A beautiful photo from Destin, FL

Tailgating is Better at the Beach

Tailgating at the Beach

Football may be in limbo, but tailgating at the beach doesn’t have to be! There’s plenty of time to still enjoy a beach vacation with your friends and family this fall. Whether you’re planning a large group getaway or a place to visit with a smaller group, tailgating at the beach has never looked better. And, to accompany your tailgate, we’re sharing one of our favorite smoked tuna dip recipes that everyone will love. You can easily source these items at a local grocery store when you’re staying in a Destin vacation rental and then prepare it in the comfort of your fully equipped kitchen. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is!

Tailgating at the Beach Recipe

Yellowfin tuna dip, courtesy of our friends at Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar on 30A.

Smoked Tuna Dip Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 5-oz can albacore tuna
  • 1 8-oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Paprika (smoked or regular) for garnish

This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups and is intended to serve as an appetizer. To double the size for a larger group, be sure to add more tuna and cream cheese and season to taste.

How-To:

  • Drain the tuna well. In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke garlic powder, salt, and paprika. Blend using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Don’t add too much more liquid smoke, since a little goes a long way!
  • Cover and chill in the fridge 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  • When you’re ready to serve, add some extra paprika for garnish. Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar garnishes theirs with some finely diced scallions and Peruvian peppers. Enjoy with your favorite crackers or pita chips!

We hope you enjoyed this smoked tuna dip recipe! If you’re planning on tailgating at the beach this fall, be sure to contact our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals to book the best Destin vacation rental for your trip. We hope to see you at the beach!

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The Fishing Goes On – Make Plans Now for the Destin Fishing Rodeo

The registrations are underway and the souvenir t-shirts are ready. Plans are all finalized for the upcoming Destin Fishing Rodeo. This is not an event that will be canceled. With plenty of open gulf and open air, it would be a great time to join the fishing fun. Now is the time to make your rodeo plans. This will be the 72nd year for the rodeo to be held in Destin area waters. 72 years!

Held the entire month of October, hundreds of anglers will leave the harbor each day in hopes of bringing back a winner at the daily weigh-ins. You can now go online to the Destin rodeo website to find a listing of registered boats. You can also find information about events planned for children under the “Rodeo Fun” tab.

The artwork and t-shirts issued for the rodeo each year are always a popular souvenir. The store for t-shirts, hats, and posters is also up and running.

If you are planning to fish in the Destin fishing rodeo, we can help you line up a day trip with some of the very best in Destin fishing. We have partnered with several charter boat captains to bring you a fishing trip of a lifetime. 

It’s also a great time to line-up lodging for October. It’s a popular month in Destin – especially with milder temperatures. Check with our lodging partner, Southern Vacation Rentals, for availability and any special rates. We advise booking your vacation in Destin, FL as soon as possible to score the best availability. We hope you enjoy your time in the Luckiest Fishing Village in the World.

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Grand Boulevard Farmers Market in Destin

The Perfect Way to Spend a Saturday!

The Grand Boulevard Farmers’ Market is currently open during COVID. Please make sure to wear a mask when visiting the farmers’ market to keep vendors and other visitors safe!

Looking for something fun to do in Destin on a weekend? Whether you’re a local or visiting, you’re sure to be impressed by the multitude of fun things to do here. One of our favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning is at the Grand Boulevard Farmers’ Market in Destin. Part of the 30A Farmers’ Market, there are four convenient locations in Rosemary Beach, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, and Niceville. This is a great way to shop local and support vendors from the area! Grab your basket and your walking shoes; there is a lot to see and plenty to do here! Time will fly by before you know it.

