Upcoming 5K & 10K Runs in Destin – Fort Walton Beach


Upcoming 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon Races - Fort Walton Beach, Destin, FLWhether you are an avid runner or a novice, there are many races along the Emerald Coast in which to participate. Our local areas races may be a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or marathon for you to choose depending on your fitness level. Your goal may be to break a previous personal best time or it may be simply to finish the race. Go for the gold in some or all of these upcoming runs. Nearly all of them are for charity, so you can feel proud that you are not only improving your health but also supporting a great cause! Check out these upcoming races in Fort Walton Beach and surrounding areas, including Destin, Crestview, Valparaiso, Miramar Beach, Navarre, and Niceville.

Upcoming 2017 Races


April 1, 2017 – Pryor 5K – Fort Walton Beach, FL

April 8, 2017 – Hunger Run 5K – Niceville, FL

April 15, 2017 – Run For Joy 5K – Niceville, FL

April 200, 2017 – Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers Mugbug 5k – Fort Walton Beach, FL

April 22, 2017 – Liza Jackson 5K – Fort Walton Beach, FL

April 23, 2017 – Trailblazer Trail Run (6.3 miles) – Fort Walton Beach, FL

April 29, 2017 – Heritage 5K – Valparaiso, FL

April 29, 2017 – Payne Chiropractic Life Center 5K – Destin, FL

May 6, 2017 – Sunset Stampede 5K – Navarre, FL

May 13, 2017 – Rice and Beans 5K

May 20, 2017 – Race 4 Hearts 5K

May 27, 2017 – Gate to Gate Memorial Run 4.4 Miles/10K – Eglin AFB, FL

June 3, 2017 – Billy Bowlegs 5K – Fort Walton Beach, FL

Set your goals high and choose several of these upcoming runs to help support our local charities and races! 5K and 10K runs are huge fundraisers for many local non-profit organization along the Emerald Coast. Your support by running in the race and sharing race information online is very appreciated and helpful to make these events successful. We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming races!

Are we missing a race? If so, please comment below and we’ll be glad to add it to the list above and the race calendar. Or, feel free to add it yourself for FREE!

December 11, 2016 |

Halloween 2017 Haunted Houses – Destin – Fort Walton Beach


See all of the 2017 haunted houses, haunted trails, haunted hospitals, and fun trick or treating and Halloween activities here: 

Halloween is a fun time of year on the Emerald Coast. There are many fun and exciting things to do on Halloween as well as the preceding days leading to Halloween. Not only will there be many Fall festivals (previously and still to me known as Halloween festivals at many local churches and schools, but there will be lots of trick or treating events and haunted houses in Fort Walton Beach and the surrounding area, as well as Haunted History Tours. Many of these haunted houses are not for the faint of heart, so you won’t need your trick or treat bags. will keep your informed of our local Haunted Houses for Halloween 2016. As of right now, some of the groups that host the local Halloween haunted houses and Halloween events have not finalized all of the details of locations and times, but check back to this article often and we will update as more details are released.

Some of the known haunted houses and haunted history tours to look forward to in 2016 are below:

The Dark - Haunted House - Fort Walton Beach, FLThe Dark – 6th Annual Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Haunted Houses
Location – Uptown Station
Cost – $8.00 per person (benefits the Wildlife Refuge)
Dates & Times
October 12-13 Opens at 7:00 pm
October 19-20 Opens at 7:00 pm
October 26-27 Opens at 7:00 pm
October 27 Kids Day 1:00-4:00 pm (FREE for kids, but donations appreciated)
October 31 Opens at 7:00 pm

Nightmare on 98

Nightmare on 98 - Fort Walton Beach, FL - Haunted HouseLocation – 1221 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE (Old Sammy’s Gentlemen’s Club location on Highway 98 on Okaloosa Island)
Cost – $8.00 for Adults, $5.00 for Kids 10 & under (benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN). Instead of the standard admission tickets, you can buy Fast Pass tickets and avoid the line – $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for Kids 10 & under.
Dates & Times
October 5-7 Opens at 7:00 pm
October 12-14 Opens at 7:00 pm
October 19-21 Opens at 7:00 pm
October 26-28 Opens at 7:00 pm
October 30-31 Opens at 7:00 pm

