A beautiful photo from Destin, FL

Your Guide to Being Outside

Outdoor Activities in Destin

With Florida under a Stay at Home order and the beaches closed, it can be hard to know what to do with yourself. Trust us, we’re right there with you! But, just because we are spending more time indoors doesn’t mean we can’t spend time outside. In fact, right now, spending time outside is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Even just going for a 30-minute walk a few times a week can help lower your blood pressure, reduce stress, and just make you feel better in general! With Spring in full swing, there has never been a better time to make the most of the great outdoors. So, here are some of our favorite outdoor activities in Destin that you can still do while practicing social distancing. If we missed something on our list, let us know on our Facebook page!

Going for a Walk

Like we stated above, going for a walk for 30 minutes a few times a week is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Grab your earbuds and download a good audiobook, a podcast, or simply your favorite playlist and put one foot in front of the other. Bonus points if you have a furry friend you can take with you for company!

Birdwatching

Enjoy nature at a slower pace and find your new favorite spot for birdwatching. Mattie Kelly Park and Nature Walk in Destin is a 10.13-acre bayou access park with a pier, beach, and picnic area. Since a majority of the land is considered wetlands, you’re sure to see some birds in their natural habitat! And, when Henderson Beach State Park opens back up, you’ll absolutely want to head here for birdwatching. In fact, ti’s recognized as a top spot by the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.

Outdoor Activities in Destin

Biking

If you are staying in a Destin, Florida vacation rental with bikes (or even if you own a bike or two!), you are at an advantage to spending time outside. From the bike paths in Crystal Beach to simply cruising around your own neighborhood or through suburban Downtown Destin, there is something so freeing about riding a bike. It’s a great way to free your mind from stress and discover a new favorite activity!

Cooking Outdoors

Now this is one of our favorite outdoor activities in Destin. Fire up that charcoal (or gas, whichever your preference) and show off your grill-master skills! Not only will you make your neighbors jealous with some wonderful scents, but you’ll also get the chance to whip up a delicious meal with a beautiful Gulf Coast sunset.

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American Lunch is Feeding Destin’s Community

The American Lunch Truck in Destin, Florida

If you have driven down Highway 98 or Scenic Highway 98 in Destin lately, you may have noticed signs out in front of local businesses that say “free lunch!” Those signs are courtesy of the American Lunch truck, a non-profit extension of the Morgan family restaurants Harbor Docks, La Paz, The Local Market, and Camille’s. These local Destin restaurants donate 1% of their sales to help fund the truck.

In the last two weeks the American Lunch truck has sprung into action as Destin’s community is feeling the effects of COVID-19. They served meals seven days a week to anyone who needed food with no questions asked. They’ve served everything from gumbo, fish salad sandwiches, chicken fajitas, and more. As they say, “Everything’s free. Completely free of charge. No questions asked. We’re not here to judge, we’re just here to feed people.”

American Lunch Truck in Destin, Florida

Harbor Docks, La Paz, The Local Market, and Camille’s are not the only restaurants who have donated meals to the American Lunch Truck. Moe’s Original BBQ in Destin has also stepped up to help feed the community, providing fresh pulled pork sandwiches and a side from their extensive menu. Anyone who needs a meal can go pick up as many meals as they need to feed their family or someone in need.

Know someone who is in need of a good meal? Keep an eye out on the American Lunch Truck’s Facebook page to find out where they are in Destin. In addition, they also service cities all throughout the southeast region including Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Athens, Georgia.

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Rare Long-Term Rental Home in Destin

215 Mattie’s Way

Rental Home in Destin, Florida

Have you been in search of a place to live in Destin? If you’re looking to relocate to the area with your family this summer, you’re going to want to take a look at 215 Mattie’s Way in the highly, highly exclusive Kelly Plantation neighborhood. Believe us when we say rental homes in Destin, Florida like this are few and far between! 215 Mattie’s Way is available for a 12-month lease with our friends at Southern Residential Leasing on May 11, so you’ve got just a little over a month to decide on this home.

Tucked back in the far corner of the neighborhood, 215 Mattie’s Way offers so much in the way of immaculate curb appeal and a well-cared-for exterior. On the inside, you’ll find four bedrooms and two bathrooms that are just the right size for you and your family. If you don’t need four full bedrooms, one of the bedrooms would be perfect for a home office or even a gym. This home offers a split floor plan, meaning the bedrooms are separate from the rest of the home and offer additional privacy.

