A beautiful photo from Destin, FL

This Year’s Blessing of the Fleet

Blessing of the Fleet on Destin Harbor

May 21st, 2020 marks the 63rd Annual Blessing of the Fleet on the Destin Harbor. This is one of Destin’s most time-honored traditions, bringing together the Destin community in a unique and special way. The Blessing of the Fleet is intended to bless the vessels for those locals who make their living on Destin’s waters – from fishing boats to tourist excursion boats and everything in between. It’s part of Destin’s Week of Blessings, a week-long celebration centered around giving back in the community. However, due to COVID-19, the Blessing of the Fleet will look a little different this year.

Blessing of the Fleet on Destin Harbor

Traditionally, the event takes place on the Destin Harbor in front of Brotula’s and concludes with a community fish fry. But, in light of the need for social distancing, the fish fry has been canceled as well as the worship service under the tent at Brotula’s. Participants are instead encouraged to dine at local restaurants. Many restaurants in Destin are open at 25% capacity and offer outdoor seating to help comply with social distancing. However, you can also still get to-go and delivery orders from many restaurants as well. Be sure to reference their website before placing your order.

The 2020 Week of Blessings will still continue, but will also look a little different. The Annual Blessing of the Marketplace will take place on May 20th from 7:30 – 9 A, but will be hosted as a drive-through event instead. Destin’s Week of Blessings is as follows:

  • Sunday, May 17th – Blessing of the Families
  • Monday, May 18th – “Day of Fasting & Prayer”
  • Tuesday, May 19th – Blessing of the First Responders and Government Agencies
  • Wednesday, May 20th – Blessing of the Marketplace and Blessing of the Youth
  • Thursday, May 21st – Blessing of the Fleet

Although these times are challenging, it really is special to see Destin’s community come together to lift one another up. Destin’s origins as a fishing village make the Blessing of the Fleet so impactful to many families who have been in Destin for generations.

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Be Safe at the Beach

Beach Safety Tips this Summer

Now that Destin’s beaches are opening back up, it’s important to be as safe as possible at the beach. Not only does this include adhering to social distancing rules (staying six feet apart and gathering in groups of no more than 10 people), but it also means wearing your sunscreen, knowing the colors of the flags, and watching out for rip currents and jellyfish. Just follow our beach safety tips this summer for a relaxing trip!

Beach Safety Tips

  • Practice social distancing!¬†Although the beaches are opening back up, the CDC still recommends limiting groups to no more than 10 people and staying six feet apart from other groups. Destin’s beaches are open from dawn to dusk each day, so visit the beaches safely and planning for ad different time if it looks too crowded.
  • 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.

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What’s Going on in Destin?

What’s Going on in Destin?

We know this has been a tough and unprecedented time in Destin, and we have seen our community come together like never before. We continue to be optimistic when looking to the future, and especially as stay at home restrictions are lifted and businesses begin to open up. As you know, things are changing daily and our community has had to make some major changes to adjust to the climate. Whether that was offering to-go meals or curbside pickup for goods and services, we adapted and were able to still support the people who live and work in Destin. A quick update on what’s going on in Destin:

Destin Beaches

  • Last week, the City of Destin voted to open the beaches from dusk to dawn each day. Walton County beaches are open all day long with no limitations, as are Okaloosa County beaches. We are patiently waiting for City of Destin officials to do the same! Please remember to continue to follow social distancing rules when at the beach: staying six feet apart from people outside your own group, and only gathering in groups of 10 or less.
  • Unfortunately, there is still a ban on accepting vacation rentals in Florida. Our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals are working hard to provide guests with options in their Alabama properties for May. If you are in need of a getaway and want to head to the beach, visit their website for current rates and availability. We’re hoping the ban will be lifted mid-month, around the 18th.
  • Many local restaurants are opening up their dining rooms for business at 25% capacity. Please be patient with them as this is new for them, too! There are also several restaurants in Destin that are still offering to-go and delivery services or have not opened up their dining rooms yet. Please be sure to reference their website or social media page for the latest information before heading there or placing your order!
  • Destin Commons, Silver Sands Outlets, and Grand Boulevard also opened up on Monday, May 4th for limited hours. Destin Commons and Silver Sands are open from 11 AM until 7 PM, while most stores at Grand Boulevard are open until 4 PM. Some retailers may still be closed, so check before visiting!

