When is the Best Time to Visit Destin?

A Season for Everyone

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Our Ocean Reef Resorts guests have been happily vacationing in the Destin area at different times of the year for over three decades.  Many new comers are wondering, when is the best time to visit Destin? Well take your pick, since each time of the year offers a completely different and wonderful experience.

Like everywhere else, the Emerald Coast from Destin to Miramar Beach and along Scenic 30A has its seasons.  This part of paradise is located in Northwest Florida, so obviously the summer and winter temperatures are warmer than most, especially compared to “up north.” There are unique advantages to each. The warm summer season has the most demand for the beach, which leads to higher rates. Winter temperatures are obviously cooler with minimal demand for beach time, so rental rates are lower but there is still plenty to do. The following is a brief review of each season and should help you determine when the best time for you to visit Destin.

Summer in Destin

Let’s start with the busy summer season which generally runs from the week before Memorial Day weekend up until August.  Vacation rental rates are at their peak because of the large demand for family vacations. Many families make it a fun annual tradition to visit Destin during the summer time since schools are out and there is a lot to do with the kids. Although it can be humid, the temperatures usually stay below 92 degrees whereas in other warmer parts of the country it can hit the upper 90s or even low 100s. Unlike many other places there is almost always a five to fifteen mile per hour breeze blowing off the gulf. This makes it actually seem cooler here even when the temp hits the low 90s. Obviously in the summer the place to be is on a beautiful white sand beach, luxuriating in the gorgeous gulf or taking a refreshing dip in a pool. During the early evening hours spectacular sunsets occur right over the waters of the Bay so it is a good time to be drinking and dining at Destin’s Harborwalk Village or at the Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin. Everything is open and in full operation mode during this time of year. The massive Big Kahuna’s Water Park and tropical miniature golf course is a popular destination since Ocean Reef Resorts guests receive special rates there. Many relish participating in a variety of water sports including jet skis, kayaks, canoes and paddle boards where Ocean Reef discounts are also available. Deep sea fishing, dolphin sightseeing tours, snorkeling, sunset boat excursions and even adventure rides on a pirate ship like The Buccaneer at Harborwalk Village are quite popular. Crab Island near the Destin Bridge is in full swing since private boats and pontoon rentals converge together for friendly daily picnic parties on the shallow bay. Free entertainment is provided on barges that play beach music and conduct fun water sport contests throughout the summer. Of course restaurants, bars, shopping venues, golf courses and other amusements are packed so it is always best to make all reservations ahead of time. Huge firework celebrations are actually held on a weekly basis during the summer with live music at Harborwalk Village and Sandestin. Vast firework extravaganzas occur on Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day.

Destin Florida

Fall in Destin

The autumnal equinox occurs September 21st but lowered fall rates begin in mid August going thru late October. The summer heat abates in late September when humidity becomes almost non-existent and you may enjoy the most beautiful weather you can experience. Cobalt blue sunlit skies are accompanied by a refreshing sea breeze with extraordinarily comfortable daytime temperatures in the mid seventies. Nights are delightfully cool and crisp. This wonderful weather lasts until early December which truly invigorates the soul. In addition, autumn gulf water temperatures remain warm enough to go swimming until almost Thanksgiving. The crowds of visiting families who arrive here on vacation by Memorial Day usually leave before Labor Day due to early school starts so the beaches are less populated. There are also lots of delightful diversions held during this time of year at Sandestin, Harborwalk Village and along South Walton’s Scenic 30A. These include Oktoberfest celebrations, beer fests and art shows. The famous Destin Fishing Rodeo goes on throughout October with daily weigh-ins down on the Destin docks and cash prize awards at the end of the month. The Destin Seafood Festival occurs at this time of year for three days with tons of fresh seafood, beer, wine and musical entertainment performed on various stages throughout the area. Autumn wine festivals are usually scheduled at Sandestin, Seaside and Rosemary Beach.

