Summer is now officially over, but if you were lucky enough to go on vacation this year, I hope you got to visit the beautiful blue waters of the Emerald Coast. The Florida Panhandle has been a destination for Acadiana residents for generations, and my family joins so many others in looking forward to a trip to the Destin area every year.

But there are some things that just don't belong on the sugary white sand and gorgeous sunsets in Destin. I'll give you my own personal list, but I'm sure you've got a few tips of your own for enjoying paradise!

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  •  Don't bring your cell phone or keys to the beach. OK, OK, I know you want to take photos of your kids in the surf, but how about dialing down the screen time for awhile. You've got a view that others would kill for, so just enjoy it, and don't worry about those 25 emails you just got from the office back home. And trust me, if you've ever lost a set of keys in the sand, you'll never bring them down to the shore's edge again.
  • Try to cross Highway 98 on foot. The traffic is crazy on Destin's main drag, and the endless road construction makes this a very dangerous place to run willy nilly across. And you definitely don't want to end up in a wreck, or the ER on your vacay.
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  • Ignore the warning flags on the beach. These flags are up for a reason, and we saw over the holiday weekend that swimming while the double red flags are up can end in tragedy. So if you need a refresher: Green: Conditions are favorable for swimming, Yellow: Medium hazard, Red: High hazard, Red over Red, or Double red flags: Danger, the water is closed to public use, Purple: Marine pests are present
  • Leave trash on the beach. We all want to enjoy the beauty of the beach, so do your part and pick up what you have used. Most of the time trash receptacles are somewhere in the vicinity. And it's super important during sea turtle nesting season, which is May through October. We don't want the tiny reptiles to have to maneuver around discarded beer bottles to get to their destination in the sea.



  • Bring your dog to the beach. That's right, dogs are not allowed on the beach in Destin or Okaloosa counties. But they do have a pretty awesome dog park. The City of Destin's Nancy Weidenhamer Dog Park is located at 4100 Indian Bayou Trail.
  • Be rude to service workers. Destin, like so many other places, is experiencing an extreme shortage of workers in grocery stores, retail outlets, and restaurants. This means lines are long, and tempers are short. Don't forget to be NICE to the people who actually showed up to work while you are on vacation in paradise.


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