Memorial Day weekend, at the end of May, is generally accepted to be the beginning of the summer vacation season. Summer, however, doesn’t officially kick off until June 21st, the time of the summer solstice. No matter when you start saying “It’s summer!,” we can all agree that June on the Emerald Coast is a beautiful time of year, and a great time to be here. June offers the Destin and Fort Walton Beach area two very different seafaring events, the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival and the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic.

The Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival (June 5th – 7th) started out as a Labor Day ski show in 1953, but has blossomed into one of the nation’s longest-running pirate festivals. Come to town by air to avoid the pirates at sea, but be here in time catch the Torchlight Parade on Eglin Parkway, Thursday at 7:00pm. For a full event schedule, follow this link.

From the Billy Bowlegs Festival website:
“This year, there’ll be more pirates than ever! And yes, of course Capt. Billy and his Krewe will arrive by sea to “scout” the Landing on Friday, June 6, and return to implement their dastardly plans on Saturday, June 7.”

Another great summertime event is the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic (ECBC) at Sandestin (June 18th – 22nd). This event, which coincides with the peak of the Gulf Coast’s blue marlin season, is a world-class sport fishing tournament. The ECBC is ranked as one of the Top 10 Big Money Tournaments in the world and it is the fastest-growing fishing tournament on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The tournament isn’t just for blue marlin. The three heaviest blue marlin, mahi-mahi, tuna, and wahoo are eligible for cash awards. For more information and to see a schedule of events, visit the ECBC website.

If you’re planning on flying into Destin or Fort Walton Beach for either of these great events, let us know. The Emerald Coast’s friendliest airport staff is ready to help. Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.