What is Destin Like in December?

Events, Sunsets, Shopping, & Accommodations

You are here

Destin is DELIGHTFUL in December!

December is a happening holiday time of the year, and our savvy Ocean Reef Resorts guests are well aware. You may experience a "White Christmas" like none other. The shimmering shoreline looks just like snow, but without the frigid temperatures. During the day and especially under the light of a silvery full moon, the pure white dunes and the crystalline beach will make you want to sing that timeless holiday song! Temperatures are sweater weather perfect too since they usually hover close to 70 during the day and 50 at night.

Fun Things to Do

Christmas at Baytowne

The enchanting Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin is particularly magical in December as they continue their traditional "12 Nights of Lights" to celebrate the holiday season. A vibrantly colorful light show sparkles from the trees around the village green amphitheater where you may spread out your blanket, chairs and picnic baskets to watch the free show. It is choreographed to music as part of their Concert Series every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday before Christmas. The shows are at 6 pm, 7 pm, and 8 pm. Santa will appear on Wednesday evenings!

Here are a few other exciting events taking place in Destin during December:               

December 5th

The annual Destin Christmas Tree Lighting at the Community Center begins at 6 pm with music from local choruses and refreshments with donations requested for canned goods distributed to struggling families.

December 13th 

Maestro Christopher Confessore will be conducting the North Florida Symphony Orchestra for a Holiday Pops Concert at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center from 7:30 till 9:30 pm.

The Sinfonia Orchestra Holiday Pops Concert is being held at the Destin Village Baptist Church from 7:30 till 9:30 pm. Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe Award nominee Matthew Morrison will also be performing.

December 14th

The City of Destin's annual Christmas Parade starts at 10 am with bands, floats, and throws. This year's theme is "Santa's Workshop." The parade goes down Harbor Boulevard (Hwy 98) from Old Time Pottery and ends in front of HarborWalk Village.

December 15th

The awesome one of a kind annual Destin Boat Parade will light up the harbor for its 33rd year, which starts at 6 pm. VIP Santa will be on the Events Stage for a visit prior to the parade from 1:00 till 4 pm. Fishing boats and private yachts will be decorated with twinkling lights. This "fleet" parades down the harbor from Boshamps restaurant passing by HarborWalk Village into East Pass near the Destin Bridge. The Grand Finale will include a phenomenal pyrotechnic display choreographed with music on outdoor surround sound systems.

Spectacular Sunsets

Destin sits on a long peninsula that resembles an offshore island since you have the open Gulf on the south side and the vast expanse of Choctawhatchee Bay to the north. This unique locale offers sunsets over the bay from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and many go to the captivating village of Baytowne Wharf to see them. However, during December and other winter months, it descends right into the glorious Gulf. The entire sky at this time of year usually lights up from west to east, which is beyond impressive! This provides an enchanting setting for leisurely romantic strolls down the uncrowded beaches, dining at Gulf front restaurants, or enjoying a glass of wine or favorite drink while being mesmerized by the vibrant vistas. This "Sunset Hour" coincides with "Happy Hour" along the coast, so Gulf-front restaurants and beach bars are usually filled with patrons who are toasting the glowing event!

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping Destin Florida

Lots of our guests enjoy doing some fun shopping when not at the beach or pursuing other delights. However, during the prelude to the "most wonderful time of the year," it becomes a perfect passion since fantastic shopping venues abound for Christmas presents. The following three destinations provide shopping for personal pleasure and great places to get holiday gifts for loved ones. 

Destin Commons

Destin Commons is an expansive Disneyesque retail village that is consistently named as the most popular local shopping destination by readers of Emerald Coast Magazine. It is located on a 56-acre parcel that borders the northeast corner of the Emerald Coast Parkway and the Mid Bay Bridge Road. If you've never been here, you have certainly seen it. Tall turrets festooned with twirling colorful flags, plaza squares, and fountains make it resemble a fairy tale village from somewhere in Europe. The palm-lined pedestrian-friendly avenues feature piped in outdoor music, which at this time of year includes cheerful Yuletide Carols. An opulent 50-foot tall Christmas tree serves as a festive focus. Destin Commons is anchored by a huge Bass Pro Shop, a Belk's Department Store, and Uncle Buck's Fishbowl & Grill with a half-million square feet of space for shopping. It includes a massive variety of clothing boutiques, specialty stores, dining establishments, bars, and a multiplex AMC movie theater for entertainment. 

See the Murals at Destin Commons.

