Become a tourist in your own town. Get helpful tips and info about all things Destin and the surrounding Emerald Coast.

Destin winter event guide
The entire Destin area and surrounding towns along the Emerald Coast is bustling with activities. Farmer's Markets, Fishing competitions, champagne strolls, wine and beer tasting, there is always something going on. We'll do our best to keep this list updated with the most popular events in the area. Please let us know if you have an activity you'd like added to the list.

MARCH, 2017

20th Annual Destin Cobia Tournament - March 1 - April 30th
The 20th Annual Destin Cobia Tournament presented by HarborWalk Marina attracts hundreds of first time to experienced anglers to compete. Tournament begins when the first cobia is caught and ends April 30th. This is a free event. http://harborwalkmarina.net/tournaments-and-events/

Seaside School Half…

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Okaloosa County Updates

Destin property tax increaseThe Destin City Council recently established the budget for 2016-17 which includes a 7.6% increase in property taxes.

The new millage rate will be 1.615. Here are some of the areas the extra money will be used:

  • Stormwater and sidewalk repairs
  • A marine unit with a personal watercraft for the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office
  • Increased law enforcement coverage for spring break

Other decisions that resulted from the latest council meeting:

  • A temporary tree-cutting ban
  • With the 30-year contract with Gulf Power coming to an end, the council has decided to take proposals to do a feasibility analysis for purchasing the city's electrical utility. I wonder how many thousands of dollars they'll spend before…

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Vintage shot of the Destin fishing rodeoAre you ready for one of Destin's most anxiously awaited events? Taking place during the month of October, the 68th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo is coming up fast. Almost 1 year in the planning, the committee barely gets through one rodeo, when they have to start planning for the next year. Whatever they're doing, it works. The rodeo benefits the entire community and everyone gets involved. Even if you don't fish, there is always something going on at the docks.

Fishing Rodeo Quick Facts

  • Participants come from all over the U.S. several countries, and last year spent $1.4 million on hotels, food and recreation
  • Charter boat registration is even higher this year
  • Over 200 awards are offered, all sponsored by local businesses
  • There are 19…

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Eastern Shipbuilding, from the Panama City area has been awarded a huge $10.5 billion contract to construct the first series of nine offshore coast guard patrol cutters. The largest contract in U.S. Cast Guard history, this local company competed against seven other shipyards who also submitted proposals.

This contract translates to about 2,000 new jobs for the people of Northwest Florida. About 800 employees will be added to Eastern Shipbuilding's payroll, with a number required later on a contract basis for design and construction. Varying craftsmen jobs, engineering and administrative roles will be required. People will probably travel from as far as Okaloosa, and Fort Walton Counties for these opportunities.

It's really great to hear about a…

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Destin and area Fall events

Fall is a wonderful time of year in Destin. The kids are back in school and life has begun to return to normal again. You'll see there is still plenty to do; although from the list of events below, largely dominated by craft beer festivals and the ever popular Fishing Rodeo. Please send me a message if you'd like your event listed here.

SEPTEMBER 2016

Okaloosa Island Fireworks at the Fishing Pier - September 4
Time: 9 pm

FWB BBQ Festival - September 16
5th annual festival of food, music, beer, and family fun, sponsored by Okaloosa Gas!  The festival is two days - Friday and Saturday. 
Location: The Landing, 139 Brooks St. Fort Walton Beach | Hours on Friday are from 4 to 9 pm. Saturday hours are 11 am to 4 pm.
Time: 4 pm - 9 pm

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Emerald Coast SchoolsWe're really fortunate here along the Emerald Coast to have access to excellent schools in both Okaloosa and Walton Counties. There are some hurdles, such as the need for new schools due to increased population, and the constant retrofitting of older buildings, especially in Okaloosa County. There is a big demand for new teachers, with fewer and fewer choosing the profession each year.

The new state law allows parents to choose which school their children will attend, even if it's not in their zoning, or even in their county. Okaloosa County is just one of three "A" rated districts in the entire state, as a result their schools are especially attractive. It's a bit of a balancing act, accounting for a growing local population and the out-of-county…

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Destin, the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village" just got luckier! 

Make way for the expansion of Bass Pro Shops in Destin. The renovation will total 16,600 square feet and should be completed in the Fall of 2016.

Shoppers can look forward to:

  • more retail space
  • boat pad increasing from 5 boats to 15-20
  • three additional checkout counters
  • new fitting rooms
  • aquarium remodel
  • new energy-efficient LED lighting in store

With a huge population of anglers and boaters, this new development will be welcomed.

Bass Pro Shops, Destin FL

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I swore I'd never write a post about the whole Pokemon G phenomenon, but I just can't help myself. You might have read an article recently in The Destin Log about how Pokemon Go is taking over Destin Commons. Players are glued to their smartphones in search of elusive Pokemons, sort of like geocaching, but with a twist.

This is a lot of excitement for a game that started out as an April Fools prank by Google just 2 years ago.

Unlike most computer games, Pokemon Go gets people outside, walking and possibly venturing upon new areas or notable places you've never seen before. A friend said that since he's been playing, he walks 6000 more steps a day then before. But, there is one big issue with this game. Like most popular computer games, it's…

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Navarre Beach PierThe Destin Log recently printed an article, "Destin a pricey destination, but tourists say it's worth it." They reported that the average visiting family can expect to spend approximately $5,000-7,000 a week on their trip.

Then they proceeded to interview a family that spent over $6000 in two weeks for her family, which included a teenage daughter and her two friends. Their activities included, the Track, the Gulfarium, a spa day, a sail on a party boat and parasailing. Hello...those kinds of activities are going to cost you big bucks, no matter where you travel to.

The other example, Doug Rogers from Louisiana, has a family of five who come to Destin twice a year and spend a total of $8,000. This is a perfect example of someone who should be…

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Watersound Village CommonsNew homes are coming to the upscale development of Watersound Origins. This sought after South Walton community in Watersound FL will be adding 107 new lots that are expected to be available next summer. Situated next to the activity center and close to parks and the Village Commons.

Part of this new development means re-routing the Watersound Trail so that it passes through the new phase. Unfortunately, the trail will be closed until 2017 when construction is complete. The five-mile trail begins at Watersound Origins Village Commons, and connects to Gayle's Trails in Panama City Beach.

Currently homes can be purchased in Watersound Origins starting in the mid $400,000s.

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