All Things Crab Island And The Emerald Coast

 September 6th 2020

Hurricane Statistics From 1851 to Present


It should come as no surprise that Florida has been hit by the most number of hurricanes since direct hits on land were first recorded in 1851 with the Saffir/Simpson scale.

But a few Florida hurricane facts may come as a surprise.

More than 41 percent of hurricanes that hit the United States also make some kind of landfall in the Sunshine State. Florida has also been hit by more than twice as many hurricanes as the next closest hurricane-prone state, which is Texas.

Of the 292 hurricanes that have hit the U.S. since 1851, a staggering 120 have made some sort of landfall in Florida. The following four regions are the most hurricane-prone and least hurricane-prone areas in Florida.

The Most Hurricane-Prone Areas in Florida
1. Northwest Florida: 66 total hurricanes
(including 14 that were a Category 3 through 5)


Surprisingly enough — or maybe not surprising at all to some people — Northwest Florida, situated on the Panhandle, is the most hurricane-prone area in Florida. That’s partly due to the Gulf of Mexico, which is known for its warm shallow waters, and partly due to its location in the U.S.

Situated outside of the common tropical zone of South and Central Florida, the northwest panhandle receives lower temperatures than the rest of the state, which can help to strengthen hurricanes by contributing to the air pressure level that hurricanes need.

The Northwest Florida Panhandle is so prone to hurricanes that it has surpassed every other state as a whole, as Texas is the second most hurricane-prone state in the U.S. with 64 total hurricanes.

While this part of Florida has historically been hit by the most hurricanes since 1851, Northwest Florida had only been hit by hurricanes that were deemed Category 3 before 2018’s Hurricane Michael, which was a Category 5 and one of the strongest hurricanes on record.

2. Southwest Florida: 49 total hurricanes
(including 17 that were a Category 3 through 5)


Sitting directly on the Gulf of Mexico, which has much warmer waters than the Atlantic Ocean, Southwest Florida is tied with its southern counterpart on the Eastern Seaboard as the second most hurricane-prone area in Florida.  The only thing separating the two areas from one another is the fact that Southwest Florida has been hit by 17 major hurricanes, one more than the Southeast.  That includes six Category 4 and one Category 5 hurricanes.

3. Southeast Florida: 49 total hurricanes
(including 16 that were a Category 3 through 5)


Although many people may think Southeast Florida is the most hurricane-prone area in the State, this isn’t the case. This is mainly due to the catastrophic Hurricane Andrew of 1992, which was a Category 5 that battered the state and is responsible for new building codes.

The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 was the first of two Category 5 hurricanes Southeast Florida has faced since the inception of the Saffir/Simpson scale in 1851. It has also been hit by a record-tying seven Category 4 hurricanes, which ties it with the entire state of Texas.

The Least Hurricane-Prone Areas in Florida
4. Northeast Florida: 26 total hurricanes
(including 1 that was a Category 3)


Not all parts of Florida are as equally prone to hurricanes as the rest. Take Northeast Florida for instance. This large area has seen just 26 total hurricanes, including just a single Category 3 since the scale was introduced 167 years ago.

That means, on average, Northeast Florida gets hit by a hurricane every 6.5 years or so. Compared to its Northwest counterpart, which averages one hit every 3 years, that doesn’t seem as bad.

Since it sits in cooler waters and has a cooler climate than Southeast Florida, hurricanes that pass through the Caribbean are more likely to stay at sea longer and begin curling toward the U.S. when they get up to North and South Carolina.

5. Inland Florida (Closer to North Florida)


If you want to stay as safe as possible from hurricanes but still want to reap the benefits of being a Florida citizen, inland Florida near the northern border of Georgia is the best place to live. It is the least hurricane-prone area in Florida.

Since this area is not directly on Florida’s Atlantic of Gulf Coast, they typically don’t take direct hits in the form of 120-plus mile-per-hour winds. Instead, they face calmer winds when hurricanes hit. But, that doesn’t mean they’re completely out of the clear. This area is prone to tornadoes when the rest of Florida is under hurricane threat.

