We didn’t take very many family vacations when I was growing up, but the few that we did became some of my fondest childhood memories. When my sister asked if we wanted to take one to Destin, Florida I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I’d heard so many great things about the beaches there and knew we could make some amazing memories. My sister works in property management and thought we’d be able to stay in one of the properties that they have on the beach while we were there. I decided to book us a rental car through Expedia since we didn’t have a truck big enough to comfortably accommodate my sister, brother-in-law, my two nephews, Nate, myself, all of our bags and everything we knew we’d need at the beach like a tent, beach chairs, coolers, etc. The week before our trip, we were notified the property had actually been double booked and that we’d have to find a hotel.
Booking a hotel at the last minute can be incredibly overpriced, especially at a beach location where families are vacationing the week before kids go back to school. I was mentally prepared to spend an additional $2000 on lodging. Luckily, booking our rental car through Expedia unlocked their Add-On Advantage, which allowed me to get a great hotel deal, even at the last minute. After you book your car, flight or, package, you’ll instantly unlock up to 43% off select hotels until the day of your trip, giving you time to find just the right hotel. I especially love this option because it takes the pressure off planning and paying for your entire trip all at once. I personally like to take as much time as I need to research the perfect hotel at the perfect price.
WHAT WE DID:
We went to Destin specifically for the beaches. We wanted to do a lot of nothing, as long as the nothing included laying on the beaches. Each day we did something different, so I’ve recapped it all below.
Crab Island | Crab Island is a staple in Destin that can only be reached by boat, so we scheduled a morning boat ride to spend a few hours there. I didn’t know what to expect, but as we got closer we saw a ton of floating food vendors, big inflatable jumping gyms and jet skis, canoes and other rentable items. I’d strongly suggest that you bring a float with you. Even though all of the water is walkable, if you don’t have a float you’ll be standing the entire time. We grabbed a few daiquiris, rode jet skis, and got back on the bed to head back to the boardwalk for lunch. 3 hours was PLENTY of time to spend there.
Dolphin Sunset Cruise | We did this specifically for the boys and it was a two hour cruise, which seemed like a very long time. We did end up seeing multiple dolphins and the kids loved it. The view was gorgeous as well. The best view of the dolphins is going to be in the front of the boat, so park a seat up there!
Fudpuckers | They have live alligators here that you can feed, hold and watch sleep, which was great for children. We didn’t stay to eat, but my nephews thought the alligators were pretty cool.
Henderson Beach State Park | This is a great beach to spend the day at. It’s $6 per car to park but there’s so much more space than the beaches off of the piers that are packed. It was quiet, much more spread out and enjoyable.
Miramar Beach | This beach was about a 25 minute drive away from our hotel, but definitely worth it. It has such a charming feel to it, with a ton of cute little restaurants and shops. It also feels less touristy than being along the shoreline of Destin.
WHERE WE ATE:
The Back Porch | We went to The Back Porch right after we dropped our bags off and got changed. We’d be driving all day and made it just in time to enjoy the sun going down. We sat on the patio, close enough to smell the beach. The food was pretty good. We shared crab dip and onion rings as an appetizer and I had grilled grouper with green beans and a twice baked potato. The serving size was huuuge, so I took back leftovers that I never ate. This is a great place to go if you just want to hang out off of the beach and grab a burger or fried seafood.
Land Sharks Pizza Company | This was a quick decision after leaving Crab Island. The boys wanted pizza and this one was close. It also had 4.5 stars on Yelp so we stopped in. It’s definitely not the cutest place, or the cleanest, but the pizza and wings were both bomb. I’d keep it simple and stick with the pepperoni or supreme pizza. The crust was flavorful and it was cooked perfectly. We got a small specialty one that had buffalo sauce on it and wasn’t as impressed.
Ruth’s Chris | We had an adults-only dinner one night and went to Ruth’s Chris. The restaurant was relatively pretty empty and they sat us quickly, but there was a saxophonist playing that evening. Made. My. Night. I requested “A Ribbon in The Sky” before we were even seated and he played classics all night long (you might’ve seen him on my Instastory). We had crab dip and oysters to start, then red fish and steaks as well as mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, asparagus and creamed spinach for the table.
Crackins | We stopped here for breakfast before heading to the beach and every single thing was delicious. I ordered biscuits and gravy with house potatoes and two scrambled egg whites and finished my entire plate. I also had some of my nephews chocolate chip waffle (which was amazing) and his bacon. Nate had a New Orleans themed omelette with crawfish and shrimp in it that was also reallllly good. Definitely recommend stopping in here!
Boshamps | Hands down, THE BEST food I ate on the entire trip. And we had some really good food while in Destin. I got the red snapper over pasta in a lemon butter sauce with spinach and the entire table agreed that it was the best dish. My nephews had burgers that were both very good quality and the fresh cut fries were my favorite. The fried seafood was delicious as well!
Our first official family vacation would not have been possible without Expedia’s Add-On Advantage. I highly recommend utilizing it for your next family or girls trip! It took the headache out of planning and most importantly, saved me money that I was able to use on activities in Destin.
Other Items I Wore:
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.