There are destinations that make you smile as they tease you away from your responsibilities for a few days and do their best to make you relax and unwind. Then, there are destinations that totally and completely sweep you off your feet, causing you to forget the date, your email address, and even your boss’s name. If you’re looking for an intense interlude rather than a frivolous fling, then consider Destin as the spot for your next getaway.

The panhandle of Florida is many people’s secret favorite destination. The entire state is blessed with beautiful coastline around every corner, but the Emerald Coast is something special. It’s okay to play favorites when it comes to choosing the place that makes you forget all your worries and cares, so cherish the sugary sand and mesmerizing waters and visit this charmed stretch of beach before too long.

Destin is filled with activities that will get your motor running; snorkeling, water skiing, wave running, parasailing, and taking a simple satisfying swim are just a few of the diversions that will compete for your time. Pontoon boats and a couple of fishing poles will soothe the mood and ensure that your blood pressure is adequately lowered and your muscles have the chance to de-clench. You may have momentary tinges of panic when you realize you haven’t checked your email or your watch for quite a while, but the best advice is to just let these things go. The world will march along without you, and there are more important tasks at hand.

For one, the ocean needs your full attention. Aside from previously mentioned pursuits, there’s also the chance for surfing, scuba diving, and dolphin tours. Destin area wildlife is pretty eye-catching, so save time to check out the underwater scene by booking a glass-bottomed boat excursion or visit the marshy shoreline for bird-watching and exploring. Grayton Beach State Recreation Area will show everyone a good time by providing an excellent spot for picnics, strolling along the nature trails, and generally soaking in all that this unique and scenic region has to offer.

Man-made amusements will also make their way onto your family’s itinerary, so remember that this is the time and place to really let loose as you explore Destin’s fantastic and fun facilities. Rev up the competition by playing putt-putt or buckling up and whizzing around a go-kart track. Roller coasters and carnival games can be also be found at the Track Recreation Center, so prepare to laugh until your belly hurts and achieve a level of family togetherness that’s been missing lately.

Bring an appetite for fresh seafood, as you’ll have plenty of chances to indulge as you dine by the water each day. Nothing compares to enjoying a salty breeze, a brilliant sunset, and a soothing cocktail at the end of a sun-soaked day in Destin, so request a seat that faces the breaking waves and enjoy every second of each delightful meal. If this is a romance-themed vacation meant to rekindle the flame, a candlelight dinner complete with soft music and a nice wine will surely do the trick. Make Destin the backdrop for what’s truly important as you celebrate your love the way it deserves.

Once day breaks again, finish out the trip by shopping in the outlet malls, playing a few games of golf on the superb courses, or enjoying the locally created treasures at one of the many art galleries. You may find your favorite pastime of all to be simply lounging on the beach beneath one of those big striped umbrellas. Sit back and listen to some tunes, crack open a book, or simply lie there letting the sound of the waves and the distant laughter of children lull you into a state of deep repose.

One final detail that will catapult this vacation into the next level can be summed up in two words: vacation rental. Instead of a hotel chain that will have you feeling déjà vu, pick out a unique property that will meet your needs and reflect the wonderful quirks of your family. From the location to the kitchen to the soft, supple beds, your vacation rental, should you be wise enough to book one, will make this trip one of your most memorable ever.

Start the planning process as soon as you can in order to ensure that your hard-earned getaway is all that it should be. Going online to seek out a fitting Destin Vacation Rental will actually be a fun experience, as shuffling through the hundreds of options will help you visualize the dreamy trip that lies ahead of you.

Caitlin Moore