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  • Writer's pictureSara

A guide to Destin, Florida (or the Redneck Riviera)

Updated: Jul 28, 2018

Destin Florida, 30A, Sandestin

I've learned a few things since moving to Washington, D.C.-

1. The name game doesn't work here

"Oh you know Carly? I know her because my roommate dated her sister in college."

"Wait, what?" "Yeah, we're cousins.."

2. No one serves Grits

Jk, who eats those anyway. Sorry Grandma.

3. If you say you are going to Destin, people have NO idea where that is.

Thank you Emily Moreno for inspiring this post! She went to Destin for the first time last month with her boyfriends' family and had no idea what to expect.

So therefore, this post is for YOU- i.e. everyone born above the Maison Dixon line or didn't attend an SEC University.

Destin is nicknamed the Emerald Coast for its gorgeous water and white sandy beaches located on the gulf coast / panhandle of Florida (close to Alabama). Destin has a special place in my heart, considering I spent every summer since I can remember soaking up the sun, fishing, golfing, working summer jobs, going to my first "club" as a teenager, to drinking my first beer. Side note- Does anyone know if Fudpucker's Teen Night is still cool? Asking for a friend.

Sandestin Florida

My guide is broken down into food, drinks, activities, shopping, and events! By no means do I list all the amazing things to do in Destin, but I wanted to be selective and share with you my favorites.

Disclaimer: Destin is only a tiny part of what people refer to refer to as "Destin." It is actually broken up into different areas;

Destin= Harbor Walk Village & Scenic Highway 98

Miramar Beach= Sandestin

30A= Watercolor, Seaside, Seagrove, Aly's Beach, Rosemary Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, etc.

Destin, Florida boating. Sandestin



The Donut Hole Bakery Cafe: Opens at 6am for the earlier risers, golfers, and fishermen!

Badass Coffee: Best boutique coffee shop in town.


The Back Porch: Amazing views. Recommend the smoked tuna dip and fried grouper sandwich!

Dewey Destin's: Old school Destin.

Lulu's Destin: Cheeky, but fun. Really fun place to stop after a morning on the boat.

Boathouse: Best Oysters in town.


AJ's : Fun place to listen to music!

Harbor Docks : My Dad's favorite of all time. Florida Georgia played here before they got big!

Camille's: This is my favorite! Located in a motel, but actually relatively fancy. By far the best sushi in Destin.

Osaka: If you are not a big seafood lover, switch it up with a Japanese Steakhouse. This place is much better than your average hometown Japanese joint.

Tuscany: Also for you non-seafood folks. The decor is a little tacky (the inside feels like the movie set of Under the Tuscan Sun- mimicking a romanic cafe in a piazza) but the food is authentic.

Cuvee Kitchen: Known for their farm fresh ingredients and handcrafted cocktails.

Captain Dave's: Located right on the water. Massive menu and great for large parties.

Louisiana Lagniappe: A Destin classic for over 30 years. Another waterfront dining experience with a creole flair.



Another Broken Egg Cafe: Used to work here over the summer. BEST BLOODY MARY'S!


Cantina Laredo: They make fresh guacamole at your table and serve delicious skinny margaritas.


Tommy Bahama's: Ahi Tuna Tacos & Chicken Tortilla Soup!!

Bijoux : Incredible wine selection.

Wine Bar- Grand Blvd: Cheese plate and Rose! I suggest saving room for dessert.



The Wine Bar- Watercolor on 30A- Best place for stop before shopping around the cute beach boutiques.


The Red Bar : Live band on weekends!

Bud and Alley's : Make a reservation. Gorgeous views from the upstairs bar.


1. Rum Runners (Sandestin) Bachelorette Party Capital of the World. Don't get the pianists started on your college fight song. You won't win because the guy from Auburn will pay them to sing War Eagle all night to piss off Alabama Fans.

2. Whale's Tale (Destin) Ole' Spring Break Classic.

3. Fat Tuesday's (Sandestin) Bushwhackers on deck.

4. Pandora's (30A) A cold beer, a sunburn, and a live band kind of night.

5. Islander (30A) Karaoke on Wednesday nights!


1. Silversands Outlets (Fav's- Off Saks 5th Ave, Kate Spade, Nike)

2. The Common's (Fav's- Sephora, Victoria Secret, Bebe)

4. Boutiques in Watercolor/ Seaside (Barefoot Princess, Willow)


1. Kayaking or Parasailing

2. Charter a fishing boat to catch some red snapper!

3. Rent a pontoon and go to Crab Island for a day-drinking party.

4. Golf at Sandestin- best courses in my opinion.

5. Get a massage at the Hilton's Serenity by the Sea.


1. Digital Graffiti- Art show and party on Aly's beach

2. The Blue Marlin Classic Fishing Tournament

Blue Marlin Classic Fishing Tournament
Blue Marlin Classic

I hope you enjoy your visit to the Emerald Coast,



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