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Get a little sand in your soul this year in the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast, named #1 Best Beach of Florida by U.S. News & World Report Travel in 2014.

Comprised of Destin, Ft. Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island, the Emerald Coast offers 24 miles of pristine, white-sand beaches stretching along the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida. The sand, made up of pure Appalachian quartz, is sugar-white, and it gives the waters here their trademark emerald-green color.

Emerald Coasting is great snorkelling, tubing, kayaking and parasailing. Love to fish? You’ll find some of the best angling Florida has to offer here. Fishermen come from near and far to hook sailfish, marlin, wahoo, cobia, bluefish, tarpon, mackerel and more. Of course, where there is great fishing there are usually great seafood restaurants and the Emerald Coast is no exception. Here, you’ll find cuisine that is both inventive and fresh, brought in daily by Florida’s largest fishing fleet.

You can do it all or do nothing at all on the Emerald Coast. Go on a dolphin cruise. Take in a marine show. Visit a waterpark. If shopping is your passion, you won’t be disappointed either. Take your pick from traditional malls, open-air complexes and distinctive boutiques. Are you a collector? The area’s natural beauty and coastal charm have caused the area to become a haven for artists of all kinds.

Top 5 Experiences

  • Interact with dolphins at Florida’s Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, the world’s oldest continuously operating live marine show.
  • Get your fill of fresh seafood at local, one-of-a-kind restaurants like Dewey Destin’s, AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar and Harbor Docks.
  • Have a blast at Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park with more than 40 exciting water attractions, three tropical minigolf courses, two go-kart tracks and adrenaline-pumping rides.
  • Explore an Indian Mound Temple that dates to 1400 A.D.
  • Celebrate the local culture at one of many unique festivals on the Emerald Coast, including the Destin Seafood Festival, Festival of the Arts and the Destin Beer Festival.

Sightseeing & Tours

  • Southern Star Dolphin Cruise – Climb aboard the Southern Star and experience up close viewing of dolphins, seabirds and a variety of other marine life from this 80ft. glass bottom boat! Payable locally from $33pp.
  • Indian Temple Mound Museum – Explore over 1,000 artefacts of stone, bone, clay and shell, as well as one of the finest collections of prehistoric ceramics in the Southeastern United States. Payable locally from $12pp.