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trip report ... Crystal Beach

Chicago
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trip report ... Crystal Beach

Been home a week now and the thought of wondering what I would be doing if I was in Destin is slowly fading. Anyway, my trip report: Stayed at a VRBO home with a pool in Crystal Beach for 1 week, during the last week of July. It was nice to be in a house w/a pool. Loved this area. Conveniently located to everywhere. Shopped at Publix for our groceries - kinda suprised by the meat prices - thought they were a little expensive, especially for brats.

We went to the beach every morning and would retire to the house for lunch. That humid heat in the beginning of the week was something else, glad that cooled off a little. Beautiful, clear like glass water all week. Had one day of surf which made it fun bobbing on the waves. I was snorkeling one day and saw a single, large tube like shadow on the floor, so I looked up, and saw a barracuda (I think) about 20 ft from me; when I looked up, he swam off. Otherwise, saw several schools of fish swimming between swimmers and scattered sand dollars. Arrived early at the beach a couple days, with the kids, to fish from shore (had a 3 day fishing license) before the crowds came. Kids and I had fun fishing - caught pinfish and several other species daily. Kinda wish I spent a couple all days at the beach - like morning to late afternoon. Went to a public pier for a little fishing on the bay side and saw some guys net casting for mullet and another guy crabbing - he had a couple nice sized blue crabs in his bucket as we left. Walked from Crystal beach through Henderson beach - kind of weird how you could almost have the entire beach to yourself. Went out one night during low tide, still amazed how the water doesn't draw down like how I thought it would.

We ate our meals in most every night (as well as lunch) except one, where we went to Dewey Destin's Harborside for dinner - no complaints about this place. Noticed traffic was crazy driving into Destin, it can be backed up all the way to the water park around the dinner hour! Wanted to check out the Harborwalk on the Sunday afternoon, but the Emerald Grande parking garage was full/had one of those plastic barriers out. Drove along 98 not knowing where to park, getting a little frustrated, drove into a gated lot following behind another car. Didn't know it was gated until they came down, couldn't get out. Oh well, made the best of it, parked, and walked along harborwalk. Then when we got back to the car, called the maintenance man of the condo building to let us out. Did some shopping at Destin Commons one day and also checked out Banana Barts where we bought a couple T-shirts. Went to Baytowne wharf one evening with one of our dogs. Kids did the rope obstacle course and we enjoyed walking around with adult drinks. Walked the dogs almost every morning about 2.5 miles, loved walking back on Scenic 98 and seeing everyone on the porch drinking their coffee. Went a few times to the Destin off leash dog park which was not too far from us - nice area.

Kept reading about those Royal Reds on the forum, not knowing what was so great about them. So I bought a pound from Destin Ice, and they said just cook them up in butter, which I did. OMG they were soo good - amazed at the "sweetness". Ordered Jets pizza twice during the week; first time trying them and they did not dissappoint for this self-­­­professed Chicago Pizza "snob". Had to try those Sara K's crabcakes. Ordered 2 to go, she warmed them up in the store, and we ate them in the car. Now, I haven't had enough crab cakes in my life to say that these are award winning - I thought they were ok. Ordered takeout one night from 790 on the Gulf, thought this was a free standing restaurant but it's not. Was not impressed by their seafood or chicken/sausage gumbo; the shrimp poor boy was huge for the "whole" sandwich (it's alot of bread, they also sell half sandwich) - I thought it was dry - dressed with lettuce/onions only - so I started picking the shrimp out which was good. Was craving raw oysters all week but never made it anywhere except on our last day, Friday. Walked to The Crab Trap (30 min walk) from our house by myself, after we all had lunch, since some were napping. Sat at the oyster bar and had 6 wonderful big oysters with a beer. The guy was shucking some as I was eating­. As I was walking back to the house I thought, I should have been doing this all week! That's about it. Had a great time. A couple things we didn't have time to fit in. Looking forward to next time. It takes me about 4 days to relax, then you have to think about coming back. A week is just not enough.

United States
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1. Re: trip report ... Crystal Beach

Well, that sounds like a wonderful way to spend the week! I agree about having a pool at the house. Once we did that, it would be hard to rent in summer without one. Thanks for the report.

Santa Rosa Beach...
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2. Re: trip report ... Crystal Beach

Wonderful trip report! Sounds like you had a great time. You're right, a week isn't long enough! When we first came to Destin, it was for a long weekend - our honeymoon! Life intervened and we didn't get back until 2012 when we stayed 4 nights on the way to visit family. Last year we made it 5 nights, but still were under time constraints. This fall, we're finally staying a week and I'm already wishing it could be longer!

Kennesaw, Georgia
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3. Re: trip report ... Crystal Beach

Yes . A week is not enough . Great report thanks for sharing

grady,al
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4. Re: trip report ... Crystal Beach

We love Banana Bart's. Thanks for the report!

Chicago
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5. Re: trip report ... Crystal Beach

Wish there was a like button for everyone.

Missouri
Destination Expert
for Destin
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6. Re: trip report ... Crystal Beach

I have a very good friend who lived in Destin for years and when he visits Destin he goes everyday to the Crab Trap at the bar for his oysters. He says they are the best. I wouldn't know because I am not an oyster lover. Thanks so much for your report! BarB

Conway, Arkansas
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7. Re: trip report ... Crystal Beach

Great report...thanks for sharing!! You're correct, in that one week is not enough. I totally get what you're saying about "you just begin to relax, and it's time to leave". It's like you have to settle in; get used to your new surroundings and your new (although temporary) lifestyle....just get used to it, and oops...time to go!

United States
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8. Re: trip report ... Crystal Beach

Some day you all will be my age and retired. Then comes the extra time spent at the beach!!

9. Re: trip report ... Crystal Beach

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