5 Reasons Why Northwest Florida Beaches Should Be Your Holiday Destination
November 4, 2021
For many travelers, Northwest Florida beaches are the #1 summer travel destination. What many don’t realize is that as the weather cools down and the holidays approach, Destin and 30A beaches are just as much fun in the winter. From merry events to fresh seafood and everything in between, the beach is a winter wonderland and the perfect holiday escape. Spend your holidays at the beach and enjoy the magic that is a Northwest Florida winter.
1. Bring Everyone Together
One of the appeals of the holidays is the opportunity to join together everyone in the family who may live far and away. Bringing your family or friends together for the holidays is easy at the beach with plenty of space in well-appointed condominiums or luxurious beach homes right on the sand. Pack your holiday decorations and feel right at home with a brand-new view. No matter what your holiday traditions are, there’s a place to celebrate on the coast.
2. A Different Kind of White Winter
If you’re from a cooler region of the United States, then your idea of a white Christmas probably includes snow. Down in Destin and along Highway 30A, the sugar-white sandy beaches offer the same whimsical experience as fresh snowfall. Trade your gingerbread houses for sandcastles and build sand sculptures instead of snowmen to bring a festive flair to your beachy stay. The white sand and clear blue water are the perfect backdrop for sunset strolls.
3. Holiday Activities and Events
Spending the holidays at the beach doesn’t mean you have to sit on the shore or in your accommodations all day. The area spanning from the Destin Harbor to the exclusive east end of 30A offers plenty of activities and events. Each event is family-friendly, low cost (in many cases free), and will fit in perfectly with your vacation. Check out these events during your stay leading up to the most joyous season.
The annual Lighted Boat Parade features more than 30 boats decked out with holiday cheer. Past favorites include a giant, inflatable Santa at the helm and nautical creatures looking holly and jolly as all the boats light up the Destin Harbor. The event wraps up with a spectacular fireworks show. Get down to HarborWalk Village early for pictures with Santa and live entertainment before the main event.
While it may not be the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Destin Commons boasts one of the region’s largest and most ornate trees. The lighting of the 50-foot tree is celebrated with Santa’s arrival and an evening of family fun with face painting and more on Main St. The event finale is a booming fireworks display in the heart of Destin.
Locals and visitors alike line Harbor Boulevard to watch the annual Destin Christmas Parade. First responders, Destin royalty, and local business owners create cheerful floats and throw goodies to onlookers during the procession. Special guests typically include Santa Claus, the Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and other holiday fan favorites!
Baytowne Wharf dazzles visitors every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday night during the holiday season with three radiant light shows each evening. Stroll through Baytowne Wharf and enjoy the show while visiting the shops and restaurants. On Wednesdays, the night’s festivities include a holiday edition of the Wednesday Night Concert Series on the stage.
The spirit of the holidays is in the air at Emerald Coast Theater Company. In November and December, performances for all ages include Frozen, the Snow Queen, and Miracle on 34th Street. Each show is sure to delight with characters new and old and opportunities to sing along with the music.
There’s something so nostalgic about fireworks on New Year’s Eve, and with plenty of places to view spectacular firework displays, you’ll have no shortage of bright lights and booming color when rining in the year. For a family-friendly firework show, check out the Buccaneer Pirate Firework Cruise for a sparkling show from the water.
4. Fresh Seafood
While the holidays may not make you think of seafood, heading down to the best beaches in the winter is guaranteed to make you crave it. Whether you cook at your vacation home or head to one of the many delicious restaurants the area has to offer, you’re sure to get some of the freshest and best seafood around. Destin is home to a large fishing fleet out of the Destin Harbor. Boats offer group and private charters for inshore and offshore fishing trips. Take all your travel buddies out for the day and discover why Destin is known as the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village. Many area restaurants offer “cook your catch” options, as well.
If you’re not in the mood to put your angling skills to the test, there are plenty of seafood markets in the area. Sexton’s Seafood Market is family-owned and operated and offers plenty of different seafood options with a side of southern hospitality. Once you’ve selected the dish and picked up the ingredients, you can bond with loved ones while preparing your beach holiday meal in your own in-house kitchen. New recipes, traditions, and memories are forged over food.
5. Cooler Temperatures and Fewer Crowds
The sun shines brightly over the Sunshine State year-round, so there will be plenty of time to soak it up during your holiday stay. The average temperature in Destin in December is in the mid-60s. It’s comfortable for peaceful afternoon walks along the water, enjoying hot cocoa from your balcony, and taking in the view from the decks of beachfront restaurants. Plus, there’s no need to worry about traffic during the holiday season in Northwest Florida, and wait times at the area’s most popular restaurants are at an all-time low. If you’ve been on a summer beach vacation and waited hours for a table to open up, then you’ll be amazed at the ease of a winter holiday.
The pace of the beach towns may slow down, but you can still expect the same amazing views and great service offered 365 days a year.
Visit Northwest Florida this holiday season!