With the abundance of wind storms the state faces, getting adequate home insurance is a necessity. There are several insurance providers here to help with your home insurance needs so that you are covered and stay safe before, during and after hurricanes that hit Florida.







All Things Crab Island And The Emerald Coast

August 30th 2020

Explore, swim, and play in the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast.

The panhandle of Florida offers great variety in choosing the ideal vacation spot for summertime travel – or anytime, if you ask me! Take Destin, for example. One of my favorite destinations, this area offers gorgeous emerald waters and equally stunning sugar white-sand beaches. There are tasty culinary treasures and tons of cool things to do in Destin, FL, as you’ll see in this handy guide.

Over the years, Destin has evolved into a hub of towering condos, luxury resorts and dining delights. Recreation abounds on the Emerald Coast and if you want to get out on the water, Destin is the place to be. You can go jet skiing, parasailing, body boarding, paddle boarding and go on fishing excursions. Golf courses snake their way throughout the area making 18-holes an easy-to-access amenity for golfers. Many of the resorts and hotels offer tennis facilities, too!

Amusement USA in HarborWalk Village is the place to let kids release some energy with Hamster Balls, Bungee Trampolines, a Mechanical Surfboard and HarborWalk Mining Company. Grab some yummy treats at Spun Fun Cotton Candy! Want a good laugh? Watch your family and friends try their luck walking on water. One of the most popular shows here is the Maximum Magic Show! 

Big Kahuna’s Water Park

Big Kahuna’s Water Park is the perfect venue for a bone-soaking good time. Come prepared for water rides and water slides, or follow my lead and float around the lazy river. There are more than 40 rides and attractions to enjoy – thrill or chill – your choice! 

Destin Fishing and History Museum

Destin Fishing and History Museum is where you’ll learn the fascinating history of the “world’s luckiest fishing village.” See the evolution of Destin through exhibits about its founders and families. Also, get a look at award-winning fish caught in Destin as well as a collection of antique fishing rods and reels.

Destin Helicopter Tours

Destin Helicopter Tours is a lovely way to see sweeping views of the beautiful beaches. Get a bird’s eye view of Destin and the Emerald Coast with a professional Timberview Helicopter pilot. 

Destination Segway Tours

Destination Segway Tours is one of my family’s favorite things to do in Destin! Keep in mind, you must be 14 years old to enjoy this glide through Destin. Stops include a stunning harbor view from HarborWalk Village, the Destin History and Fishing Museum and Clement Taylor Park just to name a few. Bring your camera as the views are fabulous! Pricing and booking is available online.

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Have you ever been to the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park? It is a family-friendly Marine Adventure Park about 15 minutes away in Fort Walton. They have recently upgraded exhibits, animal habitats and interactive programming. Additionally, they have dolphin shows and turtle encounters as well as concessions. They also offer a Sunset Camp for kids! They’ll be exploring and dining with marine life while parents have a night out! 

Buccaneer Pirate Cruise

Buccaneer Pirate Cruise is a fun option for terrific family fun onboard a 100-foot U.S. Coast Guard-approved vessel that can carry just under 150 folks. There are restrooms, a covered deck and snacks. Oh, and fun…there’s lots and lots of that! There are sword fights, water gun battles, and treasure hunts. Join in the singing, dancing and storytelling or relax and watch the kids have a blast! You can conveniently book online up to two weeks in advance. Don’t forget to tip!

Captain Jambo’s Destin Harbor

Captain Jambo’s Destin Harbor offers parasailing, catamaran sailboat tours, dolphin cruises and more! Check for specials on the web site and you can also book your tour there.

Destin Cruise

Destin Cruise is all about catering to YOU! They’ll customize the boat tour to your liking – dolphin cruises, Crab Island day trips, sunset trips and wedding services. Also check out Dolphin Cruises for dolphin and sunset cruises leaving from Destin Harbor. They also offer parasailing!