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Change Up Your Routine

Work From Home at the Beach in Destin

Now that Destin’s beaches are opening up on Friday, it’s a great chance to get out of the house and work from home at the beach in Destin. Whether you are managing a 9-5 or wrapping up the school year, why not book a beach vacation rental in Destin, Florida and work with a view? There is nothing like taking a conference call with the sight of the waves crashing in the background! You’ll not only have an opportunity to start your mornings out with a walk on the beach, but since the beaches will be open from 4:30-7 PM, you can unwind with a beautiful Destin sunset as well. Just be sure to practice social distancing!

If you want to get away this May, take a look at some of our favorite vacation rentals in Destin, Florida that will help you switch up your routine.

Work From Home at the Beach in Destin

A Piece of Heaven

If you’re looking for a tranquil home where you can be socially distant, look to A Piece of Heaven in the Cottage Retreat community. This beautiful three-bedroom home is ideal for nine guests and is just as inviting as can be. It’s even a short stroll away from the beach and restaurants that are open for delivery and takeout.

Crystal Dunes 104

Get an eye-full of the beach! This ground-floor condo, Crystal Dunes 104, has the beach in your sightline and makes it easy to go to and from the beach in the morning and evening. Plus, with new upgrades and the comforts of home, everything you need for your time working from home at the beach in Destin is right at your fingertips.

Jade East 1150

If you’re looking for a condo rental in Destin, Florida with a view, book your next stay at Jade East Towers 1150. This condo is centrally located in the heart of Destin, so you can get meals delivered with ease and don’t need to go far to get to the beach. Just a few steps and you’re there! Set up your computer on the private balcony and watch the sun dance over the waters while you work. We promise t here’s nothing like it!

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Destin’s Beaches Are Opening Up!

Beach Openings in Okaloosa County

It’s finally time! Our Okaloosa County Commissioners have announced beach openings in Destin and Fort Walton Beach beginning on May 1st for limited hours. Here is what we know so far:

  • Okaloosa County extends from Fort Walton Beach to Destin, although the beach openings do not apply to City of Destin beaches.
  • Right now county officials are restricting beach access to limited hours: 6:30 AM – 9 AM and 4:30 PM – 7 PM daily.
  • City of Destin officials will meet on Wednesday, April 29th to discuss opening up the city beaches.
  • Beach-goers are still advised to practice social distancing and to comply with CDC guidelines.

Hours of operation are subject to change depending on how the COVID-19 situation in Okaloosa County pans out. However, this does mean that we are incredibly optimistic about summer travel and are hopeful for some time on the sand! Now that the beaches are opening up, we’d say it’s safe to start planning your vacation to Destin, Florida. We’ve been eyeing some of our favorite Destin, Florida vacation rentals with our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals. Below are some of the best Destin, Florida vacation rentals that we think you will love this summer:

Destin Florida Vacation Rental

Dunes of Crystal Beach 302 in Destin, Florida

For the solo traveler:

If you’re taking a vacation for one this summer, we recommend Beach Resort 205. This classic condo is decorated with a cool coastal finish and can accommodate six guests, though one person will be plenty comfortable as well. With a full kitchen, free WiFi, at-home comforts, and a view of the resort pool as well as private beach access, we can’t recommend this enough.

For the luxury traveler:

Or, if you’re looking for an upscale luxury vacation right on the water, look to Dunes of Crystal Beach 302. Condos at Dunes of Crystal Beach don’t last long for summer, and this one is brand new to Southern, so it’s likely to book up soon. Spacious and luxurious, with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and enough space for 12, there isn’t anything like it. You’ll have to see it to believe it!

For the family traveler:

For those who like to travel with family in the summertime, now is a great time to secure a beach home in Destin, Florida. Aqua Sound, located in the highly coveted Destin Pointe neighborhood, is a two-story home with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and enough room for 10 people. Just look at that view, too! The kids will love splashing about in the community pool as well, and everyone will love the proximity to fun Destin activities at HarborWalk Village.

