DESTIN, FLORIDA - AREA INFORMATION
There are many excellent restaurants in the Destin area! All restaurants are non-smoking. Casual dress such as shorts and t-shirts are acceptable nearly anywhere and definitely any place we would recommend. Below are our top choices...
BEST BEACH BREAKFAST
The Whale’s Tail - Located 1.5 Mile West on Scenic Gulf. Breakfast on the beach. Great spot to walk to for breakfast (served until 10:00 AM). They serve lunch and dinner as well, but mostly the greasy/fried things. Try the shrimp omelet! It has a limited menu, but generally you can get a table without a long wait.
Donut Hole - Located about 6 miles East one mile before 30-A. Very good breakfast and bakery. Try the “Diet” plate. Also, if too crowded, drive down about two miles further on the left to Don Pedro’s for excellent breakfast with a Southwest/Mexican slant. If you get to Donut Hole after 9:00 a.m., be prepared for a long wait.
Lin’s Asian Cuisine - Really great Southeast Asian and Chinese food. Nice sit-down or carry-out, serve beer & wine. Location in the Winn Dixie shopping just ½ mile from the house.
Dewey Destin’s - There are two locations. The old location on the bay and a new location on the harbor which is newer, much nicer, and has full bar but a broader menu. It is our favorite seafood restaurant.
Pepitos - Excellent margaritas. Monday is the night for great margarita specials.
McGuire's Irish Pub - Just before the Destin Bridge on US98. Brew pub with fun atmosphere and excellent food. Across from Destin Harbor. Great steaks & Burgers.
BEST DIVE BAR
Boathouse Oyster Bar - Probably not family friendly, but a great local “joint” for cold beer and great seafood located directly on the harbor. Entertainment generally every night.
Buffalo Jack’s Legendary Wings - They have more than just wings, but if you are in the mood for casual food and a fantastic assortment of sauces in a sports bar atmosphere, this is a nice place to go. Just beer & wine. Pizza is pretty good also.
Jordano’s Pizza & More - Located about 1 Mile East on US 98. Best carry-out pizza. They also deliver. Has a small dine-in area, but it's mostly a carryout place. They also have wings, salads, sandwiches, breadsticks, etc. Order the Jordano’s Special, you will love it. A large Jordano’s Deluxe will serve 6-8.
- Surf Hut – Directly on the beach.
- Buster’s Oyster Bar & Grill- Not much on atmosphere, but decent seafood.
- Lin’s Asian Cuisine – See above.
- Cheeseburger in Paradise – Across 98
- Panera Bread – Across 98
NEARBY AMENITIESOne of the great things about Gulf Splendor I & II is the location. We are on the beach and also conveniently within walking distance to many helpful stores. Within a short drive or 15 minute walk, you will find...
- CVS Pharmacy
- Winn Dixie Grocery Store
- Winn Dixie Liquor Store
- Skipper’s Seafood (fresh seafood market)
- Paradise Found (beach items, etc.)
- Silver Sands Factory Outlet Mall
TRAFFIC STRATEGIES(During peak season, traffic can be frustrating. However, if you follow these tips, you can minimize the impact.)
- If you need grocery items for the evening, buy them mid-morning and avoid the roads after 4:30 p.m.
- If you want to visit the Destin Harbor & Harbor Walk Village, go before 4:00 p.m. to avoid traffic and better parking.
- In general, the less you are on the roads between 5:00 & 7:00 p.m., the more traffic you'll avoid.
- If you need to get just a few items from the grocery story after 4:30 p.m., you may want to grab a beach bag, get a little exercise and walk up to Winn Dixie rather than get tied up in the back-up at the intersection of 98 & Scenic Gulf Dr. You may be back sooner on foot than via car.
- BBQ: Avoid the dinner rush hour and relax around the grill with family/friends & refreshments.
- If it rains, all bets are off as everyone is headed to the malls. Just be prepared to spend some time in traffic.
SHOPPING INFORMATION(For serious shoppers, our area has two fabulous shopping malls nearby.)
- Silver Sands Factory Outlet: Just a 10 minute walk away, across US98!
- Destin Commons Mall: Features many stores, restaurants, movie theatre, etc. It is located just 4 miles West on Highway 98 just prior to the Mid-Bay Bridge.
