Directions to Ocean Reef Resorts & the Emerald Coast

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Panama City Beach

Fort Walton

South Walton

Many of our guests here at Ocean Reef Resorts live within one day's drive to paradise, also known as The Emerald Coast! Most live less than six hours away. Atlanta for example is only five and a half hours away. It is one hour less traveling west taking the "time machine" into the Central Time Zone but you have to give that hour back going east!

Travel to Destin from east and west is easy. You take Interstate 10 to either Hwy 85 for Destin /Ft. Walton Beach, 331 for Miramar Beach and Scenic 30A destinations and 79 for Panama City Beach, all of which takes you to Hwy 98 which connects the coast from east to west. From Atlanta take I-85 to I-185 and then at Columbus go west on the Rt 80/280 loop around to Phoenix City to Hwy 431 South. This is mostly four lanes and traverses pretty, rolling hills and quaint Southern towns like Eufaula, AL which is a good midway rest point. Follow this around the beltway at Dothan and then continue onto Hwy 231 South to I-10.

From points north including Birmingham, Nashville and Louisville it is I-65 all the way to Montgomery. At this point you have two choices. For Miramar Beach and points east, the fastest way is the 231 loop also known as South Boulevard, (of course!), to Hwy 331 all the way down to Hwy 98. This travels across the scenic "deep south" with charming towns such as Luverne, Brantley and Opp. Enjoy seeing the antebellum homes through these towns but watch the strict speed limits in all of them. Otherwise it is pretty much clear sailing. For Destin/Ft. Walton Beach destinations take I-65 all the way to the Georgiana exit Rt 106 east to Rt 31 which merges into a four lane, Rt 55 to Andalusia. From there take Hwy 55 to Florala which straddles, (you guessed it!), the Florida/Alabama state line. At this point it's Hwy 85 down to Crestview where it turns into a four lane again, all the way to Niceville where Hwy 20 goes east to the Midbay Toll Bridge crossing the Choctawhatchee Bay into Destin. You will see a panorama in the distance, like a "Fantasy Island", as you travel across almost five miles of sparkling water with vista views from Destin to Sandestin!

Once you arrive on the Emerald Coast, Hwy 98 travels east and west connecting Ft. Walton Beach to Destin to Panama City Beach. This four to six lane highway is also called The Emerald Coast Parkway. Scenic County Hwy 30A connects to Hwy 98 just east of Sandestin and goes all along the Gulf of Mexico to Rosemary Beach where it connects back onto Hwy 98, just before Panama City Beach. This designated Florida Scenic Highway is gorgeous with vista views of the Gulf. It passes through the picture perfect, preplanned communities of Dune Allen, Santa Rosa Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Grayton Beach, Watercolor, Seaside, Seagrove Beach, Watersound, Alys Beach, Seacrest and finally Rosemary Beach. There was even a song written about it a couple of years ago and "The Truman Show" was filmed in Seaside!

Travel times to The Emerald Coast vary depending upon weather, traffic and road conditions but here are a few average drive times from a few city start points:

Atlanta = 5.5 hours Dallas = 12 hours Knoxville = 8.5 hours Montgomery = 2.5 hours
Baton Rouge = 6 hours Houston = 10 hours Louisville = 11 hours Nashville = 7.5 hours
Birmingham = 4.5 hours Jackson = 6.5 hours Memphis = 8.5 hours New Orleans = 4.5 hours
Chattanooga = 6 hours Jacksonville =4.5 hours Mobile = 2.5 hours Tallahassee = 2 hours


Remember that if you travel from a city located in the Eastern Time Zone, you gain one hour upon arrival but have to give it back, losing one hour when you return! Ocean Reef Resorts will have everything ready for your Destin vacation you when you arrive. We bid you a safe and happy journey to your home away from home.