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Dolphins are loved throughout the country for their playful dispositions, their athletic flips, and their famed intelligence. If you’re planning a trip to Destin with kids, a dolphin cruise is a sure way to delight the whole family, but it can be enjoyed in a group of adults as well, or even going solo. You’ll learn plenty of facts about dolphins on your cruise, but there’s always more to learn. These fun facts about dolphins will help your kids or your group feel excited to see them up close and in person when you take your trip to Destin.

Famously Intelligent

Dolphins are well-known as one of the most intelligent non-human animals, and biologists constantly test their intelligence to learn more and more about them. In several studies, it’s been revealed that dolphins are not only able to learn new information but to pass it on to other dolphins — to teach them, essentially. They start their own games and even form teams with other animals. They even communicate with each other through clicking and whistling noises and have been shown to have a sense of humor.

The Killer Whale is a Dolphin

Ever seen Shamu at SeaWorld or seen TV programs refer to a “killer whale”? The orca — a black and white “whale” reaching sizes of up to 12,000 pounds — isn’t well-known in Destin, and you probably won’t see one in your dolphin cruise. Nevertheless, it is technically a species of dolphin, or porpoise as they’re sometimes called.

All species of dolphins are aquatic mammals who breathe through a blowhole on top of their heads. In fact, dolphins are said to use 90% of their lung capacity compared to the 15% that humans use. Whales, on the other hand, are a type of fish. The most common type of dolphin is the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, and it’s this kind of dolphin you’ll be most likely to see on your cruise.

The Cows of the Sea

Dolphins might not seem to have anything in common with livestock, but if you spend enough time around dolphins, you may hear an expert call one a “cow” or a “bull.” In the world of dolphins, female dolphins are referred to as cows and male dolphins are called bulls. Baby dolphins are even called calves, just like cattle.

Natural Athlete

Dolphins are loved for their acrobatic leaps and flips as they swim alongside ships, leading to the joy of a dolphin cruise. They’ve been shown to do this for fun, and even for attention, flipping higher when they notice that people are watching them. Some species of dolphins, such as spinners and spotted dolphins, can jump as high as 15 feet in the air.

It’s no wonder that people travel from all over the country to take a dolphin cruise and see these quirky, intelligent guys up close. Want to check them out for yourself? In addition to booking your dolphin cruise, don’t forget to find the right accommodations. Contact Forever Vacation Rentals today to book a vacation rental for your next trip.

In the dreary cold of February throughout most of the country, you might not be thinking about spring break, but it will be here before you know it. In fact, now might be a good time to start planning your spring vacation so that you have everything booked when the time comes. Florida, and Destin in particular, is a popular spring break spot for students looking for an escape from the books and tests. It can also be a great place for families to take their spring vacation, however. But why should YOU choose Destin for your spring vacation?

The Beach, Of Course

The Gulf of Mexico is beloved throughout the country as a spring vacation destination. Here you’ll find warm, sunny weather and soft, fine sand. The beaches themselves are beautiful, and the water is cool and deep blue. There’s plenty of opportunity for watersports, whether paddle boarding, parasailing, or body surfing. However, the water is still calm enough that you don’t have to worry about small kids if you’re traveling with family.

Music to Your Ears

Want to check out some concerts while you’re on your spring break? Destin is the place to be! April is the month for a number of live music events, including the Wednesday Night Concert Series in the Village of Baytowne Wharf or the Spring Concert in the Village hosted by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. You can hear anything from singer songwriters to rock or country artists or a Springsteen tribute band. Want to go dancing? In local clubs, you can find great DJs who know how to keep the party going all night.

Backed By Spring Breakers Everywhere

It’s not just us who think that Destin is a great location for your spring vacation. In 2018, Destin was rated the second best spot to take your spring break, right behind Panama City. And it wasn’t just college students, the study found, who enjoyed taking their spring vacation in Destin, but spring breakers of all ages and stages of life. In fact, if anything, Destin is an even more popular spring vacation spot for families than for students.

