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9 Feb 2022
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Things to Know

The Sugar White Sands are Actually Crystals

Destin is known for its sugar white-sand beaches, but you might be surprised to learn that the “sand” is actually white quartz crystal. The sands’ formation started at the end of the last Ice Age when the quartz crystal was pushed from the tops of the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. Over centuries, the crystal was degraded into the fine, white sand Emerald Coast beaches are made of. With sands made of crystal, Destin really is the jewel of the Florida Gulf Coast. In fact, Destin’s beaches are the whitest on the entire planet.

There’s (Possibly) Gold in the Sand

For those who don’t know, coastal Florida was settled by the Spanish; though, that aspect of history is centuries old. None the less, there are still possibly vestiges of what once was in the crystalline sands of the Destin coast.

In 1967 and ’68, as the Holiday Isle was being constructed, a local named Bill McFarland discovered a few gold coins during the dredging for construction. These coins dated to 1536 and were from a sunken Spanish Galleon buried deep beneath the sand. It’s entirely possible that more valuables from days of yore can, do, and will wash to shore.

Thus, it’s not impossible to believe that the sandcastle you and your kids build could unearth historic wealth likely valued at the cost of an actual castle.

McGuire’s Million Dollar Ceiling

One of the most popular restaurants in Destin located across from the Harborwalk Village and the Destin East Pass Bridge on Choctawhatchee Bay is McGuire’s Irish Pub. Best-known for their hamburgers, Irish wakes (plan for an Uber), and camaraderie, McGuire’s is one of the most popular eateries in Destin.

It’s also famous because the dollar bills collected and adhered to the ceiling over the years are insured for a staggering $1,000,000. It’s definitely worth your while to dine at McGuire’s at least once during your stay. Show up for the spectacle, stay for the delicious food and great times.

Destin Used to Be an Island

We all know how climate change works and reshapes the landscape, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the peninsula Destin is currently located on used to be an island. The island was once entirely separate from the mainland; however, changes in sea level caused the island to connect to the mainland. The Destin peninsula now acts as a divider between the Gulf of Mexico and the beautiful Choctawhatchee Bay.

Crab Island is Literally a “Man-Made” Island

Speaking of islands, located in the Choctawhatchee Bay is Crab Island. Of course, Crab Island is not a real island, at least not in the traditional sense. Crab Island is a submerged sandbar accessible only by boat that tourists and locals flock to in droves during the warmer months. If you don’t have a kayak, paddle board, boat, or wave-runner or your own to access the fun, fabulous hangout spot, you can always get a rental or take the Crab Island Shuttle Boat.

One Made Remade Destin’s “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”

Destin’s gateway located next to the iconic Harborwalk Village (the place to go for food, nightlife, family fun, rentals, etc. in Destin) known as the “Old Pass” is a natural waterway abundant with marine life…great for fishing. In fact, by the 1850s, Destin was known as the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village; however, a hurricane in the 1920s cut off that access.

Hurricanes have a bad habit of altering natural terrain, and in this case, the storm completely sealed Destin off from the Gulf. One man known as The Billfish Captain of the Gulf was not having it; he gathered a group to dig a trench with shovels connecting the Gulf and the Choctawhatchee Bay. They created what is now known as East Pass. In doing so, they salvaged what would have been a disastrous land-lock where in which people were cut off from vital fishing.

You can easily honor these men and their efforts (and take advantage of the lucky fishing) by taking a fishing charter or going snorkeling when in Destin.

Destin Hosts the World’s Largest Fishing Fleet

Speaking of fishing in Destin, you may not know that Destin is actually home to the largest fishing fleet in the U.S. with over 125 charter boats. It’s not a surprise given that Destin is only 10 miles from the 100-fathom curve, which offers the spoils of deep sea fishing. Cobia, Tuna, Grouper, and Flounder abound in the curve.

A Missile Test Launch Facility is Hidden at the Coffeen Nature Preserve

Just east of Destin on Highway 98 between the Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and the Tops’l Beach development and Sandestin resorts is the Coffeen Nature Preserve. Located here (and often overlooked) are the ruins of a World War II missile test launch facility. The facility is accessible by appointment only.

Alys Beach to Rosemary Beach Used to be Nude

A little further east from Destin, and you’ll arrive at one of people’s favorite places to visit when in Destin: Santa Rosa Beach’s Highway 30A. It’s a little known fact that prior to the New Urbanism that developed this pristine stretch of coast in the ‘80s and ‘90s that what is now Alys to Rosemary Beach used to be unofficial nude beaches.

Legend has it that people who preferred to sunbathe a la buff or topless could head to these remote locales and bask in the sun unfettered. Needless to say, we don’t recommend trying that now.

You Can See a Green Flash at Sunset

Kicking back and watching sunset in Destin is a given; the lightshow at the end of each day is spectacular made even more so by the green flash sometimes spotted at Sunset. Though it’s likely caused by light refracting off of the water (the algae reflecting off the crystal sands is what makes the coast appear Emerald), a more sentimental legend purports it’s a soul being escorted back into this world.

These refractions are brief but magical…just like life, just like the memories you make when in Destin.

Destin really is a magical place. It’s one of the most unique places in the world. It’s no surprise the people who love to visit here come year-after-year. Make Destin your vacation destination this year and let us help you! Contact us at My Vacation Haven to plan your Destin, Florida vacation now!

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