South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival

It’s time for one of our area’s best festivals! The South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival is ready for four days of celebration and fun.

A dazzling roster of more than a dozen celebrity winemakers, brew masters, distillers, chefs and entertainers, will converge in Miramar Beach, Florida to wine, dine, educate and entertain guests. Festivities begin Thursday, April 27, and continue through Sunday, April 30, headquartered at the Town Center of Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.

“South Walton keeps upping their game every year and this year we are thrilled to again be a top sponsor of this great event. It’s a professional party that does a lot of good and makes South Walton a yearly destination for our audience,” says Jay Spaleta, vice president of publishing for Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Highlights of the area’s premier signature wine event center on more than 800 domestic and imported wines:

  • A Win-win Wine Festival – The Festival is an opportunity to “meet” 216 medal winners (Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in 72 categories). Each winner is noted with a special collar and recognized in the Tasting Guide given to each attendee. Be sure to taste the Best of Show Red: La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserve, 2007; Best of Show White: Ramey Platt Vineyard Chardonnay, 2012; People’s Choice winner, Louis Martini Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 and a new category this year, Best of Show Champagne/Sparkling Wine: Dolci Colline Rose Spumante (Brut).
  • Celebrity Appearances – The star-studded celebrity roster includes winemakers, chefs, master distillers, craft beer brew masters and other special guests who will be available to meet and discuss their crafts with festival guests. They include: Don Hartford, founder/owner Hartford Family Estates/CEO Jackson Family Wines; Glenn C. Salva, wine estate manager, Antica Napa Valley; Erik Saccomani, Marchesi Antinori Wines; Thomas Houseman, winemaker, Anne Amie; Franco Massolino, winemaker, Massolino Winery; Andrew Holloway, winemaker, Rombauer Winery; Laurent Gruet, winemaker, Gruet Winery; Scott Plumley, culinary director of the festival and Wine World restaurants; Chef Kevin Korman, Roselie Dining & Seafood; Chef Stephen Bucalo, The Hub on 30A; Chef Ted Morrison, Barefoot’s Beachside Bar & Grill at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa; Chef Yoshie Eddings, Harbor Docks; Pierre de Agostini, ANCO Fine Cheeses; Mona B. McGee, Mac Farms; Tommy Brunett, founder/owner, Iron Smoke Whiskey; James C. “Jimmy” Russell, master distiller, Wild Turkey Distillery; Carlton Grooms, Papa’s Pilar Rum; Fred Parent, Hendrick’s Gin; Robert Ryan, Tullamore D.E.W.; Harlen Wheatley, master distiller, The Sazerac Company/Buffalo Trace Distillery among others.
  • Craft Beer & Spirits Jam – Beverage industry “celebrities” representing some of the hottest breweries and happening distilleries from across the country will be mixing, mingling and pouring more than 150 different kinds of specialty craft beers and spirits samples. Along EATS Street, guests will be able to nibble a smorgasbord of savory small plate menu items prepared by a range of South Walton and Destin restaurants, eateries and food trucks. Beers will be poured by, among others, Abita Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing Co., Oskar Blues Brewery and 3 rd Planet Brewing and local breweries Idyll Hounds, Grayton Beer Company, Destin Brewery, Nivol Brewing and others.

Looks like something for everyone! Tickets are still available and can be purchased here. If you need a last minute condo in Destin, contact our lodging partner Southern Vacation Rentals for a reservation.


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What’s There To Do in Destin When It Rains?

Destin weather This week in Destin, there’s a chance of rain, clouds, or both for at least four out of seven days. Now, we know you love to vacation in Destin for its sunshine and blue skies, but just because the weather turns gray doesn’t mean our attitudes do. In fact, there is plenty to do in Destin even when it’s not ideal beach weather.