Family Friendly

Spring break is often associated with a sense of wild abandon and crass college student behavior that parents might not want to expose their young children to. However, you’re not likely to run into these kind of spring break stereotypes in Destin. There are plenty of college students who enjoy letting loose on the beach, but Destin beaches have a strict policy against wild parties because of their commitment to a family friendly atmosphere. You can enjoy spring holidays or simply a day at the beach with your family, go shopping, and check out the local restaurants, all with an atmosphere that’s fun and safe for all ages.

Think that a spring vacation in Destin might be right for you? Don’t wait any longer to book your accommodations. Contact Forever Vacation Rentals today for more information.

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and if you want to make this year’s celebration of love extra special, it may have already occurred to you to take a trip to the beach and Destin. With its sunny, mild weather even in February, Destin can be a great setting for your romantic getaway. You can enjoy a soothing, private holiday together in your vacation rental or the beach, or you can surround yourself with the many Valentine’s Day themed events going on throughout town. Here are a few of our favorite ways to spend Valentine’s Day in Destin.

At a Fine Dining Restaurant

Dinner is always a good idea for a romantic evening out. However, Valentine’s Day only comes once a year, so it’s a good idea to go big or go home. Don’t just go to the cozy restaurant across the street. Book a five star restaurant, the kind that requires a reservation and dressing up. It’s an opportunity to treat yourselves for a night, and treat each other. Consider renowned restaurants like Vue on 30A or Brotula’s. You can also try Marina Cafe with its gorgeous water views or Seager’s Fine Steaks & Seafood Restaurant.

Sampling Gumbo

Are you and your significant other enthusiastic foodies? Consider taking a short drive to Sandestin for the Sandestin Gumbo Festival, “one of the largest and most popular food events along the Emerald Coast.” This year, it kicks off on Valentine’s Day weekend, February 15, with a delicious shrimp boil. Award winning seafood, shrimp, and Bloody Mary’s can all be found here to delight the taste buds as well as the heart.

On a Cruise

What’s more romantic than a moonlit cruise? If you’re looking for something outside the normal fine dining restaurant for Valentine’s Day, consider taking a Moonlight Dinner & Dancing Cruise aboard the SunQuest Cruises SOLARIS yacht. There’s a three course meal, live entertainment, dancing, and of course the romance of the moon above and the ocean below. If you want your loved one to really feel special this Valentine’s Day, this cruise is well worth it.

Deep Sea Fishing

Deep sea fishing on a charter in Destin can be a great first date or an opportunity to spend time with someone you’ve been with for years. It doesn’t even have to be a romantic event. You can take the whole family, or a group of friends. However you define love this Valentine’s Day, as long as you all have a love of fishing and adventure, this is an activity that’s just better with company.

These are all exciting ideas for your Valentine’s Day itinerary, but sometimes there’s nothing better than simply watching the sun come up (or go down) over the beach or enjoying breakfast in bed. The important thing is that you’re in the right place. For that, contact Forever Vacation Rentals today to book a vacation rental that’s sure to lead to a comfortable and romantic weekend for you both this year.

Have a loved one who loves golf but seems to have it all? With Valentine’s Day coming up — or maybe their birthday or simply an opportunity to do something nice for them — you may be scratching your head for a gift that will both surprise and wow the golf enthusiast in your life. Fortunately, we’re here to help. In Destin, we’re big fans of golf and we know exactly what gifts golf lovers want. With this list, you may even be able to save a few gifts for the holidays at the end of the year, or you might find something for yourself.

A Golf Club Brush

Golf club maintenance may be more important than you realize. The cleaner the grooves of your golf club are, the more precisely you’ll be able to strike the golf ball. Plus, golf enthusiasts like to keep their golf clubs in pristine shape out of respect for them. So while a cleaning gift might seem a little boring, a true golf lover will probably appreciate it. Consider a two-headed brush. One cleans the face of the golf club while the other cleans the grooves.

