Okaloosa Regional Airport is situated eight miles north of the Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island area on State Hwy 85.
Highway 98 it traverses the Emerad Coast from east to west. Many major attractions, resorts and other recommodations are located along this major highway, as well as Scenic Highway.
Public transportation on the Emerald Coast makes it easy for you when you want to get out the wheel and relax.
You can catch the Wave, a fun and inexpensive local bus service that allows you to see the sights and get to your destination on time. All Wave buses are equipped with bicycle raks and wheelchair lifts to make your traveling more convenient.
Tip: remember that drivers cannot make change, so be sure to have the exact fare ready/50c/ride/25/c senior citizen/ handicap fare.
Okaloosa Island and Destin Shuttles, which provide transportation to Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island.
The Destin Shuttle is divided into west and east service areas-alloving visitors to reach a variety of sights and destinations, including shopping districts, resorts, hotels and major attractions.
You can find shuttle route maps at the Emerald Coast Convention&Visitor Bureau in Fort Walton Beach.
See pictures, this bridges / 4.8 miles loong / takes you to Hwy.98. You pay $2 each way.
In the spring and summer, Hwy 98 is completely congested with traffic. It will take you an insane amount of time to drive very short distances due to this problem! In addition, many people become frusterated when they are trying to turn onto/around on Hwy 98, and they will just GO even if it is unsafe. I have seen so many "almost" collisions, so be careful and pay attention to other drivers.
Taxi's are very expensive in Destin. During the high season, they can be as much as $20 one way at night-- even within only Destin (they are even more for traveling to Okaloosa Island and Ft Walton Beach).
By Air : Okaloosa County Airport is the main airport for Fort Walton and Destin beach areas. The airport is situated on Eglin Air Force Base in Valparaiso Florida.
By Road: U.S. 98 travels along the Emerald Coast, edging the Gulf through Destin and Fort Walton Beach. From 331 south, take Highway 85 south at the Alabama/Florida line, straight into Destin * Fort Walton Beach. From I-10, exit on to Highway 85 south at the Fort Walton Beach exit and head straight into Destin * Fort Walton Beach
Biloxi, MS 175
Houston, TX 610
Dallas, TX 623
Atlanta, GA 368
Chattanooga, TN 410
Cincinnati, OH 731
Mobile, AL 100
New Orleans, LA 248
Orlando, FL 422
St. Louis, MO 801
The drive can be very nerve-wracking during the peak travel season (late May-late September) because we all love to play in Florida!
Driving around the area isn't too bad; Destin is laid out in a very simple way with the main drag running East-West.
If you are looking for cheap flights into Penscola you will want to check out the flights into three airports all of which are a short drive to Destin. I have been flying into the area for over 20 years and have never flown into VPS although I choose flights/airlines based on who has the best price.
I find the cheapest flights are to PMS and ECP. Lately I have been flying into ECP (Panama City) a lot. Panama City has a new international airport so the prices of those flights are now a lot cheaper than a year of two ago.
The local airports with airport codes and drive distances.
1) PNS - Penscola - 41 miles away
2) ECP - Panama City - 39 miles
3) VPS - Valparaiso - 5 miles away
Websites like Kayak.com will help search for the cheapest flights but I have found that the discount airlines are not represented on these websites. I recommend that you check for flights with the discounted airlines directly. A special note on using discount airlines, many of them have a significantly higher customer satisfaction and on-time delivery rating than the major airlines and many discount airlines don't charge for checked baggage.
If you are flying from Tampa/Orlando to Destin like I do your best option is to fly Orlando to Panama City. Orlando has cheap direct flights using a discount airlines.
Discount providers to check directly:
Southwest - Panama City
Airtran - Penscola
Regardless of what MapQuest or your GPS of choice says, make sure you enter the area on whatever side your staying. The traffic coming into the city on Saturdays is absolutely horrible (2 hours = 15 miles). You'll save yourself a huge headache if you come in as close as possible to where you're staying.
If you are traveling from the Destin Commons shopping center towards the center of Destin, you will run into traffic clogs no matter what time of year it is. However, there is a back way that puts you right back into the center of town and gets you through most of the traffic. Take the West traffic light exit out of the Destin Commons shopping center and continue driving straight. This is called Holiday Road, and it winds a bit, but you go straight through to a dead end. Turn left and you will be back out by the Destin Cinema 10. It's a quick way to around the traffic that always bogs up around Wal-Mart and The Track.
The closest airport is the Okaloosa Regional AIrport in Fort Walton Beach (airport code: VPS). The airport is a 25-minute drive to/from Destin.
You also can fly into Panama City Beach (airport code: PFN) but it isn't as convenient as Fort Walton Beach.
We always drive to Destin from Memphis. We go south on I-55 through the state of Mississippi, cut across through Mobile, Alabama (on I-10?), and eventually you'll see signs posted regarding the Mid-Bay Bridge. This bridge is rather new, and it is advertised as "The Fastest Way to Destin". There is a toll on this bridge, but trust me, it'll save you about 30 minutes to an hour's worth of driving.
The fastest way to the beaches of Destin and South Walton is the Choctawhatchee Mid-Bay Bridge. Located from Hwy.20 in Niceville to Hwy.98 in Destin. Take the bridge and have more time to play
See pictures:This bridges takes you to Santa Rosa Mall from Hwy.98.Destin