Rags to Riches Regatta
July 3, 7 a.m. at Grayton Beach
The Rags to Riches Regatta is a 40-year sailing tradition where 30A locals and visitors gather to cheer on teams as they navigate 16-foot catamarans in a race from Grayton Beach (originally known as the “rags” side of town) to Seagrove (also known as the “riches” neighborhood). Presented by Crater Train Brewing Company, The 30A Company, and Tribe Kelley Surf Post, the race will benefit South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) and their mission to protect and preserve our local marine resources.
- Website: ragstorichesregatta.
- Race starts in Grayton Beach and ends in Seagrove.
Blue Mountain Bakery Block Party
July 3, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
The Blue Mountain Bakery is celebrating two years of operation with a block party. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy live bluegrass music from Longleaf Drive. The bakery will be open for dinner and dessert. BBQ brisket and shrimp boil plates will also be available. Pre-order is encouraged for larger parties. All proceeds will benefit a Blue Mountain Bakery employee’s grandchild recently diagnosed with leukemia.
- Website: bluemountainbakery.com/eats
- Address: 2217 W Co Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Grayton Beach 4th of July Parade
July 4, 8 a.m. Starting at The Red Bar
Come join in the fun for the annual July 4th parade in the wonderful and funky town of Grayton Beach. Line up on Hotz Avenue next to The Red Bar starts at 8 a.m. with the parade starting at 8:30 a.m. Decorate your cars, jeeps, boats, bikes, scooters, etc. No registration needed and everyone is welcome! After the parade meet up at Grayton Coast Properties for popsicles, watermelon and lemonade.
- Website: visitsouthwalton.com/events/
- Address: 70 Hotz Ave, Grayton Beach, FL 32459
Rosemary Beach Fireworks and Field Day
All Day Event on July 4
Fireworks at 8:45 p.m.
The Fourth of July is an all-day event in Rosemary Beach. Enjoy bicycle decorating, a bike parade, and family friendly field day events. End the day by bringing your blankets and lawn chairs to the beach to enjoy a star-spangled fireworks display in Rosemary Beach.
- Website: rosemarybeach.com/4th-of-july-
- Address: North Barrett Square, Rosemary Beach, FL 32461
Seaside Fourth of July Celebration
July 4, 9 a.m. -11 a.m.
Fireworks at 8:30 p.m.
Seaside will be celebrating the Fourth of July with a block party with decorated storefronts 9 a.m. -11 a.m. Enjoy nearby balloon art and stilt walking performances. End the holiday with Seaside’s spectacular fireworks finale over the Gulf of Mexico. Get the best seats from either the Seaside Amphitheater or anywhere along the beach in Seaside.
- Website: seasidefl.com/events/4th-of-
- Address: Central Square, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Red White and Baytowne
July 4, 6 p.m.
Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Celebrate Independence Day at this family friendly event at The Village of Baytowne Wharf. Kids activities include crafts, face painting and balloon sculpting. Live music starts on the Events Plaza Stage at 7 p.m. and will feature Donovan Keith.
- Website: baytownewharf.com/what_to_do.
- Address: 9300 Baytowne Wharf Blvd, Miramar Beach, FL 32550
Restaurant Specials and Offers
Fourth of July Biscuits & Beer
July 4, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Celebrate Fourth of July – Scratch style! Join Scratch Biscuit Kitchen for food and beer specials and enjoy live music throughout the event. Open to the public; reservations are not accepted.
- Address: 1777 E Co Hwy 30A, Unit 101 Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Prema Organic Cafe in Seagrove Beach
July 4 Weekend
We’re offering a flag inspired smoothie bowl. Our ALL AMERICAN 100% Organic SMOOTHIE BOWL called the “RED, WHITE AND BLUEBERRIES” is guaranteed to be delicious, satisfying and make you want to sing the national anthem. Red, white and blueberries will be offered the entire weekend. Come join us at our 100% organic, gluten-free, soy-free, canola oil-free cafe.
- Website: prema30a.com/
- Address: 3557 E Co Hwy 30A, Seagrove Beach, FL 32459
Swell Pops will be selling their red, white and blue popsicles all month long to celebrate the Fourth of July.