Hand-Made Jams

The Farmers’ Market takes place every Saturday from 9 AM – 1 PM at Grand Boulevard, rain or shine! The Grand Boulevard Farmer’s Market is always open to the public with no admission fee, so come on down! It’s perfect for early birds who want to get out and beat the crowd, or something to experience as you’re shopping at Grand Boulevard. Farmers’ markets are generally known for their abundance of fresh produce, but the Grand Boulevard Farmers’ Market is so much more. You can also pick up cream, grass-fed beef, natural free-range chicken, cheeses, homemade sauces and marinades, desserts, and cold-pressed organic juices. These are just a few of the things you’ll find at the Grand Boulevard Farmers’ Market!

Now is the best time to go ahead and plan your late summer or fall vacation to Destin, Florida as well! Our lodging partners at Southern Vacation Rentals have the availability you’re looking for, with new minimum nights for flexible stays. Get away for a few nights or a full week; the choice is up to you! Jade East Towers 1630 is one of our favorite Destin, Florida vacation condos for the summer. Sleeping six guests with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and overlooking Destin’s beautiful waters, this is the place to be this summer!

Visit the Grand Boulevard Farmers’ Market Facebook page to keep up with all the happenings! If you’re interested in becoming a vendor, contact Diane Kolopanas at 850.499.4697

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Discover Luxury at the Beach

Five Luxury Vacation Homes in Destin

It’s no surprise that Destin is home to a number of luxury homes. Drive down Scenic 98 or tour through some of the neighborhoods and you’ll find no shortage of luxury homes tailor-made for a beach getaway. With amenities including private pools and high-end kitchens, as well as breathtaking views, there is something for every type of traveler. Take a look at some of our favorite five luxury vacation homes in Destin, all managed by our lodging partners at Southern Vacation Rentals. Find your perfect Destin, Florida vacation rental today!

5 O’Clock Somewhere

If beachfront luxury in Destin is what you’re looking for, then you’re going to love 5 O’Clock Somewhere! Located in a private street at the end of Tang-O-Mar, this incredible eight-bedroom home sleeps a total of 23 guests with impressive views from every angle. Multiple private balconies, a private pool, and complimentary beach service are just some of the perks you’ll enjoy when you stay here!

Luxury Vacation Homes in Destin

Come Together

The name says it all! Come Together is one of our favorite five luxury vacation homes in Destin, located right on Scenic 98 and mere minutes from the beach. This seven-bedroom home can accommodate 24 guests and even has its own golf cart so you can get to shopping, dining, and fun beach activities quicker than ever. In addition to its own private pool, Come Together also enjoys access to the Destiny West amenities including a gym, tennis and basketball courts, hot tub, and a large pool.

Margarita

Luxury abounds at Margarita! Located in the Destiny neighborhood, this stunning six-bedroom home is well-appointed for 20 guests and has touches including two master suites, a private pool, and Viking appliances in the kitchen. You’ll also have access to the amenities at Destiny, and the beach is just a short drive away at The Crab Trap.

Ciao Bella

If you’re searching for a luxury vacation home in Destin but for a smaller group, then Ciao Bella is the perfect home for you. This three-bedroom home is the right size for 10 guests coming on vacation to Destin. Located in Destiny by the Sea, Ciao Bella is well-furnished with Smart TVs, a wraparound patio, and high-end appliances. Plus, you’ll have access to a range of amenities including a pool, hot tub, and private beach access.

Ocean Views in Destiny by the Sea

Also located in Destiny by the Sea, Ocean Views is perfect for families traveling together. This five-bedroom home sleeps 20 guests with ease and is only 50 yards away from the neighborhood’s private beach access. In addition to enjoying community amenities, you’ll also love the home’s rooftop deck with Gulf views, the fireplace, and a modern kitchen.

Looking for things to do while you’re on vacation? Check out some of our top picks for activities and dining while you’re here. It won’t be long before you’re living like a local!

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Four Reasons to Visit Destin This Fall

Four Reasons to Visit Destin This Fall

Fall is nearly here! We can’t believe August is nearly halfway over, but don’t worry! There’s still plenty of time to plan for your fall getaway. If you need a little push in the right direction when it comes to planning, check out our top four reasons to visit Destin this fall. Despite some canceled events like the Destin Seafood Festival, you can still make the most out of a fall trip to Destin. Trust us when we say that fall is the best time of year to visit Destin!