Amped Elite All Stars Haunted House - Niceville, FLAmped Elite All Stars Haunted House
Location – Behind Top This Yogurt and Game On in Niceville
Cost – $5 per person (benefits the Amped Elite Competitive Cheerleading teams to cover travel expenses for competition)
Dates & Times
Thursday, October 25 6pm – 10pm
Friday, October 26 6pm – midnight
Saturday, October 27 6pm to midnight
Sunday, October 28 6pm – 10pm

Jaycees Haunted House 2012

Location – Harborwalk Village Destin
Cost – $8 per person (Revenues go toward charitable area causes such as Thanksgiving Day Baskets and Give-A-Kid-A Christmas)
Dates & Times
Friday, October 19 7pm til the last person is scared away
Saturday, October 20 7pm til the last person is scared away
Friday, October 26 – Wednesday October 31 – 7pm til the last person is scared away

Fort Walton Beach Haunted History Tour

Location – Indian Temple Mound Museum
Cost – $10 for adults and $7 for children – It is highly encouraged to purchase your tickets ahead of time at the Indian Temple Mound Museum M-F from 12:00-4:30 and Saturdays 10:00-4:30. If space is available, you will be able to purchase tickets on tour nights with cash only.
Dates & Times
October 26 – Tours at 6:30 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, and 8:45 pm
October 27 – Tours at 6:30 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, and 8:45 pm
Join this spooky walking tour of 10 historic sites in the Downtown Fort Walton Beach area. This tour will feature re-enactments of history and hauntings with costumed actors.

4th Annual Fort Walton Beach Zombie Walk

Location – The Landing
Cost – Bring 2 canned goods for food drive
Date & Time – October 20, 2012
Start at The Landing in Fort Walton Beach and register to get your info packs and maps. Then you will walk through the Downtown area trick or treating at the Downtown merchants and play games and other zombie activities as you go. At 6:30 pm, the Parade of Zombies will be on the sidewalk off of Highway 98 while en route back to The Landing for the Thriller Dance with DJ music at 7:00 pm at the stage.

October 7, 2016 |

FREE Outdoor Family Movies


Free Outdoor Summer Family Movies2017

Looking for outdoor family movies? The Emerald Coast is known for outdoor living and because of that there are plenty of outdoor movies to enjoy. The warm, Florida weather is ideal for enjoying a flick and spending time with your family. Whether you have seen the movie or not, it’s all about the experience and the outdoor environment makes watching these movies much more exciting!

Below is the list of upcoming scheduled outdoor movies along the Emerald Coast.

Free Outdoor Family Movies


2017 Schedule TBA

June 25, 2016 |

What To Do This Weekend in Destin – Fort Walton Beach – June 23-26, 2016


Things to do in Destin, FL this weekend - June 19 - 21, 2015It’s summer on the Emerald Coast and that means there is plenty to do with your family! Whether you are a local or a visitor, this weekend has something for you to do!

Start your weekend early…

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Red, White & Blue Hero’s Fireworks

Come enjoy an amazing vintage WWII aircraft flyover, live entertainment, and a beautiful fireworks display!

Where: HarborWalk Village, Destin, FL
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Magical Thursdays

Magic shows and kids activities with Pirate Captain Davy

Where: Baytowne Wharf, Miramar Beach, FL
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

30A Farmer’s Market

Fresh fruits, vegetables, jams, and baked goods.

