Do As the Locals Do
February 25, 2022
As a local property management company in Northwest Florida, Scenic Stays takes the mission of “locals supporting locals” seriously. Without visitors, the area wouldn’t thrive, but without the locals, some of our favorite things to do wouldn’t exist. Next time you come on vacation, check this list of locally owned places to eat, drink, shop, and play in Destin and 30A so you can truly do as the locals do.
Craft Bar is a local staple for all things craft beer, delicious gastropub eats, and cocktails. Conveniently located in the heart of Destin at Paradise Key or Grand Boulevard, you’re never more than a 10-minute drive away during your Destin vacation. The mac and cheese delivers Instagram-worthy cheese pulls, and the Nashville hot chicken is perfectly balanced with a creamy side of ranch dressing. Wrap up your meal with the sinfully decadent candied bacon (yes bacon!) brownie with bourbon ice cream. Did we mention happy hour? Monday through Friday, Craft Bar offers a $5 drink and food menu from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Cheers to that!
The Local Market
It’s all in the name! The Local Market is rooted in the community. Located on Holiday Isle, the restaurant offers breakfast and lunch menus with fresh bread made in Fort Walton Beach daily, meats brined in-house, and locally sourced produce whenever possible. Sandwiches, salads, and a variety of fresh smoothies and agua frescas make the perfect lunch pit stop during your time in Destin. If you’re headed to the beach, we recommend getting something to go and enjoying it picnic-style. The Local Market also offers beverages from local craft beer to tasty, bottled juices to go.
Stinky’s Fish Camp
A great play on a name, Stinky’s Fish Camp has nothing foul on the menu. Offering oysters “all day all ways,” Stinky’s is a Santa Rosa Beach institution. Whether you what them steamed, smoked, topped with butter, or raw, Stinky’s is sure to put a smile on your face and keep your belly full. The restaurant offers live music, Sunday brunch, and specialty menus for Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving. No matter what time of year you visit, it’s a shucking great time at Stinky’s Fish Camp.
East Pass Coffee Co.
Every perfect beach day starts with a piping hot – or ice-cold, depending on your preference – cup of coffee. Formerly the JumpinGoat Coffee trailer located behind Dewey Destin’s on the Destin Harbor, three local friends decided to make the jump to a brick-and-mortar location just down the road, and East Pass Coffee Co. was born. East Pass Coffee Co. proudly serves hand-roasted coffee from JumpinGoat, a family-owned roaster in the mountains of Georgia. If coffee isn’t your jam, then try a signature matcha latte or refreshing fruit smoothie during your visit.
Gulf Coast Burgers – Shakes
Gulf Coast Burgers is the home of some of the most extravagant milkshakes in the area. The restaurant is locally owned by a Gulf Coast family, and the menu features the wildly popular Cat 5 Shakes. This isn’t your average milkshake! A Cat 5 Shake is a shake topped with anything from cupcakes to cotton candy. The sugar rush is worth the trip to Destin Commons to try one out!
Is there anything better than enjoying an ice-cold beverage with friends at sunset? Chiringo is the place to set this scene in Grayton Beach. A few of their frosty offerings include the “Hot Summer Dayz” made with local Dune Laker Vodka and fresh strawberries or a rotating selection of seasonal craft brews. As a bonus, Chiringo is just across the street from another local favorite, the Red Bar, and a short distance to the Shops of Grayton. You won’t be disappointed when you add this to your sip-and-see agenda.
Sunset Shoes & Lifestyles
Sunset Shoes & Lifestyles offers innovative designs and high-quality brands for shoes, clothing, and accessories along the coast. There are five locations spread throughout Destin and 30A. The area inspires the offerings, so you’ll find plenty of flip flops, beachy jewelry, and must-have vacation accessories like Bogg Bags. Locals and visitors alike can agree that Sunset Shoes & Lifestyles offers a fantastic array of options.
Banana Bart’s Island Trading Co.
The little yellow building on HWY 98 is home to one of the most unique shopping experiences you’ll ever have. Banana Bart’s has been open on the Destin Harbor since 1993 and offers one-of-a-kind souvenirs, funky art, and an old Destin charm. Amongst the hustle and bustle of Destin, Banana Bart’s is a small, quiet piece of paradise.
Shops of Grayton
If you love art, then the Shops of Grayton should be on your list of places to go during vacation. The shopping area comprises three different galleries, Mary Hong Studio Gallery, Saczynski Gallery, and the Studio Gallery, plus the Shard Shop. Enjoy the artistic flair of the Shops of Grayton and take a piece of 30A home with you to remember your time spent at the beach.
Did you know Destin is known as the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village? At Destin Harbor, there are plenty of opportunities to try your luck aboard party fishing boats such as the Swoop or the Destin Princess. If you’d rather stay on land, HarborWalk Village has ziplining, bungee trampolines, and plenty of family-friendly events throughout the year. Visitors spending time in the area during October won’t want to miss the Destin Fishing Rodeo with daily weigh-ins the entire month. Feel free to skip the festivities and spend your evening watching the sunset and strolling down the docks.
The Big Chill
The Big Chill on 30A is the best of all worlds – it’s a perfect place to eat, drink, shop, and play! Watch football with a cold beer on the big screen, stop by Family Game Nights of trivia and bingo, or pop into Shore Thing Cigars for a fresh cigar and cocktail. Even better, stay close to the action by booking one of our stunning Prominence homes, within walking distance to The Big Chill.
The great outdoors is one of our favorite things about living in Destin and 30A. Whether it’s a bike ride or paddleboard out on the water, it’s a chance to soak up the sunshine and get a little sand in our souls. Adventure30A is a locally owned rental shop that can fulfill all your watersport adventure needs. Go out on a kayak or enjoy one of their guided paddle tours to truly experience life as a local.
Ready to Try a Locally Owned Vacay?
We all know Destin and 30A are the ultimate vacation destinations, but when you live like a local, it makes the trip even better. Stop by any of the places on this list, and you’ll be able to consider yourself an honorary local!
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