10 Destin Vacation FAQs

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Many of our Ocean Reef Resorts guests are already blissfully aware of the answers to the top questions that our new visitors ask about Destin and the Emerald Coast. However even some of our esteemed vacation vets who have been visiting these shimmering shores for years may not know the answers to all of them. Take a peek to see how you do and for our newcomers, here are 10 Frequently Asked Destin Vacation Questions.

Destin White Sand

FAQ #1.  Why is the sand so white in Destin?
One of the first things you will notice about our brilliantly bright beaches is the fact that the sand is like a sugary fine powder, which is found in very few other parts of the country. In fact, our beautiful beaches have been acclaimed for having some of the whitest sand anywhere in the world. It shimmers so brightly in the sun that the dazzling rays require the use of sunglasses, not just as a convenient fashion accessory but an absolute necessity. The sand is actually fine pure white quartz crystal that was washed down from the Appalachian Mountains many millennia ago during the last Ice Age. The constant tidal wave action gradually ground it down to its present sugary form.

Destin Clear Water

FAQ #2. Is the water clear in Destin?
On most days the water is “swimming pool clear” due to the lack of pollutants and the fact that rivers that flow down into the gulf with sediment are far away. Sometimes big offshore storms may cloud the water temporarily but these events are not long-lived. More often than not the glittering gulf here seems to glow in an enchanting luminescent color that is emerald-hued. This is why our area has become known famously as “The Emerald Coast.” The combination of pristine clear water and the sugary sand below reflects microscopic natural plankton in the sunlight that creates the jewel-like tones.

Is Destin An Island?

FAQ #3. Is Destin an island?
This is an intelligent question and completely understandable since Destin, Miramar Beach and South Walton are three to five miles off the mainland. You have to cross one of four bridges to get here by car unless you arrive by boat! Actually, it is a long peninsula that extends from West Bay in Panama City Beach forty-two miles across to the Destin. The open waters of the glorious gulf border its beachside while the expansive Choctawhatchee Bay spans across to the mainland towards the north.

FAQ #4. Why are colored flags flying at the beach?
Most of the beach access points fly flags in ever-changing colors to let everyone know current water conditions. A green flag flying means conditions are calm, waves are low and there are no notable water hazards. Yellow urges swimmers to use caution since it means that waves are moderately high and there may be unexpected currents. Purple means there may be hazardous marine life present which usually means jellyfish. Red flags signify that conditions are considered challenging with high waves, strong surf and associated currents so only experienced swimmers should brave the waters. On very rare occasions during strong storms, Double Red Flags are flying because the water is dangerous and closed to all swimmers.

Beach Bonfire Destin

FAQ #5. Can you have a Beach Bonfire in Destin?
Okaloosa County that includes properties in Destin does not allow bonfires on the beach, however, Walton County does. This includes beaches near our vacation rental properties in Miramar Beach and along Scenic 30A. A paid county permit is required in advance with stipulations regarding clean up and other matters. A local company called La Dolce Vita can pay for the permit, provide all the labor and set up a bonfire fire pit and providing all the wood so it’s ready to light. They also provide fifteen chairs, tables, a stereo system and all the ingredients for S’mores. La Dolce Vita also provides 10 % discounts on Jet Ski and Pontoon Boat rentals through our Ocean Reef Resorts guests. Check them out on our website under Reef Rewards.

FAQ #6. Are tents allowed on the beach in Destin?
Tents are allowed on the beach in many select areas. Usually, small “pup” tents are allowed to shade little ones just about everywhere. Larger canopy type tents are allowed behind privately owned beachfront homes and on some of the more remote beaches in South Walton. Usually, large resorts do not allow them because they tend to block views of the water from other guests.

FAQ #7. May I leave items on the beach overnight in Destin?
Destin and South Walton do not allow you to leave beach chairs, tents or other items on the beach overnight. If you have set up a canopy tent or chairs they must be removed when you leave so that the beach remains uncluttered at the beginning of each day. High tides and big waves can turn such items into litter overnight. The mantra here is “Leave only footprints behind” to preserve the beach beauty.

Gulf Front Destin

FAQ #8. Should I get a “Gulf Front” or “Gulf View” property and what’s the difference?
A gulf front property is located right on the gulf. This includes beach homes, condominiums and even high rise towers that face the beach with unobstructed views of the glistening gulf. Such properties include beaches for use at each location. Gulf view properties include homes or condominiums that have a view of the gulf but are not on the beach. However, these vacation residences are close by, usually within walking distance of the sugary shore. Gulf front properties are in very high demand and rental rates are at a premium compared to gulf view properties.

Weekly Stays in Destin

FAQ #9. Why are rental periods in Destin mostly seven days from Saturday to Saturday?
This schedule is based on demand since we are a beach vacation destination and most families arrive and depart over the weekend. During peak times of summer, these properties are almost always reserved for the entire week. Weekly rentals are less expensive than nightly stays but these are sometimes available at Ariel Dunes I & Ariel Dunes II on fairly short notice during the peak season. During the off-season, other properties may be available for nightly or long weekend rentals.

Destin Airports

FAQ #10. Where is the nearest airport to Destin?
Although Destin is usually a driving destination due to its close proximity to Atlanta and other major cities it is quite easy to fly here. The award-winning Destin – Fort Walton Beach Airport is located at Eglin Airforce Base just a 30-minute drive away from Destin and Miramar Beach. The new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is located in Panama City Beach about 45 minutes from Miramar Beach but closer to Scenic 30A properties.

Well, now you know – so come on down to paradise!  Of course, we have the perfect Destin vacation rental for your vacation.