Where: Rosemary Beach Community Town Center
Time: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Friday, June 24, 2016


June 19, 2016 |

4th of July Fireworks Celebrations 2017

4th of July Fireworks Shows

July 4th Fireworks

The time of year to celebrate our Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain will soon be here. On July 4, fireworks celebrations will take place all along the Emerald Coast. Some of the celebrations takes place before the 4th of July, so you can catch multiple fireworks shows! These displays are not just beautiful; they represent our freedom. They stand for all of the opportunities that we have as Americans. Below are several fireworks displays to celebrate Independence Day 2017.

2017 fireworks celebrations will be posted as they are announced along the Emerald Coast.

July 4th Fireworks on the Emerald Coast


Smoke on the Coast – July 3, 2016 -9:00 pm – Start your Independence Day early at Destin Commons with great BBQ, live music, street performers, and kids activities. This 6th annual event benefits local charities. There will be 20 area restaurants competing in the BBQ competition fighting for the People’s choice award of best BBQ on the Emerald Coast. Starts at 5:00 pm and samples are $1 each.

4th of July Fireworks over the Harbor – July 4, 2016 – 9:00 PM – The City of Destin with additional activities from HarborWalk Village will host this Independence Day fireworks show along with fun and festivities at HarborWalk Village. (more…)

June 18, 2016 |

Ways to De-Stress on the Emerald Coast


Things to Do on the Emerald Coast to Reduce StressWhether you are visiting Florida’s Emerald Coast or you live in this paradise, there are plenty of ways to de-stress and relax your mind. For your health, it’s very important to take time to relax your mind and do something that you love to do that is non-stressful. Stress is a major cause of many health conditions such as insomnia, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure, and much more. If stress continues to build up without a proper channel for stress relief, it causes more and more damage to your body.

Do yourself and your family a favor by relaxing Emerald Coast style! We have many ways to de-stress in the local area and below you’ll find some of the best ways!

Things to Do to De-Stress in Destin – Fort Walton Beach

  1. Relax on the Beach – With the most beautiful beaches in Florida, the Destin and Fort Walton area beaches are a haven to relax your mind.
  2. Read – Reading relaxes your mind because it takes your mind to new places and allows you to temporarily forget about stress. Even 10 minutes of reading helps reduce your blood pressure and eases your stress. This hiatus from stress helps your body cope with future stress. So find a local library or a book store and get a good book to read.
  3. Pamper Yourself – We have plenty of spas to whisk away your stress. Whether you prefer massages, body wraps, pedicures, manicures, or facials, there are many options along the Emerald Coast. Find a great nail salon for a mani/pedi or a day spa to enjoy a well-deserved massage.
  4. Listen to Music – Music has been proven to relax you and reduce stress. You can listen to your iPod while laying out at the beach or pool or you can find some live music to enjoy.
  5. Hit the Pool – There have been findings from a Swedish study that shows that floating in water decreases pain, stress, anxiety, and depression and positive effects are maintained for up to 4 months afterward after only 12 sessions.
  6. Yoga – This has been practiced for centuries and for good reason. Proper stretching, breathing, and relaxation techniques practiced in Yoga have been proven as a way to reduce stress. There are many Yoga studios along the Emerald Coast. Find one that fits your budget and needs to start beating stress.
  7. Exercise – While this isn’t the answer for everyone, there are many people who love to exercise, making this a perfect outlet for stress release. You can walk, run, weight train, or find a gym as a way to exercise away stress.
  8. Golf – The Emerald Coast is privy to many beautiful golf courses. If you are a golf lover, then this sport can help reduce your stress. However, for some, this sport can cause stress if you are overly competitive. Have fun and play a few leisurely rounds of golf at one of the Fort Walton Beach or Destin golf courses.
  9. Get Spiritual – We have hundreds of area churches, so find one where you feel comfortable and do some worship. Not a spiritual person? Find a quiet or relaxing place and try meditation.
  10. Eat Healthier – Eating whole foods can do wonders for health. Too much “food” in the grocery stores is processed and full of sugar, which is known to reduce your body’s ability to handle stress. This processed and high sugar food has also been proven to be bad for your health. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables will help you better cope with the daily stressors of life. Find one of our many farmers markets and start buying locally grown, fresh produce.
  11. Take Up Art – Studies have shown that art projects reduce stress. This accesses the creative areas of your brain that are often neglected in your day-to-day activities. You can find art-related events along the Emerald Coast. At the very least, visit a local art gallery to appreciate the many unique styles of art from our local artists. The art galleries may inspire you to create your own art!
  12. Make Time For Your Hobby – Options for hobbies are endless around the Emerald Coast. There are many water-related hobbies such as paddle boarding, boating, surfing, fishing, scuba diving, and more. Find a craft or hobby that relaxes you. You may prefer to stay on land and frequent bowling alleys or movie theaters, or you may prefer to stay at home and do woodworking projects, sewing, or craft projects. All can be good for your health.