1. Fewer Crowds

With most people back at work and schools back in session, fall is known for being a less crowded – but still beautiful – time of year to visit Destin. You’ll get first pick for where to lay your beach blanket and you won’t have to sit in much traffic or fight crowds at the grocery store. It’s a much-needed change of pace after summer!

Top Four Reasons to Visit Destin this Fall

2. Great Rates

If you time it right, you can get a really great deal on a vacation rental in Destin for your fall getaway. Our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals have a wide inventory of vacation rentals in Destin that are ideal for every size group. Whether you’re looking for something for just the two of you or are taking the whole family and need a large home, they can help! Who doesn’t love to save a little money on vacation? Just be careful not to come during the schools’ fall break, since you could end up paying top dollar for fall break rates.

3. Gulf Coast Sunsets

If you haven’t experienced the beauty of a Gulf Coast sunset, you are missing out! Sunsets in Destin in the fall are known for their strikingly vibrant hues of purple, pink, and orange. This is one of our top four reasons to visit Destin in the fall for a good reason! Time it just right and you can catch a magnificent sunset as you walk down the beach in the evening. If that doesn’t sound like paradise, then we don’t know what does!

4. Mild Temperatures

While most places in the country see lower temperatures in the fall, here in Destin, we enjoy mild temperatures here all the way through the end of November. You’ll definitely want to pack some light sweaters since temperatures do drop at night, but during the day shorts and a t-shirt are all you’ll need!

We hope we get to welcome you to Destin this fall! Share this blog with someone who has been considering a trip to Destin. We just know they’ll love it!

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Your Fall Getaway to Destin

DESTINation Sunset in Destin, Florida

Do you have a fall vacation on your mind? It’s the perfect time to start planning! Fall is one of our favorite times to visit the Gulf Coast since the crowds are smaller and the weather is still warm enough to enjoy swimming in the pool or enjoying the beautiful beach weather. There is no bad time of year to visit Destin, but fall is definitely our favorite time of year. You’ll want to make sure you book your large beach home in Destin before everyone else does, too! Plan your fall vacation to Destin, Florida and stay at one of our favorite vacation homes in Destin – DESTINation Sunset. This home is managed by our friends at Southern Vacation Rentals and not only has its own private pool, but also access to community amenities and enough room for 16 guests.

Destin, Florida Vacation Rental

That’s right – 16 guests! DESTINation Sunset has six bedrooms, six full bathrooms, plus a carriage house. The carriage house contains one bedroom, a living area, a kitchenette, and a full bathroom. If you’re traveling with kids, they’re sure to love the space offered here. This home has no shortage of high-end upgrades either, and it’s easy to see why this is a vacationer’s favorite place to stay. Quartz countertops, ornate furnishings, and rich jewel-tone fabrics adorn this coastal home from top to bottom. That’s not all – with the private pool, gas grill, and four adult bikes offered at the home, you’ll have plenty of opportunity for fun under the sun.

Destin, Florida Vacation Rental

DESTINation Sunset is located in the exclusive Destiny West neighborhood, meaning guests here will enjoy a community pool, barbecue grills, and more. Beach access is found nearby at The Crab Trap, and you’ll find that this vacation rental in Destin, Florida is also located close to shopping at Destin Commons and Silver Sands Premium Outlets as well as dining at numerous local restaurants.

Destin, Florida Vacation Rental

Learn more about this home and book your stay today!

