A beautiful photo from Destin, FL

Mardi Gras & the Sandestin Gumbo Festival

It’s Mardi Gras season along the Gulf Coast which also means it’s gumbo time!  If you enjoy this coveted Creole dish, our most popular winter food event is on the February calendar.

This winter festival favorite is back for the 30th Annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival. Sample a variety of gumbo and vote your favorite as the “People’s Choice” winner. Dark or light roux? Chicken, sausage or seafood? Celebrity judges will name the “Area’s Best.” Gulf Coast restaurants will be featured along with live music from Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe and children’s activities.

In celebration of the 30th year, the festival has added a new component – Best Bloody Mary at the Beach. You get to help with judge this category too!

  • SHRIMP BOIL KICK-OFF PARTY – Friday, February 15, 5-7 p.m. at Hammerhead’s Bar & Grill
  • THE MAIN EVENT – Saturday, February 16, 12-4 p.m.

Location is at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. General admission tickets are $35. Available here. 

Need a place to stay? Come and enjoy the long President’s Day weekend. Check here for reservations for a condo in Destin, FL.

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Fiesta Like There’s no Mañana

Destin’s 6th Annual Tequila & Taco Fest

Can’t wait for Cinco de Mayo? No problem; celebrate a little early this year with Destin’s 6th Annual Tequila & Taco Fest. HarborWalk Village completely transforms into a fiesta celebration from March 8th-10th. Whether you’re here on vacation or a Destin local, this is one event you won’t want to miss out on. March is also a beautiful time of year to visit Destin as the skies are sunny, the water is bright, and temperatures are just starting to warm up!

6th Annual Tequila & Taco Fest

Garden & Gun kicks off the festivities on Friday night with a special event. From 7-10 PM make your way down to HarborWalk Village for their Tapas & Tequila Kick-off Party. While you are enjoying some special tequila cocktails, dine on delicious “tapas,” or small plate bites. Bring your dancing shoes and get ready to jam out to live music from Humming House. There will also be mixologist demonstrations for you to learn how to make your favorite drink!

Then, on Saturday, March 9th, make your way back to HarborWalk for the signature tasting event.  from 1-5 PM. Destin’s Harbor will be booming with craft tequila cocktails, live music on three stages, and tacos of all flavors and styles. Spend your day sipping on spiced habañero tequila or sampling smokey agave. Enjoy pairings with creative twists on fish, chicken, beef and authentic Latin tacos. All proceeds from the 6th Annual Tequila & Taco Fest benefit Hurricane Michael Relief Efforts. Visit here for tickets!

Meanwhile, book your vacation rental in Destin for the event with our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals. To be nearby the festival, stay at the popular Breakers East Condos in Destin. Offering spacious two-bedroom condos and 30-foot balconies to lounge on, Breakers East offers some of the best accommodations across Destin. Plus, access to resort-style amenities including a Gulf front pool, lighted tennis courts, barbecue grills, and more. Reserve a Breakers East condo in Destin today!

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We’re Obsessed With After Dunes Delight in Destin

Don’t Miss Out on After Dunes Delight!

After Dunes Delight

Our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals are adding new vacation homes and condos in Destin to their inventory almost every week. If you’re planning on booking a vacation in Destin, Florida this spring or summer there’s never been a better time to book! One of their newest vacation homes in Destin is After Dunes Delight, a charming three-bedroom home in Destin’s Gulfside Cottages neighborhood. After Dunes Delight is available for your spring and summer getaway, so don’t wait to reserve it!

Inside the home on the first floor, you’ll find a tastefully decorated interior, with chic coastal design complimenting hardwood floors and shiplap walls. The aqua tile backsplash reminds us so much of the nearby beaches! We love the convenience of having a fully equipped kitchen on vacation. When you’re cooking on granite countertops with stainless steel appliances, preparing meals is a breeze.

Then, make your way up to the second floor for the bedrooms. Through the master bedroom is a private balcony overlooking the beautiful Gulfside Cottages community. The master bedroom also features a private bathroom with a dual vanity, while the second and third bedrooms are joined by a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.

After Dunes Delight

Are you ready to hit the beach? Then simply take a short stroll down to the end of Open Gulf Street and get ready to immerse yourself in the sand. All you need is some sunblock, some sunglasses, and a comfy beach towel or chair! You’ll also have access to Gulfside Community’s community pool during your stay.

You will find that After Dunes Delight enjoys an incredible location in the heart of Miramar Beach in Destin. Located directly across from the Silver Sands Premium Outlets, you’re minutes away from the nation’s largest designer outlet mall! With all of the exciting things happening in Destin, add a fun event to your stay to live like a local.

