Posted on 6/20/2023
So, you're considering a trip to Destin, the gem of Florida's Emerald Coast. Whether you're a seasoned visitor or it's your first time, one question remains paramount: where should you stay in Destin? From afar, it might all seem the same - the pristine white beaches, the emerald green waters, it's all part of the same picturesque scenery. But delve a little deeper, and you'll find that each part of Destin offers its unique charm and experiences. From tranquil sandy shores to bustling downtown areas, your choice of location will shape the adventures you embark on off the beach. Let's explore the distinct parts of Destin to help you pinpoint the perfect place for your stay.
This "isle" is really a prestigious peninsula that juts out into the glistening gulf on the southern side of Destin Harbor. Holiday Isle provides guests with the best of both worlds since it is very close to all the action of Destin but also a wonderful place apart. There are many multi-million dollar homes located here because the peninsula is lined with canals with docks for big boats that can access the open waters through the harbor. The beautiful gulf side has beachfront mansions as well as high rise luxury condominium towers. Some residential communities are gated with amenities that feature private beaches, community pools, and tennis courts. Although guests on Holiday Isle find themselves staying in a family-friendly world of its own, this location places you less than a handful of minutes away from all the action of Destin.
Downtown and the Destin Harbor
Fishermen originally founded Destin over 150 years ago, and they were the first to discover the abundant cornucopia from the Gulf of Mexico. The location at the end of the peninsula placed them near the open Gulf waters and the vast expanse of Choctawhatchee Bay. Destin's peninsula is like an offshore island since it sits three to five miles off the mainland, and is near an underwater canyon offshore that provides close access to deep-sea fishing. Today the thriving private charter fleet is the largest in the nation and includes fishing adventures for avid anglers. The beautiful beaches started becoming a tourist Mecca in the late 1970s, and the city proliferated. Downtown Destin offers lots of action, loads of restaurants, lively bars, seasonal activities, and fabulous festivals. There is a lot of bustling sizzle that goes on here, which is mostly in pursuit of recreational activities and delightful diversions. Much action occurs around Harborwalk Village that overlooks the harbor at the Destin Bridge. People go there to "eat, drink and be merry" since waterfront restaurants and bars span across the docks. Our guests use complimentary Reef Rewards for reduced rates on recreational water rentals, dolphin cruises, sunset excursions, and fishing charters available here. Trips to Crab Island are a favorite since families cruise out of the harbor on rental pontoon boats with friends to party in with others in the clear shallow waters of the bay.
A bit further east is Scenic Highway 98, which was the original route to Destin before the completion of Emerald Coast Parkway in the late 1980s. One of the first residential communities to be established here was the prestigious community of Crystal Beach, which is aptly named due to the shimmering crystalline shore. This upscale residential community includes homes and luxurious condominiums located along the scenic highway that borders Destiny towards the east and the expansive Henderson Beach State Park towards the west. It includes everything from cozy cottages to opulent beachfront mansions. Architectural styles include Mediterranean, Victorian, Antebellum, as well as the Old Florida Style with picket fences, wrap-around porches, and tin roofs. Favorite gulf-front restaurants are located along this route. The exceptionally convenient location is also close to the Destin Commons retail complex, which has been named multiple times as "The Best Place to Shop in Destin." This large palm-lined Disneyesque pedestrian-friendly center includes designer clothing shops, specialty boutiques, restaurants, and a Multiplex Theater. Grocery stores, wine outlets, shops, and other restaurants are close by at adjacent shopping centers. Abundant family amusements are also minutes away from places like Big Kahuna's Water Park.
Miramar Beach is halfway in between all the action of Destin and the lovely serenity of Scenic 30A in South Walton. However, you may not have a desire to leave this place since there's so much to do. Some of our most popular properties are located here in impressive beachfront residences and luxury beach towers along Scenic Gulf Drive like Majestic Sun, Ariel Dunes I, Ariel Dunes II, as well as the Edgewater Resort. Ocean Reef Resorts guests receive special rates here for recreational water rentals, championship golf, and tennis at nearby Seascape. The renowned Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is famously located here with an abundant array of vacation rentals in gulf-front towers and private homes. It spans 2,400 lush acres from the gulf to the bay and includes four championship golf courses. Sandestin encompasses an abundance of restaurants, bars, fun festivals, and family amusements at the charming old New Orleans-inspired Village of Baytowne Wharf and upscale Grand Boulevard. Many of our guests enjoy reduced rates on dinner cruises at the Sandestin Yacht Club aboard the Solaris. Miramar Beach is also home to big bargains at Silver Sands, which is one of the nation's largest designer discount outlets.
South Walton also includes Miramar Beach and picture-perfect coastal villages along Scenic 30A. This eighteen-mile route parallels the sugary shore overlooking the glittering gulf and is dotted with rare exotic wooded coastal dune lakes that support a considerable amount of natural wildlife. Thousands of acres of protected state forests and award-winning beach parks like Grayton Beach provide a lovely, enchanting, serene setting. Charming homes are located in newly created, perfect golden Americana-inspired towns along the beach centered on village greens that feature galleries, boutiques, restaurants, beach bars, concerts, and seasonal festivals. Some of the popular Ocean Reef Resorts destinations along this beautiful route include the towns of Dune Allen, Santa Rosa Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Grayton Beach, Seagrove Beach, Prominence, Seacrest Beach, and Rosemary Beach. Each one of these lovely villages has its unique personality and ambiance.
The beauty of Destin lies not just in its azure waters and sugar-white sands, but in the unique charm and distinct ambiance that each of its areas offers. Whether it's the upscale tranquility of Holiday Isle, the buzzing vibrancy of Downtown Destin, the crystalline allure of Crystal Beach, the perfect mix of excitement and serenity at Miramar Beach, or the enchanting coastal villages of South Walton, Destin has a slice of paradise tailored to every traveler's desire. As you browse through the visual tours on our website, we hope you find the perfect stay for your vacation. Remember, it's not just about where you stay, but the memories you make and the experiences you gather. So, explore, indulge, and savor every moment of your time in Destin, your personal slice of paradise on Earth.