Hidden Gems of the Emerald Coast

Like many of our wonderful visitors, you probably enjoy coming to the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches every chance you get, and we are so glad to have you here! Perhaps you enjoy returning to all the favorite places that you so love again and again, and we’re on board with that. We have our faves too that we enjoy so much you can’t keep us away. However, every now and then, it’s nice to add a new spice to your favorite dish, and that’s what we’re putting on the table with this blog. Some fresh ideas for beach fun that you may not be aware of and we love to share with our visitors the great area attractions that are a bit off the beaten path.

Go Off-Beat & Take Our Mobile-Friendly Guide With You

30A and PCB areas:

Pet-friendly beach at Panama City Beach

If you were able to take advantage of 1 of our beautiful pet friendly rentals, but you’re disappointed you can’t take your dog to the beach(it’s not allowed at most beaches), you’ll be pleased to know that you can take your 4 legged pal over to Panama City Beach and let him place his little paws on the beautiful white sand that we all so love! The location is just at Pier Park beach access, on the North side of the pier. Leash rules apply. See all the de-TAILS here.: Pet friendly beach


Horseback riding

Love animals but couldn’t bring one with you? We can get you that warm fuzzy feeling with a trip to the stables just off 30A at Arnett’s Gulfside Farm & Stables.  What a way to connect to a big and beautiful soul with 4 legs, right here in the natural beauty of Florida.


Beach Bonfires

What a gorgeous scene of fire, water, sand and sky. Book a beach bonfire for your group for a memory that will last a lifetime. Our concierge service will be happy to make all the arrangements for you, or you can DIY with a permit from Walton county. Advance planning is needed for this activity as it can take a few days to get a permit approved. Or, better yet, just have us do it for you and all you have to do is show up ready for an evening of flamin’ fun!


Red Bar at Grayton Beach  is a perfect place to enjoy some live music and great food. You may enjoy the musician oriented atmosphere. Many famous musicians have visited this little hidden hangout.


Thomas Donut’s and Snacks at Laguna Beach  is a laid back, casual and fun place to consume tasty delights right by the Gulf of Mexico. That just about checks everything on our list for having fun: beach and donuts!


Perfect Pig on 30A at Gulf Place or at Seagrove beach is an excellent place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great specials including half price entrees Monday – Thursdays from 5-6 pm.


Destin area:

Capriccio Café on Gulf Shore Drive in Destin is Destin’s own little Italian café for awesome crepes, coffee, deli style meals, and ingredients come from Italy. Delizioso!


Bric a Brac is just next door, also on Gulf Shore Drive in Destin. This is a place for live music, dancing, and a wide variety of menu selections-including the best crab cakes in Destin 4 years in a row. They don’t hand those awards out to just anybody, so if you like crab cakes, this is your place!


Louisiana Lagniappe is just around the curve of Gulf Shore Drive at Sandpiper Cove. This is a wonderful place for a fancy dining experience while taking in a Sunset over the Marina. Specials include “2 can dine with wine for 49”. They are also good at rhyming, in addition to making melt in your mouth seafood dishes!


Destin Brewery is a fun place to see how the magic happens with crafted Destin beer, and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday the brewery offers a tasting room to try out the local flavor.


The Destin History and Fishing Museum located at 108 Stahlman Ave in Destin allows visitors to walk through the history of Destin and of the Destin fishing industry. It’s a very interesting way to see Destin. You’ll learn more about area sea life and why the sand here is so white and squeaky. That’s right.


Visit the beautiful murals of Whales on Wyland Wall #88 on 293 North of Hwy 98 in Destin, just a little North of the Destin Commons before you hit the Mid-Bay bridge, so keep your eyes open so you won’t miss your turn and end up on the bridge. This above water adventure of underwater life is quite a sight to take in with life size paintings of these amazing animals!


Jolee Island just outside of the Village of Baytowne Wharf makes for a mini adventure of fun for the family! With a wooden bridge at the entrance that you can walk or bike over, this is just the beginning of a fun little hideaway! The park offers a pirate ship playground with swings for relaxing while you bask in the sunshine and the sounds of joy from your children. Great place to pack a lunch and enjoy yourselves for an afternoon. Go into Sandestin’s West gate and let the guard know you’d like to see Jolee Island, and you’ll be properly guided from there.


FWB and Okaloosa Island:

Gulf Islands National Seashore on Okaloosa Island offers clear, beautiful, shallow water that’s great for kid’s to splash around in, and excellent for paddleboarding or kayaking, and taking in beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the Choctawhatchee Bay. Kiteboarding enthusiasts absolutely love to practice their sport here and it makes for a fun show to watch, or even sign up to try it yourself! Kittyhawk Kites is generally in this area offering lessons for Kiteboarding.


The Bay Café  just over the Brooks bridge in Ft Walton Beach offers delightful French cuisine and gorgeous Bay Views!


The Gulf on Okaloosa Island, you came to the Gulf, now go to the Gulf! This is a newer and super fun place to hang out, laid back casual, but very nice! The eatery is right on the Bay and offers relaxing hammocks and plenty of outdoor salty air space so you never feel like you’ve left the beach.


We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the many hidden gems here on the Emerald Coast. For more suggestions, just ask our Harmony Beach Vacations team what they recommend for fun ideas that are off the beaten path and you’ll get a new treasure to add to your favorite things to do on your beach vacation!