White sugar-sand beaches, emerald-green waters, fresh fish, golf and shopping. Stop daydreaming, there’s more: gulf breezes, water sports, and the comfort of knowing that we will never, ever shovel snow again. Before making that airline reservation, learn a little more about Destin, Florida.
Those who have visited this city know there’s good reason Good Morning America named it “one of the ten most beautiful places in America.” It’s not our imagination; the sand on Destin’s beaches really is some of the whitest in the world. The sand is made of finely ground quartz crystal flowing down the river from the Appalachian Mountains, giving it the appearance of sugar. Currents set the sand along the Gulf Coast and settles from east of Panama City to the Alabama coast.
Destin is located in Okaloosa County, Florida, and is a principal city of the Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, Florida metropolitan area. Part of the beautiful Emerald Coast, the Destin area includes Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island and the Beaches of South Walton.
Originating as a small fishing village, Destin is now such a popular tourist destination that more than 80 percent of the four and one-half million visitors to the Emerald Coast each year visit Destin, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Tourism, fishing and hospitality industries are major employers in the area, as is the US military and its related civilian contractors. The 100-mile stretch of Emerald Coast hosts several military bases including Naval Air Station Pensacola (home of the Blue Angels), Hurlburt Field, Eglin Air Force Base and Tyndall Air Force Base.
Destin’s neighborhoods vary, depending on whether they are situated within the Choctawachee Bay or the Gulf of Mexico areas. The Choctawachee Bay area is located north of Highway 98 and is defined by bay-front properties with spectacular views, and includes Kelly Plantation, Indian Bayou and Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort.
On the Gulf of Mexico side, just past Henderson Beach State Park, are a number of Victorian-style cottages and scenic roads. Development is less dense in this area.
Everyone loves Destin, Florida; notable residents include Emeril Lagasse, Wayne Rogers, Britney Spears, Karl Rove, Mike Huckabee and Sheryl Crow.