Things to Do on the Florida Panhandle
- Spa Day –
Looking for a way to relax? Visit a spa in western Florida! Near our destination at Miramar Beach are a couple great spas and wellness centers for you to receive the perfect pampering. Get a soothing kneading at Massage Therapy by Blaine & Company, a Thai yoga massage at the Surfside Spa or a body wrap or skin treatment at the Emerald Sanctuary Spa and unwind in bliss!
- Beaches –
Our properties are located right by Fort Walton Beach and Miramar Beach, so obviously you can hit the waves there! If that’s not enough, there are more beaches to visit. See a dolphin crest the water while enjoying the crystal water and sunshine at Okaloosa Island. You’re far enough away that you can get lost in the view and lose your toes in the sand, yet close enough to the boardwalk to stop to fill your tummy and shop! You can also stop by John C. Beasley Park right on the island.
- Fishing –
Come out and fish at the Okaloosa Island Pier. There are LOTS of fish to catch as well as shops to rent equipment and purchase bait and tackle. Be careful of the playful dolphins; they’ve been known to steal bait right off your hook! Local fisherman are often there to lend you a hand or offer the best advice. If you’re an evening fisherman, you might even see the fireworks show every Wednesday at 9 p.m.
- Shopping –
Let’s face it, it’s fun to shop while you’re on vacation. The Grand Boulevard at Sandestin has the big names you love like, J. Crew, as well as privately owned shops. Dine at one of the great restaurants or catch a 3D movie at the Carmike Cinemas Boulevard 10. Have the kids with you? That’s fine. There’s a carousel, zip-lining and bungee jumping there too. There’s often live music there to entertain the whole family.
- Museums –
Curious to learn more about the area? Visit the Indian Temple and Mound Museum for history about Northwest Florida dating back to 14,000 B.C. There you’ll see pottery and artifacts as well as listen to a speaker tell you about the historical exhibits. This museum is part of the Heritage Park and Cultural Center, meaning admission gets you access to the Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum, the Garnier Post Office Museum and the Civil War Exhibit Building! Also be sure to check out the Air Force Armament Museum to get up close with historic planes, missiles and artifacts on war and military operations.
- Cooking Classes –
We know that often times you go away on vacation to avoid day-to-day things like cooking, however, Kitchenique makes cooking fun! Attend a two hour class while visiting Destin. The owner, Vicki, or one of her teachers will demonstrate how to make and help you prepare an extraordinary dish. You even get to take home the recipe and sample your creation. Advance reservations are required.
What To Pack
If you plan on hitting the beach, make sure you bring some flipflops so you’re not burning your feet on the hot sand. Sunglasses are also a must, especially with the way the light reflects off the sugar-white sand. Some travelers bring or buy an umbrella to block the rays and still enjoy the beach. Sunblock is also very important, oh and don’t forget bug spray if you’re by the water! Remember to bring a sweater for those cool nights and a camera to capture your vacation. See how you could win a GoPro camera from us on our Sundance Vacations News site. By default, tank tops and shorts can be your go-to outfit for a summer trip. For more packing tips, watch our Sundance Vacations Packing Tips video!
Whether you’re visiting our property at Miramar Beach or Fort Walton Beach, Florida, there’s access to transportation to get you where you need to go in and around the town of Destin. There are taxi, bus and shuttle services available in both areas; see Okaloosa County Transit for details. Travelers will probably want a car in order to travel and see sights, head to the beach and more. If you are thinking about renting a ride for the week, see how you could save some cash on your rental on the Sundance Vacations Blog! Another popular mode of transportation, and it comes as no surprise, is a boat! Check out the Destin Water Taxi website for more details, routes and schedules.
- January – Senior Snowbird Expo, Gulf Coast Bridal Fair
- February – Mardi Gras Parade, Annual Chili Cook Off
- March – Annual ABWA Coastal Classic Car Show, Destin Cobia Tournament, Emerald Coast Boat Show
- April – Emerald Coast Volleyball Week, Music Echoes Native American Festival
- May – Annual Beach Kite Festival
- June – Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival
- July – Destin 4th of July
- August – Pinfish Tournament, Sandestin® Triathlon
- September – Fort Walton Beach Greek Festival, Bluegrass at the Beach
- October – Annual Destin Seafood Festival, Destin Fishing Rodeo
- November – Round the Island Race, Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis
- December – Christmas Boat Parade, Holiday Lights at Gulf Breeze Zoo
|Transportation to Destination||Amount of Time|
|Taxi to Four Mile Village from Mirmar||6 Minutes|
|Drive to Destin from Fort Walton Beach||10 Minutes|
|Drive to Destin from Miramar Beach||15 Minutes|
|Drive to Fort Walton Beach from Miramar Beach||26 Minutes|
|Drive to Okaloosa from Fort Walton||37 Minutes|
|Drive to Okaloosa from Miramar||45 Minutes|
|Drive to Milton from Fort Walton||56 Minutes|
Florida DestinationsCheck out our destinations in Florida!
- When you’re in the middle of the Panhandle, be careful about the settings on your phone. Some travelers will set their clocks to manual so it doesn’t keep switching between Eastern and Central time zones.
- Always be prepared for a shower! It rains quickly and sometimes unexpectedly in Florida.
- When you think of the Panhandle, you think of beaches. Of course! But let’s not forget that it is really mostly rural area. Further inland, you could get yourself some freshly harvested tupelo honey and enjoy the views of trees and open road.
- Local, federal and state authorities take great care to protect sea turtles and their nests on the beaches. Between May and October, the turtle’s nesting season, there are local volunteers who monitor the beaches to protect the babies. Help keep the turtles safe by not disturbing their nests and avoid the hefty fine too!