There are many more activities you can do while visiting the Destin or Fort Walton Beach area. Find more Destin events to find what you like.

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June 9, 2016 |

Fireworks Destin Fort Walton Beach, FL

Fireworks Shows - Destin - Fort Walton Beach, FL

Florida’s Emerald Coast is host to many fireworks displays and celebrations. Local and visitors alike love a great fireworks show and you have many choices throughout the year. Of course, you New Year’s Even, Memorial Day, and Independence Day are holidays known for great fireworks, there are many more opportunities that you don’t want to miss. There are plenty of show during the Summer in Destin and Fort Walton Beach.

Upcoming Fireworks Destin – Fort Walton Beach

May 28, 2017 – Memorial Day Weekend Celebration – Baytowne Wharf – Miramar Breach, FL
June 3, 2017 – Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival – Fort Walton Beach, FL
July 4, 2017 – Red, White, and Baytowne – Baytowne Wharf – Miramar Beach, FL
December 31, 2017 – New Year’s Eve at The Landing – Fort Walton Beach, FL
December 31, 2017 – New Year’s Eve Street Party – HarborWalk Village – Destin, FL
December 31, 2017 – Baytowne Countdown – Baytowne Wharf – Miramar Beach, FL
December 31, 2017 – New Year’s Eve Countdown – Seaside, FL

You can always check our fireworks calendar to see the latest listings of all fireworks displays along the Emerald Coast.

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May 26, 2016 |

Upcoming Festivals in Destin – Fort Walton Beach Area


Upcoming Festivals - Destin - Fort Walton Beach, FLYou don’t have to look far to find fun Destin Florida events or fun things to do around the Fort Walton Beach, FL area. There are always great festivals along the Emerald Coast to attend for family fun. Whether you are tourists or a local, our area festivals offer plenty of lively music, tasty food, unique entertainment, interesting culture, and plenty of people enjoying our beautiful area. Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Niceville are home to quite a few notable festivals each year, including the Destin Seafood Festival, Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival, and the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival.

Throughout the year, there are many unique and entertaining festivals around the Destin and Fort Walton Beach area. No matter what your interests, you’ll most likely find a festival to your liking. If for some reason you don’t find a festival that meets your taste, start your own!

Upcoming Festivals

April 21-23, 2017 – Musical Echoes Native American Flute Festival – Fort Walton Beach, FL

April 27-30, 2017 – South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival – Miramar Beach, FL

May 12-14, 2017 – ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival – Miramar Beach, FL

May 27-29, 2017 – Memorial Day Weekend Celebration – Miramar Beach, FL

June 3-4, 2017 – Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival – Fort Walton Beach, FL

July 4, 2017 – Red, White, and Baytowne – Miramar Beach, FL

Nearly every weekend you find at least one festival to attend on the Emerald Coast. Most of our local area festivals offer a chance to learn more about a particular topic, such as history or culture, while at the same time offering loads of fun and entertainment. Bring the whole family and invite plenty of friends so our area festivals will be successful and continue to thrive year after year.

Are we missing a festival? If so, please comment below and we’ll be glad to add it to the list above and the festivals calendar. Alternatively, you can add it yourself for FREE.

