The Emerald Coast! (Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Florida)

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My husband and I really wanted to go on Spring Break trip this year, but we just bought our first house and booked a trip for our anniversary in June so….we knew we were on a BUDGET! After hearing rave reviews from several friends, we decided on Destin, Florida because it’s only a five hour drive from Atlanta (about 330 miles).

Destin Billboard

We rented a condo in Ft. Walton Beach (about a 5-10 minute drive from downtown Destin). For $140 a night, the place had a full kitchen, two bedrooms, cable TV/internet, a pool, AND it was dog-friendly. Plus, the condo was RIGHT on the beach. We made all of our meals, except one, and our pooch Mandy came too so we didn’t have to spend money boarding her. Unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed on the beach, but it was fun bringing her anyway. There was a Publix (grocery store) about 2 miles from the condo and we stocked up on food and drinks for our three-night stay.

The April weather was beautiful…cool nights and warm days – great beach weather! The Emerald Coast had some of the nicest white sandy beaches I’ve visited. The beach outside our condo was very clean, and when we went for a dip in the ocean the ground wasn’t rocky at all. The gulls weren’t too bad either (until the kids down the way started feeding them!).

Beach

<— The view from our balcony.

On our second night, we decided to hit the town and go out to eat! McGuire’s Irish Pub was recommended to us so we gave it a try! McGuire’s was a pub with character! Over a million dollars worth of dollar bills were taped to the walls and the ceiling which made for a fun atmosphere. They served Irish favorites like Corned Beef & Cabbage and other items like burgers and steaks. Plus they serve an 18 cent bean soup! All of the food we had was really tasty, plus their happy hour deals were great! It was disappointing that their outdoor eating space wasn’t open. It was really dark to be inside on such a nice day, which was a big downside.

McGuire's

We wandered down to the Harborwalk in Destin which had free parking and lots of shops/restaurants/boat rentals. It was a really cute area although it was kind of quiet on a weeknight. It seemed like an area which hustles and bustles during the day.

Renting a condo & grocery shopping was definitely the most cost-effective way to travel to this beach town, but there were many hotels in the area. Kevin and I will definitely visit The Emerald Coast again. It was a VERY low-key vacation which was just what we needed. No frills, just the beach and the sunshine. I would recommend this area to anyone who wants to relax!

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About Andrea

I am a museum educator at Kennesaw State University with my master's degree in Heritage Preservation. I taught fourth grade through middle school for several years prior to museum work. I live in Atlanta with my husband, dog and cat. I am a lover of travel, wine and good food on a (20-something budget!) so hopefully my blog will provide you with some of my travel tips that I learn along the way.

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