Although it comes unfurnished, features like custom kitchen cabinetry, top of the line kitchen appliances, and granite countertops make this home one of a kind. One of our favorite features is the luxurious master suite, outfitted with dual sinks, a large tub, and a walk-in shower. There is even a screened-in Florida room that overlooks a spacious backyard with plenty of room for your furry friend to roam!

Of course, the best part of living at 215 Mattie’s Way is its location in Kelly Plantation. You’ll enjoy access to community amenities including a competition-sized pool, fitness facility, and 18-hole golf course. This rental home in Destin, Florida is also located near Destin’s elementary and middle schools as well as perfectly positioned near area shopping, grocery stores, and entertainment. Simply put, you won’t find a more desirable place to live in Destin!

See more details here and keep this home on your radar for a future showing!

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A Sweet Snack to Stay Healthy

Healthy Chocolate Sea Salt Bars

Healthy Sea Salt Chocolate Bars

Spending a little more time indoors lately? Satisfy your sweet tooth and stay healthy with our recipe for healthy chocolate sea salt bars. The best part is that there is no baking required! Just pop them into the freezer for a couple of hours, let them set, and enjoy. This quick and easy recipe doesn’t require many ingredients and with the exception of a couple of things, you probably already have most of these ingredients lying around your house.

Ingredients

1/2 cups pecans 1 1/2 cups of oats 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted 8 whole pitted Medjool dates (preferably organic!)
A pinch of coarse sea salt 1/2 cup cocoa powder 1/4 cup organic agave Powdered sugar (optional)

How-To

For the crust:

  • Combine pecans, oats, 1/2 cup coconut oil, dates, and sea salt in a food processor and pulse until nicely blended. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture.
  • Press the remaining mixture into a 9″x5″ pan lined with parchment paper or a good non-stick spray.

For the filling:

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together, cocoa powder, 1/4 cup coconut oil, and agave until smooth. Pour evenly over crust
  • Dab the top of the filling with remaining crust and press gently. Sprinkle with extra sea salt.
  • Place in the freezer and chill for two hours before cutting into bars.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Or, if you don’t feel like cooking, check out some local restaurants in Destin, Florida that are offering to-go or delivery services. There has never been a better time to support our local community! And, when you’re ready to book your summer vacation, visit our recent blog for your summer vacation inspiration. We can’t wait to welcome you to the beach once more!

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Your Summer Vacation Inspiration

Summer Vacation Rentals in Destin, Florida

Are you in need of some vacation inspiration while we wait for our beautiful beaches to open back up? Check out some of our favorite places to stay in Destin, Florida that are eagerly awaiting your summer or fall vacation. From large beautiful beach homes to condos with resort-like amenities, these summer vacation rentals in Destin, Florida are perfect for your upcoming getaway.

Summer Vacation Rentals in Destin, Florida

Bare Feet Retreat

Looking for luxury in Destin? Look no further than Bare Feet Retreat. This incredible home in the Crystal Shores neighborhood sleeps a total of 16 guests with six bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms. With a private pool and a location just across the street from the beach, staying here is a dream come true.

Sterling Shores 714

For a high-rise condo in Destin that looks out over the Gulf of Mexico, Sterling Shores 714 is the place to be! We love this choice for a summer vacation rental in Destin, Florida for its brand new upscale furnishings and terrific location in the heart of Destin. It sleeps six guests with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, making it perfect for a getaway with close family or friends.

Beach Resort 205

Or, if you’re looking for somewhere cozy for a “just the two of us” getaway, look no further than Beach Resort 205. This coastal condo is perfect for as many as six guests, with one bedroom and two bathrooms. With all of the at-home comforts right at your fingertips plus a view of the community pool and private beach access, it’s no secret that Beach Resort is one of the best places to stay in Destin, Florida.

Summer Vacation Rentals in Destin, Florida

Ocean Eyre

Find Ocean Eyre in the Sovereign Isle community just minutes away from the beach and with a community pool to enjoy. This charming coastal cottage boasts room for 10 with four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. Four private bikes and a gas grill make this perfect for your summer vacation to Destin, since you can hop aboard the bikes and cruise the bike paths on Scenic 98 or host a barbecue in the warm summer air.

