Destin

Destin is one of the most popular beach destinations in the Florida Panhandle, spanning from Miramar Beach to Ft. Walton. Named “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, there is no shortage of recreational fun here – watersports, golfing, dolphin cruises, gorgeous resorts, Henderson Beach State Park and the infamous Crab Island! Fresh gulf to table seafood is very easy to find around here, which can’t be beat. Destin Commons is also the go-to spot to shop and dine in Destin. Families visit Destin, Florida as a tradition year after year. It’s no wonder why so many are now calling this special place home.

Destin is a city located in Okaloosa County, Florida. It is a principal city of the Crestview–Fort Walton Beach–Destin, Florida, metropolitan area.

Located on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin is known for its white beaches and emerald green waters. Originating as a small fishing village, it is now a popular tourist destination. According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, over 80 percent of the Emerald Coast’s 4.5 million visitors each year visit Destin. The city styles itself “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, and claims to have the largest fishing vessel fleet in the state of Florida.

The city is located on a peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico from Choctawhatchee Bay. The peninsula was originally a barrier island. Hurricanes and sea level changes gradually connected it to the mainland. In the 1940s, it technically became an island again with the completion of the Choctawhatchee-West Bay Canal.

Destin is named after Leonard Destin, a New London, Connecticut fishing captain who settled in the area between 1845 and 1850. He built a New England colonial home at the location of the Moreno Point military reservation. Captain Destin and his descendants fished the area for decades.

Condominiums were first built in Destin during the 1970s, although Destin was not incorporated as a municipality until 1984. The city has experienced rapid growth since the 1980s.

The white beaches and emerald waters of the Destin area draw many tourists. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection estimates that more than 80 percent of the Emerald Coast’s 4.5 million yearly visitors travel to the region to visit Destin. Visitors can charter fishing vessels from the harbor, and there are 12 beach access points in the city. Among the access points is Henderson Beach State Recreation Area. A portion of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, the Okaloosa Day Use Area, is just across East Pass on Santa Rosa Island.

The sand on Destin’s beaches is some of the whitest in the world. The sand comes from the Appalachian Mountains, and is made of finely ground quartz crystal giving the appearance of sugar. Residue flows down the Apalachicola River and is deposited into the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the currents the sand drifts west along the Gulf Coast and settles from east of Panama City to the Alabama coast.

Several events also take place throughout the year as well. For the month of October, the annual Destin Fishing Rodeo draws anglers to Destin each year since 1948. Also in the month of October is the Destin Seafood Festival, where fresh seafood and local artists gather for one weekend every October.

In addition to an assortment of hotels and motels, many high-rise condominiums are located in Destin. The first condominiums in Destin were built in the 1970s, and construction continues today. Visitors play a large part in Destin’s economy – the city’s population of around 12,000 balloons to 40,000 during the tourist season.

Real estate in Destin, Florida is consumed in large part by privately owned vacation rentals. Privately-owned vacation rentals that can be found in Destin consist of condominiums, beach homes, townhomes, resorts, studios, cottages, and a few bungalows. Most vacation properties are found on the south side of US Hwy 98 near the Gulf, while most locals live on the northern side of US Hwy 98 by the Choctawhatchee Bay.

Destin’s surroundings include other popular tourist destinations. Sandestin, Florida, located to the east in Walton County, is a popular golf and beach resort. Further east along the coast are the master-planned community of Seaside, filming location of the 1998 movie The Truman Show; Grayton Beach, Florida; and Rosemary Beach, Florida. To the west are Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach, and the Civil War fortification Fort Pickens is located at the western end of Santa Rosa Island. Many celebrities own homes in the area.

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