Where to Find 15 of the Best Off-the-Beaten-Path Gems on the Emerald Coast

With so many popular things to do and places to see in Destin, crafting your itinerary can be a tough task. Venture off-the-beaten-path on the Emerald Coast to find some of the top hidden gems in our area. Trust us; you won’t want to miss out on these incredible secrets! 

For more ways to make the most of your trip, be sure to request access to our complimentary Vacation Guide! 

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The Best Off-the-Beaten-Path Attractions on the Emerald Coast 

30A and Panama City Beach  

Horseback Riding 

Most people don’t think of horseback riding when imagining their trip to the Destin area. Arnett’s Gulfside Farm & Stables in 30A provides some of the most off-the-beaten-path fun on the Emerald Coast for families! 

Beach Bonfires 

There’s nothing more classic than a beach bonfire after watching the sunset on the water. Our concierge service will be happy to make all the arrangements for you, or you can DIY with a permit from Walton county. 

Red Bar 

Red Bar at Grayton Beach is a perfect place to enjoy some live music and great food. Music is the main draw at this fantastic local hangout, and you may even see a famous musician occasionally cruise through. 

Thomas’ Donut & Snack Shop 

In the need of a sweet treat? Thomas’ Donut & Snack Shop is a laidback, casual spot to grab delicious delights in an off-the-beaten-path location on the Emerald Coast. 

Perfect Pig 

Perfect Pig on 30A at Gulf Place or Seagrove beach is an excellent place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This charming little spot serves up gourmet Southern specialties with a twist. 

Destin 

Capriccio Café 

Capriccio Café is a quaint little place to grab delicious crepes, coffee, and deli sandwiches. This little Italian café sits hidden off Gulf Shore Drive, so keep your eyes on the lookout for it! 

Bric à Brac 

Right next door to Capriccio Café is Bric à Brac, an upbeat restaurant with an eclectic American menu. This off-the-beaten-path spot in Destin is a great place for live dancing and music—and their delicious crab cakes. 

Lousiana Lagniappe 

Mix up your dining schedule with a trip to Louisiana Lagniappe. This local date night spot features tasty seafood specialties with creole inspiration. 

Destin Brewery 

Destin Brewery serves up its own special brews inhouse, and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, you can sip their suds at the tasting room. 

The Destin History and Fishing Museum 

Learn about our area’s rich maritime heritage at the Destin History and Fishing MuseumYou can also learn the secret as to why the sand here is so white and squeaky. 

Murals of Whales on Wyland Wall #88 

This off-the-beaten-path sight on the Emerald Coast sits along 293 North in between the Mid-Bay Bridge and Destin Commons. The life-size painting of these marine creatures is quite a sight! 

Jolee Island 

Jolee Island is a tiny piece of land connected by a bridge from Baytowne Wharf. This tranquil hideaway is the perfect place to bring a picnic lunch, and there is a little playground for kids to enjoy. 

Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island 

Gulf Island National Seashore 

This pristine stretch of coastline offers some of the best off-the-beaten-path beaches on the Emerald Coast. The clear water and miles of untouched sugar-white sand make this the perfect place to explore. 

The Bay Café 

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 

The Gulf on Okaloosa Island is a fun and casual place to hang out and grab some tasty local cuisine. You can grab a hammock or lounge on the grass and take in views of the bay. 

Book Your Harmony Beach Vacationsthe white whale hot tub  

You and your family can find the perfect vacation rental for your trip with Harmony Beach Vacations. Our selection of condos and homes in Destin and 30A offers guests excellent amenities, convenient locations, and customer service that is second to none. So, are you ready to hit the Emerald Coast and create a new family tradition?    

Start planning your trip by booking one of our properties. We look forward to welcoming you to the Harmony Beach Vacations family.