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Support Local Businesses

Restaurants Offering To-Go Meals in Destin

Are you looking to skip grocery stores and spend less time in line? These local restaurants in Destin are offering to-go meals for customers still looking to enjoy some delicious Gulf Coast cuisine. Simply place your order online or call ahead for pickup.

  • Harbor Docks is offering its regular menu for to-go or curbside pickup. Just call to order and pay over the phone and let them know when you’ve arrived so they can bring your meal out to your car. That includes lunch, dinner, and even sushi!
  • For your daily cup of java, get it to go from The Palms Bistro; their new Coffee House is open Tuesday-Saturday from 7:30 AM – 4 PM.
  • If you’re craving Southwest food, get it to go from La Paz. They’re offering curbside to-go orders and in the next few days, developing a delivery program. Not to mention, 100% of all gift card purchases will go to their employees.
  • McGuire’s in Destin is offering to-go orders this Saturday from 12-8 PM, and in the future, 12-8 PM to-go orders daily. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for updates.
  • Giovanni’s One89, located just over the bridge in Fort Walton Beach, is offering to-go orders on their delicious homemade Italian food. Support this small business by enjoying a family dinner for any size!
  • While Boshamps isn’t offering to-go orders, they are implementing their first Boshamps Gift Card for Employees campaign. Every dollar received toward the purchase of a gift card will go directly toward Boshamps employees.

Visit here for more information on restaurants offering to-go meals in Destin.

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Be Safe at the Beach

Beach Safety this Spring

Are you coming to Destin for Spring Break? We bet you’ll be hitting the beach, so be sure to be as safe as possible. Don’t ruin it with a bad sunburn, a jellyfish sting, or a rip current! Let us help you make the most of your time at the beach with our beach safety tips. From the right SPF to the correct number of water bottles to bring (spoiler: you can never have enough), we’ve got you covered for a great Spring vacation at the beach.10

Beach Safety Tips

  • Pay attention to the flags! If you aren’t sure what the color of each flag means, ask the lifeguard on duty. “Red” means dangerous surf, so stay out of the water! In some cases, it can also mean the beach is closed. “Yellow” warns beach-goers that the water is rough, and to swim with caution. “Green” is good to go! However, when you see “purple,” that means potentially dangerous sea life – think jellyfish and sharks – have been spotted nearby or are in the water.
  • Stay hydrated! It may sound like common sense, but bringing a few bottles of water to the beach on a hot, sunny day will save you from dehydration.
  • Watch the waves! Rough waves don’t make for a good time. Be careful not to turn your back on the waves, as you can get slapped with a pretty nasty one! Additionally, watching out for rip tides and strong currents can help you avoid getting pulled under.
  • Wear SPF! We’re sure your mom has told you time and time again, but she’s not wrong: wear your SPF! That tan won’t be so cool down the road when it leads to skin cancer. Slather on any sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher – don’t forget your face, too! While you’re at it, double up on your beach shade with floppy hats and large umbrellas.
  • Don’t forget your shoes! While it may be tempting to keep your toes buried in the sand, we can all agree that scorching-hot sand doesn’t feel so great. Always bring a pair of shoes to the beach (we recommend flip flops!) to keep your soles cool when the sand isn’t.

Have you booked your Spring (or Summer!) vacation yet? If not, Southern Vacation Rentals has a wide array of beautiful vacation homes and condos in Destin for you and your family! Contact them to find out how to make your next beach retreat the perfect getaway!

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What is “Voluntourism?”

Volunteer Opportunities in Destin

Have you heard of voluntourism? Voluntourism is big right now, with travelers all over looking for ways they can donate their time on vacation and give back to the places they love to go. Destin is no stranger to voluntourism opportunities either – from public arts foundations to waterway cleanups and so much more, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in Destin! Read on below for a few of our favorites and find out how you too can volunteer in Destin, whether you are a local or here on vacation.

