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Showing posts with label Best Beaches. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Best Beaches. Show all posts

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Charlevoix, Michigan: Where Magic Meets Nature's Splendor

 Nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, the charming town of Charlevoix in Michigan offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, architectural marvels, and outdoor adventures. In this blog post, we embark on a journey to explore the wonders of Charlevoix, including its iconic Mushroom Houses, historic lighthouse, picturesque City Park Beach, and the serene Fisherman's Island State Park.

One of the most unique attractions in Charlevoix is its collection of Mushroom Houses, whimsical structures designed by architect Earl Young. These extraordinary homes, inspired by the region's natural landscape, feature organic shapes, stone exteriors, and enchanting details that resemble fairy tale dwellings. Take a stroll through the streets of Charlevoix to marvel at these architectural wonders that seamlessly blend into the surrounding natural beauty.

Standing proudly at the entrance of Lake Charlevoix, the historic Charlevoix Lighthouse is a testament to the town's maritime heritage. Built-in 1948, this picturesque lighthouse offers panoramic views of Lake Michigan and serves as a beacon of history and charm. Explore the nearby museum to learn about the lighthouse's fascinating past and maritime stories that shaped the region.

With its pristine sandy shores and crystal-clear waters, City Park Beach is a haven for beach lovers. Spend a relaxing day basking in the sun, building sandcastles, or taking a refreshing swim in the inviting waters of Lake Michigan. The beach also offers amenities such as picnic areas, playgrounds, and beach volleyball courts, ensuring a fun-filled day for the whole family.

Just a short drive from Charlevoix, Fisherman's Island State Park awaits nature enthusiasts with its tranquil beauty and abundant wildlife. Spanning over 2,678 acres, this natural paradise offers scenic hiking trails, perfect for exploring dense forests, marshes, and sandy dunes. Capture breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from the observation platform or embark on a fishing expedition in one of the park's serene inland lakes. For those seeking solitude and connection with nature, Fisherman's Island State Park is a must-visit destination.

Charlevoix is not just about its natural wonders; it also offers a vibrant culinary and shopping scene. Explore the downtown area, lined with charming boutiques, art galleries, and local shops, where you can find unique treasures and souvenirs to cherish. Indulge in delicious cuisine at waterfront restaurants, savoring fresh fish and local specialties, complemented by breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.

Charlevoix, Michigan, is a destination that effortlessly combines the magic of architectural marvels, the allure of pristine beaches, and the serenity of nature's retreats. Whether you're exploring the whimsical Mushroom Houses, capturing the beauty of the historic lighthouse, enjoying a day at City Park Beach, or immersing yourself in the tranquility of Fisherman's Island State Park, Charlevoix offers a delightful experience for every traveler. So, pack your bags, embark on an unforgettable journey, and let Charlevoix weave its spellbinding charm around you.

Enjoy Your Visit!


Monday, September 12, 2022

Discovering the Best Activities in Destin, Florida: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to the traveler's guide for Destin, Florida! Known as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village," this small city on the Emerald Coast is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. With its crystal-clear waters, sugar-white sand beaches, and a plethora of outdoor activities, it's no wonder that travelers flock to Destin year-round. Whether you're planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a solo trip, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your visit to this beautiful Gulf Coast city.

The guide will provide suggestions on various aspects such as:

• Accommodation options

• Indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy

• Snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, and guided tours

• Dining recommendations for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts

• Access to public beaches

• Transportation options

• Tips for saving money and other useful information

• Price guides to plan your budget

• Top spots for collecting seashells

• Safety precautions to ensure a secure experience.

This guide caters to different budgets with options ranging from budget-friendly to mid-range and high-end.

Outdoor Activities 

Crab Island, a sought-after destination in Destin, is a sandbar accessible solely by boat. You can take the Crab Island Shuttle Boat, which starts at $45, by calling 850-733-7434. Alternatively, you can rent a boat starting at $300 by calling 850-650-2628. Several boat tour packages are also available, featuring stops at the sandbar.