Winter in Destin

Winter in Destin

The winter season starts on October 31st and runs all the way until mid March. Destin provides the perfect place to get away from the frigid north during the winter time. Sunny days occur 340 days each year including winter so it’s called “the sunshine state” for good reason. This time coincides with the absolute lowest rental rates available all year. The winter season is accompanied by crisp azure blue skies with sparkling sunshine almost every day. Highs usually range in the fifties to sixty degrees during the day and the low forties at night. Occasionally temperatures can even reach up into the low seventies. Sensational sunsets occur here during the winter right over the gorgeous gulf waters. The sun sometimes displays itself mirror like as it slowly sinks down into a calm glassy gulf. These sunsets are a magnificent sight especially from beachfront restaurants along Scenic Gulf Drive in Miramar Beach, at Harborwalk Village in Destin and at any of the picturesque towns along Scenic 30A. Many visitors flock to the golf courses during the winter since they are open and have virtually no waiting times. For each and every day of your stay, Ocean Reef Resorts provides our guests with one free round of golf at the Bluewater Bay Golf Club. For guests staying down along Scenic 30A or in Panama City Beach you will receive free rounds of golf at the Hombre Golf Club. This championship golf course has three nine hole courses that are nicknamed “The Good”, The Bad” and “The Ugly” which describes their difficulty of play. You are also entitled to discounts on golf at the Seascape Golf Club, Emerald Bay Golf Club, and Regatta Bay Golf Club.

Winter is also the best time to shop for Christmas gifts or a new wardrobe. The thriving Silver Sands Premium Outlets in Miramar Beach attracts over 7,000,000 visitors per year as the largest discount designer outlet in the nation.  Shoppers take advantage of huge savings of up to 75% off regular retail prices from internationally known designer specialty stores. Another popular shopping destination is at Destin Commons. This pedestrian friendly retail complex looks more like a European village than a shopping center. It looks almost Disney like with its corner turrets, old fashioned clock tower, interactive fountain plaza, lush landscaping and cleanliness which provides a very family friendly shopping environment. Every holiday season is celebrated there with seasonal musical events, Christmas festivities and even fireworks. Besides the retail shops there are restaurants, bars, snack venues and an ultra-modern AMC movie theater with fourteen screens.  Destin Commons recently expanded so now there is a total of 570,000 square feet offering an impressive gallery of prestigious nationally known retailers and restaurants.

It should also be noted that during the winter season all of the wonderful restaurants and bars throughout Destin, Miramar Beach as well as the charming communities along Scenic 30A are all open for business with little waiting time. Grand Boulevard, the Village of Baytowne Wharf and Harborwalk Village provide great shopping, excellent food and lively bars, many of which offer live musical entertainment on the weekends. Huge seasonal festivals with music, parades and fireworks are featured at all three for Christmas, New Years Eve as well as Mardi gras. The nationally acclaimed Scenic 30A Songwriters Festival is held in January providing three days of music, good food, wine parties and attendance by a few famed musical icons.

Monarch Butterfly South Walton

Spring in Destin

The spring season starts in March and lasts until late May. The vacation rental rates this time of year are the similar as autumn which are not at the peak of summer or the lows of winter. The lovely weather returns once again this time of year which lasts from mid March until early May. Temperatures are back in the seventies during the day and fifties at night with little to no humidity. Sunny days shine upon the azaleas and magnolias which go into full southern bloom. The only caveat is that gulf water temperatures are not as warm as they are in the autumn months. Many families traditionally take their spring breaks down here. These breaks last until Easter and then there is a seasonal lull so to speak until just before Memorial Day. In April the Sandestin Wine Festival which has been dubbed as “the Kentucky Derby of wine festivals nationwide” at Baytowne Wharf and the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival on Grand Boulevard occur in Sandestin on separate long weekends. Gourmet food and hundreds of bottles of wine are available to taste from while musical entertainment fills the air. There are also other various impromptu art shows and special spring festivals that pop up during the springtime.

No matter what time the best time of year for you to visit Destin, Ocean Reef Resorts always has a wide assortment of fine distinctive private beach homes as well as luxurious condominiums available for your family and friends. Choose your favorite season, favorite place and start making plans for a fun filled vacation getaway here on our very user friendly website.