You don’t have to be a poet to see metaphors and similes wherever you look in Destin, Florida. The panhandle is a treasure trove of activities, the water is emerald green and the sand is like so many heaping tablespoons of sweet sugar. You’ll surprise yourself at how you learn to think a little differently here, and hopefully if all goes well, you’ll start behaving differently as well. Leave your routine responsibilities behind, stop checking your watch and your email, and prepare to let Destin take you away.

Destin is located on the coast of Florida’s sweeping right arm, and it’s probably safe to assume that a visit here will include plenty of lazing, lounging and lolling on the beach. This is a diversion that most people place at the top of their lists, and thanks to the aforementioned beauty that tends to get the creative juices flowing, it rarely, if ever, disappoints. Sitting back and taking it all in will get you started, but you’ll soon want to jump right in as well.

Do this by any means you see fit; rent a pontoon boat for a low-key affair that will come to resemble a personalized party boat. Pump up the adrenaline factor by opting for a speed boat, taking it up one more notch by trying your hand at parasailing. Skip the boats altogether and go snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, or for the old fashioned types, just plain swimming in the sea. Let the saltwater keep you afloat, and relish the fact that your laptop is nowhere to be seen, the temperature is just right, and your mood is as buoyant as the sky is blue.

Dolphin excursions will take you out for a look at the gulf, the shore, and most likely a glimpse or two of the frolicking, friendly dolphins that call this their home. Glass-bottomed boats will also fill you in on the wildlife scene, so book a cruise if the family has a taste for undersea adventure. On dry land you’ll find plenty to explore as well, including Grayton Beach State Recreation Area. This is where you’ll find salt marshes, nature trails, and fishing opportunities on Western Lake. It’s perfect for swimming and picnicking in a slightly different setting (not that you’ll ever grow tired of the immaculate beaches) and the scenery is of course lovely.

Get silly at the Track Recreation Center, where go karts, roller coasters, miniature golf, and other age-defying activities will bring everyone together for a few hours of laughs and running around. This will probably lead to working up an appetite, so hit one of Destin’s many restaurants for a cold drink and a bucket of steamers. Enjoying seafood as fresh as can be will be one of the perks of this vacation, as most people don’t usually have this privilege. One of the best parts about dining in Destin is the view that can be taken advantage of each evening. As you make your way to the table, be sure to request one that faces the sunset so that you may enjoy the stunning display along with your meal, savoring each bite and each brilliant hue simultaneously.

Your list of things to do has not yet been exhausted. In addition to plenty of time spent reading on the beach and dozing in the shade, you’ll want to save room in your schedule for a few more high-priority events. Destin is known for great shopping, especially if you’re a bargain hunter. Outlet malls will let you bring home some rave-worthy souvenirs, or if you want something unique, check into the art galleries and local crafts for a Florida-style trinket. Continuing on, like in other parts of the state, golf is hot here. Attractive courses and a welcoming atmosphere will make you feel instantly at home if you’re into this sport, so bring your clubs and plan for a top-notch experience.

Take your Destin trip all the way by booking a vacation rental. If you’ve never done this before, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Hotels can get the job done, but if you’re seeking a little more room, a few extra comforts, and a one-of-a-kind quality, then definitely consider a condo or beach house that will give you all of this and more. Destin has loads of properties to choose from, each one a little different, that will add an extra punch to what already has the potential to be a sublime vacation.

If you can already feel the flowing descriptions and emotional responses surfacing within you, it sounds like Destin should be the spot for your next vacation. Realize your inner lyric leanings by heading south for a bit, and don’t be surprised to uncover some wonderful talents that you never knew you had. Start investigating Destin Vacation Rentals online, book a flight, and prepare to unleash your inner poet.

Caitlin Moore