- Website: swellpops.com/
- Address: South Kiosk, Grand Blvd
Independence Day at Shunk Gulley
July 4, 11 a.m. -10 p.m.
Come celebrate our freedom and the Fourth of July at Shunk Gulley with live music, food and drink specials with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Website: shunkgulley.com/events-on-30A
- Address: 1875 S Hwy 393, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Clouds building and rumbling thunder off in the distance that quickly turns into a stiff breeze and the inevitable Florida summer rainstorm. Sometimes they only last for 15 minutes, and provide everyone with a quick respite from the summer heat. Unfortunately, sometimes they last for three days right in the middle of your vacation and parents are left with the question, what do we do in Destin when it rains?
There is only so much time any parent will let their children play behind a screen, even on vacation, so we have some options to get everyone out and entertained on those less than perfect days.
The Rainforest Blacklight Mini Golf and Arcade is a unique way to mini golf, in the dark with black lights. Not only do they have the mini golf, but their arcade doesn’t just have screens where you sit and watch, but rather the games are interactive and encourage the players to move. So the players not only have more fun but they get some activity going as well. Also, the Rainforest has a special offer of $1 off each adult for Skis and Seas guests. The coupon can be found in the coupon section of our app. www.rainforestblacklightgolf.com/
Silver Sands Outlet Mall is a popular choice and many families try to save a trip to the outlet mall for a rainy day of their vacation. With almost 100 stores and great deals many families get a significant part of their back to school shopping done while they are on vacation. www.premiumoutlets.com/outlet/silver-sands
Escapeology is Destin’s original premium real-life escape game experience! Located in the Market Shops at Sandestin, up to 6 players will be challenged in this new attraction by working together to find clues, solve puzzles, and pick locks that will free them from the game room. www.escapology.com/en/destin-fl/
The Thrills Arcade located at Seascape is more than just an arcade with the combination of skills games, Laser Tag and the Moo-La-La ice cream shop it makes for a wonderful afternoon of fun. www.thrillslasertag.com/
The Track with an arcade, amusement rides, mini golf and multiple go cart tracks will have something to appeal to any age group. The Track is Destin’s original off the beach happy place. www.funatthetrack.com/
The Surge Trampoline Park located in Fort Walton Beach is a great way to burn off some extra energy, and what is better than having the kids be totally exhausted and going to bed early on that rainy day? After just a couple of hours of jumping big and little kids will all be tired out and we finid that some of our most peaceful nights are those after going to the trampoline park. www.surgefortwalton.com/
With the summer season just around the corner we thought that we would put our perspective out there on the current construction and traffic patterns we see in Destin. There currently is a huge project going on to widen Hwy 98 from 4 to 6 lanes. This project will be ongoing until late 2020, which we all know means 2021.
The heaviest areas of congestion are from Downtown Destin East to the Mid Bay Bridge and from just East of the county line West to Regatta Bay and Destin Commons. There is also heavy traffic around the Silver Sands Outlet Mall. Be prepared on rainy days and check in check out days for delays.
On the positive side of things, the Sandestin area has been relatively free of additional traffic buildups and hopefully will remain that way. From Sandestin to the East, we have seen little to no additional traffic. With the new shops and restaurants opening in the Market Shops and Grand Boulevard, there is less and less of a need to fight the traffic and go down into Destin or out towards 30A.
As March begins, our winter guests are heading out and the Spring Breakers are counting down the days until they arrive. At the beach we have many things going on this year, Fat Tuesday is March 5th and there are many events around the local area the first week of March like the annual Baytowne Bash parade. It kicks off at 5 pm on March 5th at the Village of Baytowne Wharf and all ages are welcome.
March 17th is St Patrick’s Day, and we are all either a little Irish or want to be. Destin is famous for some of its Grog Marches and Pub Crawls. St Patrick’s Day without a march around Destin harbor and a stop by McGuire’s Irish Pub for one of their famous Wakes or Irish Car Bombs. Or if you’re like us locals just go during the week for one of McGuire’s lunch specials (My personal favorite is Wednesday) and a sweet tea.