Click here to view more of Southern’s vacation rentals in Destin. We hope to see you at the beach!

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Destin Mid-Bay Bridge is Open

The Destin Mid-Bay Bridge re-opened this morning after emergency repairs were made to to damaged steel cables. The Florida Department of Transportation had originally said the repairs would take at least two weeks so the re-opening was ahead of schedule.

Traffic is limited to two-axle vehicles including cars, trucks, SUVs, school buses and limited EMS and first responder equipment. Semi-trucks and commercial vehicles are required to use alternate routes. Message boards are set up at both end to let motorists know details of the repairs. The bridge was closed January 8 after a routine inspection revealed problems with the steel cables installed along the length of the span.

Great news for locals and those planning upcoming vacations in Destin.

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Spring Break Family Fun in Destin, Florida

Spring Break Family Fun in Destin, Florida

It’s no secret that Destin is one of the top picks when deciding where to spend your spring break. If you’re traveling with the whole family, trying to narrow down activities everyone will enjoy can be a process. Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled some family-friendly activities for you to enjoy during your spring break trip to Destin, Florida. Which are your favorites? Let us know what you and your family love to do when you visit Destin on our iLoveDestin Facebook page!

Spring Break Family Fun in Destin, Florida

  • Fishing Charter – Resting on the sand is not the only way to enjoy our beautiful waters. Fishing charters are an exciting way to experience the Gulf like never before, as most crews are knowledgable locals who can offer a unique perspective of our area. One of our partners, Sea Winder Charter Boat, consists of an energetic and ambitious crew who are eager to provide a memorable experience.
  • Dolphin Cruises – See dolphins up close when you embark on a dolphin cruise! Usually, they’ll swim right up to the side of the boat just long enough for a picture – you won’t believe how friendly these marine creatures are! Join Captain Larry aboard the Sea Blaster, the Gulf’s largest speedboat at 73-feet long and offering a capacity of 119 passengers. The Sea Blaster also offers snorkeling, dolphin cruises, and sunset cruises!
  • Surfing – Can you swim? Then you can surf! Try your hand at surfing with Ride on Surf School, Destin’s first and only surf school. Whether you have never surfed before or want to hone your skills, Ride on Surf School can teach you the ropes. Instructions include proper stances, education of the waves, and even surf lingo!
  • The Track – For adventure on land, look to The Track, located in the heart of Destin near Scenic Highway 98. With go-karts, mini golf, bumper boats, and more, a day at The Track is sure to bring out everyone’s competitive side!

A Piece of HeavenIn the meantime, don’t forget to reserve your vacation home in Destin with our lodging partner Southern Vacation Rentals. Check out A Piece of Heaven, a three bedroom home with room for nine guests. Inside, discover a spacious living area, fully equipped kitchen, and cozy accommodations. The home also offers access to the Beach Retreat community amenities including a pool, hot tub, fitness center, and barbecue grills. Sounds like the perfect vacation home in Destin to us!

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Plan Your Valentine’s Day Getaway

Plan Your Valentine’s Day Getaway

With Valentine’s Day just a month away, there is no better time than the present to plan a romantic getaway to Destin! Treat you and your loved one to a stay at a beachfront home or condo in Destin. With private balconies overlooking the sugar white sands and bright blue water, what could possibly be more romantic? Reserve your spot on the sand with our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals today for a sweet Southern Valentine’s Day! Read on below for your vacation inspiration on planning your Valentine’s Day getaway.

Stay at Breakers East 304 in Destin, a lovely two bedroom condo right on the water. Relax on the expansive private balcony as you watch the sunset or enjoy a candle-lit dinner for two. Located in the heart of Destin, Breakers East 304 is perfect for couples who want to explore all of Destin’s nightlife, as you’re just minutes away from HarborWalk Village and Downtown Destin Or, choose Sterling Sands 603 for your romantic getaway for two. Lounge at the beachfront pool and enjoy each other’s company as you soak up some sun.

Pelican Beach 1708

For a cozier, more intimate getaway, choose Pelican Beach Resort 1708, a one-bedroom vacation rental also located directly on Destin’s beaches. Amenities at Pelican Beach Resort offer the ultimate escape for couples, with a poolside bar and grill and even an onsite sauna.

Southern has partnered with local area businesses to offer you discounts during your stay, so take advantage of them when you come to Destin. Maybe you want to embark on a sunset cruise for two or explore Destin’s beaches as you look for marine life! Or, with all the many fun things happening in Destin, live like a local and add an event to your vacation.

