Emerald Coast: Top 10 Insider Picks

The Emerald Coast contains 24 miles of sprawling, pristine beaches with bay front communities, which travel through the seaside towns of Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island. The area is best known for it’s extensive year-round activities coupled with rich historical culture and for those who visit the area year after year, it comes as no surprise that Southern Living magazine voted this section of the Emerald Coast the “Best Beach Town in the South” 14 years in a row. For those of you traveling to the area for the first few times, VisitSouth.com has compiled a list of their Top 10 Insider Favorites, which we wanted to pass along to you and recommend it instantly be added to your vacation itinerary. 10. Destin Harbor/ HarborWalk Village: Situated along the Destin Harbor, the Harborwalk Village is filled with shops, eateries, galleries and so much more. It’s literally a one-stop-shop for adventure, food and fun. 9. The Air Force Armament Museum in Fort Walton Beach: The only U.S. museum dedicated to the collection and preservation of memorabilia associated with Air Force Armament. The Air Force Armament museum is “guarded” by 25 reconnaissance fighter and bomber planes, experience the 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! 8. Destin History & Fishing Museum: discover how Destin evolved from a small fishing village into one of the nations most luxuriously laid-back vacation destinations. 7. The City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center: Comprised of the Indian Temple Mound Museum, Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum, Garnier Post Office Museum and the Fort Walton Temple Mound. The resulting concoction creates a Nationally Historic Landmark and cultural focal point showcasing the history of Fort Walton Beach area spanning back 12,000 years. 6. Gulf Islands National Seashore: This 40-mile long barrier island reaches from Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach to Pensacola and is home to indigenous plants, wildlife and numerous water adventures. 5. Florida’s Gulfarium: Located in Fort Walton Beach and dating back 57 years, this is an excellent place to learn about marine and sea life, through various educational shows & programs. *Closed for improvements through May 2012. 4. Golf The Gulf: This area is home to more then 1,000 golf holes on the Emerald Coast and known for it’s prestigious courses and huge drawing cards. 3. Dewey Destin’s: Enjoy the fresh seafood and casual environment on the Choctawhatchee Bay. The very same place the original Destin’s landed during the 1800’s. 2. Silver Sands Factory Stores: notably turning 20 this year, the Silver Sands Factory Stores in Destin is the country’s largest, designer discount shopping center. 1. 30A: Designated as a national scenic corridor, 30A is called home by a dozen, extraordinarily unique beach towns locally dubbed “a string of pearls” Check out one or two, or all ten of these picks and immerse yourself in the countless local gems that make the Emerald Coast priceless. photo credit: Jim Vail Photos Top 10 Insider Picks shared from VisitSouth.com

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