A stormy day in Destin, Fla.

We just wrapped up a short trip to Florida’s Panhandle, with stops in Panama City and Destin. Our family travel blog, Away is Home, is celebrating 500 years of Florida tourism.

OK, so Ponce de Leon arrived on the other coast, but he probably wished he’d landed on these white sandy beaches. They are beautifully quiet at this time of year. Spring break is a few weeks away and the summer crowds won’t materialize until after Memorial Day.

As you can see in the video postcard, we were met with an angry winter storm that had been only partially tamed by southern latitudes. The winds kicked up the waves and pelted us with snow-colored sand. But it was still 71 degrees, so we weren’t complaining.

Our newest discovery is Holiday Isle, a community of private homes and resorts set along canals and beachfront. We stayed in a fun vacation rental with its own dock, a heated pool and hot tub located a short walk from the beach. Too bad we only had two days here. I could live here — if I wasn’t following the rest of my family around the world.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Scott

    We visited Destin from Colorado for the first time in October 2011. Its by far one of the best vacations we’ve ever had and we can’t wait until we can get back. Vacation rentals can’t be beat either!

  • Brian

    I’m trying to understand the concept of playing ombudsman while accepting the sponsorship of many of the companies that you would report on. It’s hard to look unbiased (even with disclosure) when these companies are literally contributing to your family’s vacation!

  • Mary

    Destin is a great place, we vacationed there last fall and the weather was perfect and the Gulf Of Mexico was super warm. The beaches weren’t crowded and our two boys had a blast. Our rental was in the Sandestin resort, and the owner, Marcella, was a very nice girl who answered all of our questions. She directed us to the Track which was fun for the kids and to some very nice restaurants. We am looking forward to our next trip to Destin and can’t wait to dip our toes in the sand.