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Top Tips for Your Destin Vacation

There’s nothing better than arriving in Destin, Florida and the vacation immediately begins as soon as you check-in to your vacation rental. To help you get started, here are some of our top Destin travel tips:

  1. Pack a vacation prep kit.  If you have ever been to Destin grocery stores on a weekend, you know those stores are jam-packed. You want to avoid the long lines, especially in these times. Our advice is to pack a vacation prep kit. Leading up to your vacation, set aside a laundry basket or large beach tote and start filling with basic necessities. Some examples of things to bring from home: laundry soap, toilet paper, garbage bags, bath soap, napkins, paper plates, salt & pepper, cooking spices, reusable last storage containers, chip clips, coffee, tea, sugar, & coffee filters. Some of these items are provided by rental companies, but if you are staying for one week and/or traveling with a larger group, extras are always needed.
  2. Keep a master list so you don’t forget anything from home. Thankfully, there are now apps that can help you with packing list reminders. You can also go old-school and create a reusable list which reminds you to pack the sunglasses, beach towels, sunscreen, chargers, etc. Pack a sharpie and sticky notes for leaving notes during the week.
  3. Plan breakfast & lunch for the first few days. Freeze lunch meat, cheese, and milk, then throw all in a cooler just before you leave home. Add some boxes of cereal, bread, and snacks and you can get through the first few days without facing the long grocery store lines.
  4. Order your groceries. It’s well worth it to subscribe to Shipt, an app-based service grocery delivery service. Through the Shipt app, members create grocery lists, choose a one-hour delivery window, and pay for the order via credit card. A Shipt delivery person then picks up the order at your selected grocery store and delivers the groceries to the address submitted. If you are a subscriber in your hometown, you can switch your location to your vacation address. For a detailed map of the coverage area visit shipt.com/gulf-coast. Shipt can also deliver from the ABC Fine Wines & Spirit store in Florida. Be flexible on your delivery times. Shoppers are especially busy during these times.
  5. Use local concierge services. Two local companies, Be My Shopper and Beach Butlers, offer an even more personalized service. Shoppers will shop your grocery list and deliver to your rental unit, even putting away the groceries. It’s all there waiting for you on your arrival!
  6. Make dinner reservations. Schedule dinner either early or late. If you can avoid the 6:00-8:00 p.m. main dinner hour, this can help shorten your restaurant wait times. Several Destin restaurants are now accepting reservations through the OpenTable app.

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New Long-Term Rental Opportunity in Destin

3900 Mesa Road in Destin, Florida

Fact: most travelers always leave Destin saying “I wish I could live here.” Now is your chance to live at the beach! Our friends at Southern Residential Leasing have a beautiful three-bedroom rental home in Destin, Florida in the Indian Woods community available for a 12-month lease beginning August 10th. Located close to Choctawhatchee Bay, local schools, and of course, the beach, you’ll be a Destin local before you know it!

Rental Home in Destin, Florida

Located just off of Indian Trail Road and close to Main Street and Highway 98, the location of 3900 Mesa Road in Destin does not get much better than this. This desirable three-bedroom, two-bathroom brick home is just over 1,600 square feet and enjoys a split floor plan with plenty of room for entertaining. One of the best features of this home is the gas fireplace in the living room, which is sure to not only be a great conversation starter during parties but will also keep you plenty warm when the temperature drops! The kitchen comes with a full range of appliances and has all the necessary counter space for your Keurig, blender, Crockpot – whatever you may need!

In addition, this rental home in Destin allows pets under 15 pounds. Don’t forget your furry friends when you’re relocating to Destin! You’ll also enjoy a two-car garage, sprinkler system, and lawn pump. Pest control is included in your monthly rent.

Whether you need to get to grocery stores, retailers, or even the beach, you can do it with ease from this house! Hop on the backroads and get wherever you need to go with ease. This rental home in Destin is just a short drive from Airport Road which easily connects you to Destin’s backroads. If you’re moving to Destin with your family, 3900 Mesa Road in Destin is located close to Destin Elementary and Destin Middle School.

Get more details about 3900 Mesa Road in Destin and schedule your showing here.

3900 Mesa Road in Destin won’t be on the market for much longer. Contact Southern Residential Leasing to schedule your showing today.

