If you have ever been to the South in the summer, you know unbearably, hot humid weather is a guarantee. A great way to beat the heat is to take a trip to the beach! From Alabama to Florida, the gulf coast is a popular family destination. Every summer, visitors from all over the world visit the amazing white sand beaches and emerald green waters in the Destin area. Even Luke Bryan dropped anchor at the ever-popular Crab Island for the 4th of July this year! Here are a few of my favorite places to visit when visiting the Emerald Coast!


It wouldn’t be a blog about the Emerald Coast if I didn’t mention some of the best beaches in the area. If you are staying at a resort, check to see if they offer private beachfront for guests to keep from having to fight the larger crowds. The most popular public beach in Destin is Henderson Beach State Park. This is a great option, but parking can be limited during peak times of day. If you drive a few minutes to the west on Okaloosa Island, John Beasley Park is a fabulous public option! If you are up for a drive, my favorite place to visit is Navarre Beach. This beach offers a more family-friendly vibe. Multiple parking spots and entrances allow visitors an easier walk up to the beach. You get a great view with the pier in the background, and it is typically less-crowded than the other beach options. My niece and nephew love this option because of the amount of seashells they find every visit. The Marine Science Station and Sea Turtle Conservation Center provide a fun, unique educational experience as well!


Because who doesn’t love shopping, right?! The Destin Commons is a great outdoor mall that offers a wonderful kids’ play area and splash pad, dog water stations throughout the area, bowling and arcade games at Uncle Buck’s, over 50 popular stores, and most importantly a Starbuck’s to help make it through the day! If bargains are more your thing (I mean who doesn’t love a great bargain?), then you will want to make the trip to Silver Sands Premium Outlets a short drive away in Miramar Beach! Hello Christmas shopping! With over 110 designer and name-brand outlets, you are sure to find something for everyone!

Family-Friendly Fun

As a popular family destination, there are tons of options when choosing non-water related activities. The escape rooms at  Escape Zone 60 are a challenging family option with locations from Destin to Navarre. I’ve attempted multiple escape rooms throughout the country and Escape Zone 60 ranks pretty high on my list! The local area is also a hot spot for mini-golf. You can’t go wrong with the local-favorite classic course at Goofy Golf in Fort Walton Beach. If you want to try your luck with a more challenging course, head on over to meet the dinosaurs at Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone on Okaloosa Island. Wild Willy’s also recently added a go kart track, bumper boats, and laser tag. If you find yourself there on a Wednesday night, walk across the street to the Crab Trap at 9:00pm to watch an amazing fireworks show on the beach!