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Beach Bag Essentials for Summer

What to Pack in Your Beach Bag

With the anticipation of the beaches opening back up, this leaves us plenty of time to plan what to pack in our beach bags. It seems like every time without fail, we always leave something behind and find ourselves stopping at a local store to pick up the missing piece, whether it’s an extra towel or sunscreen, or even another pair of sunglasses. Consider this your official guide on what to pack in your beach bag, from all of the essentials to some extra fun things that will enhance your trip to the beach. We don’t know about you, but we can practically smell the salt air!

What to Pack in Your Beach Bag

(Image courtesy of Southern Vacation Rentals)

  • Beach Bag – there is no substitute for a good beach bag! Look for one that packs easily in your suitcase and is sturdy enough for a day at the beach. Inside zipper pockets and a secure zipper top are a bonus!
  • Sunscreen – sunscreen is one of the most important things to pack in your beach bag, since you¬†will suffer a bad sunburn without it. The American Cancer Society recommends¬†a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection, which fights against UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer, and UVA rays cause premature aging. In¬†addition, your sunscreen should have an SPF of 30 or higher to protect against skin cancer or aging. Be sure to apply sunscreen every two hours when under the sun, and every hour when swimming or sweating.
  • Beach Hat – want to double down on protection from the rays? Grab a large beach hat to give your shoulders, neck, and face some extra shade.
  • Sunglasses – leave your name-brand sunglasses at home and grab an inexpensive pair of sunglasses to take to the beach. You won’t be upset when they get sandy or lost in the waves (although, we hope this doesn’t happen!). Be on the lookout for¬†sunglasses that filter out UVA and UVB light to help protect your eyes.
  • Towels – tip: pack an old sheet or blanket to lay out on the sand, and an extra towel to dry off when you get out of the
  • water. Turkish towels are often top-rated for their high quality and easy drying ability after a day in the sun.
  • Bluetooth Speakers – for a day at the beach with your friends, Bluetooth speakers are a must! Look for a set that is water-resistant, but still be cautious to keep the sand out of the speakers.¬†Just be sure to be courteous of your fellow beach-goers and keep the noise to a minimum.
  • Beach Spiker – Beach Spikers are popular among beachgoers since you can just set your drink down in the sand and not have to worry about it falling over or getting sandy. Beach Spikers can also hold your phone, sunglasses, sunscreen, and more!

We can’t wait to welcome you on your vacation to Destin, Florida this summer! In the meantime, browse some Destin, Florida vacation rentals with our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals and join us for the countdown to summer vacation in Destin.

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It’s Almost Sea Turtle Season in Destin

Sea Turtle Awareness Tips

Sea turtle season is almost here! These beautiful sea creatures can be spotted all across the coast from May 1st until October 31st, where they return year after year to lay their eggs until they’re ready to hatch.

Did you know sea turtle nests are protected by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (FFWC)? Unfortunately, the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (most commonly found here) often gets caught in fishing gear, resulting in a tragic ending for these beautiful creatures. In fact, sea turtles are so closely protected by the FFWC that disturbing their nests could result in a fine (or worse). Talk about a damper on your beach vacation!

How to Keep Sea Turtles Safe“So, how can I help?” You might be wondering. Here are a few tips to follow to keep our beaches pristine and protect the sea turtles.

  • When visiting the beach, you may be tempted to dig holes or build sandcastles. This is perfectly acceptable and a great way for kids to spend time in the sun. However, be sure to fill any holes and “demolish” the sandcastles before leaving. The turtles can fall into the holes and get stuck, and the sandcastles prevent the turtles from being able to return to the ocean. Keep the beach as flat as it was when you arrived!
  • Mind the signs! Yellow signs can be found all over the beach warning you not to disturb sea turtle nests. The FFWC monitors these diligently so if you see one, that means there’s a nest nearby!
  • Did you know bright lights can disrupt nesting female sea turtles and hatchlings? When buildings have bright lights or you shine a white-light flashlight on the beach at night, it can affect the turtles in a harmful way. Sea turtles orient themselves based on the direction the light is coming from, and if the light is coming from your beachfront vacation home in Destin, the sea turtles will head there instead of back toward the water. Fortunately, “turtle-safe” flashlights are available as well as red flashlight apps on the App Store and Google Play.

