The Emerald Coast ~ Destin, FL

In the heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast, a 100-mile swath of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, sits Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, a place we have called home for the past several days.  It is a great park with a rolling boardwalk cascading down to the beach, sugary white-sand beaches, and emerald-green waters.  Like most of the country, we have been touched by the wintery hand of Mother Nature.  I must admit it has left me a bit lethargic, cold rainy days with only a solo anemic sunset.

I do not attempt to compare our winter chill with that of many other parts of the country but even the locals don’t expect temps in the 30’s and low 40’s here, dipping into the 20’s at night.  For me it is more about the lack of sunshine than anything else.

Sole wintery attempt at a sunset over the Emerald Coast
Sole wintery attempt at a sunset over the Emerald Coast

On our final day in Destin the sun made her debut for a few hours, with rumor of temps reaching 50°, a day full of promise.  Although I had braved the stiff breezes along the beach earlier this week, today I almost skipped down the well-maintained boardwalk, anxious to see the sun shimmering like diamonds tossed upon the surface of an emerald sea.

Destin is a beach community so early winter is probably not the best time to visit, unless you need some serious retail therapy, then come on down as they have a wonderful upscale outlet mall.  And if you are very lucky, as we happened to be, you might find yourself parked just a few miles down the road from others who have also been bitten by the travel bug.

We feel fortunate for the ability to spend time with friends Janie and John, two full-time RVers whom we met over two years ago, the very first couple we shared drinks and a campfire with shortly after beginning our adventure of exploring this beautiful country while rolling our home down the road.  Since the weather has not cooperated, it gave us time to catch up on each others lives, share a few laughs, sample some nice wines at two different wine tastings, enjoy a dinner at an Irish pub, and allowed me to dazzle them a bit with my cooking skills. 😉

Enjoying dinner with Janie & John at a local Irish pub
Enjoying dinner with Janie & John at a local Irish pub

Although we have not seen much of the quintessential Florida winter weather yet, I know that will come.  As I stand looking out over this beautiful emerald sea, I know that life is full of these breathtaking, fleeting moments, never to be recreated in exactly the same manner.  We can let them pass us by because of indifference or apathy, or we can choose to be alive in this very moment, savoring all the uniqueness that Mother Nature gifts us…our choice.  I choose to bundle up and enjoy these sunny winter days.  I know, easy for me to say; I am spending the winter in Florida, where I am certain to capture more than my share of balmy, sunny days.

Hope everyone is staying warm and savoring the moment!

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74 thoughts on “The Emerald Coast ~ Destin, FL

  • Beautiful photos and lovely thoughts…I was just thinking this evening that I needed to adjust my attitude after a very gray and rainy day spent mostly indoors and feeling a bit melancholy (ahem, not to mention a bit cranky). We’ve had 20 and 30 degree temperatures here on the Forgotten Coast the past couple of days, too–I’m ready for the Florida sun to come out!

    • I find it is easy to slip into a malaise if the sun is not shining. When we stop to think about it, there is beauty to be seen everywhere, no matter the weather, but I for one, do not take the quiet myself often enough to appreciate it. We have moved on to St. George Island SP, where it is windy and rainy. This too shall pass! 😉

  • Yes, not the kind of weather we hope for at the beach but still more tolerable than that to the north. Nice shots….finally able to have fun with that new camera 🙂

    • There is not much to photograph here this time of year. The birds on the beach are scarce (perhaps the weather?) and the ocean has been somewhat grey with the lack of sun. I need to appreciate all Mother Nature gives us, but I am not always so patient with that. 😉

  • I’m sure things will brighten up very soon, LuAnn. I’m also getting a bit fed up with the grey skies. A few days of the famous Florida sunshine would be so welcome. It sounds as though you’re having fun though. Beautiful pics. 🙂

  • As usual, my dear, you find the beauty and poetry all around you, and share it with us! Gorgeous pix, wishing you and Terry well! Happy and prosperous new year to you both! Xo, bill and lisa

    • I looked through my meager photos I had taken when we had good lighting and thought, these are rather pathetic, but thought, there is still beauty in a stormy day, so there they are! Wish we could be wintering alongside all of you in San Elijo…miss you all! May you and Bill have so many blessings this year. Make some beautiful memories! 🙂

    • Wish we could have caught up with you and Kevin when you were in AZ and sad to hear it didn’t work out for you (just my selfish thoughts). It sounds like you have a lovely place in Ajijic, just the area we would have loved to live in when we were in Mexico. Blessings to you and Kevin!

