Top 3 Destin Airports

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Many of our Ocean Reef Resorts guests travel to Destin and throughout the Emerald Coast by car since several metropolitan areas in the southeast are nearby. In addition, airline connections in the past have been somewhat cumbersome. However now many visitors from distant cities are discovering our glistening jewel toned waters and sugar white sand beaches. New air services in Panama City Beach and Ft. Walton Beach allow visitors to get here nonstop. In addition, increased competition has made flying to Destin much more affordable. A total of three airports serve as a gateway to the Emerald Coast and are located in Ft. Walton Beach (Valparaiso), Panama City Beach and Destin itself. This allows folks to travel long distances and arrive here in just a couple of hours.

For regular commercial air travel, the closest airport to Destin is the Northwest Florida Regional Airport (recently rebranded as Destin – Fort Walton Beach Airport). It is located off Eglin Parkway with quick access to our beautiful beaches in less than thirty minutes. In fact, thanks to the Mid Bay Toll Bridge you can make it to Miramar Beach and Sandestin from this airport in exactly thirty minutes, door to door. This award winning terminal has 110,000 square feet and serves about one million travelers every year. The alabaster white walls and green steel roof are accentuated by an adjoining landscaped park which provides a perfect welcome to the Emerald Coast. There is even a pet relief and play area there if your pooch is traveling with you. This terminal has many convenient amenities of a big city airport but with a wonderful laid back ambiance of a smaller facility. A free shuttle service is available to and from the parking area. Complimentary curbside assistance is also available. Rental car services are inside on the premises as well easy access for transportation. Private cabs, shuttles and limos are right outside. The interior has vaulted ceilings with multiple skylights that provide a sunny spacious look and feel. A unique inlaid custom floor in the main foyer displays a huge multicolored map made out of terrazzo. It shows all of Choctawhatchee Bay, Ft. Walton Beach, Destin, Miramar Beach and the Gulf. Helen Back Pizza and Quizno’s Subs are there for snacks. Refreshments are also provided at the Tropical Landing Bar complete with seven plasma HD TVs for sports entertainment, news and weather. There is also WI FI throughout the terminal. Over fifty daily nonstop flights go to and from Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston and Washington DC. Carriers include American, Delta, US Airways and United. The airport is open from 4am until 12am daily.

Beaches International

Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, also known as “Beaches International” for short, is a state of the arts $330,000,000 airport that opened with much fanfare in 2010.  It has the acclaim of being the first “green” airport to open in the nation and received numerous accolades for land conservation and preservation. The 1,400 acres of airport includes 10,000 linear foot runways that can land even the largest airbus and future plans include proposed flights from London. Its pristine location is surrounded by over 41,000 acres of nature preserve that includes thirty-three miles of protected bay front. The airport is located just north of Hwy 98 in Panama City Beach by taking Hwy 79 to Hwy 388 near West Bay. A long lushly landscaped boulevard meanders through the dense forest preserve which provides a sight to behold as it opens dramatically into a giant clearing that serves as the airport grounds. When you fly over this expanse of lush green forested land it almost makes you think you’re about to arrive somewhere in remote South America rather than here in Northwest Florida!  This airport is closest to our Ocean Reef vacation rental properties in Panama City Beach and along much of Scenic Highway 30A.  Drive times to these properties range from twenty to under forty minutes. The terminal has 125,000 square feet with seven gates, state of the art security systems, technology for quick baggage delivery and WI FI throughout. Restaurants, retail, and rental car venues are all on site for convenience. A special Military Welcome Center is upstairs for all active duty personnel and veterans. This private lounge includes flat screen TVs, computer terminals, a small kitchen and kids play room. This military lounge is open from 8am until 8pm. The main terminal is open to all travelers 24/7.  There are approximately fifty arrivals and departures daily. Delta has daily nonstop flights from Atlanta with international connections. Southwest Airlines has daily nonstop flights from Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Nashville and St. Louis with international connections. United offers daily nonstop service for Houston. Silver Airways will begin offering nonstop flights from Orlando and Tampa beginning on March 19, 2015.

Destin Jet

Located in the heart of Destin, just two miles north of Hwy 98 on Airport Road you’ll find Destin's Executive Airport, also known as Coleman Kelly Field. In service since 1963, it accommodates non-commercial flights, private aircraft and charters on it’s 5,000 linear-foot runway. The newly completed airport terminal has 6,000 square feet and received an award among private plane owners as one of the best facilities of its kind in the entire nation. In addition to private planes many commuter charter flights arrive here on a regular basis from Atlanta. The airport is served by Regal Air, Destin Jet and Southern Airways. The latter provides nine-seat first class executive styled seating on turboprop Cessnas. Southern Airways has nonstop flights from Atlanta, Birmingham, Jackson, Memphis, New  Orleans and Panama City Beach. Connecting flights are available that serve Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Open 24/7, with air traffic control and guidance provided by nearby Eglin AFB, the luxurious terminal provides the level of service one would expect for its “jet-set” patrons and executives.  Amenities include plush sofa seating, comfortable leather recliners, big screen LCD TVs, WIFI, kitchens, wet bars, private locker rooms with showers, limousine access and car rentals. Here southern hospitality runs deep, with complimentary coffee, delicious cookies and of course rocking chairs out on the veranda. 


When you fly to the Emerald Coast, just like that old classic song said, you “can get there fast and then take it slow”. Ocean Reef Resorts bids you a bon voyage as you arrive here in this part of paradise. It is always a pleasure to have everything ready for you upon your arrival at one of our distinctive Destin vacation rental properties. Happy landings!