March 30, 2016 |

Emerald Coast in Florida


Emerald Coast in FloridaAre you looking for an ultimate beach vacation? If so, look no further than the Emerald Coast in Florida. The beaches have sugar white sands and the beautiful Emerald Green waters are breathtaking. There are plenty of great attractions along the Destin – Fort Walton Beach area. The Emerald Coast is a family friendly environment; however, the nightlife is hot for those traveling without kids.

A visit to the Destin area,is the epitome of what a vacation should be, which is relaxing the whole day away on a beautiful beach. Even us locals can’t get over the beauty of our beaches. Rent a chair and umbrella from one of the many beach services and sit back and have a few cocktails. Enjoy swims in the beautiful water. Take leisurely walks along the beach. Read a book while working on your tan. Everyone needs a little relaxation every now and then and the Destin – Fort Walton Beach area is the perfect place for it.

Hotels on the Emerald Coast

There are so many upscale and luxury hotels and condos to choose from. Stay in style at places like the Emerald Grande Hotel or the Sandestin Beach Hilton. Maybe you plan on spending all day on the beach and all night at the nightclubs and you don’t need the high priced luxury accomondations and are looking for a beachfront hotel? Well there are plenty of great quality beachfront hotels and motels such as the Best Western Beachfront Hotel on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach. The staff members at the Best Western Beachfront Hotel are amazing and they will take even better care of you than most 5 star hotels. Finding a great place to stay is not hard to do; it’s narrowing down which hotel or condo you want to stay.

Destin Restaurants

Emerald Coast AttractionsNow when you go on vacation, one of best benefits is a break from cooking and cleaning up dishes. Your vacation to the Emerald Coast will not disappoint you, because Destin has some of the best restaurants in the country. You can find nearly any type of cuisine desired, with seafood restaurants being on every corner. While in Destin, make sure you have try our fresh Gulf seafood. It’s amazing! There are so many varieties of fresh Gulf catch including many species of fish and delicious Gulf shrimp. Your taste buds are in for a treat!

Emerald Coast Attractions

Whether visiting the Emerald Coast as a family or just as a couple, there are plenty of great attractions through the Destin – Fort Walton Beach, FL area. If you want go for the high thrill attractions such as parasailing, bungee jumping, or kite surfing, there’s plenty of opportunity for that. Or maybe you’d rather tone it down a notch or two and try out some paddle boarding, kayaking, or a dolphin cruise, no problem, because there’s plenty of opportunity for those activities too. Other great options include visiting the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park which offers shows and encounters with many different marine animals such as dolphins, sea lions, and penguins. Another popular outing is a visit to Crab Island, an “underwater” island with hundreds of people in boats just hanging out, swimming, relaxing, and having fun. There are live music shows, contests, games, activities, and even food and merchandise vendors at Crab Island. Check out some of the Crab Island pictures. Another great thing to do on the Emerald Coast is to pay a visit to the zoo in Gulf Breeze.

Destin NighlifeDestin Nightlife

Once the sun has gone down and your belly is full from eating at a great Emerald Coast restaurant, the nightlife kicks up. There are many nightclubs to choose from in the area. If you want high energy dance, check out Nightown. If you want a casual, beach club with live music, try The Swamp. If you want lower key hangouts, there are plenty of places for that as well, such as Shalimar Cheers Pub, where you will find live music, karaoke, and nightly specials all in a casual, laid back atmosphere. Whatever your nightlife style, there are bars, lounges, and dance clubs to suit you. Also, there are plenty of taxi cabs in the area to transport you back to your hotel or condo if need be.