Golfing Gloves

As fun as golf can be, it’s also pretty strenuous on your hands, and avid golfers may be all too familiar with the sensation of coming home with blistered hands. The right golf gloves can protect their hands no matter how intense their swing. They can also help tighten the golfer’s grip around their club. You want to choose gloves that allow the golfer to have full control of their hands, while protecting their palms and the balls of their hands.

Golf Club Clothes Hanger

This gift isn’t useful on the golf course, but it’s something that will bring a smile to a golf lover’s face. Etsy creator CigartMetalWorks makes clothes hangers out of vintage golf clubs. They can even use your old golf clubs (or your loved one’s favorite retired golf clubs) or specific clubs upon request. It’s a great way to let an old golf club live on with a completely different, but practical function. It’s also a way to show your loved ones that you appreciate their interests.

Golf Apparel

For many golfers, it’s not just about the sport itself, but the look. If you know a golf lover who also likes to sport the look of a golfer, you can’t go amiss with golf apparel. In fact, there’s even a gift box called Bogeybox full of men’s apparel that’s specifically geared towards golfers. The clothing service is customized to the recipient, so they’ll be sure to find something that suits their own style here.

One more great idea for a gift to give a golf lover? A trip to Destin to check out the local golf courses. From Emerald Bay Golf Club to Kelly Plantation, golfing is a treasured part of Destin’s culture. Contact Forever Vacation Rentals today to book a rental property for your upcoming golfing trip.

If it’s not enough to just lounge on the beach or wade into the water, snorkeling may be the activity for your next Destin vacation. Snorkeling is a fairly easy, low maintenance underwater recreation: unlike scuba diving, which requires a certification, all you need for snorkeling is a snorkel, a mask, and adequate swimming skills. However, snorkeling still allows you to explore some of the wonders lurking under the water in Destin, like schools of fish and colorful underwater plant life. So what can you expect to find when you decide to go snorkeling in Destin?

Beginner and Avid Snorkelers

Again, snorkeling isn’t the most demanding aquatic sport. If you want to swim with a little more power, you can purchase a pair of flippers along with your snorkel and mask, but it really accommodates all levels of comfort. In Destin, you’ll find beginner snorkelers as well as those who love snorkeling and do it often. You can snorkel pretty much everywhere that’s not restricted. If you have small kids, you can wade into the water and snorkel right off the beach, or you can find sea grass or coral for a snorkeling experience that’s full of discovery.

Man Made Reefs

Throughout South Walton, you can find man-made reefs designed to conserve the ecosystem underwater and study sea life. One of these man made reefs can be found in the Destin jetties. Located near Harborwalk Village, the Destin Jetties are made with stone that becomes reefs underwater, offering habitation and food to several different species of fish. This, of course, makes it an excellent place to snorkel. Here you can find redfish, puffer fish, flounder, small snappers, and barracuda, just to name a few. There are also various types of crabs and even octopi that live in the Destin Jetties. If you’re lucky, you may even see sea turtles and dolphins near the Destin Jetties.

Sea Glass and Sea Shells

Of course, the most fascinating sights to find when snorkeling in Destin are the fish, and there are plenty of fish to be found, as well as crabs and various sea urchins. But that’s not all you’ll find. If you’d like something to take back with you from your snorkeling expedition, some treasure to be found, look to the ocean floor. There you might notice seashells or sea glass. Sea glass appears to be a small, colorful stone with a frosted surface. It’s made from shards of broken glass — as from a broken bottle or headlight — that have undergone 20-40 years of erosion at the hands of the ocean. If you notice any sharp edges left to the sea glass you find, leave it there to complete the erosion process. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to find plenty more where that came from.

Snorkeling in Destin can be an adventure to cherish until the next time you return. In the meantime, find the perfect vacation rental property for your next Destin trip with Forever Vacation Rentals. Contact us today for more information.