Village of Baytowne Wharf is situated within a gated community. Visitors can obtain a free pass at the gate. Since parking can be challenging, it's recommended to use the parking garage.

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is located in Fort Walton Beach and requires a General Adult admission fee of $25.95. It's just a brief 7-minute drive from the Harbor Boardwalk.

Big Kahuna's Water & Adventure Park offers General Admission tickets for $53.99.

Gilligan's Watersports provides rentals for boats, wave runners, dolphin tours by wave runner, cruises, and parasailing. Prices start at $10, and you can contact them at 850-424-5125.

Mobile Sports Banana Boat Experience is available starting at $55, and you can reach them at 850-687-1626.

Cruisin Tikis offers Tiki Cruises aboard a vintage-inspired tiki boat, and it's BYOB. Prices start at $59, and you can contact them at 850-200-0573.

Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day

Here are some notable attractions in Destin:

Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl: A restaurant that features underwater-themed bowling lanes.

Thrills Laser Tag & Arcade: A venue that offers laser tag and an arcade.

Rock Out Climbing Gym: A climbing gym for enthusiasts of all levels.

Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park: A trampoline park with various attractions.

Mr. E's Escape Rooms: An escape room experience located in the Escape Zone 60 complex in Sandestin.

The MAXIMUM MAGIC Show: A family-friendly magic show that is sure to entertain all ages.

AMC Destin Commons 14: A movie theater showing the latest blockbusters.

Boulevard 10 at Grand Boulevard: A movie theater with luxurious amenities.

Wild Willy's: An indoor arcade featuring two mini-golf courses, a movie theater, and more.

Rainforest Black Light Mini-Golf & Arcade: A fun-filled miniature golf course and arcade with a rainforest theme.

Destin History & Fishing Museum: A museum that showcases the rich history and culture of Destin, with a focus on fishing.

Emerald Coast Science Center: A science center that offers interactive exhibits and educational programs.

Indian Temple Mound: A historic site that features a Native American temple mound and museum.

Fired Up Paint Your Own Pottery Studio: A pottery studio where visitors can paint their own ceramic pieces.

Mary Hong's Shard Shop: A unique art studio that offers classes and supplies for making artwork out of recycled glass shards.

Snorkeling in Destin and Surrounding Areas: Exploring from the Coastline

 East Pass, Destin East Jetty, Destin West Jetty, and Norriego Point: These locations are all near the Destin U.S. 98 Bridge and are popular for beach snorkeling.

Reefs at Henderson Beach State Park: You can find reefs at both the east and west ends of the park, as well as at John C. Beasley Park, located east of the pavilion and close to the shore.

Okaloosa Island Beach Access Four: This beach access point is also located close to the shore and is a great spot for snorkeling.

Dolphin Reef: This newly installed reef is located 685 feet from the shore near Miramar Beach Access.

Sea Turtle Reef at Grayton Beach State Park: This reef is 783 feet from the shore and is a great place to spot sea turtles.

Seahorse Snorkel Reef at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park: This reef is 715 feet from the shore and is a must-visit for seahorse enthusiasts.

If you prefer to go on a guided snorkeling trip, there are several options to choose from:

Destin Snorkel: This tour starts at $50 and can be reached at 845-269-2329.

Cattywampus Snorkel Tour: This tour costs $50 for adults and offers cheaper prices for children. You can book it by calling 850-586-0450.

Flippers Snorkel Adventure Destin: This tour is $40 for ages 3 and up and can be reserved by calling 850-837-0113.

Snorkeling & Shelling Destin: This tour starts at $59 and can be booked by calling 850-650-3802.

If you're interested in a guided fishing trip, here are a few options to consider:

Flowing Water Charters: Prices for this trip start at $600, and you can call 850-344-7838 to make a reservation.