View more of Southern’s vacation rentals in Destin here and plan the perfect Valentine’s Day getaway!

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The 2019 30A Songwriters Festival is Almost Here!

Don’t Miss Out On the 2019 30A Songwriters Festival

The 2019 30A Songwriters Festival is just 11 days away, and we are so excited about this event! This year marks the festival’s 10th year in Walton County, taking place January 18th-21st at 30 venues across Scenic 30A and in South Walton. The lineup consists of 195 songwriters with 250 performances.2019 30A Songwriters Festival This year’s lineup includes Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Rosanne Cash, and Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals with his Full Band and Horn Section. All of these artists perform on the Grand Boulevard Town Center Main Stage! Check out the full lineup here. Tickets are now on sale and include weekend passes as well as VIP passes! Get your tickets here.

Venues of all shapes and sizes, from amphitheaters and town halls to restaurants, theaters, and bars are transformed into venues where you’ll get to witness the creative minds behind some of your favorite songs. Capacities range from 75-500 seats indoors and up to 5,000 for outdoor seating!

Need somewhere to stay for the 30A Songwriters Festival? Our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals are offering 20% off on a beach home or condo along Scenic 30A from January 18-21, 2019. For your vacation inspiration, look to Adagio 304D when you stay for the 30A Songwriters Festival. This 30A vacation condo offers spacious accommodations for eight, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Situated perfectly in Blue Mountain Beach, this the perfect location to stay for enjoying the festival! Though we’re sure you’ll be out and about along Scenic 30A, Adagio 304D comes with all the necessities you’ll need for a relaxing vacation, including a fully equipped kitchen, a spacious living room, and access to resort-style amenities. Lounge about poolside or head down to the beach and take in the view!

View Southern’s full inventory of Scenic 30A vacation rentals here. We hope to see you at the festival!

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Dreaming of Warmer Weather?

Plan Your July Vacation to Destin!

With the cold front that’s coming in, we’re already dreaming of warmer weather. Whether you’re a local looking for a staycation or from out of town and planning your summer vacation in Destin, it isn’t too late to start thinking about a stay in a Crystal Beach vacation home. Our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals offer a wide selection of homes in Destin’s Crystal Beach neighborhood. You only need to visit once to understand why people return to this area year after year! Check out a few of our favorite vacation homes in Crystal Beach and start planning your summer getaway today!

For a luxurious beachfront vacation, stay at Spiaggia in Crystal Beach. With seven bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms, Spiaggia sleeps 17 guests. You’ll appreciate the stunning Gulf views visible from every angle, whether it’s through floor-to-ceiling windows or straight from the private balconies themselves. Upscale amenities in Spiaggia include whirlpool tubs, walk-in showers, stainless steel appliances, and more.

Plan Your July Vacation to DestinThen, also in Crystal Beach is Ocean Views in Destiny by the Sea. This luxury Destin vacation home resides in Crystal Beach’s exclusive Destiny by the Sea neighborhood and features accommodations for 20. From your private rooftop balcony, gaze out onto the sparkling blue water and breathe in the fresh sea air. You’ll also have access to Destiny by the Sea’s community amenities, including a pool and private beach access!

Another vacation home in Crystal Beach you need to know about is Emerald Dreams. This Destin vacation home comes with five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and sleeps 14 guests. Splash in the private pool or lounge poolside while you soak up some sun and delight in the beautiful scenery. Beach access is one block away, allowing you to sink your toes into the sand at your leisure. During your stay at Emerald Dreams, be sure to take advantage of the outdoor kitchen, wet bar, and full indoor cook’s kitchen.

Eager to hit the waves this summer? Check out more of Southern’s Destin, Florida vacation rentals. We’ll see you at the beach!

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Three New Year’s Resolutions for Better Travel in 2019

Changing your approach to traveling can go a long way in making you happier and healthier in the New Year. Here are three ways to get the most out of your trips in 2019.

By Justin Sablich, The New York Times

It’s not uncommon for people to set unrealistic expectations when making New Year’s resolutions, which likely contributes to most of them failing. Over 90 percent of them do, according to research by the University of Scranton.

So this year, why not focus on improving just one area: your travels, and making sure you travel well.

“Vacation is essential to our well being,” said Penny Zenker, a business strategy and life coach. “In order to be creative, think strategically and create balance in our lives we need to disconnect from our day to day activities.”

With this in mind, here are three ways to get the most out of your travels in 2019.