March also marks the beginning of the Cobia season. These coastal migratory fish are in our area all spring and if you have never latched on to one of these fish, you don’t know what you are missing. They are a must on every angler’s bucket list. As an added bonus, Cobia are basically sea candy, and many local restaurants will prepare your fresh catch to your liking. One of the best places for a you hook we cook special is Brotula’s Seafood House your biggest problem will be deciding between blackened and pan-seared.
By the middle of April, the Spring Break season is ending, and the really nice time begins. Days and the Gulf are warmer, there is abundant sunshine, and the crowds have all but disappeared. The end of April and the first half of May are our favorite times to be in Florida and they will be yours as well.
June 1st marks the beginning of red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico. The 51 day season runs from June 1st until July 22nd and is sure to be fun. Red snapper are not only one of the easiest fish in the Gulf of Mexico to catch, but they are also one of the tastiest to eat. Catching red snapper is definitely a fun way to spend the day, and eating not only something that was swimming this morning but that you caught is one of the best ways to have a meal.
Many of the local captains think that this will be one of the best seasons for red snapper in some time. So far this year, they have experienced that many of the fish are on the move to new spots along the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. One of the benefits of having an extended off season is the fish move and spread out. As they spread, they repopulate many of the fishing spots so its not just little ones that can be caught, but some really big ones as well.
Recent reports from the docks are that the snapper are plentiful, one captain even reported throwing back over 100 from a charter last week. Not just little ones either, some were as large as 12-15 pounds. As someone who has fished quite a bit in Destin’s emerald green waters, I can personally tell you that if you catch a 12 pound snapper you won’t soon forget it, even if it is out of season and you have to release it.
Remember, when you are out on the water to bring plenty of water, snacks and sunscreen and the minimum size for a keeper red snapper is 16 inches, and the bag limit is two per person.
All remaining March dates are 15% off. Must stay more then 4 nights.
Valid on new reservations only!
What is the VRBO service fee and why do I have to pay it? (If you want to know how to avoid the VRBO fees just skip to the end.)
We hear these questions all the time. With ski season in full swing and the beach season just around the corner, we thought we would do our best to clarify the new service fees that VRBO and Homeaway charge (and how to avoid the VRBO and Homeaway fees.)
The last few years have seen tremendous change and consolidation in the vacation rental world. Airbnb has risen from a small start up to a multibillion dollar company, Expedia spun off Tripadvisor and Flipkey, Homeaway purchased VRBO, and Expedia purchased VRBO and Homeaway. With all of the change going on, these large online travel conglomerates found new ways to increase their revenues, usually at the expense of the lodging property owners and management.
Many websites, Airbnb and Flipkey as a pair of examples, charge a percentage-based service fee or booking fee. VRBO and Homeaway have always been subscription-based websites. After Expedia purchased these websites, they decided to implement the service fee because they realized that they could make much more money than by just charging a subscription. Add on to the fact that they kept charging owners and managers a subscription and you get some really unhappy owners and managers in addition to the unhappy guests.
Normally, when a company charges for a good or service it gives its customers a good or a service. So what does VRBO give for its service fee? On their website here VRBO’s main reason for the fee is to cover the costs of running the website. In addition to this they list transaction security, customer service and the book with confidence guarantee as reasons for the fee. VRBO must realize that nearly every person that books online through their website uses a credit card and with the competition between credit card companies every listed benefit of the service fee has been a basic benefit of using a credit card since the beginning of credit cards.
Now for the really important part-How do I avoid paying the VRBO service fee? Or any of the Airbnb or Flipkey booking fees? It is very simple, truly book directly through the owner or management company! VRBO is no longer Vacation Rentals By Owner, it is VRBE, Vacation Rentals By Expedia and like any good middleman they want their cut. Any owner or good management company will have an easily verifiable online presence with reviews and a website. If you find a unit you like on VRBO, Airbnb, Homeaway or any other website with a service fee spend an extra couple of minutes to find the owner directly, it can save you hundreds on your vacation rental!
Great news, We are expecting a snow storm tonight in Copper Mountain! Not too late to come down for the weekend.