Destin Snorkel

Award-winning Destin Snorkel is the place for folks looking to, well, snorkel! Snorkel tours are exciting and fun, plus you can book online. The three-hour tours offer an incredible opportunity to learn about the ecosystems of the bay waters and the jetties. Education mixed in with fun…now that’s a plan! Snorkel with small schools of fish, kayak and see various forms of underwater habitat for crabs, small fish, seahorses and baby shrimp. And, you just might see dolphins!

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Zoological Park in nearby Navarre is the perfect opportunity to meet and learn about some 70 different animals and 30 different species from around the world. Check out the Encounter Program and meet Ring-Tailed Lemurs, Sloths and Lions.

Deep Sea Fishing

If you are looking to do some fishing while in the area, make sure you have the appropriate license. If you charter a boat for something like deep sea fishing, typically the captain’s license for the boat will cover everyone, but always ask to be certain. And speaking of deep sea fishing excursions, Get Hooked on Destin handles fishing charters for your ultimate catch! Book online and get ready to catch the big one! Also, HarborWalk Charters is a good choice to book any type of boat for a fishing expedition.

Gilligan Watersports

Gilligan’s Watersports will get you an up close and personal look at dolphins from your wave runner on a two-hour outing. Book your trip and find the waiver online. 

The Gulf Breeze Zoo

The Gulf Breeze Zoo is 50 acres of wild adventure for the entire family. They have a walking path and a petting zoo! Feed a parakeet from the Australian Free-Flight Budgiery and view the free-range preserve filled with things like Africa’s largest antelope and other animals, too. Also, ride the Safari Line Limited Train for an up close look at chimps, gorillas and hippos!

HarborWalk Zipline & Free Fall

HarborWalk Zipline & Free Fall is an adventure-seeking tourist’s dream! The harbor views are breathtaking with emerald waters and white sandy beaches. Be the center of attention free falling 90 feet and landing on a bulls-eye platform with crowds there to cheer on your adventure! There is no web site, but they are easily found at HarborWalk Village.

Kitty Hawk Kayak

Kitty Hawk Kayak and SUP Rentals is pretty self-explanatory. Rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards and take to the waters for up close looks at Destin Harbor and Crab Island. Lessons are available as are scheduled night paddles.

Olin Marler’s Charter Tours

Olin Marler’s Charter Cruises is a two-hour narrated dolphin-watching tour through the Harbor. Watch dolphins in their natural habitat and enjoy the views. You’ll be onboard Miss Florida or the Hannah Marie for your adventure – both have glass bottoms for easy and fun viewing. 

For those who love sailing, check out these vendors to accommodate your love of the water: The Daniel Webster Clements , Emerald Coast Sailing (located at Destin Harbor), Just Sailing, Sail Away, Sail Destin and Smile-n-Wave Sailing Adventure.  No matter what you choose to do you will  in love with the natural beauty of the Emerald Coast.




All Things Crab Island And The Emerald Coast

August 16th 2020

Explore, swim, and play in the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast.


There is no shortage of ways to get out and play in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Okaloosa Island, collectively known as the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast. The area’s 24 miles of shoreline include powder-white beaches, emerald green water, and a portion of the pristine Gulf Islands National Seashore, plus protected bays and bayous, five beachfront parks, and 12 beach access ways.

Described as the “Jewel of the Emerald Coast” Crab Island is a must see when visiting the Emerald Coast.   Crab Island is one of our area’s top summertime destinations. It has been photographed and aired on national networks and shows such as HGTV and Good Morning America, published in various travel magazines, and featured in publications across the globe. I would venture to say that Crab Island is the main reason Boating Magazine named Destin one of the ‘Top 10 Places to Live and Boat’ in the United States in 2020.

Beyond the sand and surf, this section of the Emerald Coast is home to eight championship golf courses and country clubs, as well as outdoor retail and entertainment centers like Destin’s HarborWalk Village. Family-friendly attractions include Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, and Destin Fishing & History Museum.