It’s important to remember that vacation days are typically part of one’s compensation but the onus is on you to take them. (The GfK-Oxford Economics study found that 52 percent of American workers had unused vacation days by the end of 2017, which equates to 705 million unused days for the year.)

“The employer agreed to the terms of vacation, which is usually its duration, not its timing, at hiring,” said Holly Weeks, a communication consultant and professor at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Timing is generally not part of the agreement and is left to the preference and discretion of the employee, with accommodation of the employer as a courtesy.”

There are things you can do to make it a smoother process for everyone involved.

Plan early so you can give as much advance notice as possible, being mindful of when your company or team’s busy times of the year are. Also, consider a vacation-planning lunch or shared calendar with your colleagues to avoid potential timing conflicts.

When you make the request with your boss, treat it with the same amount of respect as any other important workplace issue.

“I would not apologize for my decision,” Ms. Weeks said. “I would honor it as important and valuable, the same way I would honor a business decision I made after thoughtful consideration.”

“I find one of the biggest killers of fun while traveling is forcing yourself to adhere to a strict daily schedule,” said Kayla Matthews, a productivity and technology expert. Unfortunately, trips don’t plan themselves (unless you hire a travel planner). But you can strike a middle ground of having solid logistics while still leaving room for spontaneity.

“Checklists definitely help for the major components: flights, hotels, car rental, tickets or reservations. As for organizational techniques, I’d say that different people have different comfort levels with plans and schedules,” said Laura Vanderkam, time management expert and author of “Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done.”

For the trip itself, Ms. Vanderkam suggests planning one anchor activity for each day of the trip, especially if you’re traveling with a group. “People who like plans and schedules will probably be fine if they know they’ve got one cool thing planned for the day — the rest of the day can go as it will. People who like to be spontaneous can take comfort that there’s only one thing on the schedule,” Ms. Vanderkam said.

Do you insist on never checking a bag? Maybe it’s time to let this one go and cut some stress.

“Yes, getting gate checked is a small hassle, but your luggage is usually taken by hand and put into the front of the hold, which means it’s often the first bag to come out when the plane is unloaded,” Kit Dillon, an editor at Wirecutter, The New York Times company that reviews products, said. “It really doesn’t add that much time to your trip, unless you need to make a connection.”

If you’re ready to take this leap, treat yourself to a new checked luggage bag. For most travelers, Mr. Dillon recommends Travelpro’s Elite 25-Inch Expandable Spinner Suiter. It can comfortably hold two weeks’ worth of clothes, is sleek and durable, and comes with a lifetime warranty.

*Kick start your 2019 vacation planning here for your vacation in Destin, Fl. After your reservation is made for accommodations, you can then focus on the fun of finding that perfect daily activity. So much to choose from in Destin!

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One Way to Jump-Start Your New Year’s Resolutions

Where to do Yoga in Destin

Did you know for most people, the number one new year’s resolution is to exercise more and get in shape? Making this resolution is easy; keeping up with it is the hard part. Tomorrow officially kicks off 2019, so start your resolutions off on the right foot with yoga in Destin! The area offers a ton of great options for fitness, some with our beautiful beaches as the backdrop. We narrowed down where to do yoga in Destin to make keeping up with your resolutions that much easier. Read below for the scoop!

Where to do Yoga in Destin

 

  • Destin Beach Yoga believes everything is better at the beach! Their yoga at the beach classes is open for all levels, whether you’re a pro or just dipping your toes into the activity. Their classes meet at the east end of the James Lee Public Park in Crystal Beach. Drop-ins welcome!
  • Destin Hot Yoga offers one of our favorite ways to work up a sweat through hot yoga. Voted the best on the Emerald Coast, Destin Hot Yoga offers a variety of heated and non-heated classes seven days a week. They also offer special classes and workshops for passionate yogis!
  • Sunshine Yoga Studio in Destin offers multiple class options, depending on what you’re looking for in your yoga practice. If you aren’t sure about hot yoga just yet, try their Warm Yoga classes. To strengthen your core and improve overall balance, Vinyasa Flow is the right one for you. They also offer Tiny Tots classes for 2-4-year-olds, and kids yoga for ages 7-12.

Did you know taking regular vacations improves your overall health and reduces your risk of heart disease? In addition to practicing yoga as a way to keep up with your fitness resolutions, sprinkle a vacation or two into the new year! Stay with our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals and enjoy some of the best views of the beach in the area, like Sundestin 1111, an 11th story vacation condo in Destin. Offering two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a whole lot of sunshine, you’re sure to love your stay here! Resort-style amenities top it off, along with instant beach access. Call or book online today!

 

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