Trying to find something to do on your rainy vacation day? Check out some of our favorite indoor activities here:

  1. See A Movie

On the Northside of Destin Commons, you can catch a flick at the AMC Destin Commons 14. What makes this theater slightly different than most—apart from the fact that it’s located just miles from the world’s most beautiful beaches—is that it offers the MacGuffins bar and lounge.  AMC notes, “The word ‘macguffin’ was coined in 1939 by Alfred Hitchcock to mean a plot device that motivates the characters…”  We certainly find a premium crafted cocktail motivating! So boost your spirits with a spirit, and then settle in for show time.

  1. Take In A (Covered) View

Who says you can’t enjoy views of the water during a rainstorm? Not us locals, that’s for sure. In fact, watching the rain tap-dance on the Gulf is as awe-inspiring as any clear, sunny day. So head to a waterfront restaurant with a covered outdoor patio and let Mother Nature put on a show. Local favorites include Boshamps, Harbor Docks, or The Crab Trap. At each and every one of these eateries, you’ll get fresh seafood and fantastic scenery.

  1. Get Your Game On

Being stuck indoors is the perfect excuse for a little friendly competition. Head to any of the bowling alleys or arcades in Destin to find out who earns bragging rights.  Located in Destin Commons, Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill offers bowling in an underwater themed atmosphere, with pub style fare to boot. Another family favorite—and the Destin original—is Hurricane Lanes. They offer traditional bowling, black light bowling, and an old-school arcade, complete with pool table, air hockey, racing games and more. Perhaps we caught your attention in that last line. If the arcade is more your style,  then you can’t miss  Blast Arcade and Laser Maze located in the Village of Baytowne Wharf. Voted Best of Destin, this gamer’s paradise has skeeball, NBA hoops, and a whole host of shooting, driving, and simulator games.

No matter what the weather brings, you can still enjoy every moment of your Destin vacation.

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Destin Vacation Homes Are On Sale!

Right now, our favorite lodging partner, Southern Rentals and Real Estate, is offering special promo codes for your April or May Destin vacation. This deal is too good to pass up, so we wanted to share three of our favorite vacation homes, right here on the Emerald Coast. See Southern’s website to get your promo code and start planning your Destin vacation now.

The Alexander

They didn’t name this home The Alexander for nothing—it’s great! This four bedroom, three bathroom home sleeps up to 14. With a private pool, game room, and two West (a.k.a sunset) facing balconies, it’s everything you want for a beach vacation. You can even bring your boat and store it in the garage; its ten-foot ceilings were crafted with boat storage in mind.

With three stories, there’s plenty of room to spread out and relax. On the second floor, find the living room, game room, and three bedrooms. On the third floor, the master bedroom and en suite bathroom welcome you, complete with a whirlpool tub. Everything about The Alexander is welcoming. Reserve it now and conquer your next beach vacation!

The Alexander in Destin


Remember that line, “Everyone who comes to Hollywood has a dream?” Well, make your beach vacation dreams come true at Hollywood beach home in Destin. Inside, you’ll discover a beach-inspired color palette that emphasizes the hues of the Gulf. Six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and accommodations for 20 people span its three floors. On the first floor, find a combination of colorful and comfortable seating in the living room, and an eight-person dining table. Prep your meals in the gorgeously updated kitchen complete with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, and tile backsplash. Find the sleeping quarters on the second and third floors, as well as partial views of the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Here, it’s all about the sparkle and shine of sun,sand, and saltwater.

Hollywood vacation home in Destin FL

Casa Oceana

Located in the exclusive Destiny by the Sea community, Casa Oceana is an interpretation of Mediterranean opulence you have to see to believe. Upon entering, the pool and outdoor grilling area greet you. Step into this luxury vacation home and the fun continues with a game room, wet bar, and pool table. On the second floor, you’ll find a top of the line gourmet kitchen, book ended by East and West facing balconies. On the third floor, choose one of two master bedrooms and en suites, with walk in showers, Jacuzzi tubs and private balconies. Partial views of the Gulf are yours to enjoy from the third floor. Just steps from your private pool lay the sugar white sand of the Gulf of Mexico. With room for 26, a vacation to Casa Oceana in Destin is one your entire family will remember for years to come!

Casa Oceana



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Destin Florida Travel and Vacation Guide