5 Reasons to Visit Northwest Florida this Holiday Season

November 11, 2022

The holidays are fast approaching, and where better to enjoy the festivities than Northwest Florida? Of course, beautiful weather, fewer crowds, less traffic, and affordable accommodations aren’t the only reasons. With a host of restaurants serving festive holiday meals and a hearty lineup of festive events, you’ll find plenty to get you in the spirit. Whether here for a short trip or an extended stay, you’ll have tons of winter fun while taking in the holiday sights, sounds, and smells along the Emerald Coast. Here are a few reasons to spend your holidays in Northwest Florida this year!

Comforts of Home

Although a snowy holiday in a cold climate seems fun, schlepping bulky sweaters and heavy snowboots in piles of luggage is cumbersome. Throw in airport layovers with tired kids who just want to know when Santa’s coming, and you’ll quickly find your holiday enthusiasm draining. Why not bring your loved ones together and celebrate the holidays at the beach? After all, the weather’s still pleasant, the environment is casual, and you’re bound to find a vacation rental in Destin or 30A that feels just like home but better.

Choose from beautifully appointed homes and condos with cozy furnishings and plenty of room for the whole gang to spread out. Spacious bedrooms, furnished kitchens, and breathtaking views set the stage perfectly for a holiday season filled with memories. Scenic Stays boasts a wide selection of vacation rentals featuring tons of amenities, whether you’re looking for homes with private pools, pet-friendly properties, or bikes to explore the beautiful scenery in the area.  Bring your traditions with you this year, ensure the kids that Santa does deliver to the beach, and let us take care of everything else this holiday season!

Traditional Meals

Gathering together with family and friends to prepare dinner is a time-honored tradition Southerners truly understand. The importance of the ham at Thanksgiving or the turkey at Christmas can’t be understated. Plus, all those tasty side dishes and desserts that complete the meal are just as important. You’ll be happy to know our fully appointed kitchens come stocked with all the tools needed to prepare the perfect holiday meal. If you’d prefer to let someone else do the heavy lifting, you’ll find plenty of options nearby!

Coastal gumbo, autumn salad, Snapper asparagus almondine, and roast turkey breast are just a few of the menu items at Soliel Destin. Enjoy a sweet and savory fall salad, a rustic mashed potato bar, and brown sugar and cider-roasted turkey at the Emerald Grande. Make some memories on the water on a Sunquest Cruise and savor herb-roasted turkey with giblet gravy, bourbon maple-glazed ham with veggies, Southern sides, and delicious desserts. Afterward, check out some live music at one of the many venues nearby!

Festive Events

Get in the spirit of the season by attending some of our holiday events. From parades to fun performances to festive cruises, you’ll find it all in Northwest Florida!

Destin Lighted Boat Parade

There’s nothing like a holiday parade, but we think they’re even better on the water. Arrive early at Harborwalk Village for fun events, live music, and a surprise visit from Santa Claus. Take in the holiday cheer as over 30 vessels decked out with Christmas lights and decorations pass through the harbor. Yachts, charter boats, and private vessels alike come together for a glistening display of all that’s merry and bright. Catch the parade from a restaurant on the harbor and stay for the fireworks afterward.

Santa’s Arrival and Tree Lighting at Destin Commons

There’s something about the lighting of a Christmas tree that makes the holidays official, and the tree lighting at the Destin Commons is no exception. A towering fifty feet of glitter and lights set the stage for a celebratory evening of shopping and fun right in the heart of Destin. The event will also present plenty of photo opportunities, face painting, fireworks, and, of course, the arrival of Santa.

Destin Christmas Parade

Join an enthusiastic crowd as marching bands, bagpipes, and holiday floats travel from the downtown Destin shopping center to Harbor Boulevard in a festive display for young and old. Dress the kids in Santa hats, give them a bucket to collect candy and prizes, and watch their eyes shimmer with delight as Christmas-themed characters dance to holiday music along highway 98.

12 Nights of Light at Baytowne Wharf

Browse the boutiques and eateries amid a sparkling light show every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday night at Baytowne Wharf. Accompanied by your favorite holiday music, children and adults alike will relish the joyous environment designed to get you pumped for the holidays. Enjoy three dazzling shows on the event plaza as part of the Wednesday night concert series. While there, rent some ice skates for the whole family and take a spin around the rink, then propose a celebratory toast to a holiday at the beach with some warm cocoa!

A Holiday Performance at the Emerald Coast Theater Company 

From plays to cabarets to one-person shows, the Emerald Coast Theater Company has been entertaining Northwest Florida for years. Locals eagerly anticipate their holiday performances, and this year doesn’t disappoint. Sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in Christmas Cabaret at the Boulevard, a musical-themed cabaret with live musical selections featuring classic songs and Christmas carols. Enjoy an evening filled with song and dance, encouraging you to sing along with family and friends and share in the festive winter vibes.

New Year’s Eve Cruise

If a moonlit cruise on a yacht complete with fireworks, live entertainment, party favors, and a midnight champagne toast isn’t’ the best way to ring in the New Year, we don’t know what is. Throw in a delicious four-course meal and a night of dancing under the stars, and consider us there!

Holiday Shopping

Why not do some holiday shopping while you’re in the area? It’s a great opportunity to pick up something unique that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s also a great way to avoid crowds and traffic and spend additional time with friends and family. From the Destin Commons and Baytowne Wharf to the Sandestin Market Shops and Silver Sands Premium Outlets, we’re confident you’ll find plenty of gifts for friends and family back home. Whether you prefer discount retailers or high-end boutiques, you’ll find it all in Northwest Florida!

A New Take on a White Winter

Although you might associate snow with winter, we think you’ll find our powder-white sand a lovely alternative. And winter blues will take on new meaning when strolling along the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It won’t take long to realize those sunny days, blue skies, and moderate temperatures certainly have advantages. Whether you plan to spend a week on 30A, a week in Destin, or a full month at the beach, we hope you start a new family tradition this year and spend your holidays in Northwest Florida!

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