Touted as the "Billfish Capital of the World," Destin, framed by the Gulf of Mexico on the state's northwest coast, is renowned for its superb sport fishing. Other lures to the area include 24 miles of blindingly white sand beaches, championship golf courses, excellent seafood restaurants and a wealth of designer outlet shopping opportunities. Meeting venues in Destin offer a range of value and amenities, from family-friendly to luxury.
Destin is located 6 miles from Northwest Florida Regional Airport, which is served by American Eagle, Continental, Delta, US Airways and Vision Airlines.
The largest of Destin convention venues, used for the area's trade shows, meetings, exhibitions and entertainment events, is the Emerald Coast Convention Center. Situated on nearby Okaloosa Island, the center has a 21,000-square-foot grand ballroom with banquet seating capacity for 1,400, theater seating capacity for 2,350, as well 12 separate meeting rooms.
Destin's diverse accommodations menu includes hotel rooms, condominiums, beach house and cottage rentals, as well as bed and breakfasts. Heading the list of larger meetings-oriented properties are the 281-room Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village with 8,000 square feet of meeting space; the Palms of Destin Resort and Conference Center, with 6,000 square feet of meeting space; and the 233-room Holiday Inn Destin on the Beach, with 3,000 square feet of meeting space.
Dining venues in Destin offer both entertainment and culinary experiences, with salt-air cafes, cedar seafood shacks and Euro-style bistros serving fresh seafood that comes straight from the docks of the largest charter boat fleet in the state. Among the local delicacies are blackened red snapper, beer-battered fried mullet and key lime pie.
Heading the list of attractions for day trips and spouse programs are Florida's Gulfarium, which has shows with California sea lions and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins; and Destin Commons, a shopping complex with upscale stores, a 14-screen movie theater, Hard Rock Cafe and Bass Pro Shops.
Photo by Flickr user: toddmikelsmith