Destin/Ft. Walton Beach
Don’t let Destin’s moniker coined decades ago “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” fool you.
This gem of a community is still a lucky place to sport fish, but today is anything but little.
A popular summer tourist destination from nearby surrounding states, the area returns to a small community in the winter and rentals are a bargain compared to the southern part of the state.
Accommodations run the gamut from condominiums in world-class resorts to fancy RV campgrounds and long-stay hotels.
Destin is also known as a shopping destination with a huge outlet center and several upscale shopping lifestyle centers. Restaurants range from standard chain fare to seafood and even imports such as Commander’s Palace which originated in New Orleans.
Snowbirds will find plenty of golf and tennis and other recreational pursuits to keep them busy. The Destin Snowbird Club is some 2000 members strong and features organized activities from December through March.
A favorite pastime is dining or having a cocktail on the Destin Harbor at sunset to watch the boats bringing in their catch and the numerous sightseeing vessels returning from dolphin-watching. The area’s white sand beaches and translucent emerald green water are reminiscent of many Caribbean beaches.
Nearby Fort Walton Beach is known for its affiliation with the Air Force home to Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field. Many of the area’s resident retirees hail from their time in the service there.
Okaloosa Island plays host to many local Snowbirds who enjoy the proximity to services in nearby Fort Walton and a little further afield, Pensacola.
The Fort Walton Snowbird Club becomes active in January and meets at the Elks Lodge on Okaloosa Island. The Senior/Snowbird Expo put on each January by the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce attracts more than 1000 visitors at the Emerald Coast Conference Center.