After a week of particularly gloomy, wet weather at home, I had to make a drastic change for the sake of my health (and sanity). So I started brainstorming of places I could escape to for the weekend, just so that I could have a bit of a respite from the non-stop rain, the brutal winds and the near-freezing temperatures. Since I wanted sunshine, warmth and a beautiful beach, I landed on Destin, Florida, the gem of the Emerald Coast. Within an hour of making my decision, I had booked a flight to this Gulf paradise and had packed my suitcase. The only thing left to do was find a great last-minute hotel in Destin.
Fortunately, I knew that finding a last-minute hotel would be a piece of cake thanks to HotelTonight, which I have used before to book great hotels for various spur-of-the-moment trips. After just a few minutes on HotelTonight’s website, I had booked a nice room at a beachfront hotel, and I started daydreaming of stepping off that plane and into the sunshine.
As soon as I landed in Destin, I headed straight to the beach. I didn’t want to waste any time before relaxing on warm, powdery white sand and listening to the waves crash on the shore, so I went one of the most beloved beaches in Destin, Henderson Beach State Park. This beach boasts more than 6,000 feet of gorgeous shoreline, as well as nature trails, a playground and a boardwalk. The beaches in Destin are unlike most other beaches in the country. The Gulf of Mexico water isn’t blue – it’s actually a bright emerald green, making it one of the more breathtaking beaches I’ve ever seen.
After a relaxing morning on the beach, I needed to slip out of the sun for a bit and find something to eat, so I went to Destin Commons. This popular outdoor shopping and entertainment center features a great selection of shops and restaurants, so it can be easy to spend an entire afternoon in the Commons. This unique outdoor shopping complex also features a water park, a playground and miniature train, so naturally it’s a popular destination for families visiting Destin. It’s also the perfect place to escape the harsh midday sun, since there is no shortage of shops and restaurants you can pop into.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf sits at the edge of the Choctawhatchee Bay, and its streets of cobblestone are lined with shops, restaurants, and various other attractions and entertainment options. The Baytowne Wharf is a lively destination, and I spent the afternoon meandering through the streets and watching the yachts and boats flit in and out of the marina. As the sun began to set, Baytowne became filled with live music, and this festive atmosphere really made me realize that I was on vacation, and not just in a dream.
Since I wanted to make the most of my beach vacation that I could, I made my way to the Jetty East Beach the next morning. Apparently, this beach is popular among locals, as it’s less crowded with tourists than the main beach. I quickly discovered that Jetty East is a great spot for snorkeling, so I rented some snorkel gear and jumped right into the warm emerald waters. The beach itself looks like it’s a desktop screensaver, and it’s easily one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever visited. For people who want to enjoy great snorkeling and a nice, calm beach, Jetty East is definitely a great place to spend a day.
To end my short yet rejuvenating Destin vacation, I wandered through the HarborWalk Marina. The harbor boasts a great selection of waterfront restaurants and beautiful views, and it’s a bit mesmerizing to watch the fishing boats come into the harbor with their bountiful catches. The HarborWalk Marina also has a small amusement park and carnival games, so there’s no shortage of entertainment options at this charming marina park. As I sat at an outdoor café overlooking the busy marina, I thought of how lucky I was to be able to plan a last-minute beach getaway.
Sometimes you just need to plan an impromptu beach getaway, just like I certainly needed my Emerald Coast weekend vacation. I left Destin feeling relaxed and content, and I have HotelTonight to thank for making it so easy to book great last-minute hotels in popular vacation spots. While I wish I could have stayed in Destin for more than two days, I was so grateful that I was even able to make my mini vacation possible in the first place. It’s comforting to know that a last-minute beach getaway is always possible when you can book great accommodations on HotelTonight at a moment’s notice.