Having grown up in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s around this time of the Summer when the Metting posse would take our annual vacation, along with hordes of other families from throughout the Southeast, down to one of my absolute favorite areas of the world – Florida’s beautiful Emerald Coast and the Beaches of South Walton.
The entire stretch of the Florida Panhandle from Pensacola east to Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Grayton Beach, Seaside, Watercolor, Panama City and the many small beach communities, in between, has long been a bastion for Southern vacationers seeking fun in the sun along this stunningly picturesque spot on this Earth.
As a family, we would aim for the exploding coastal community of Destin, where we would stay at oceanfront condos at The Islander on Holiday Isle or, in later years, at a condo we purchased further east, closer to Sandestin, in Hidden Dunes. Regardless of where we landed, the visit to this personal paradise always seemed to get better, visit after visit, even magical.
Aside from the unbelievable beauty of the Caribbean-like blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the pure sugar sands along the beach, our vacations always included levels of fun that some might claim to be dangerous. Never to shy away from the awesome, trips to Destin tended to include parasailing, deep-sea fishing, golf (both miniature and the real deal), plenty of pool and beach time and some of the best seafood and rum drinks you could dream up!
Additionally, a trip to this neck of the woods…make that, beach…is never complete without the arbitrary stops at local faves like AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar on Destin Harbor, the Red Bar at Grayton Beach, Bud & Alley’s in Seaside and the many cool joints at The Villages of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin.
Just in writing this blog entry, I’ve realized it’s now been five years since I’ve been back to Destin and, not only am I well overdue to return, but I now find myself drooling on my laptop and yearning to get my rear end back to the little slice of heaven on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Happy travels, my friends, and enjoy every second of your Summer!
The Beaches of South Walton
AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar
Red Bar – Grayton Beach
Bud and Alley’s – Seaside
The Villages of Baytowne Wharf
Indian Bayou Golf Club