Okaloosa Island vs Destin
If you are debating between staying on Okaloosa Island or Destin, let me give you a few pointers.
First, Okaloosa Island is much older than Destin, thus more run-down. It has a very gloomy and commercialized feel to it; very cheap and touristy. The hotel buildings are ugly, and ruin the coastline views. Coming over the Brooks Bridge you will see a line of tall, rectangular, grey buildings lined up on the beach...not very appealing. In addition, Okaloosa Island experiences more damage during every hurricane, and it takes time to rebuild. As a result, there still many damaged areas from hurricane Ivan! Some hotels are still being reconstructed, which affects the appeal of the entire area.
Destin, on the other hand, is much newer and nicer. Destin is still an obviously touristy destination, but it manages to keep its charm. The buildings are all well-kept and attractive, making Hwy 98 a somewhat appealing strip of highway. Even the supersized souvenir warehouse shops aren't as offensive as the ones on Okaloosa Island; they are brighty colored (vs being dingy) which makes them less of an eyesore.
In addition, the strip of highway between Destin and Okaloosa Island is hopelessly congested during the summer/spring months. This makes traveling between the two very frustrating. Most of the activities and restaurants are located in Destin (and ALL the nightclubs, save Swamp and Howl-At-The-Moon are in Destin), so if you are staying on Okaloosa Island you will be sitting in traffic a lot.
One last tip...the police frequently set up DUI checkpoints between Okaloosa Island and Destin. Since most of the nightclubs are in Destin, it's more convient to stay in Destin; you avoid a potenial DUI, and cab fares will be cheaper.
a nice side trip from destin is to grayton beach state park. grayton beach is considered one of the best beaches in the state of florida. grayton beach state park offers fishing, canoeing, nature trails, and camping. for more information on this beautiful area of northwest florida see my grayton beach pages.
from destin take US 98 20 miles east to CR 30A. take CR 30A southeast 5 miles to the park.
Grafiti's is a unique restaurant with great atmosphere and food. Bright, funky artwork covers the walls and colored lights hang from the ceiling. They have the best pizza -- my favorite is the three cheese and tomato. The service is great as well! My absolute favorite dish in Destin is their lobster ravoli in a garlic cream sauce. Delicious!
Acme Oyster House
The famous Acme Oyster house of New Orleans comes to Sandestin! This restaurant offers tasty dishes and casual ambiance which makes for a wonderful dining experience. I'm from New Orleans and I LOVE good cajiun cooking, and this restaurant does not disappoint. Their raw oysters are award-winning, and I highly recommend them! I had the crawfish ettouffee, which was very good. My husband had the creole jambalaya (delicious) and a hamburger. The hamburger was very typical, nothing special, and I would not recommend ordering one. At a restaurant that offers such a wide variety of new orleans favorite foods, I have no idea why anyone would want a simply hamburger anyway!
Overall, I'd highly recommend this restaurant!
Long walks on the beach...
Make sure that you take a couple long walks on the beach. It's especially beautiful around sunset (and I'm sure its equally beautiful around sunrise, although I'm never up early to see it!). I also like to take a book and read on the beach until the sun goes down. Its very peaceful and relaxing.