Once you’ve been to Destin, you’ll want to come back. You will probably keep coming back, and bringing your family. In fact, 43 percent of you voted Destin Best Family Beach in Travel Channel’s Best Beach Awards 2013.
Dan O’Byrne, director of the Okaloosa County tourist development department told the Northwest Florida Daily News (NWFDN) “This didn’t just happen; the focus on the family is in our DNA. Our attributes are self-evident from our accommodations, our beaches, our people. We’ve been the family vacation spot for decades. It’s us. It’s who we are.”
It is true. The environment and available activities, while perfectly suitable for singles looking for opportunities to mingle, are quite family friendly and well suited to activities for all age ranges. Some of Destin’s attractions cited by the Travel Channel are the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier, Sandpiper Cove, the Emerald Grand Hotel and HarborWalk Village, the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park and the Kelly Plantation Golf Resort. But, make no mistake; those are not the only family activities available.
Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier manager, Dave Urie, said “ I’ve seen kids fishing on the pier that now bring their kids to fish, and that’s not just the locals. I’ve had tourists come down year after year.
“What sets us apart is first, the white sand. I’ve been everywhere and there’s nothing like it. The second part [is] the people. We’re tourist friendly.”
Destin’s businesses have worked hard to ensure they provide an exciting yet family-friendly environment for visitors. Mayor Sam Seevers told the NWFDN “We maintain a certain clientele of folks coming to our area by having a lot of the good family businesses in our community that are family-owned, with great local restaurants and beautiful beaches,” she said. “We are the best beach. I greatly appreciate all these publications taking note of how great our beaches are, but I don’t need a tabulation to tell me that.
“I already know that we have the best beaches, and I take great pride in that.”
Runner-up beaches included Outer Banks, NC with 24%, Padre Island, Bahamas with 21% and Cape Cod, MA with 12% of the votes.