L4K Charters: Prices for this trip start at $390, and you can book by calling 850-895-1224.

Saltwater Charters: Prices for this trip start at $880, and you can make a reservation by calling 833-850-3474.


If you're looking to rent a paddleboard in Destin, here are a few options:

Destin Paddle Company (starting at $20) can be reached at 850-797-2335.

Beach Weekend (starting at $45) can be reached at 850-362-6020.

RUN/SUP® RENTALS (starting at $35) can be reached at 850-419-6188.

Kayak Rentals

Destin Clear Kayak Rental (starting at $59) - Phone: (850) 837-3000, located at 12 Miracle Strip Parkway Southwest, Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548.

The Kayak Experience - Phone: (850) 837-1577, located at 3906 Us Hwy 98 W Bx 2242, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459.


      Here are some State Parks in the area along with their contact details:

      • Henderson Beach - Located at 17000 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin, FL 32541. Phone: 850.837.7550.

      • Topsail Hill Preserve - Located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549. Phone: 850.267.0299.

      • Grayton Beach - Located at 357 Main Park Road, Grayton Beach, FL 32549. Phone: 850.231.4210.

      • John Beasley Park - Located at 1550 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548. Phone: 850.689.5772.

      • Eden Gardens - Located at 181 Eden Garden Road, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549. Phone: 850.231.4214.

      • Deer Lake - Located at 357 Main Park Road, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549. Phone: 850.231.4210.

      Discovering Seashells in Destin: Top Spots to Search

      For the best shelling experience, head west of Destin toward Ft Walton Beach. You will find a few areas with limited roadside parking. One of the spots requires prior online permission, which can be obtained easily on the spot. Keep in mind that parking rules may change frequently, so it's best to explore and discover new spots.

      Dining Destinations: Where to Eat

      For Breakfast, you can try the following options:

      Destination Little Donuts

      Donut Hole

      Krispy Kreme

      The Pancakery

      Capriccio Café

      First Watch


      Lunch and Dinner:

      Merlin's Pizza

      Marco's Pizza

      Mimmo's Ristorante Italiano – offers great Italian cuisine and friendly service.

      LuLu's - offers waterfront dining, a sand beach, colorful seating, and shopping.

      The Harbor Tavern

      Pompano Joe's - Caribbean-influenced seafood restaurant located directly on the beach.

      East Pass Seafood & Oyster House - serves fresh local seafood.

      Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House


      Bad Ass Coffee - Offers Hawaiian coffee roasts.

      Capriccio Café

      Roast'd Café

      East Pass Coffee Company


      • Curly Cream Rolled Ice Cream

      • Wave Ice Cream & Coffee

      • Ice Cream Shoppe Destin East

      • Shake's Frozen Custard

      • Bruster's Real Ice Cream

      • Cups and Cones Destin

      • Ice Cream Shoppe of Destin

      • Smallcakes of Destin - Gourmet Cupcakes

      • The Macaron Chef Destin

      • Nothing Bundt Cakes

      • Kilwins Destin Commons - They offer old-fashioned chocolate fudge, candies, and ice cream.

      Accessing the Beach in Destin and Nearby Areas: Public Entry Points

      Alamo Street Beach Access: located at 899-675 Scenic Hwy 98, Miramar Beach, FL 32550

      Barracuda Street Beach Access: located at 3016-3080 Scenic Hwy 98, Destin, FL 32541
      Crystal Beach Beach Access

      Eglin Matterhorn Beach Access

      Geronimo Street Beach Access: located at 735 Scenic Hwy 98, Miramar Beach, FL 32550

      Miramar Regional Beach Access: located at 2396 Scenic Hwy 98, Miramar Beach, FL 32550

      Norriego Point Beach Access: located at 1 Gulf Shore Dr, Destin, FL 32541

      O'Steen Beach Access: located at 320 Gulf Shore Dr, Destin, FL 32541

      Pompano Street Beach Access - located at the south end of Pompano Street - 32-2 Pompano St, Destin, FL 32541