One of the few downsides to golf is that it’s dependent on the elements. Golf is played outside, so if it rains, typically that means you can’t play outside. Cold weather, too, tends to spell the end of golf season for many. But some golf enthusiasts refuse to be daunted by the changing of seasons. If you’re determined to keep playing golf even in the winter, you can find a way. It just takes a solid love of the game and a few of these cold weather hacks:

Skip the Golf Cart

Golf carts can be handy in fair weather, as they allow you to rest in between putting and cut down on some of the lengthy walking time throughout an 18-hole golf course. However, if the temperature is a little nippy outside, it might be a better idea to hoof it. The more you walk, the more your blood will get moving, warming your body. It’s also a great way to get in some exercise, which can be sometimes lacking in the middle of winter.

Ear Muffs and Extra Socks

This is a trick that many skiers have already learned. While cold weather can be a drag in general, it’s usually the ears and the feet that suffer the most. Walking around and keeping the blood flowing will help fight the chill, but so will bundling up. If you plan to be out for a few hours hitting the links, you can protect your feet with an extra pair of socks or thicker pair of socks than usual, and earmuffs can keep your ears comfortable.

Check Your Expectations

Just because you’ve decided you’re going to play despite the weather doesn’t mean that the greens will be unaffected. Rough weather is sure to affect your handicap, and you may be frustrated by performing under par if you don’t check your expectations. Be gentle with yourself. After all, not everyone is willing to even play golf in the winter. You can also take into consideration the advantages of winter greens, like shorter yardage and improved distance control.

Go Somewhere Warmer

If the cold weather is getting you down and you want to play golf, why not take a few days off to go somewhere warm? In Destin, golf is more than just a sport: it’s part of our culture. And even in winter, we have beautiful weather perfect for hitting the links. Even in January, the highs are often in the 60s and lows only reach the 40s, with only an average of 6 days of rain. You can throw on a light jacket along with your usual golf outfit and you’re good to go.

Frankly, we think visiting Destin for all your winter golfing might just be the solution to all the other tips for golfing in winter. Ready to start planning your trip? Contact Forever Vacation Rentals today about a vacation rental property that feels like a home away from home.

If you’ve ever visited Destin in late spring, you may have heard beachgoers talk about sea turtle nesting season. You may have seen tourism material covered with vibrant pictures of sea turtles swimming near the Destin shores. It’s not just fantasy promotional material. You can actually find sea turtles in Destin and all along 30A. In fact, in 2017, there were a total of 127 sea turtle nests throughout the South Walton area. However, the endangered nature of many of these sea turtles means that some caution does need to be taken into account. Here’s everything you need to know about finding sea turtles in Destin.

Types of Sea Turtles in Destin

There are seven different species of sea turtles, and you have a chance of seeing most of them in Destin. Two of the most common are green and loggerhead sea turtles, both of which are throughout the world endangered. Green sea turtles can live upwards of 50 years, experiencing a similar lifespan to that of humans. Loggerhead sea turtles, those with a distinctly horned beak, can live as long as almost 70 years. You may also see hawksbill, leatherback, and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles in Destin. Most of these, too, are considered endangered and have certain protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Sea Turtle Season

Sea turtle season usually runs from May through October. In the late spring and early summer, sea turtles will flock to the peac at night to make their nests. They can have over 100 eggs per nest. Most years, South Walton will see about 50 nests, but in 2017, there were as many as 127. Night time beach goers at this time of year are encouraged to keep their distance and keep a careful watch out so as not to disturb any nests. The eggs take about 50-80 days to incubate, so by late summer, the new sea turtles will hatch and make their way back to the ocean. This is a trip they have to make on their own, and again, beachgoers should keep their distance when they see this, but it can still be a fascinating sight to behold.

