It’s crazy to move to a place and never experience all of the fun things it has to offer. How many of you are guilty of not taking advantage of where you live? We did a lot of fun things last summer, including going to the beach daily, but this year we’ve been complete hermits.
I had the opportunity to hook up with some of my favorite gal pals a couple weekends ago in the county right next to mine, and let me tell you how much of a BLAST it was to experience Destin and the rest of Okaloosa County like a tourist experiences it. I’m making a vow right now to do a better job of getting my kids out and having a good time, because despite the fact that this is a rural area, there is SO much fun to be had.
Come have fun with me!
Uncle Buck’s FishBowl & Grill
4100 Legendary Drive, Destin , FL 32541 restaurants.basspro.com/UncleBucksFishBowl/Destin/
First of all, Uncle Buck’s FishBowl & Grill is not just a bowling alley, it’s an adventurous dining experience brought to you by Bass Pro Shops. Their menu is a complete local experience with boar, alligator, and all kinds of delicious fish served up just the way you like it.
Their bowling alley doesn’t lack a single detail, and makes you feel like you’re bowling inside the ocean. Luckily no water is involved so you don’t have to trade your lungs in for a set of gills.
I do recommend trading your flops for a pair of bowling shoes to sport as you throw elaborately painted bowling balls down equally elaborate lanes. I don’t know about you, but putzing around town with my kids is usually a chore, but taking them to Uncle Buck’s FishBowl & Grill wouldn’t be a chore at ALL.
HarborWalk Village, Destin, FL 32541 www.emeraldgrande.com/harborwalk-village
There is absolutely no lack of fun to be had at HarborWalk Village. We had the great pleasure of staying on HarborWalk Village at The Emerald Grande. Our 3 bedroom condo was absolutely posh, and there was a coffee maker and full sized fridge for us to use. There’s nothing quite like drinking your own, expensive coffee in the morning with heavy whipping cream, all the while sitting on the balcony talking to one of your favorite friends. You don’t even have to venture out of your pajamas!
If you do want to get out of your pajamas and enjoy the Village area, put a comfy outfit on and get ready for a jam-packed day of shopping, eating, drinking, swimming, beaching, paddle boarding, ziplining, and more. You don’t have to get wet to have a good time in Destin. HarborWalk Village is notorious around these parts for fun all year long, complete with parades and fireworks. But there’s so much more to do down there!
There’s wine ice cream (true story), shopping, all kinds of water sports, and some of the best restaurants on the Emerald Coast. Looking to go catch your favorite team play pigskins on Saturday? AJ’s has an enormous screen and fresh & salty oysters to slurp down as you cheer your team on to victory.
The Spa at Emerald Grande is another fab place to relax and let someone massage your cares away after a long day shore-side.
For those of you with an adventurous spirit, there are water sports galore to take advantage of, on the beautifully clear, emerald waters that are indicative of Florida’s Emerald Coast.
Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone
1306 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach , FL 32548 www.wwazone.com
If you need something to do while it’s raining on your Destin vacation, Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone should be your first stop. First off, let me tell you a little sumpthin about Florida weather: It won’t rain long, so when it stops raining, you want to be in a position to take advantage of the break. Wild Willy’s has an arcade, restaurants, and 5-minute long, 4D movies that are way more fun than stressing about your child going too far into the ocean. If you enjoy hearing your friends shriek at the top of their lungs when they are attacked by dinosaurs, this is the place for you.
There is also a 4-story ropes course, an 18-hole mini golf adventure, and a 9-hole mini golf adventure. If you’re looking for putt putt golf in Destin, Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone should be your first stop. You won’t be bored, and if you go late enough, you’ll have the tremendous pleasure of watching the sun set in an explosive display of color.
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Ft. Walton Beach 32548 www.gulfarium.com
I still can’t believe this was my first time at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. I had no idea there were adorable shows starring fun sea creatures like sea lions. I fondled a starfish, photographed a great blue heron, clucked at a penguin, and marveled at stingrays. The dolphins were adorable, and the widdle baby blew me a little underwater kiss, I swear. There are few marine parks that are situated directly on the ocean, and the scenery at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is really second to none.
If you’re looking to enjoy Destin and Okaloosa County, Florida without getting your hair wet, make sure you visit these attractions – just don’t forget your sunscreen!