Destination, Destiny, and Destin, Florida
This article illuminates how Destin, Florida, is more than a retired businessman’s blue lagoon. It’s an island of its own, like in ABC’s Lost, and its mysterious spell will never be broken.
My family has been vacationing in Destin, Florida, ever since I was a little turd, small enough to pack in a suitcase. Every summer (usually in August when the condo rates are cheaper and it’s less crowded) we would bundle up our swimsuits, beach towels, and enough sunscreen to drown a small village and head to the white sand beaches. We lived in Missouri, so the fourteen hour trip in a minivan with two A.D.D. brothers and a father with little patience was like riding with a ticking bomb on wheels.
The Gulf Is Enchanting
I’ve frequented the Gulf of Mexico more times than I have my senior seminar class (and we’re supposed to meet three times a week). And you know what? It never gets old or dull. From the minute I breach the Florida state line, the quaint tinge of saltwater and seaweed is like a lariat roping you to a home away from home. The sapphire ocean, with her muse-like wind, lures me in toward not just a destination, but a temporary destiny – one unlike the pompous Pacific or arduous Atlantic. There’s something enchanting and mythical about the Gulf, and it extends perfectly into the fanciful town of Destin.
Skip The Tourist Traps
If you’ve been there before, you may be questioning my enthusiasm. However, as an experienced and somewhat authoritative guide at this tourist site, I feel I’ve pinned down the truly memorable places – not the glamorous (and characterless) hotspots that you’ll find in hotel pamphlets or internet blogs (ironic?). Sure, you can go to Joe’s Crab Shack and Fudpucker’s like all the other suburban families with no insight into Destin’s depths. Or, as I suggest, you can sneak off Highway 90 and cruise the beachside hole-in-the-wall restaurants like The Back Porch and The Crab Trap. These hidden havens are host to some of the best seafood in the States. From fresh, uncracked King crab, to meltable Amberjack, these junctions have more than just flavor, they have personality. With wooden decks extending to the beach and sand-rooted patios nearby, you can drink a beer or throw a Frisbee while you wait to fill your reservation. And you won’t even remember you’re hungry.
The Beach Is Awesome
Like I said, my family has devoured Destin for decades, so it is a part of my heritage. However, in the past few years I’ve reinvented the trip and gone with friends from college. Last year there was a group of eight of us who scraped together enough change to all sleep in one condo and do nothing but flop on the sand like beached whales. Whether we were tossing tennis balls in the shallow waters or rafting out past the buoys in darker waters, we were basking in bliss. You can spend a fortune on fine dining and go-karts, but the memories you’ll sip up later will be lying in your Coozie Cup as you drift out to sea. But don’t just take my word for it.
See It For Yourself
Yes, everyone’s heard of Destin. It’s rapidly growing into one of the biggest tourist spots in the Southeast, and in the States in general. It has miles of strip malls, dozens of custard stands, and more putt-putt courses than the rest of Florida combined. Go ahead, live it up in the town for a day or two. But what will keep you coming back, year after year, is simply inexplicable. I can try to dissolve the alluring mystery with words by describing the way the sun melts on your skin like kisses from the skies, or how the aromatic mixture of tanning oil and seawater is brittle enough you could crack it with a beach towel. But it’s impossible. There is simply nothing I can do that will uncover the Destin unknown. You just have to visit for yourself.
By Phillip Shaefer