Sea Turtle Conservation

So what’s the reason for such a large uptick in sea turtle nests in 2017? Most attribute that to the help of the South Walton Turtle Watch. The South Walton Turtle Watch is a group of volunteers who take it upon themselves to locate sea turtle nests on the beach and mark them so as to protect them from beachgoers. The protection of sea turtles due to the Endangered Species Act prohibits hunting, harming, or in any way interfering with sea turtles and their eggs. Only certified members of the SWTW are allowed to interact with sea turtles. In addition, beachgoers are cautioned against using lights that might distract sea turtles in their nesting process, except for turtle friendly lighting — usually a red light.

Want a chance to see sea turtles for yourself next season? Contact Forever Vacation Rentals today to book a vacation rental property for your next Destin vacation.

One of the big draws to Destin, Florida is the Big Kahuna Water & Adventure Park. With over 40 slides, pools, rides, and other attractions, Big Kahuna is a delight for adrenaline junkies or young families looking for a fun but relaxing splash in the sun. The park is out of season now, but it will be summer again in Destin before you know it, and you may already be planning your trip. Here are a few tips that will keep you sane when the day finally comes, especially if you have a whole family to coordinate.

Check Out the Rides Beforehand

Before you buy your tickets, it’s a good idea to take a look at the water park’s website and particularly what rides and attractions they have available. For instance, if your kids are toddlers and most of the rides are 70 foot slides and other thrills, that park might not be right for you. On the other hand, if the attractions are too tame, older kids might get bored. Fortunately, Big Kahuna has a wide mix of lazy, easy-going rides and big, exciting rides. However, this is a good thing to keep in mind as a rule.

Pack Sunblock

Destin is a part of the sunshine state, after all. In the midst of the summer, you’re likely to be walking around for multiple hours with the sun beating down on you, and the reflection of light off the water doesn’t help, either. You can develop quite a sunburn if you’re not careful. It’s a good policy to have plenty of sunblock for your entire Destin vacation, but in the case of your water park adventure, it’s especially important. Make sure your sunblock is waterproof, as well, so that you don’t have to keep applying.

Arrive Early

While it might be a pain to wake the family up early, you’ll be glad if you can get to the park at least 30 minutes before opening. You’ll have an easier time finding a convenient parking spot and with thinner crowds, you’ll be able to enjoy the park without so much of the chaos, at least for a while. If your kids are young and likely to get antsy when waiting in line, arriving early is essential to enjoying your water park vacation.

Take Advantage of Life Vests

Throughout Big Kahuna Water & Adventure Park, there are U.S. Coast Guard approved life vests available free of charge. There’s a good reason for that — safety is key. If you have young kids who haven’t learned to swim, or even older kids or adults who aren’t comfortable swimming, don’t be too proud to ask for a life vest. They’ll help ensure that your day is not only fun for everyone but also safe and without incident.

Need another tip for your water park adventure? Make sure to book a vacation rental property that feels like a home away from home, rather than just a place to sleep at the end of the day. Contact Forever Vacation Rentals for more information.

While thousands flock to Destin every summer for the sunny weather and beautiful beaches, winter can be an appealing if less conventional time to visit the Emerald Coast. In the winter, you avoid much of the traffic and crowds of peak season, but maintain the sunny weather and beautiful views. In fact, it can be a welcome respite from winter in other parts of the country. But packing for your winter vacation in Destin is a little different from packing for your summer vacation in Destin. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re prepared for your trip during the winter months:

Destin in Winter

Even in the coldest months of winter, Destin is known for mild weather. December through February sees highs for the most part in the 60s and lows in the high 40s. It’s also less likely to rain than in the mid summer. Each month averages about 5 or 6 days of rain, so you can coordinate your vacation around those rainy days by keeping an eye out for the weather forecasts. You’re not likely to see any snow during your winter vacation in Destin, but if you’ve chosen Destin for your vacation, you probably weren’t looking for snow, anyway. The water might be a little cold for a swim, but on a particularly nice day, many tourists enjoy visiting the beach anyway.

