Earlier this summer, Boating Magazine rated Destin the number one place to live and boat in the United States. My family and I live and boat here- and we agree! While the magazine rightly praises the sugar, white sand beaches, the plethora of water activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, and fishing, and the accessibility of the waterways, we have our own reasons for loving the Emerald Coast.
Boating offers a new perspective- and reminds us that we live in paradise. Heading out through the East Pass, into the Gulf of Mexico and up Santa Rosa Sound provides an unparalleled view of the Emerald Coast’s beauty. My daughter Harper, age 3, calls the East Pass, where the Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico meet the “Green Sea”, and when the tide is high, it’s hard to argue with that logic.
Out on the water, we have a chance to get up close and personal with marine life. Dolphins spend a lot of time frolicking in the Pass and swimming in the Sound. Kids can hunt for crabs, watch the pelicans grab their dinner, and keep their eyes peeled for the occasional shark sighting. The inlets and beaches in and around the Santa Rosa Sound and Choctawhatchee Bay provide great spots to teach kids about the art and science of fishing. Catfish and Pinfish are abundant, and you can catch and release them right back into the water.
If you’re feeling adventurous, or hungry, you can get a fishing license and hop on one of the many charter fishing boats. Depending on the season, you’ll be able to catch and keep snapper, grouper, amberjack, triggerfish, and redfish among many others. The charter boat captains are knowledgeable and they will make sure you have great experience and catch plenty of fish. Many of the restaurants on Destin’s historic Harbor will cookyour catch for you- you provide the fish, and they furnish the sides and fixings.
Destin’s waterways offer something for everybody. You’ll find families playing on Noriega Point, college kids, spring breakers, and singles partying on Crab Island, and couples pulling up to dine in one of the many restaurants on Destin’s harbor that have water front access. Keep your eyes open for Stand Up Paddle boarders, kayakers, and jet skiers as your cruise through the harbor and around the jetties.
Boating is a great way to see all Destin and The Emerald Coast has to offer. Unlike other family trips, nobody asks “are we there yet?”- the journey is as important as the destination.
About the author
Susan Jarvis Moody is a freelance writer and blogger currently providing social media content for the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council. For more information about the Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and how to plan your trip to the Emerald Coast, please log on to www.emeraldcoastfl.com.