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Try Out This Grouper Bites Recipe

How to Make Fried Grouper Bites

Our Gulf waters have been so plentiful this summer, and we’ve had some great luck reeling in everything from mahi to snapper and grouper this season. Snapper season is wrapping up here in Florida, but grouper season lasts all year long, meaning there’s still time to get out on the water and reel in your catch. If you’re looking for a new twist on preparing grouper that doesn’t involve the same old method of grilling or pan-searing, we’ve got the recipe for you! Try out these fried grouper bites as an appetizer or main course at your next get-together (socially distanced, of course!). We got this recipe from our friends at Southern Vacation Rentals; be sure to let them know if you tried this recipe and liked it! We know we sure did!

Grouper Bites Recipe

Ingredients:

Makes 5-6 servings

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 – 1 1/2 pound grouper fillet
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp quick-cooking grits
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Canola oil

Preparation:

  • To make this grouper bites recipe, carefully cut your grouper into 1-inch bite-size nuggets and set aside.
  • Lightly beat the eggs, then stir together milk and pour over the grouper bites. Cover and chill in the fridge for 1-3 hours.
  • Next, combine flour, breadcrumbs, cornstarch, grits, salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, and chili powder in a gallon-sized plastic bag with a sturdy top. Add the grouper bites to the bag and shake to coat. Chill for 30-60 minutes.
  • Then, in a large cast-iron skillet, pour 2 inches of canola oil and heat to 350 degrees. Add the grouper bites carefully so that you don’t splash the hot oil!
  • Fry in batches for 4-6 minutes, until crispy and golden. Transfer to a paper towel on a plate and allow to cool before serving.
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

Grouper Bites Recipe

Our Thoughts

The grouper bites are fried, but they are still lightweight! They are also not greasy at all. Be sure to let them cool on a paper towel and pat dry if you need to. We paired these with a tartar sauce, an ice-cold pale ale, and a great view!

Book your Destin fishing charter with one of our preferred vendors this summer! There is still plenty of time to get in on the fun this late summer or fall season. Then, be sure to let us know if you liked this grouper bites recipe!

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Where to Stay for Labor Day in Destin

Where to Stay for Labor Day in Destin

Labor Day officially marks the end of summer here on the Gulf Coast, but what better way to send summer off than with a long weekend? Now is the time to start planning your trip to Destin for Labor Day weekend. Check out some of our favorite places to stay for Labor Day in Destin with our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals, from large beach homes to condos with a view. You won’t want to miss out on the fun of a long weekend at the beach!

1 Conched Out Villa

1 Conched Out VillA

One of our favorite vacation homes in Destin, 1 Conched Out Villa is perfect for your beach getaway! Four bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, and nearby beach access top off an enjoyable stay here. Plus, a large wraparound porch perfect for entertaining and grilling up some delicious Labor Day treats!

Villa Coyaba

Home to some of the most luxurious condo rentals in Destin, Villa Coyaba will truly have you feeling like you’re on vacation when you stay here. These four-bedroom condo rentals have enough room for 10-12 guests and enjoy some wonderful resort-style amenities. Plus, just look at those views from your own private balcony!

Breakers East

Located in the heart of Destin, Breakers East condo rentals remain some of the area’s most popular vacation rentals. Overlooking the white sand beaches and emerald green water in Destin, Breakers East’s two-bedroom condos are perfectly sized for 6-8 guests and feature a wide range of incredible amenities. A Gulf-front pool, beach service, and fitness center are just some of the amenities you’ll enjoy when you stay at Breakers East!

DESTINation Sunset

For another luxe home the whole family will love, check out DESTINation Sunset, located in the exclusive Destiny West neighborhood. This six-bedroom home is large enough for the whole family, with accommodations for 16 guests. It also has its own private pool, gas grill, and four adult bikes to cruise through Destin’s scenic highway. Not to mention, guests here will also enjoy access to the Destiny West amenities including a pool, hot tub, and fitness center. It’s definitely one of our top picks for Destin vacation rentals for Labor Day!

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