Sunday, May 13, 2007

Destination: Destin

Let me preface this by saying that the places listed in this blog entry are only those that I have actually visited. I can neither recommend nor warn against any attractions that I did not personally experience. That said, here is a small taste of what Destin has to offer.

Pelican Beach Resort

The Pelican Beach Resort and Conference Center features one and two-bedroom condominiums, a fitness room, video game room, tennis courts, a heated indoor/outdoor pool, an outdoor pool with an adjacent kiddie pool, a poolside hot tub, and a beachside/poolside bar, and complimentary high-speed internet access available in all Pelican Beach Resort units (although the "high-speed" aspect was questionable at times). Our unit was a 1 bedroom with 2 full baths, bunk beds in the hallway, a fully furnished kitchen, and a balcony overlooking the beach. We had cable television in the living room and bedroom, and the unit was fully stocked with linens and towels.

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Fudpucker's Beachside Bar and Grill

Grafitti on the walls, lamps made out of galvanized buckets, "pelican tracks" on the floor leading to the bathrooms - these elements and more all add up to a fun place to be. There is a gift shop, 2 game rooms, a giant playground, and of course, Gator Beach - a FREE wildlife exhibit with over 100 live alligators! You can actually buy alligator bait (a portion of the proceeds go to the Emerald Coast Wildlife Rescue) and feed the gators from cane poles. Or have your picture taken holding a live alligator!

On top of all the cool stuff there is to do and see at Fudpucker's, they serve food, too! A wide variety of it. Appetizers from crab balls to gator tail, from fried shrooms to cheese sticks, from onion rings to calamari. The onion rings have a secret seasoning and are served with ranch dressing - and they are absolutely delicious! Salads, baked potatoes, seafood, steaks, chicken, and several varieties of burger are available for your tasting pleasure. We had the "Crazy Mother Pucker's BBQ Bacon and Cheese Fudburger" - a 1/2 pound share of beef seasoned with onions and garlic and chargrilled to perfection, topped with smoked bacon and cheddar cheese and smothered with Crazy Mother Pucker's BBQ sauce. It's a $10 burger, but it's worth every penny!

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World Famous AJs Seafood and Oyster Bar

It's a bit on the pricier side( we spent around $80 on dinner for 2 with no appetizer), but AJ's is a great experience. The restaurant/club sits on the Destin Harbor. Go for dinner around sunset so you can watch all the sailboats come in.

Hubby highly recommends the Surf, Turf and Earth (fried shrimp, steak, and baked potato) and I second his recommendation of the fried shrimp (I had a bite of his steak, too - very good).

AJ's also runs snorkeling adventures, dolphin cruises, and sunset cruises on the Seablaster. I can't speak from experience, but it sure looked like something we would have enjoyed. We just couldn't afford the expense this time around.

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Silver Sands Factory Stores

450,000 square feet of retail space is home to over a hundred factory direct outlets, from Aeropostale to Zales. Silver Sands is the largest designer outlet center in the nation. We didn't dream of walking it - we just cruised around until we saw a store we wanted to check out and then parked as close as we could get to it. I could have spent our combined annual income in Kitchen Collection and been completely satisfied. I went in to Off 5th (the Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet), but even at factory outlet prices I couldn't convince myself to buy anything - I'm sorry, but $30 for a t-shirt just doesn't seem like a decent deal to me. Still, with over 100 stores to choose from, you could easily spend an entire day of your vacation wandering from store to store.

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Destin Commons

This mall is seriously huge - a city unto itself. You think I'm exaggerating, but the thing has it's own water tower! 80+ retail stores, 8 restaurants, a 14-screen theater, and a playground cover 56 acres. Just avoid the "Customer Service Center" - they'll rope you in to a time-share presentation in a heartbeat.


Scribbit said...

"Fudpuckers"? That's funny, so close to the other chain yet not quite . . .

Anonymous said...

I love the Pelican Beach Resort. I can't believe I've never tried Fudpucker's! That will be my first stop this summer!