So now you have three tips to follow when it comes to keeping the sea turtles safe! A Sun of a BeachRemember, sea turtle season begins May 1st, so you have plenty of time to prepare.

In the meantime, while you are thinking about May, it’s a great time to start planning your summer vacation to Destin, Florida. We can’t wait for the beaches to open back up! Explore our favorite vacation homes in Destin, Florida with our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals.

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Rare Rental Condo on the Destin Harbor

320 Harbor Blvd #1205 in Destin

If you’ve been on the hunt for a one-of-a-kind condo rental in Destin, Florida, then look no further than 320 Harbor Blvd #1205. This high-rise condo overlooking the Destin Harbor at the Destin Yacht Club is a rare gem and won’t be on the market long. Beginning on April 30th, this 320 Harbor Blvd #1205 is available for a 12-month lease with Southern Residential Leasing.¬†See more details and fill out the pre-showing questionnaire here.

Condo Rental in Destin Florida

Fully furnished with luxurious touches from floor to ceiling, 320 Harbor Blvd #1205 is truly unlike any other condo. Three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and nearly 4,000 square feet of space make up this immaculate condo. Its interior features include a designer kitchen with custom cabinetry and quartz countertops in addition to remote-controlled Roman shades and blackout curtains. Don’t forget about the wide wall-to-wall glass windows looking out over the Destin Harbor, East Pass, Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay! The living room also seamlessly opens up into the kitchen so that you can enjoy those views whenever you’d like.

And, don’t forget about the master suite! This spacious and lavish room comes with a small seating area looking out onto the water as well as your own private bathroom. Yes, the shower is marble! Multiple vanities, a soaking tub, and so much more make up this incredible space. Just look at that view! The guest bedrooms also have their own private bathrooms as well.

Meanwhile, the best part about living at 320 Harbor Blvd #1205 is truly the amenities. Destin Yacht Club does not disappoint, as you have access to a waterfront pool, fitness center, and a boat slip (available for an additional fee). Also, utilities are included! Because of its prime location in Destin, you can easily get to shopping, dining, and entertainment throughout, including easy access to HarborWalk Village. If you have been searching for a condo rental in Destin, Florida, this is one you won’t want to miss out on!

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Spending Time Together

Your Guide to Homes with Private Pools in Destin

Already planning your next family getaway? We know we are. While the beaches are closed, there are still ways you can enjoy time with your loved ones without the sugar-white sand (although, we do miss it!). Our lodging partners Southern Vacation Rentals have a wide selection of homes with private pools in Destin that are perfect for your getaway. Check out some of our favorites below and save them for whenever you are ready to return to the beach.

Sea Otz

If you’re looking for beachfront luxury in Destin, then look no further than Sea Otz! Not only does this home enjoy a beautiful location right on Destin’s famous shorelines, but it also has a private pool with just as beautiful a view! Sea Otz can accommodate 13 guests with its four bedrooms and four bathrooms, so it’s perfect for entertaining your family at the beach.Destin Florida Vacation Homes

Monkey Island

Fall in love at once with this charming beach cottage in Destin! Monkey Island is located in the Crystal Beach community and enjoys close proximity to the beach. Its private pool offers no shortage of fun under the sun, and there is even a separate carriage house perfect for the kids in your group.


Another ultra-luxe home in Destin, Margarita is located in the Destiny neighborhood just a block from the beach and equipped with extensive community amenities. Although, if you’re looking to just spend some time at the home, everything you need is right at your fingertips. From space for 20 to Gulf views and a private pool, you won’t want to leave!

DESTINation Sunset

When it comes to homes with private pools in Destin, this is certainly one of our favorites. Located in the exclusive Destiny West neighborhood, this six-bedroom home can easily sleep 16 guests and is just blocks away from the beach. The private pool is the perfect space to cool off after a day at the beach, and the well-furnished sundeck even offers a cozy spot to soak up some sun.

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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!


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


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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