Many of our Ocean Reef Resorts guests arrive here with their kids to enjoy a wonderful family vacation on or near our beautiful white sand beaches. Nearly all of our distinctive vacation rental properties come with full kitchens so that you may create your own fun family feast. However half the fun of going on vacation can be the enjoyment of dining out, especially since Destin features fine dining experiences with an abundance of fresh savory seafood. It also allows Mom and Dad more leisure time away from the stove!
The question for many families and first time visitors is where to go eat with the kids while staying here in Destin. Well it just so happens that we have three recommendations. All of them have great food, wonderful atmosphere and amusements provided for the entire family. They include two fairly new restaurants called Lulu’s and Boshamps as well as an old favorite known as Fudpucker’s.
Lulu’s was recently introduced to Destin by long-time restaurateur Lulu Buffet whose famous brother is Jimmy. It’s located on the bay at Legendary’s near the Midbay Toll Bridge. Lulu is an amazing personality herself and has had a robust remarkable life. She grew up in LA (Lower Alabama!) and originally opened up Lulu’s Sunset Grill in Weeks Bay, Alabama which was a popular hangout that served great food. In 2003 she unexpectedly lost her land lease, loaded the restaurant on a barge with her friends and pulled it behind a tugboat down to Gulf Shores, Alabama where she relocated. It included a one ton custom made BBQ Grill, chairs and tables, a now infamous “Boat Stage” for musical performances, a few live palm trees and some portable Margarita Machines which remained in use for those who helped out on the trip down. Lulu opened her new place “Homeport” on the Mobile Bay in 2004 with a bayside restaurant, a tiny gift shop and a small sandy beach for the kids to play on. She dedicated her new place to celebrate the philosophy that “Life is Good!” It quickly caught on in popularity and now serves 4,000 patrons every day during the summer season. She also has a sandy beach with buckets, shovels and volleyball for the kids and young at heart to play, a “Fountain for Youth” to cool them off, a “Mountain for Youth” that they may safely climb, face painting, hair wraps and old fashioned New Orleans styled snow cones. Her new place in Destin features the same kid friendly spirit along with adult amusements like live on-going live musical performances and favorite drinks. A bayside beach provides the playground with lots of games, face painting, a sandcastle contest, kid safe fireworks and a unique beach ball drop at noon. The awesome food includes specialties like “Cheeseburgers in Paradise”, “Gumbo Love” and Fresh Gulf Caught Snapper Sandwiches. Live bands provide free fun rollicking music with a state of the arts sound system throughout the day both inside and out. Lulu’s opens daily at 11:00 am. More information is available at lulubuffett.com.
Boshamps is located on Destin’s harbor and is not only “Kid Friendly” it is “Pet Friendly” as well. This family owned restaurant is partially named after their beloved dogs “Bobo”, “Otis” and “Shug”. The restaurant was extensively remodeled on the site of the old Flamingo Café. Multiple open and covered decks cascade down the dune towards the docks on the harbor’s edge creating a lovely setting. The location provides panoramic views of the entire Destin Harbor which are quite stunning day or night. Their “Gulf to table Southern Cuisine” is served in a fun, family friendly relaxed casual atmosphere. A special Kid’s Menu has word games and puzzles to keep them occupied with such samplings as Fried Fish Fingers, Cheeseburgers, Corn Dogs and Chicken Fingers reasonably priced from $5.95 to $7.95 and include fries along with soft drinks. A white sand beach at the water’s edge has a kid’s playground that may be easily seen from the terrace like decks. Parents can enjoy favorite adult beverages and listening to music while keeping an eye on the kids as they play before dinner. Their adult menu features a large variety of delicious baked oysters, fresh “nekkid” oysters, soups, salads, sandwiches, seafood baskets and amazing gulf caught fish entrees. Live musical entertainment occurs regularly on one of the decks. More info may be found at boshamps.com.
Fudpucker’s is the original fun family restaurant and was one of the first restaurants to be built on the new Emerald Coast Parkway in Destin when it was completed back in 1987. The brightly colored complex is an icon for the owner’s self proclaimed favorite “F” words which are “Food, Fun and Friends.”Fudpucker’s was recently named as the “Best Family Friendly Restaurant in Destin” among locals. They strive to create an atmosphere that is a one-of-a-kind experience for young and old alike. The kids love seeing the live alligators that are penned in out back. They are able to feed them and the gators are available for photo-op moments. Fat Daddy’s Arcades adjoins the restaurant providing a wide assortment of video games and entertaining amusements for all ages. The sprawling buildings are fun places for kids to explore and they can even write their names on the walls in certain areas to immortalize their visit. A special kid’s menu priced from $6.99 to $8.99 includes choice of burgers, chicken or seafood baskets, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, Mac n cheese, a souvenir drink cup, hush puppies and a choice of sides. They also have non-alcoholic Kiddie Cocktails and “Moo Juices” which are assorted milkshakes. Adult menus feature lots of appealing appetizers, sandwiches, salads, soups, gumbo, savory seafood, beef and chicken entrees. They also have quite a few tropical drinks and a sports bar. Reasonably priced birthday parties are available for kids which include balloons, decorations, festive tableware, a meal of chicken fingers or pizza, a drink in a colorful take-home souvenir cup, and twenty video arcade tokens for each child to use and a special photo of the birthday child holding a live alligator with friends along side. For more information go to fudpuckers.com.
Enjoy your next family vacation to Destin here at Ocean Reef Resorts and be sure to “eat, drink and be merry” along with the kids at one of these fun food destinations!