Shopping on the Emerald Coast

Another popular and fun thing to do while on vacation is to shop! Well, you are in luck, because the Emerald Coast has some great opportunities for shopping. If you are looking for upscale retailers and boutiques, don’t miss a visit to Destin Commons. If you want to visit the largest designer factory outlet center in the country, go to Silver Sands Premium Outlets in Destin. Another happening shopping venue includes HarborWalk Village, which offers not only shopping, but also many options for dining, entertainment, and nightlife. Just a stones throw away from Destin, through Fort Walton Beach and into Mary Esther, you will find Santa Rosa Mall. On vacation you have nothing but time, so go ahead and get your shopping taken care of while you can enjoy it without being rushed. In addition, all along the Destin – Fort Walton Beach area, you will find many interesting specialty shops and beach novelty stores to buy those unique items that you can’t find back home.

Overall, the Destin – Fort Walton Beach area is a vacation destination with world class hotels, restaurants, attractions, and shopping venues. When you visit, make sure you have plenty of room in your vehicle after packing, because you’ll likely leave with more than you came with. Don’t plan on sticking to your diet here, because you won’t be able to resist the mouth-watering, fresh seafood being served up all along the coast. And don’t forget your dancing shoes so you can visit some of the hottest dance clubs around! After leaving the Emerald Coast, you will return rejuvenated, relaxed, and probably a little more tanned.

August 29, 2012 |

Paddle Boarding in Paradise


Paddle Boarding on the Emerald Coast

Whether you are a tourist or a local, it’s always great to find a new adventure or hobby that is both fun and relatively safe. Also, some of us need to find adventures that are budget-friendly. This past weekend, I found a great new pastime that is easy on my wallet, fun, peaceful, and great exercise. That new pastime is paddle boarding.

A few months back, I attended the multi-chamber Business After Hours, which consisted of Crestview Area Chamber, Destin Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. The event was held at Northlight Marina in Niceville, and it was a great event! At that event, I won a door prize which was 1 free hour of paddle boarding with Paradise Paddle Boards. I finally had some free time and I decided to try out this new adventure with my son, who is 11 going on 30.

We arrived at Bluewater Marina at Lj Schooner’s Restaurant, where Paradise Paddle Boards sets up shop right next door at Schooner’s Beach. We met Jimmie there, who is one of the owners of this business. She went through all of the safety procedures, fitted our paddles, and gave us all life vests. By law, kids have to wear them and adults just have to have them on the board (just in case).

We started off on our knees at first until we felt comfortable enough to stand up, which didn’t take long. After just a few strokes through the water, I was up on my feet paddling away. If you have ever paddled a canoe or a kayak, the paddling is the same motion. It was much easier than I expected. Before doing this, I thought that it was going to put my balancing skills to the test, but not at all. The board itself is big enough that balance is not even a real issue, as long as you stay in the middle of the board. We were even tested a few times by the small wake of some boats passing through the marina. The boaters were great about staying clear from us, as were we in the mindset to avoid the pathway of boats.

My son, Patrick Jr, started out on the board with me and we took turns paddling the board around the marina. Later, after we both had the hang of the sport, they gave Patrick Jr his own board to paddle around. He had absolutely no problems. It was a great experience and was a great time bonding with my son.

Jimmie from Paradise Paddle Boards was great about instructing us on how to maneuver the paddle boards as well as boating rules. She was also full of tips and tricks. As we approached our hour of allotted time, she even let us take another loop around the marina. Paddling around the water for just over an hour was a little tiring from working muscles in my body that I didn’t even remember I had, but it was disappointing to quit. Being out on the water on a board paddled by my own strength was very peaceful and relaxing. It forces you to slow down and admire the beauty of the area. I can’t wait to go back and get out on a paddle board again.

Paradise Paddle Boards not only rents paddle board by the hour, but they are also a Starboard dealer. Starboard paddle boards are among the lightest weight paddle boards on the market. They have a wide range of styles to choose from including entry level boards all the way up to carbon fiber racing boards. If you have never tried paddle boarding before, I highly recommend you contact Jimmie at Paradise Paddle Boards and rent a board for a few hours to try it out. But I caution you, because after spending a few hours on the water, you will likely love it so much that you will soon be the proud owner of brand new paddle board.

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July 29, 2012 |
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