- Rainy Day Shopping Tip: If you have the occasional non-beach day due to weather, traffic will be a major event in the area with people skipping the beach and climbing into automobiles. Our recommendation would be to get the shopping area right as the stores open, normally 10:00 a.m. Otherwise, you will be spending a lot of time stuck in traffic.
CHARTER FISHING INFORMATION
Destin Harbor has one of the largest private charter fishing fleets in the U.S. There are tons of great boats & crew. The best charter fishing outfit seems to be Gulf Angler Fishing Charters.
There are three ways to do charter fishing:
- Private Charter (Just for your group.)
- Community Private Charter (Your group and others.)
- Party Boat (Larger, with 40 to 60 people.)
We have done all three and have enjoyed them all. FYI: The term “Party Boat” doesn’t mean a party breaks out, just local term for larger group.
There are lots of great golf courses in the area! Below are some of our favorites...
- Windswept Dunes - One of our favorites, but pretty far drive.
- Emerald Bay Golf Club - Good layout, check on conditions.
- The Golf Garden - Executive 18-hole & driving range, night golf.
- Indian Bayou Golf Club - Very nice, playable, best value.
- Regatta Bay Golf - Outstanding, perhaps best in area.
- 4 Courses in Sandestin - Outstanding (Burnt Pines, Raven, Links & Baytowne – Baytowne is a step down but still decent.)
- Santa Rosa Golf - Good value, very playable.
- Seascape Golf - Usually not in top condition course, decent value, playable, good scenery.
- Kelly Plantation - Fred Couples design, excellent.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
- Destin Harbor – Drive about 10-12 miles towards downtown area. Lots of things to do at Harborwalk Village, family friendly.
- Baytowne Village – Check on what is going on there, usually music, activities. It's a very nice area to walk around with lots of shops, restaurants and entertainment.
- Excursion Boats/Cruises – These are a lot of fun and a good way to experience the Destin Harbor. Our favorite family excursion boat is Seablaster, a huge power boat with a fun crew. Your ticket price includes beer, wine and soft drinks, and they’ll let the kids drive the boat. Might get wet during the summer! Might be a bit loud and rough for some more genteel folk.
- There is a sea aquarium called Gulfarium located on Okaloosa Island which is between Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, 14 miles West on US98. We have never tried it, but it may be interesting.
- There is the Big Kahuna Water Park in downtown Destin for the kids and young at heart.
- Water Sports such as Parasailing, Jet Skis, kayaking, etc. are available close to the Whale’s tail about 25 minute walk to the West along the beach.
- Crabbin’ – After dark, you’ll notice lots of people walking the beach with flashlights, nets and small buckets. They are trying to catch crabs. So bring at least one flashlight for each mate and one for each captain, or you will likely be at Winn Dixie buying them. You can pick up a couple of cheap nets and sand buckets at Winn Dixie or the Beach Palace. This a lot of fun, kids (and Dads) love it. You just catch them then release them
- Welcome Centers - If you are arriving into the Destin via US 98 from Ft. Walton Beach, there is a welcome center with additional information and area attractions, discount coupons, etc. on Okaloosa Island on the gulf side just past the Gulfarium. If you are arriving via Rt 331, there is a welcome center on 331 (left side) just before you get to US 98.
- Pick-up copies of the local papers such as the Gulf Breeze, Beachcomber, Destin Log, etc. for coupons on area restaurants and attractions. These can be found outside grocery stores and restaurants.
First of all, dress code is always casual in Destin.
- The Resurrection Catholic Church is only about 1.5 miles or 35 minute walk west on Scenic Gulf Drive; make a right turn on Miramar Beach Dr. by the Embassy Suites and go up a couple of blocks on the right; Masses are at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.
- Faith Assembly Church – Known to local musicians as the “church of rock ‘n roll”, this non-denominational church is located west on Scenic Gulf Drive about 1.5 miles. Make a right turn at the first street past the Embassy Suites, on Geranamo St., and go up a couple of blocks on the left. It features some of the best and liveliest church music you’ll ever hear. Many of the top musicians from the area play for 30-40 minutes non-stop. If you are really lucky, Pastor “Toy” Arnett, may dance if he is in a dancing mood. Church starts at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays.