You’ve finally arrived for your vacation on Okaloosa Island! You survived the drive, the kids asking “Are we there yet?” at least fifty times, potty breaks every thirty minutes, and just when you started thinking you were never going to get to your destination, your weary eyes spotted, “Welcome to Florida!”

So you get to your room, unpacked the vehicle, get everybody fed, bathed, and dressed for bed. While the little ones spent the night tossing and turning, dreaming of sandcastles and boogie boards, the adults spent the evening unwinding on the patio, sipping wine and enjoying the moonlight casting hope over the Emerald Coast shores.

So, now it’s day one of your big adventure, and you open the curtains to find that spectacular view of sand, sea, and…. RAIN?!! Don’t fret! Normally our rain showers do not last long, and the sun comes back out to save the day sooner or later. So, while you wait for that giant ball of light to make its appearance, what can you do to keep these disappointed munchkins from losing their minds and starting the “I’m bored” cries?

Visiting the Destin Fishing Museum

May we suggest an activity or two? Head over to the Destin Fishing Museum. Before the non-anglers start groaning, let me explain: this is actually a pretty cool little spot to learn some history on our area, the local fishing, as well as provide some pretty neat educational material for those short people that insist on carrying their buckets and shovels everywhere today.

So go ahead, get everybody dressed and head East down Highway 98. As you venture over Destin Bridge, take a quick moment to enjoy the view. To the left of this bridge is an area known as Crab Island. As soon as this rain lets up, that little island will be crammed full of boats. Now, once you’re over the bridge, take a left onto Stahiman Avenue. The museum is located at 108 Stahiman Avenue, right next to the Destin Community Center. Let’s go check this place out!

There’s a small admission fee, since this is a non-profit organization. Admission will be:

Adults: $5, Seniors/Military: $4, Children 7- college aged: $3, Children under 6 and members: free

Memberships: Individuals become members for $20, Families for $50, and Businesses can start for as low as $100

Now that you’ve paid your entry fees, let me make a couple of recommendations. For the adults, you have several options: You can take a self-guided freestyle type tour where you aimlessly make your way around. Another option is the MP3 headsets to listen to a self-guided tour.

What I suggest is this: take the self-guided tour which utilizes the QR codes you scan with your smartphone. Everybody gets to hear the tour through your phone, and you’re still able to communicate. You also have the option of having a guide walk you through the Destin Fishing Museum. To keep the littles engaged and interested, I recommend a scavenger hunt. Keep them occupied by giving them specific items to seek out in each room. Tally points, and come up with “prizes”. Maybe a little ice cream later?

Things to Do

As you walk around the Destin Fishing Museum, you’ll enjoy learning Destin’s history from early Indians to current day village growth. You’ll view at least seventy-five fish, locally caught and mounted. My favorite exhibit is the scientific explanation of why our sands are so white. When you get down to the beach later, you’ll find the sand actually squeaks when you walk on it. This exhibition is going to explain why that occurs.

There are hands-on, interactive activities for the kiddies. It won’t take long to see they’re now enjoying this place. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop and pick up souvenirs. A book on the history of Destin, or a t-shirt always serve as great reminders of the “morning it rained”. Make sure you also make great use of the photo opportunity to get the family’s picture taken with the 12 ft. American Alligator! What a story that will make for back home! Time to head out for that promised ice cream. With a little luck, the sun is out and those buckets and shovels can be put to some good use!

Ready for your vacation? Take a look at our comfy vacation homes for rent and choose the perfect one for you.