The Only Way to Visit Destin, Florida!

A HUGE thank you to Newman Dailey for sponsoring this post and giving our family a trip we will never forget!

the only way to visit destin florida from louisville with newman dailey

Where to start?! The Emerald Coast is our new favorite part of Florida, and booking a stay with Newman Dailey Resort Properties is the ONLY way to visit Destin! We were there when Taylor Swift’s song “Florida!!!” came out that mentioned Destin, which made it that much more exciting to see the pure sand and breathe the ocean air there for the first time. We loved staying in the Sunkissed Cottage, being treated to dinner at The Crab Trap, and enjoying adventures with Cattywampus for a sunset dolphin cruise and at Fat Daddy’s Arcade and The Track. That’s not all we did!

We drove straight down, which really was our best and most smooth trip to Florida we’ve ever taken. We’re used to driving through to Orlando or Tampa (where we have family and places I lived back in the day), but I much prefer the drive to the other side of Florida now. Read our “Road Trip Pro Tips” post for ideas on planning your next long drive. One of the best parts of this trip was stopping in Athens, Alabama on the way down and back at Buc-ees! We LOVE finding a Buc-ees on any road trip – great deals on amazing food, souvenirs, and gas – AND the coolest and longest car wash we’ve ever been through!

We left early in the morning and got down to Destin with time to unload the car, drive around a little bit while there was still sunlight, and then found somewhere for dinner. When we checked into the Sunkissed Cottage, Newman Dailey had left a welcome gift basket for us with a bunch of goodies. They also had some coupon books that we let my stepmom go through and pick out the restaurant from. We chose Auston’s, and the best part was seeing my dad so happy while he ate their cucumber salad that he said tasted exactly like his mother – my Grandma Roni – used to make for him growing up.

Next door to Auston’s was a Winn-Dixie, which we hadn’t been to in years. At least we didn’t go in there on empty stomaches, but we did go in without a list or any direction – that made for the most disorganized and chaotic grocery trip ever! We were all happy just to be on vacation in Florida, so it didn’t matter!! We did get breakfast stuff and some lunch fixin’s, but the next morning we made sure to write out a thorough list to go to Publix across the street from the house to stock up for the rest of our four nights/five days.

Newman Dailey gave us gift cards to Silver Sands Premium Outlets® and Fat Daddy’s Arcade/The Track. We went to SKECHERS® at the outlet mall and surprised my stepmom with her first pair of Slip-ins™ (and got myself my second!) by taking advantage of a buy-one-get-one-half-off deal and then using our $50 Simon gift card towards the total. The day we headed to Fat Daddy’s Arcade, my daughter and hubby played several of the games and then we walked next door to the FREE Gator Beach. That was cool. Both things are connected as well to Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar & Grill. My stepmom got the hugest kick out of that place and had to buy herself a t-shirt. They also have Sharpie markers for sale, so you can add your name to the walls. We left our mark!

Then, we went down the road a bit more to The Track. After we got there, we all agreed that we should have saved the first half of those gift cards all for The Track and not used them at the arcade! That place is awesome. They have putt-putt, a carousel, swings, go-karts, and more. We added a little bit to our point card, and Ady and dad hopped in a go-kart together and got to racing – they even won second place! We will definitely go back there again.

On our second night, Newman Dailey arranged to have us treated to a fantastic dinner at The Crab Trap. We were right on the ocean, and they gave us a table by an open window looking out at the sand and water. The management treated us extremely well, and Suki has got to be the best server we’ve ever had anywhere in the country. As we finished our meal, we got to watch the sunset. It was an awe-inspiring experience – and the food was delicious! One super fun thing on their menu was a taste of home – Maker’s Peach Julep. They describe it as “A Derby favorite with a citrus twist” – perfect for a bit of Lou in Florida!

With your stay at a Newman Dailey property, you also get FREE activities! Our family opted for a sunset dolphin cruise with Cattywampus. I am a water baby and have the most amazing memories of being out on boats with my parents all growing up. It was the first time we’d been out on a boat with my dad and stepmom since my daughter was just a baby. My dad survived two heart attacks and a stroke this past year, so being able to make these new memories out on the water with him is something I’ll remember and cherish forever.

Cattywampus sails out of The Gulf Restaurant on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach. That place is so unique! It’s made out of old shipping containers. It’s nice that they have food, drinks, and bathrooms you can take advantage of before your sunset cruise. They also had a cute gift shop. We did discover, once on the boat, that there is a bathroom on board! Captain Tony and Christian took incredibly good care of all of us and were the most amazing hosts. We sailed out a bit, stopped for swimming and snorkeling, then took off again to spot dolphins and watch the sunset. I’m so thankful we were treated to this.

On our final day/evening, we enjoyed some more beach time and then grilled out in our backyard. That’s not all we did! Emerald Coast Ebikes was having their grand opening that day, and they offered to deliver bikes to our cottage to pick up the next morning after we left town. My hubby, daughter, and I were more than happy to take them up on the offer! The owner himself dropped off the bikes, showed us how to use them, reminded us to wear our helmets, and gave us our bike lock codes. Our little family had a ball using electric bikes for the first time (and now the two of them want us to save up and buy our own for home!). We took them back out after dinner and rode around the quiet nearby streets and along the sidewalk lining the beach until long after sunset. They even have headlights for those night rides. It was really simple to get the hang of and was a welcome relief to our legs after all the walking we’d done for days. We highly recommend renting bikes from them when you visit – plus, they offer a huge discount to those that book vacation rentals with Newman Dailey Resort Properties!

Besides the money you’ll save on fees when booking through Newman Dailey directly as opposed to Airbnb and the like, you get 24/7 concierge service, a dedicated online portal, those free tickets to activities, discounts with partners, and that first class service and hospitality all the way. This is the only way to visit Destin, Florida in our book – we’ll be back at a Newman Dailey property soon! Next time will probably be just my husband and me for a romantic getaway at a property like their Beachside Inn… shhh don’t tell the kid!

newman dailey resort properties

While we had a great time with our teen and the grandparents, watch this video from our Partnerships Manager with Cincinnati that went with her parents, hubby, and two little ones to see even more of what there is to do in Destin!


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