GETTING THERE: Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island, and Destin are situated near the center of the northwest Florida coast, an area stretching from Pensacola east about 140 miles (225 kilometers) to Port St. Joe. The closest airport is Destin-Fort Walton Beach, located 16 miles northwest of Destin. From the airport, rent a car or take a taxi or private shuttle to Destin, Fort Walton Beach, or Okaloosa Island.

STAY: With more than 13,000 lodging options—including Gulf-view condos, high-rise hotels, private vacation homes, bed-and-breakfasts, and campgrounds—there are accommodations available to fit any budget. Family-friendly resorts such as Hilton Garden Inn Okaloosa Island typically include beach access, multiple pools, kids’ programs, and full kitchens. For a quieter, adults-only property, choose the Henderson Park Inn in Destin. The luxurious 35-suite bed-and-breakfast is styled after a classic Victorian New England seaside inn with a spacious porch overlooking the Gulf. In addition to daily gourmet breakfasts and boxed picnic lunches, guest amenities include free use of bikes, beach chairs, and beach umbrellas. Also, families can enjoy a similar level of pampering at The Henderson, a hotel with 170 rooms and suites opening across the street from the inn. Both properties are near 208-acre Henderson Beach State Park, home to one of the Emerald Coast’s top campgrounds. Reserve a site several months in advance of your visit. Insider tip: It’s easier to find a campsite on short notice at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park campground, located on the north shore of Choctawhatchee Bay in Niceville.

EAT: For the best pizza the area has to offer check out Helen Back Pizza in Fort Walton Beach.  A favorite of locals and visitors.  Try grilled yellowfin tuna, steamed shrimp, fried oysters, hot crabmeat dip, and other Gulf-to-table dishes at either Dewey Destin’s location—the Harborside Restaurant on Destin Harbor or the Seafood & Restaurant overlooking Crab Island. Owner Dewey Destin’s family has been selling fresh seafood since the early 1800s (great-great-grandfather Leonard founded Destin, then called East Pass, in 1835). If you fish, bring your fresh flounder, grouper, red snapper, wahoo, or other daily catch to Dewey Destin’s and they’ll cook it for you. (Price varies depending on the fish, preparation, and side dishes.)

BEACH: Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Okaloosa Island regularly rank among the best on national and regional media lists of family vacation and beach destinations. Okaloosa Day Use Area east of Fort Walton Beach is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, named “Best East Coast Beach” in the USA Today 10 Best 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. The Okaloosa location offers an unspoiled beach, calm waters (ideal for family swimming), picnic tables, restrooms, and a boat launch. Other public-access beaches are located at Henderson Beach State Park, James Lee Park, John Beasley Park, and Newman C. Brackin Wayside Park. Many vacation properties also have private beaches or beach access.

PLAY: Get out on the water to sail, paddle, go on a Buccaneer pirate cruise, or zip around an airboat. Kayak and canoe rentals are available at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, home to an aquatic preserve where you might spot dolphins, otters, and waterfowl. Several outfitters such as Cattywampus catamaran ecotours and Destin Snorkel offer dolphin-viewing cruises and snorkeling excursions. Destin also has the nation’s largest for-hire fishing fleet, according to the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau. Charter a boat with Gulf Angler or another local captain to try deep-sea or bay fishing. Before your trip, purchase a Florida fishing license online.

DISCOVER: See military aircraft from the World War II era to the present at the Eglin Air Force Base’s free Air Force Armament Museum (closed Sunday). Learn about local culture and history at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida (closed Sunday and Monday) and at the free Baker Block Museum (closed Saturday to Monday, except the third Saturday of each month). See a 1925 fishing boat, a collection of antique rods and reels, and vintage photographs of boat captains and their boats at the Destin History & Fishing Museum (closed Sunday and Monday). Visit the Indian Temple Mound Museum, Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum, Garnier Post Office Museum, Fort Walton Temple Mound, and the Civil War Exhibit Building at the Heritage Park & Cultural Center (closed Sunday) in Fort Walton Beach.