Packing Your Clothes

As you might infer, then, there’s no need to pack your bulkiest coats or fuzziest socks. Most Destin residents will be found sporting pants like jeans or slacks, a t-shirt, and a light jacket or cardigan. This makes packing a little lighter, which is always preferable. Check weather forecasts in case there’s any sign of rain so you can plan ahead for a rain jacket or boots, but again, rain averages are fairly low.

When it comes to shoes, it depends on the kind of vacation you plan to have. If your plan is to hit up all the shops, restaurants, and bars, then you’ll want comfortable walking shoes like sneakers or good flats. However, sneakers can be tricky if you plan to take a trip to the beach. Consider swim shoes — even if you don’t plan on swimming — for something that can be cleaned off easily and won’t need to be worn throughout the rest of the trip. You may still want to pack a hat for particularly sunny days, even in winter.

What Else to Pack

As for the rest, it’s all down to typical vacation packing. You’ll want to bring along all your necessary hygiene products, your necessary electronics and chargers, first aid kit, and something to keep you entertained for the trip — whether that’s a good book or a sturdy set of headphones. If you forget anything, you can always stop by a store, whether in the airport or when you arrive in Destin. In fact, with all the shopping opportunities in Destin, you may want to leave room in your bag for what you might bring home.

Packing for your Destin winter vacation? Make sure you find the right accommodations, too. Contact Forever Vacation Rentals today to find the perfect vacation rental property for your trip.

While some find themselves pining for a white Christmas, others choose their well-earned holiday time off to take a break from the cold of winter. If that’s the case for you and your family, you may enjoy taking a Christmas vacation to sunny Destin this year. Whether you have family in Destin or you simply want a change of scenery for the holidays, there’s a lot to offer. But if you’ve never taken a beach vacation for the winter holidays, here are a few incentives to spending Christmas in Destin.

Holiday Festivities

We might not have snow, but we have plenty of holiday festivities both in Destin and throughout the Emerald Coast from Thanksgiving through to Christmas and even the new year. You can visit Santa at HarborWalk Village and get pictures with the kids. Visits to Santa and plenty of free activities for the whole family run from noon to 4pm every day from late November until Christmas. The month of December kicks off with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Destin Community Center. There’s also the Destin Boat Parade on December 9, full of live music, crafts for kids, and of course, bright holiday lights. You can find New Year’s Eve celebrations throughout the Emerald Coast, both for the family and for older party lovers.

Beautiful Weather

Again, the winter doesn’t suit everyone. Cold weather can drive people indoors and make them a little stir crazy, which isn’t the ideal mindset for a vacation. Fortunately, Destin has lovely weather, sunny and warm, even in winter. You can enjoy Christmas in T-shirts and light jackets, instead of stuffy and bundled up. Trade a white Christmas for a Christmas breakfast on the beach or a long walk, taking in those scenic views. After all, for many people, Christmas isn’t just a holiday but a break from their usual lives — school and work won’t bother you here, and neither will Jack Frost.

Thinner Crowds

If there’s one thing that can put a damper on your beach vacation, it’s all the crowds. Long lines and packed restaurants or beaches seem par for the course during peak season — spring and summer especially. However, by December, peak season has died down and Destin has much more elbow room. If you’re looking for a quiet vacation where you can take in the scenery around you and all the activities Destin has to offer, without having to take in all the other tourists, Christmas in Destin could be the perfect time to visit. This is especially good news for a family vacation. You may also have an easier time finding flights or affordable accommodations in Destin this way.

Destin can be an excellent destination for your Christmas vacation. But don’t settle for just a hotel during your trip. Rental properties with Forever Vacation Rentals can feel much more familiar and comfortable, so that for the time you’re in Destin, you’ll feel as though you actually live here. Contact us today for more information or to book your own vacation rental for a Christmas vacation in Destin.