40 miles E of Pensacola; 160 miles W of Tallahassee
The major tourist destination in Florida's Panhandle, Destin and Fort Walton Beach, along with Okaloosa Island, draws beach lovers and golfers year-round. White, sandy strips stretch the entire length of what has become known as the Emerald Coast. Destin and Fort Walton Beach are home to the state's largest fishing fleet. Myriad golf courses give visitors reason to head inland as well.
The 1 1/2 miles of sandy beachfront at Henderson Beach State Park sit like an oceanfront oasis in the middle of Destin. Fort Walton Beach bums while away the hours on the white sands of Okaloosa Island, just one bridge away from town.
Things to Do
Head for the greens at Destin-area golf courses. The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers 72 holes over three courses landscaped with palms and bougainvillea.
Eating & Drinking
Fresh seafood rules along Florida's Emerald Coast. If you spent your day fishing, bring your catch to Destin's Fisherman's Wharf Seafood House, where they'll prepare and grill, broil, or blacken your fish for dinner. Or stop in at Sexton's Seafood on the way for a fresh-off-the-boat feast.
Nightlife & Entertainment
A thatched-roof deck shelters visitors and live reggae bands at AJ's Club Bimini in Destin, as 20-somethings groove with Caribbean rum drinks within sight of the Gulf of Mexico. The sounds of Jimmy Buffett fill the air at Destin's Nightown, where a single price admits you to live music and amateur boxing matches.