7 Nov 2023
If you're a seafood lover, there's no better place to satisfy your cravings than the beautiful coastal communities along the Emerald Coast. Known for the pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a vibrant culinary scene, this area offers an abundance of fresh and delectable seafood that will tantalize your taste buds. In this 3-day culinary tour, we'll take you on a mouthwatering journey fro Destin to Seaside, exploring the best seafood dining experiences you can't miss.
Day 1: The Flavors of Destin to Miramar Beach
Our culinary adventure begins in Destin, often referred to as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village." With a rich history of fishing and a thriving seafood industry, Destin is the perfect place to start our seafood tour. We'll kick off our journey with a visit to a local seafood market.
Destin boasts a plethora of seafood markets where you can witness the daily catch being brought in by local fishermen. Here, you can purchase fresh seafood to cook at home or, for those looking for a more hands-off experience, you can choose a market that offers cooked-to-order options. Some of the seafood markets like "Destin Ice Seafood Market and Deli" and "Dewey Destin's Seafood Market" provide an array of freshly caught seafood, from shrimp and oysters to snapper and grouper.
For lunch, we head to "Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House," a restaurant that embodies the essence of Destin's seafood culture. The restaurant is renowned for its scrumptious oysters, served in various styles from raw to char-grilled, and its seafood platters that showcase the best of the Gulf. Don't forget to try their seafood gumbo or seafood po' boy, a classic Southern sandwich filled with your choice of seafood.
After lunch, take some time to explore Destin's beautiful beaches, perhaps even try your hand at some water activities, such as paddleboarding or jet skiing. The emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico are a sight to behold.
In the evening, continue your seafood journey at "The Back Porch," a Destin institution. This laid-back restaurant offers some of the most stunning views of the Gulf and specializes in seafood classics, including their signature Amberjack sandwich and the legendary "Seafood Platter for Two." Feast on fried shrimp, oysters, crab claws, and more while watching the sunset over the Gulf.
Day 2: Blue Mountain Beach to Dune Allen
On the final day of our culinary tour, we venture to Santa Rosa Beach, a charming collection of communities including the Scenic Highway 30A. Here, you'll discover more hidden gems and delightful seafood offerings.
Start your day at "Stinky's Fish Camp," a restaurant that prides itself on serving some of the freshest seafood in the area. Their Gulf seafood platter is a popular choice, offering a variety of Gulf catches, including shrimp, oysters, and fish. Enjoy your meal on the deck overlooking the serene coastal dune lake, a unique feature of this area.
After indulging in a delicious lunch, take some time to explore the natural beauty of Santa Rosa Beach. You can visit Topsail Hill Preserve State Park for a hike or bike ride through the picturesque dunes and pine forests.
In the evening, dine at "Vue on 30a," a fine-dining establishment that offers breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. Their seafood-focused menu includes dishes like Pan-Seared Gulf Snapper and Lobster & Shrimp Linguini, making it an ideal choice for a memorable seafood dinner experience.
If you're still craving more seafood, don't forget to visit local oyster bars like "Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar" or try some fresh seafood tacos from food trucks you may come across. The seafood options along 30A are endless, and you're sure to find something to satisfy your seafood cravings.
Day 3: Grayton Beach to Seaside
On day two, we head east along 30A, a stretch of coastline known for its charming beach communities and high-end dining experiences. 30A boasts a unique blend of upscale seafood restaurants and quaint local spots, making it a must-visit destination for seafood enthusiasts.
Our first stop is "The Red Bar" in Grayton Beach, a beloved institution that serves up fresh seafood in an eclectic and lively setting. Their menu features a variety of seafood options, but their daily specials are where you'll find the freshest catch of the day. Enjoy your meal surrounded by funky decor and live music, giving the restaurant a distinctive character.
Next, we head to "Bud and Alley's," an iconic restaurant located in Seaside, known for its oceanfront views and seafood-focused menu. Their Gulf Shrimp and Grits is a standout dish that beautifully combines fresh Gulf shrimp with creamy grits and a flavorful sauce. While dining here, you can watch the sunset over the Gulf, creating a magical atmosphere.
As you explore 30A, you'll notice the quaint towns and beachside communities, each offering a unique dining experience. For a casual, beachy atmosphere, consider grabbing lunch at one of the many seafood shacks or food trucks you'll find along the way. Try some fried shrimp or a seafood taco while taking in the ocean breeze.
In the evening, make your way to "The Great Southern Café" in Seaside. This restaurant is known for its fusion of Southern and Gulf Coast flavors. Be sure to try their Grits à Ya Ya, a dish that features a bed of creamy grits topped with sautéed Gulf shrimp, spinach, and bacon, all smothered in a flavorful sauce. It's a delightful combination of Southern comfort and Gulf freshness.
A 3-day culinary tour of Destin and 30A for seafood lovers is a delightful journey through some of the most seafood-rich and picturesque areas of the Florida Gulf Coast. From the fresh catches at Destin's seafood markets to the iconic seafood restaurants of 30A and the hidden gems of Santa Rosa Beach, this region offers a seafood experience that is second to none. Whether you prefer fried shrimp, grilled fish, or succulent oysters, these destinations have something for every seafood enthusiast. So, pack your appetite and embark on a culinary adventure that celebrates the flavors of the Gulf in Destin and on 30A.
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