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Emerald Coast Destin/Fort Walton/ Seaside/Rosemary Beach area

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Ask anyone in the ATL where they love to beach and most will say 30 A, the Emerald Coast. The water is so clear! . It can get very crowded there during spring break, in fact our fishing guide says they make jokes about Atlanta spring break there. I would suggest you rent a place with a private beach, meaning only those who rent/live in that section can go on that section of the beach. One year teens got so bad during spring break they had curfews for kids.

I highly suggest you get one of these for any beach trip. They float so if your phone ever fell in the water it wont sink!. You can also put charge cards and room key in there. (amazon affiliate)

The Seaside/Rosemary area would be pricey and the Fort Walton/Destin area will be cheaper. We have stayed in all areas and also do not mind driving to the different areas while we are there. Figure out your goal, saving money, convince and that will help decide where you want to stay. I have some rentals I suggest at the bottom for the more expensive areas.

Beach Butlers: Grocery shopping and delivery service, 850-276-0764 Baby/Toddler Supply Rentals

Destin is located roughly 5.5 hours from Milton (minus the Atlanta Traffic) Make sure to check sometimes it is an hour behind us time wise. More than likely you will take 85 south and pass the Alabama visitor center. They have restrooms, information on places in Alabama, bathrooms during open hours, plenty of picnic tables, and my sons favorite baseball or football trading cards in the vending machines!

We then drove and stopped at Priesters Pecans on I 65 for lunch. (80 Bishop Bottom Road, Fort Deposit, AL 36032) We thought this place looked interesting to stop at. It is a huge shop that sells toys, Alabama/Auburn gear and tons of pecan products. They have an ice cream area that sells Blue Bell ice cream and a small buffet with southern food. They have upstairs a view of their candy making facility. It was closed when we were there. They are open 8-6 daily.

Another place we stopped for lunch on the way down on a different trip, Emerald Isle Seafood 1260 S Ferdon Blvd, Crestview, Florida 32536. They have fresh fish to buy and a restaurant on the other side.

Places to eat in the Destin area: Crab Trap Destin and the Fort Walton are both on the beach. The kids meal comes with the cute bucket!

Crap Trap Destin

Crab Trap Fort Walton

Doughnut Hole

635 Harbor Blvd Destin,This was a must everyone told us. They have a few locations, we went to the Destin location. We came to get doughnuts to take back to the beach house, but the line to sit to eat was actually a lot shorter than the to go doughnut line. They have amazing breakfasts of all kinds there. Ironically most people I noticed ate regular breakfast food and not doughnuts. We did both. I suggest you eat here and take doughnuts home for later!


2001 Emerald Coast Parkway

This was my son’s favorite place to eat. It had your typical food plus fun drinks. They have 2 locations one in Destin and one in Fort Walton. I suggest you get there early to avoid a wait as lines can get long. We went to the Destin location. For $3 you can buy bait and feed alligators. You put the bait on the hook and then lower it down to the alligator. You can walk around the alligator area while you wait or visit their gift shop and even pay to have a picture holding an alligator whose mouth is taped shut. Connected to the Destin location was an arcade. We went there after dinner and let my son have some time to play games. We went back on a rainy day, but it was very crowded that day in the arcade.

Harbor Walk Village

102 Harbor Blvd, Destin Florida 32451. This is a great area to shop, eat (Jimmy Buffett’s Margaretville and more), or get some entertainment (Laser maze). It is just fun to walk around and look at all the shops and see all the boats.

It costs $10 to park and I did notice they let more in then there was parking spots to be ready to look around a spot.

Margaritaville in Harbor Walk

This is a great place to eat. They have a great view of the water, good kids menu, fun places with fun drinks for kids and adults in fun glasses. This is 2 floors but they do have an elevator.

Please note they do charge a Harborwalk fee (was $1.73 for us, I assume its a percentage of our bill) and if your child plays on the games on the ipads on the table, even if you don't put a charge card in, you get the charge for $1.99 on your bill.

Louisiana Lagniappe

775 Gulf Shore Drive Destin, Florida 850-837-0881This place is more a special occasion place or nice family dinner. It has an amazing view of boats and the water. The food was fantastic. It is Gulf seafood with a Creole flair. Highly recommend this place for a nice dinner.

Uncle Bucks Fish Bowl

4251 Legendary Drive, Destin, Florida 32451

11am -9pm

This is a fun place to eat. They have a bowling alley and an arcade inside. Great for rainy days too!