I took the road less traveled... to Destin?
September 20, 2014 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Where are the fun things to do in Destin? Or on the way to/from Destin from Tampa?

I'm taking the next two weeks off of work to interview for fellowships. This is my last vacation for the rest of residency, so it's nothing but 80 hour workweeks from here until July. In an effort to add some actual vacation to my vacation, my godmother has invited me to spend a few days with her (and her 50-something lady friends) in Destin, Florida before venturing back to home and work.
My questions:

1) Are there any totally fun, can't-miss things to do in Destin? Or is it mostly beach time? I'm fine with the latter, and would welcome the chance to do some beachy, non-medicine reading, but this is likely my first and last trip to the area. I like hiking (but won't have gear), dining out, cooking, museums, and touristy things (the weirder the better).

2) Because I will be a guest in my aunt's condo, I had planned to offer to cook a big dinner. Are there any awesome farmers markets or other greenmarkets? A Whole Foods? Or another amazing grocery store?

3) I'm flying back out of Tampa because it is just too expensive to change flights. I'll have a whole day to get the car back by 4:30pm. Is there any reason to drive anything other than I-10 to I-75? Taking the state roads looks to add about 2 hours to the trip, which I'm willing to do for the right detours.
posted by honeybee413 to Travel & Transportation around Destin, FL (2 answers total)
 
Or on the way to/from Destin from Tampa?

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is right next to I-75 in Gainesville. It'll be a nice place to get out and stretch your legs for a while. If you wind up taking state roads, Manatee Springs is probably my wife's favorite state park in Florida. She has gone alone before just to walk around there.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:40 PM on September 20, 2014


Topsail Hill Preserve State Park (just up the road from Destin) is nice -- there's hiking, birding, and even some canoeing. We camped there for a few nights a couple years ago.

On our way up the panhandle, we stopped for a couple nights in Cedar Key, which is a fun little old-fashioned beach town. Manatee Springs is also pretty nifty, although, sadly, we didn't see any when we stopped there (still, lots of other critters to watch).
posted by tully_monster at 3:14 PM on September 22, 2014


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