Silver Sands Premium Outlets

The Silver Sands Premium Outlets in Miramar Beach just a few miles to the east of Destin and happens to be one of the largest designer discount centers in the entire nation! This provides huge bargains on a wide variety of world-class goods. Literally, millions of people make it an annual tradition to shop at this retail mecca while visiting on vacation. Over 100 stores represent a "Who's Who" of American and international fashion designers for men's, women's and kid's clothing, fancy footwear, coveted handbags, jewelry, perfumes, specialty items, crystal, china, and household goods. Since prices are generally 65% off of what you would pay elsewhere, it is a shopper's paradise. The Christmas shopping season is extremely popular, so make sure you arrive early to find a parking space and power shop. You might even consider taking an Uber ride from one of our vacation rentals to avoid the hassle with parking. There are "rest stops" nearby at a number of restaurants, bars, coffee houses, and ice cream shops. 

Grand Boulevard

Grand Boulevard is a short distance away just east of Silver Sands. It is the fashionable town center of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. It is a decidedly upscale destination that serves as a captivating casual fun place to shop. The boulevard and adjoining streetscapes are lushly landscaped with towering Royal Palm trees, tropical plants, and a little grassy park with playful fountains. Nationally renowned clothing shops for men and women, specialty boutiques, galleries, gift shops, restaurants, and bars are all along the boulevard.

They include Another Broken Egg Café, Cantina Laredo, The Craft Bar, Everkrisp, Flemings Steakhouse, Grimaldi's Pizzeria, Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches, Kilwin's Chocolates & Ice Cream, P.F.Changs, Starbuck's, Tommy Bahama's, Emeril's Coastal Italian and The Wine Bar. 

The New Vision Movie Boulevard 10 Theater has giant 3D Screens, Surround Sound, and comfortable tiered seating. The Ovation Club serves great food there so folk can wine and dine while watching a movie. 

See more recommendations for Christmas Shopping in Destin.

Destin Accommodations at Value Prices 

Destin Accommodations

This time of the year coincides with the absolute lowest rates available for vacation rental properties in Destin and all along the Emerald Coast. Most properties are about 60% less than their summer season peaks. You also have a lot of beautiful places to choose from since demand slackens this time of the year. An added perk is that roadways, restaurants, bars, and beaches are not crowded, so you'll have plenty of space and time to have fun!

Ocean Reef Resorts offers highly hospitable homes and luxurious condos that span across Destin, Holiday Isle, Miramar Beach, Sandestin, and the lovely coastal villages along Scenic 30A in South Walton. Each vacation residence is on the shimmering shoreline overlooking the jeweled waters, nearby with gulf views, or just minutes away. Now it's time to pick your favorite locale, so here is some help!

Downtown Destin

Downtown Destin has loads of action at restaurants, lively bars, and fantastic festivals. Exciting events occur around HarborWalk Village, which overlooks the marina harboring the nation's largest private charter fishing fleet. People go there to "eat, drink and be merry" at waterfront restaurants and lively bars. Our guests use their Reef Rewards for complimentary reduced rates on pontoon boat rentals, fishing charters, dolphin cruises, sunset dinner excursions, and even a pirate's ship adventure.

Holiday Isle

Holiday Isle is a prestigious peninsula that shoots offshore south of Destin Harbor. Fortunate guests are conveniently close to all the action of Destin but in a wonderful world apart. Mega-million dollar homes and luxury condo towers are on the bright white beach, canals with docks, or nearby. Exclusively gated residential communities and luxury towers feature private beaches and swimming pools.

Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach is just east of all the action of Destin; however, you may not have a desire to leave this place since there's so much to do. Popular properties here along Scenic Gulf Drive include incredible beachfront vacation homes and resort destinations like Majestic Sun, The Empress, Ariel Dunes I, Ariel Dunes II, Amalfi Coast, as well as the Edgewater Resort. Ocean Reef Resorts guests receive special rates for championship golf and tennis at nearby Seascape. Many go bargain shopping at the famous Silver Sands Premium Outlets discount designer complex. 

Sandestin Resort

The exclusive Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach spans across 2,400 lush forested acres from the Gulf to the bay embellished by four championship golf courses. Ocean Reef Resorts offers vacation homes and beachfront luxury condos here, as well. Sandestin boasts an abundance of restaurants, bars, specialty shops, fun festivals, and family amusements at the charming Village of Baytowne Wharf as well as Grand Boulevard.

South Walton's 30A

South Walton has picturesque coastal villages along Scenic 30A, which meanders eighteen miles beside the glittering Gulf that's adorned by precious coastal dune lakes with flourishing natural wildlife. Thousands of acres of state forests and award-winning beach parks like Grayton Beach provide a captivating heavenly setting. Charming homes and condominiums are located in perfect Americana inspired coastal villages along the beach. Village greens feature concerts with seasonal activities near galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and friendly beach bars.

Our vacation properties are located in Dune Allen, Santa Rosa Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Grayton Beach, Seagrove Beach, Prominence, Seacrest Beach, and Rosemary Beach.

Enjoy a White Christmas

Enjoy planning your next "White Christmas" in Destin where you and your loved ones will be absolutely delighted!