was especially impressed with the corn on the cob.  There was a sweet milkiness to it that reminded him of sweetcorn picked right out of the field.

dewey shrimp

After dinner, our group polished off several slices of their very tasty key lime pie.

Through our dinner conversations and interactions with the staff, we learned quite a bit about Dewey’s. Originally, the building was a hub for their commercial fishing business. Dewey Destin, the grandson of the founder of this harbor village,  turned it into a restaurant after the ban on commercial net fishing. It is still very much a family business. Many of the staff are lifelong residents who work here year round, and the daughter of our host came back to manage Dewey’s after earning her college degree. Dewey himself, stopped by our table to make sure everything was fixed to our liking.  If you talk sweetly to your server, they might even tell you about a friendly spirit watching over the place.

For those of you who like to eat what you catch, Dewey’s will also cook your catch for you.

Dewey Destin’s has a full bar which offers a nice selection of wine and several aptly named tropical drinks.  We tried the Dewey’s Lemonade and the Pineapple Martini, which has just a hint of coconut and is served in a sugar rimmed glass. I imagine during peak season, the cute little patio out front is standing room only.

Next time you’re looking for a casual dining with the highest quality fresh seafood, check out Dewey Destin’s Harborside. It’s affordable, delicious and has a stunning view of the harbor.

written by Stacy of SandnSol oceanfront vacation rental

The Best Cafe in Destin

cafe crepes destin

Capriccio Cafe'

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, so I must include some information about my favorite morning cafe. While  Donut Hole is a must,  we also enjoy a little hole-in-the-wall cafe called Capriccio Cafe.  We often stop here on our way into town if our condo isn’t quite ready for us. This Italian cafe features both savory and sweet crepes, and it’s a local favorite for coffee and cappuccino.  Delicious Nutella crepes are popular with our kids.  However, the adults in our family prefer something more substantial like the American crepe, stuffed with ham, egg and cheese. Pastries and croissants are fresh every day, and your crepes are made to order.  For the lighter side, they offer several salad and sandwich options, including some with fresh seafood.

After placing your order at the counter, relax on the comfy couches or grab a seat at one of the tables.  Seating is limited, but there are also a few shaded tables outside Capriccio.  Prices are reasonable and the staff is friendly. The cafe is located in mid-Destin, on Gulf Shore Drive.  It’s within walking distance of many shops. Judging from the increased number of patrons we noticed on our last several visits, the secret is getting out!  Just down Gulf Shore Drive from Capriccio is Local Market. It’s a small grocery store/deli tucked back from the street.  Their Cuban panini is a special treat. Another Broken Egg, and the Pancakery get a nod from us as well, and are all located in the same vicinity as Capriccio.

#cafe #foodie #crepesindestin #capricciocafe #vacationindestin

How We Have a Lazy Day in Destin

lazy beach day Destin

Beach towns like Destin are the ultimate location if you want to have a lazy day, but with so many activities, it is easy to forget that you’re here to relax.  Ask any teenager, and they will tell you that sleeping in is the first step to having a lazy day. Once we do rouse ourselves out of bed, we grab a bathrobe, a glass of juice or cup of coffee and have a seat on the balcony.  The sound of the waves is mesmerizing, no thinking required! Combine that with a deep breath of the salty air, and we’re off to a great start.  Be careful though, it’s easy to fall asleep again if you’re laying in a chaise or hammock!

Eventually, as others begin to stir, we succumb to the call of the ocean. It’s time to put on a suit, and head out to the beach.  We remember to pack a cold drink, sunscreen & sunglasses, a good book, beach towel and maybe a kite on our way out.  Once on the beach, we locate the chairs, launch the kite, tie it to the umbrella stand, and settle in with a book for more relaxation.

beach chair destin
CorrieMiracle /

After a while, it’s good to stretch the legs with a casual walk up and down the beach.  We keep our eyes open for interesting shells along the way. Upon returning, we enjoy a cold drink and a snack while watching the dolphins and people play in the emerald green waters.

Before heading in for the day, we take in the beautiful sunset.  Pizza and wine on the balcony round out another lazy day at the beach.sunset sparkles destin

Finally, as dusk turns to darkness, we take in yet another amazing site. If we’re lucky enough to have a full moon, the ocean sparkles with the moon’s reflection.


#lazyday #vacationindestin #destinvacationrental #beachvacation #destinsunsets