the Gulf Coast
Labor Day may signify the end of summer, but beach vacations are just heating up along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. Frequent fall visitors share this insider’s secret − the emerald-green water is still warm and the beaches remain sugar white, enticing new seasonal adventures along the beaches of Destin, Okaloosa Island and Ft. Walton Beach.
I had the pleasure of visiting Destin on the Gulf Coast before, and really enjoyed it.
Visitors can find offers from around the area at EmeraldCoastOffers.com and Facebook fans can enter to win a 2-night stay in our “Free for Fall” sweepstakes. The Gulf Coast’s “Free for Fall” sweepstakes is available to anyone who “likes” the destination’s Facebook page:www.Facebook.com/
“The fall season is an incredible time for fishing in the area, and of course, any season here lends itself well to shopping, dining and live entertainment, as well as visiting the beach,” said Dan O’Byrne, director of the Emerald Coast Tourist Development Department. “Many people are surprised when they hear that our temperatures in September and October average around 85 degrees, so as the rest of the country cools down, we’re still enjoying summer-like warmth.”
The area offers attractions beyond the typical beach activities like parasailing, snorkeling or golfing that you won’t find anywhere else this fall, including:
Destin Fishing Rodeo: October 1-31
Destin’s nickname is the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” and in fact was founded not because of the sugar-white sand or emerald-green waters, but because of the variety of fish available just off the coast. So in the spirit of its rich fishing history, the Destin Fishing Rodeo was founded in 1948 and is a fishing tournament that is open for saltwater anglers of all ages. Along with the monthlong tournament, visitors can enjoy rodeo events such as live music, parades and even a 5K Rodeo Run. www.destinfishingrodeo.org
Emerald Coast Volleyball Week Fall Classic: October 2-6
Volleyball enthusiasts can sign up to play in the 25th annual Fall Classic in four divisions: Fudpucker’s 4-Player, Bring Your Own Partner, Best of the Beach and Doubles Draw. Plus, players and spectators alike won’t want to miss out on the volleyball clinic, players’ party and golf tournament. www.emeraldcoastvolleyball.com
Destin Seafood Festival: October 4-6
The 35th annual Destin Seafood Festival is a 3-day event full of arts, crafts, music, entertainment, fireworks and of course, delicious coastal cuisine. Visitors can stroll along the mile of festival lining the boardwalk while they also enjoy views of the water and breathtaking sunsets. www.destinseafoodfestival.org
H.O.G. Rally: October 22-26
Visitors can join in the 110th Anniversary of Harley-Davidson and the 30th anniversary of the Harley Owners Group® with exciting parties, fabulous food and breathtaking rides along the fabled white-sand beaches of the Emerald Coast. www.flstatehogrally.com
Destin Festival of the Arts: October 26-27
With more than 100 juried artists from around the country, the 18th annual art festival is sure to impress any art lover. The festival is held at the Village Green at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village, festival goers will be able to enjoy live music, a children’s activities tent and skimboard workshops. www.mattiekellyartsfoundation.
Other unique attractions on the Gulf Coast in Destin and Ft. Walton Beach open year long include:
Air Force Armament Museum Experience
The museum houses aviation warfare armament from the early days of World War I right through to today’s high-tech planes and bombs. Inside, you’ll find an extensive collection of weaponry and interactive displays that will amaze and intrigue. Outside displays include vintage military aircraft including the fastest plane ever built − the SR-71 Blackbird! Admission is FREE and all are welcome! www.afarmamentmuseum.com
Destin Bike Tours
A new bike tour takes visitors on a trip down memory lane, showing them not only the beautiful sugar-white sand and emerald-green waters, but also some significant landmarks in the city’s history. www.destinbiketours.com
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Topic: Gulf Coast