      Princess Beach Access - exact location unknown

      Redneck Beach Access - located at the west end of the Destin Bridge

      Shirah Street Beach Access - located at the intersection of Shirah Street and Hwy 98 in Destin, FL 32541

      Shores at Crystal Beach Park Access - 2964 Scenic Hwy 98, Destin, FL 32541

      Tarpon Street Beach Access - 3300 Scenic Hwy 98, Destin, FL 32541

      Shop 'til You Drop: Exploring Destin's Retail Scene

      Looking for some retail therapy? Check out these shopping destinations:

      Destin Commons: With over 90 stores and dining options, Destin Commons is a shopping village that caters to a wide variety of tastes. It's located at 4100 Legendary Dr, Destin, FL 32541.

      Silver Sands Premium Outlets: This shopping center boasts over 110 designer and name brand outlet shops, making it a great destination for bargain hunters. You can find it at 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy W, Miramar Beach, FL 32550.

      Grand Boulevard at Sandestin: For a more upscale shopping experience, head to Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. In addition to fine dining options and a movie theater, this shopping center is home to stores like Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer. Its address is 495 Grand Blvd, Miramar Beach, FL 32550.


      Make sure to book your stay in advance to secure your spot!

      Hotel Effie Sandestin: Rates start at $149 during the off-season.

      Henderson Beach Resort: Rates start at $400 during the off-season. This resort is pet and kid friendly and features a lazy river and a private beach.

      Henderson Park Inn: Rates start at $295 during the off-season and can go up to $749.

      Hyatt Place Sandestin/at Grand Boulevard: Rates range from $150 to $250.

      The Palms of Destin Resort & Conference Center.

      Best Western Sugar Sands Inn & Suites: Rates range from $116 to $180.

      Seascape Beach Access: Located at 1272-1386 Scenic Hwy 98, Miramar Beach, FL 32550.

      Holiday Inn Express & Suites Destin E: Rates range from $198 to $227.

      Hampton Inn & Suites Destin: Rates start at $147.

      Home2 Suites by Hilton Destin: Rates start at $175.

      Airbnb: Rent a house for a similar price to a hotel room and enjoy more privacy. Check out https://www.airbnb.com for options.


      The airport closest to Destin is the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport located at 1701 State Road 85 N, Eglin AFB, FL 32542-1498. You can reach them at (850) 651-7160 and the airlines that operate there include Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, and Southwest.

      For rental cars, several companies operate at the airport and nearby:


      Destin is generally considered a safe place to visit, but it's always a good idea to take common safety precautions like locking car doors and securing valuables. It's also important to protect your skin from sunburn by applying sunscreen frequently and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Additionally, it's recommended that you familiarize yourself with the beach flag system to stay safe while swimming in the ocean.

      Here are some tips and extra information to help you plan your trip to Destin:
      • September and October have the highest chance of hurricanes, so be aware and prepared.

      • Traffic can be heavy all year round, so plan accordingly and allow extra time for getting around.

      • Winter months can offer cheaper accommodations, but be aware that some businesses on the Boardwalk may be closed during the off season.

      • The average low temperature in Destin during winter is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

      • Consider staying at a place that is not beachfront and using public beach access points to save money.

      • Keep in mind that hotels and condos book up quickly, often months in advance.

      In conclusion, Destin, Florida is a beautiful vacation destination with stunning beaches, great shopping, and a variety of hotels and resorts to choose from. Whether you're looking for a family-friendly beach vacation or a romantic getaway, Destin has something for everyone. Visitors should take note of safety precautions such as staying hydrated and familiarizing themselves with the beach flag system. With its warm weather year-round and numerous attractions, Destin is a great place to visit any time of the year, although travelers should be aware of the busy traffic and booking accommodations well in advance.

      Enjoy Your Visit!