  • I am with you on the sunshine. Here in Houston it was very cold on Sunday-Tuesday. Once that sun came out everyone was out and about and the temperature was only 45. The sun makes all the difference!

  • We are all on the same boat, and I know we did not sign up for dreary days, gloomy skies and cold in Florida. Im so glad you are now moving south towards us I hope…ha ha. just wishing.
    I know Destin has beautiful beaches and pretty soon you will be frolicking in the sun.
    Looking forward to more beautiful captures of your new cam.

    • We are heading further south once again, stopping at St. George Island for a few days before heading to Cedar Key, where our original reservations were made. It looks to be rainy for the next couple of days but we are going out to taste some of the local fare. We read the oysters here are some of the best in the world. 🙂 I feel certain we will meet this winter. 😀

  • Stunning shots LuAnn ! That golden glow on a stormy night is fabulous .
    Wishing you some proper Florida sunshine soon 🙂

  • Winter in Florida must be like our South Coast… lovely days and cool evenings… I’m sure this cold was just the Canadian who left the door open by mistake… and when they saw the fridge light was on have now closed it… look forward to more…

  • Good thing you are into living in the moment. However, I hope that you will run into some good sunshine, soon, and can enjoy getting out and doing some exploring, as you two like to do. I’m glad to hear that you are safe and sound. It was good to see that you caught up with Janie and John. Please continue to be safe and sound.

    • Thanks Joan. I am not always so good about living in the moment but am working on it. Hope all is well with you. You will have your new-found interest in cooking to keep you occupied on a cold winter day. 🙂

  • It definitely has not been a winter like our last two visits. We have warmed up but the sun has been hidden. It has to change. Right!?

    Where are you heading now? We are in Ft. Myers until the end of Jan. We then move north to Cortez, which is west of Bradenton. Hope we get close enough to connect.

    We use to spend April in the Destin area at Miramar Beach. By April it is warm in the panhandle. We enjoyed that beautiful white beach and all the bike riding.

    • We are making a short stop at St. George Island SP just to push further south, then on to Cedar Key from 1/13-1/22. From there we will be in Dunedin/Clearwater 1/23-1/3, then Naples 2/1-2/7. Not sure that is close enough but we would really love to meet the two of you.

      We knew we were a little early for the panhandle but were anxious to get into Florida, thinking it would be better here than in KY, and it is, but still too cold!

  • So happy to once again read about your adventures and thoughts while out on the road. We’ve been here in Palm Springs for a full week now, where the daily temps have ranged between 70 and 75, plus sunshine. Even still, I find myself getting antsy for a change of scenery, but just for today, I will work to still those annoying thoughts and enjoy the luxury of being outside and warm in the midst of winter. Thank you for the much needed reminder to simply be. 🙂

  • Thanks for the reminder to cherish each day as it comes. Cedar Key was freezing last week but we loved it! We are now in Panama City and we enjoyed going to the movies. We are heading west where balmy days, but worrisome drought conditions await.

  • I am working at the Yavapai College office in Sedona taking registrations for the Winter semester of OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) which offers non-credit classes for senior citizens. But I get to travel with you; seeing your beautiful pictures and reading your wonderful prose full of imagery. Thank you for taking me along.

  • Your philosophy is our philosophy. Enjoy every single moment and find something good in every experience, there are no do overs. We’re in Cortez, FL. (where Pam and John are headed) and the weather has been a roller coaster ride also. Today will be a real beach day for us and we’ll savor every second! Another cold front sweeps down in a few days. I love the white sand and turquoise water no matter the temperature but the lack of sun is wearing.
    Sue

    • Enjoy your time in Cortez and with Pam and John. Would love to catch up with the two of you someday. BTW, how do I subscribe to your blog? I didn’t see a place to enter an email address or am I a bit dense? 😉

  • Enjoy your winter in Florida. We’ve wandered around Florida in the winter a few times. I see you are going to Cedar Key – one of our favorite places. Be sure to try the award winning clam chowder at Tony’s. The Gulf Coast of Florida from St. Joseph Peninsula to Cedar Key is a beautiful place to visit without the hustle and bustle of some of the more populated areas along the coast.

