Many Ocean Reef Resorts guests will tell you that the reason they visit Destin every year is because of the beautiful beaches. The shimmering sugar white quartz crystalline shoreline is quite remarkable and can be found in very few other parts of the world. The Emerald Coast has been declared to have some of the whitest sand beaches anywhere. However, for those who have discovered Destin by boat, it quickly becomes all about the glistening waters that wrap around this precious piece of paradise. The dazzling glowing green water has been compared to emerald jewels but there’s so much more! Although Destin is a long peninsula it greatly resembles an off shore island. The glorious gulf borders the southern side extending hundreds of miles across the horizon while the expansive Choctawhatchee Bay spans three to five miles across from the mainland. These jeweled waters provide all sorts of opportunities for fun, which include charter fishing, in shore fishing, delightful dolphin cruises, luxurious dinner cruises, fabulous boat parties, adventures aboard a pirate ship and staying in a beautiful waterfront home.
1. Deepsea charter fishing aboard the Relentless!
Captain Kelly is from a founding family of Destin and designed a boat “built by fishermen, for fishermen” named the Relentless. This 65’ long vessel incorporates state of the art fishing equipment and luxurious accommodations for visiting anglers. The equipment includes advanced radar detection, depth finders, chart mapping technology and what Captain Kelly calls an awesome “fish finding machine.” The comfortable fully air conditioned galley includes a satellite TV and State Rooms can sleep eight overnight guests for deep-sea adventures. Many avid anglers charter the Relentless for multiple days of deep-sea fishing adventures and bring back lots of delicious bounty. A full sized kitchen on board features stainless steel appliances for a taste of the sea on the sea. The friendly crew provides World Class fishing adventures with accommodations available for children, seniors and the handicapped. They show you where to drop your lines, advise you on angling techniques and help you reel in your catch. After you return to the docks they clean and ice down your fish for transport. The Relentless can also be chartered for weddings and other special events.
2. In Shore fishing with Destin in Shore Guides!
Destin is known as “the luckiest fishing village in the world” and has the largest private charter fleet on the entire gulf. Although many specialize in deep sea fishing excursions some concentrate their expertise on the abundant catch located in the beautiful bay. Besides shrimp and crabs there are bountiful catches of Speckled Trout, Redfish, Flounder, Spanish Mackerel, Sheephead and Black Drum Fish. Speckled Trout are always biting and have an average size of between two to three pounds that are twelve to twenty-five inches long. Destin Inshore Guides includes experienced fishermen that provide in shore and near shore fishing. These friendly fishing guides locate and help you with your catch on charters that go form a few hours to all day excursions. The fish are cleaned and iced down for you when you return. Ocean Reef Resorts guests receive 10% off regular rates.
3. A Southern Star Dolphin Cruise!
Many of our Ocean Reef Resorts guests enjoy the thrill of seeing pods of dolphin frolicking in the emerald green waters and such sightings can be an almost daily occurrence for fortunate guests who stay in one of our fine beachfront homes. However anytime you go to the beach you may spot some in the distance since they always frolic together in groups. You may see them up close by boat on The Southern Star which is docked at Harborwalk Village in Destin. This amazing 80’ long glass bottom vessel provides a leisurely two hour tour in search of dolphin. They boast a 98% success rate in finding them. The Southern Star has been featured on CNN’s “Earth Matters” and National Geographic’s “Earth Watch.” It is climate controlled and provides snacks, sodas and restrooms while Island Music is piped in on multiple speakers. During part of the cruise the captain shares a brief history of Destin, points of interest and interesting facts about local sea life. The boat proceeds out into the open gulf or the bay where there’s also an abundance of the Atlantic Coastal Bottlenose Dolphin. Passengers are provided food to feed a variety of seabirds and children can take turns steering the boat for award certificates as “Junior Captains”. Ocean Reef Resorts guests receive special discounts for this delightful dolphin adventure.
4. A Dinner Cruise aboard the Solaris!
The SS Solaris is a huge yacht anchored at Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin that offers three-hour sunset dinner cruises across the expansive waters of Choctawhatchee Bay. A gourmet three-course meal includes a salad, fresh baked bread, the entrée, dessert, coffee or tea. Guests choose their entrée when reservations are made which includes choices of prime beef, crab cakes, shrimp and grits, Rosemary Chicken and other delights. Bars on two decks provide favorite drinks while music is played throughout including the open third level deck. The boat cruises across the bay into the sensational sunset often escorted by dolphins that sometimes race the boat! Once the sun goes down it returns back to the Sandestin Yacht Club, which can magically coincide with a fireworks extravaganza on many occasions throughout the summer. It’s an experience that should not be missed. Our Reef Rewards gives you a significant discount as our guest.
5. Join a big boat party on Crab Island!
Crab Island used to be a little sandbar near the Destin Bridge where everyone went crabbing. Today is a big boat party almost every day during the summer season and everyone is invited. The water ranges from about one foot to five feet deep and it is swimming pool clear when the tide is coming in. Party participants show up on big yachts, jet skis, ski boats and pontoons. People drink, eat and all party together since everyone is anchored nearby. Sometimes radio stations provide simulcast music from a barge where fun water games are promoted. Most folk bring their own picnic baskets with ice chests to wine and dine however food venders float around with their own offerings available. To experience Crab Island first hand Ocean Reef guests can use their Reef Rewards for reduced rates on pontoon rentals thru La Dolce Vita.
6. Go on a pirate treasure hunt aboard the Buccaneer!
The SS Buccaneer is a custom designed “pirate ship” anchored in Destin Harbor that is 103’ long and modeled to look like a 16th century Spanish galleon. This impressive masted vessel includes two sets of double spiral staircases, a “Treasure Room”, multiple viewing decks and a full galley. During the summer season Captain Cannonball and his pirate crew take adventurers on a treasure hunt four times a day at 9:30 as well as 12:30, 3:30 and 6:30 pm. Pirate treasure hunt cruises are also conducted throughout the rest of the year on a different schedule. The Buccaneer sets sail to where ever they think a treasure chest may be found in the open gulf or the bay. The crew wears elaborate pirate costumes with sashes, jewelry, swords, hats and boots. Food, sodas and “adult” pirate's brew are available. A cannon is fired off to let everyone know the treasure hunt is underway. The crew teaches kids as well as the young at heart how to talk, walk and dance like a pirate, accompanied by fun rollicking music. Little buccaneers are taught the art of sword fighting and water gun marksmanship in order to defend the boat from possible scalawags. When the treasure chest is spotted, a cannon is fired and fellow buccaneers help hoist it on board. After lively negotiations with the captain in his secret Treasure Room the loot is doled out to all the participants. Then a real celebration begins with more song, dance and another burst of cannon fire while heading back to harbor.
7. Stay in a wonderful waterfront home and dock the boat out back!
At Blue Haven you can fulfill dreams and create marvelous memories at a gracious waterfront home. This sought after hospitable vacation home includes four bedrooms but may sleep up to 15 happy guests. Its prominent placement beside its own harbor canal dock on Holiday Isle allows you the opportunity to cruise out into the glistening gulf using a discounted rental pontoon boat or fishing boat through our complimentary Reef Rewards program. or of course, you can bring your own boat! A sparkling swimming pool sits beside the canal so you may take a refreshing dip as well.
Well now you know that it’s not all about the beautiful beach since Destin has wonderful water too. Get out and explore Destin by boat!