Volunteer Opportunities in Destin

  • Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance – Help keep Choctawhatchee Bay beautiful! The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance promotes swimmable, fishable waterways in the community through monitoring, education, and research. Volunteers have the chance to harvest oysters, monitor water quality, create reef breakwaters, and more. And, coming later this year, you can even partake in their bird-watching initiative to look out for native Emerald Coast birds!
  • Emerald Coast Science Center – In the Fort Walton Beach area, just a short drive from Destin, the Emerald Coast Science Center is a great way to get your kids involved with hands-on science, learning, and more. The promote STEM education and public outreach all across Okaloosa County, so if you love learning and science, this is the one for you!
  • Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation – Add a little extra color to your vacation with the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. Known for their cultural events and educational outreach programs for children, you’ll love the chance to volunteer at one of the many events or serve as an artist mentor to a young, creative mind. This is truly one of our favorite volunteer opportunities in Destin!
  • Alaqua Animal Refuge – While not in Destin, the Alaqua Animal Refuge is a great place to volunteer if you love animals and are looking to spend some time with some sweet furry faces. They believe that every abused, neglected, and homeless animal deserves a second chance by providing them with protection, shelter, and care. You can work closely with the animals, volunteer at an event, or assist other volunteers with office work.

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Just in Time for Spring & Summer!

New Destin Vacation Rentals

Just in time for your Spring and Summer getaway, our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals have added several new Destin vacation rentals to their inventory. From beautiful beach access homes to beachfront condos with breathtaking views, there is something for every traveler. Take a look below at some of our favorite new Destin vacation rentals that make the perfect place to get away for Spring and Summer. Just follow the links to book!

White Picket Fence

New Destin Vacation Rentals

We love this vacation home in Destin, Florida for a number of reasons including its private pool, hot tub, and six-person golf cart. You can easily cruise through Crystal Beach on your way to wade in the Gulf or get a quick bite to eat at Camille’s. Plus, it comes with thoughtful touches that make this vacation home one of a kind. Three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms make it the right size for 10 guests.

Crystal Dunes #403

Crystal Dunes is a popular spot for beach-goers in Destin, and Crystal Dunes #403 does not disappoint! Just look at that view from the living room. It’s the ideal space for six guests, with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms along with touches including free WiFi and Smart TVs throughout. What more could you ask for?

Sterling Shores #714

Sterling Shores #714 enjoys a desirable location in the heart of Destin nearby popular attractions like HarborWalk Village and Destin Commons. This condo in Destin, Florida comes newly renovated with high-end upgrades and tasteful decorations. Take note of the quartz vanities, sleek hardwood floors, and a wide private balcony. Plus, Sterling Shores’ resort-like amenities make this an easy vacation destination.

Cottages by the Bay – At Last

If you love Destin’s Cottages by the Bay, then you’re in for a treat. The newest addition to these popular Destin vacation homes, At Last, is set to make its debut July 1, 2020. It will have space for six guests and have two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It rests closest to the Bay and Calhoun Avenue, making for easy beach access and all of the fun things you love to do in Destin.

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Learn to Make Blackened Cobia

The Best Blackened Cobia Recipe

Since it’s almost time for cobia season, we thought we would share with you our favorite blackened cobia recipe. We may be biased, but we consider this the best blackened cobia recipe. The fish always cooks perfectly, it’s just hot enough, and the addition of lemon and butter helps keep the fish moist. Cobia is one of our favorite fish for many reasons, from its fresh flavor to its subtle buttery undertones and how easy it is to cook. Enjoy it sauteed, grilled, fried, or blackened like in today’s recipe. If you aren’t out in the Gulf catching your own cobia, you can grab it from local Destin seafood markets like Sexton’s or Destin Ice Seafood Market.

Here’s our recipe for the best blackened cobia. Have fun and enjoy!

The Best Blackened Cobia Recipe

 

Ingredients

4 skinless cobia fillets 2 tbsp olive oil 1 lemon 3 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp powdered onion 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 tsp salt 1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp dried thyme 1 tsp dried oregano 1 cup unsalted butter

How-To

  1. Combine seasonings – paprika, onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and oregano – in a bowl and mix. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat a pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil to pan. Only add the olive oil when you’re ready so it doesn’t pop.
  3. Measure out 3/4 cup of butter and set aside the remaining 1/4 cup. Dip each cobia fillet into the butter, evenly coating both sides. Then, coat the fish in the blackening spice mix, gently rubbing in to ensure the spices are evenly distributed.
  4. Place the fillets in the hot pan, making sure they don’t crowd or touch, then cook two minutes per side or until they look charred (don’t worry, they won’t be!). Spoon butter over each side while the fish cooks. Once it’s done, remove and squeeze lemon juice onto the finished fish.
  5. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!

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