    • Thanks for the tip! We have heard that there is some good clam chowder to be had in Cedar Key. We have made a short stop at St. George Island SP for a few days so we are planning to scope out the oysters, which we have read are alleged to be some of the best in the world. It is rainy here but there is promise of sun on Sunday, our last day before we head to Cedar Key. 🙂

      • I would also recommend taking a boat tour with Captain Doug in Cedar Key. Look for White Pelicans while you are there. A tour of the clam hatchery is also interesting. Try some smoked fish dip and stone crab claws. There are lots of fun things to do for day trips. We enjoyed Manatee Springs State Park, a winery in Chiefland, and visiting the Shell Mounds in the Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Have fun!

    • Thanks Amy! The sun cannot stay hidden all winter so I am not too worried. Today is very, very foggy so we can’t even see how lovely St. George Island State Park is yet but I heard a rumor the sun may make an appearance on Sunday. 😀

  • Thanks for the information at Henderson Beach State Park. We have a reservation there for a week in early March. And, we sure hope we’ll get to see Janie and John again at that time. They are such fun to spend time with. Hope your weather has improved!

    • Not yet Evelyn, but Sunday is looking like the day the sun may make an appearance. I have spoken to others who have been to Destin in March and love it. Enjoy your time at Henderson and your visit with Janie and John. Too bad we couldn’t have met this time around.

  • Lovely words to match your beautiful photos! I say also, enjoy every moment! Last night we experienced what felt like a mini-hurricane here in Hobe Sound, Florida. The wind was so strong it was rocking this 40 foot motorhome, the lightening was lighting the sky and the rain so forceful, lasting for hours pounding on the coach. Looking out the door window we saw at least two inches of rain that had crated a little lake. Our patio mats, which Never Move, had floated several feet and were wrapped around a pole. I am so done with the rain!!

    Happy Travels to find the Sun!!

    • How much longer are you in Hobe Sound? We moved some reservations around and are at St George Island SP for a few days just to get further south before we head to Cedar Key. The sun is still elusive! We got here yesterday and traveled all the way in rain, then today it is so very foggy that we wonder if we will get to even see the island before we have to move on. I have heard a rumor that the sun may appear on Sunday, our last day here. 🙂

      That sounds like one vicious storm you experienced last night. Here to everyone in the country getting a break from this foul weather. 🙂

  • You’re not dense, I am! I have no idea how to subscribe to my blog…..
    Duh… We’d love to meet you someday also. Actually we were across from each other at Usery last winter, but we didn’t want to intrude.

    • If you can figure out how one subscribes to your blog, you might find yourself with a loyal follower lol. 😉 And if you should ever find yourselves in our vicinity again, please do intrude! We would love it! 🙂

  • Hi LuAnn, We just left Freeport…in between Destin and Panama City. Spent Nov. and Dec. there. It was cold, cloudy and drizzly for most of December. Hope the weather warms up and you enjoy St. George…its so pretty. Appalachicola has a great restaurant on one of the corners on Main Street. Its been there for years…nothing fancy, but the best fried oysters I have ever had!
    I do agree…enjoy!

    • We went to the Up the Creek Raw Bar in Apalachicola on the advice of Trip Advisor comments. The oysters, shrimp, and grouper were great but it was such a foggy day. Tomorrow the sun is supposed to appear (fingers crossed). 🙂

  • Hi LuAnn 😀 It’s lovely to read that you are on the road again though the weather has put a dampener on your travels. Take care. Ralph xox 😀

  • oh, hey now…Destin looks and sounds like a wonderful place to visit. actually, lucky for those who can make it their home. is it a big community? well, just hearing the words, emerald sea, makes me smile. safe travels, LuAnn. ♥

  • I find the first picture gorgeous. Yes it probably is hard to be in Florida with cold weather! Has it gotten better yet? It has warmed up a lot here finally and I’m so much happier! I’ve been outside a lot, skiing running and walking around the frozen lake. Finally! 🙂

    • Thanks Nicole! We had sun the past couple of days and yesterday (our last day at St. George Island), a nice sunset. I will have to find a way to post that as there have been few of them lately. It is supposed to rain here again tomorrow then turn cold. I can enjoy the colder weather as long as there is sun. Glad to hear the weather is improving in MN. 🙂

  • It’s so nice you got to meet Janie and John again. We have not met them in person, but have followed their blog for a long time. Your post is lovely and we hope to return to this beautiful area again soon.

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