A few hidden secrets about the Emerald Coast

Arial View of the Emerald Coast

1. Emerald Coast’s High Rises Are So Tall, They Get Their Own Weather

Certain stretches of the Emerald Coast coastline are so developed that some of the larger buildings have their own weather patterns. It’s known as “condo fog.” Warm, moist air coming in off the Gulf of Mexico is forced up to a cooler spot creating a mini fog bank that appears to swoosh over the tall buildings like a giant wave. Some of the most famous pictures of this phenomena were taken by helicopter pilot JR Hott of Panhandle Helicopters in Panama City Beach.

2. This Nature Preserve Houses The Ruins Of A Missile Test Launch Facility

Between Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and the Great Wall of development of Tops’l Beach and Sandestin® resorts there’s an overlooked nature preserve with the ruins of a World War II missile test launch facility on its grounds. Thousands of people drive by Coffeen Nature Preserve daily on one of the Emerald Coast’s busiest stretches of highway—U.S. 98 just east of Destin—and never notice the subdued entrance that also leads to Four Mile Village, a small collection a houses tucked away in the trees and sand dunes. Tours are available by appointment only.

3. You’ll Find Here A Whole Wolf Sanctuary

In a remote area north of Panama City and south of Chipley, Seacrest Wolf Preserve is a one-of-a-kind place not only for the Emerald Coast but in all of Florida. This rescue sanctuary is one of the largest wolf preserves in the United States. Human visitors are allowed only on Saturdays for the Wolf Encounter tour. An up-close, hands-on experience with some of these majestic and often misunderstood creatures is part of the tour. Click here for more info.

4. There Used To Be A Nude Beach Along 30-A

In the days before county highway 30-A became a hotbed for New Urbanism in the 1980s and ’90s, it was an out of the way area home to a nude beach. This wasn’t an official nude beach, mind you, just a secluded strand where those practicing an alternative lifestyle went to sunbathe topless or in their full birthday suit. Today, this area is home to the posh, master-planned, family-friendly communities of Alys Beach and Rosemary Beach.

5. This Overgrown Boardwalk Crosses A Rare Coastal Dune Lake

People in Walton County know all about the many coastal dune lakes in the area—a type of lake that only exists in a handful of spots around the world, including in South Walton—and they have seen most of them, except for Morris Lake. That’s because Morris Lake is deep inside Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, not visible from any road and hard to get to because of unmaintained trails and boardwalks. If you make it there, you’ll likely have the dunes and the lake all to yourself, even in peak season.

6. That’s Probably A Sea Turtle Nest Next To Your Sandcastle

The beaches all along the Emerald Coast are sea turtle nesting grounds, and not just the remote, unspoiled beaches, either, but crowded one’s vacationers flock to, as well. Nests are hard to spot to the untrained eye. They can be right next to where you spread out your towel out and set up your umbrella for the day. Thankfully, nonprofit organizations such as the St. Joseph Peninsula Turtle Patrol and the South Walton Turtle Watch are on the case, marking nests and educating the public about how to help protect sea turtles and spot sea turtle nests buried in the sand.

7. That Mysterious Place Where Santa Rosa Beach Is On Santa Rosa Island Isn’t Real

This is a secret place because it doesn’t exist, except maybe where unicorns live. It’s an honest point of confusion for many. In the Emerald Coast there’s Santa Rosa Beach, but it’s not on Santa Rosa Island, nor even in Santa Rosa County. Many travel articles written by perfectly good travel writers have gotten it wrong. It’s really simple: Santa Rosa Beach is in Walton County. Santa Rosa Island (also called Okaloosa Island at its eastern end) stretches for 40 miles along the Emerald Coast but doesn’t contain Santa Rosa Beach. Got it? Good. Now try explaining it to your GPS.


Some information was taken from www.movoto.com
My Vacation Haven features more than 140 Emerald Coast vacation rentals in Sandestin® Golf and Beach Resort, Destin, Tops’l Beach and Racquet Resort, 30A, and surrounding South Walton areas. My Vacation Haven is known for its personalized customer care and awesome guest discounts for area attractions and businesses. For beachside fun at its best, every accommodation includes complimentary beach chairs, an umbrella, sand toys and a boogie board for guest use. For your convenience My Vacation Haven is located in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin® Town Center. Our Rentals are available for a whole week or just for a short weekend. Check out our wonderful selections and see our great rental rates available this time of the year. Call up your friends and family and start making plans to come down for an awesome visit. You will be glad that you did!

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All information provided is deemed correct but subject to change