FUN FACT: A 3.8-acre mural of a United States flag is painted on the roof of the Legendary Marine boat storage facility in Destin. The rooftop original (thought to be the world’s largest flag mural) is the work of marine life artist Wyland, whose Wyland Wall #88 (“Marine Life of the Gulf”) mural can be seen on the facility’s exterior walls. Seeing the flag requires taking a scenic flight.



All Things Crab Island and the Emerald Coast

August 9th, 2020

What To Bring To Crab Island

It’s no doubt that Crab Island is one of the hot spots in the Destin, FL area. Crab Island is an underwater island at the entrance of Choctawhatchee Bay near the East Pass in Destin. Crab Island is typically only 2-3 feet deep which allows children and adults a huge swimming pool-like area to play and keep cool from the hot summer sun. The water is usually crystal clear. Crab Island is an extremely popular hangout place for families and partying people. There are plenty of activities going on at Crab Island, such as live music, dancing, water sports such as volleyball, chicken fighting, free giveaways, food and beverage vendors, and even merchandise vendors.

If you have never been to Crab Island Destin, FL, you may be wondering, ”How do you get to Crab Island? You must have a boat, jet ski, or paddleboard to get to Crab Island. You should never try to swim from the shore to get to Crab Island because the current from the tide flow can be very strong. On the Emerald Coast, Boat rentals in Destin and Fort Walton Beach are very easy to find and usually reasonably priced for a rental for the day.

If you have never been to Crab Island before, you definitely need to know what to pack for Crab Island.

  • Sunscreen – The sun is stout here, so bring plenty of sunblock.
  • Towel – Towels always come in handy after swimming.
  • Hat – Help keep some of the sun off your face and reduce your risk of skin cancer.
  • Food & Snacks – You will for sure get hungry, so bring plenty of food for your lunch and snacks throughout the day, or you can always buy hamburgers, hot dogs, wraps, etc. from some of the food vendors; however, there is never any guarantee that they will be open.
  • Drinks – You need to make sure and bring plenty of water to replace the lost fluids from sweating, but don’t forget your adult beverages such as beer, wine, or wine coolers. If you plan to be drinking outside of your boat, make sure you don’t have glass bottles.
  • Water Toys – Crab Island is all about fun, so bring your toys. Footballs, volleyballs, water guns and other water toys are always great fun!
  • Rafts – You might want to chill out and relax so bring a raft to float around the water to stay cool.
  • Garbage Bag – When packing your boat, don’t forget a garbage bag to dispose of your food bags, beer and soda cans, and other trash that accumulates during your boating experience at Crab Island.
  • Snorkel Equipment – It’s common to see plenty of crabs, fish, and hermit crabs partying at Crab Island, so you might want to bring your snorkel and mask to get a better look. There are also guided tours for snorkelers.
  • Money – You never know what you might want to buy while at Crab Island. There are even vendors selling food, ice cream, and drinks. Have your money handy just in case you get a craving for a treat! Or you may want to take your kids to play on some of the inflatables such as the giant water slide or possibly even rent a paddle board for a new experience.
  • Camera – Crab Island is a beautiful setting and you will definitely want to take some pictures. If you stay until sunset, you will be in for a real treat. There is nothing compared to experiencing a Crab Island sunset. 
  • Music – If your boat doesn’t have a good speaker system, bring a good music player so you can hear some tunes and relax the day away in the sun and water.

Crab Island is a truly unique experience when visiting the Destin – Fort Walton Beach area. You will not only find a lot of visitors at Crab Island but also a LOT of locals who frequent Crab Island every weekend! Go ahead and do something a little different on your vacation and enjoy the beautiful waters and beaches of the Emerald Coast. If you own a boat and need boat repair without the hassle of taking your boat to a boat mechanic, check out the services of American Mobile Marine. They are a mobile marine service for the Destin – Fort Walton Beach area and will come to your boat to make repairs.



All Things Crab Island and the Emerald Coast

August 2nd, 2020

Waterkeeper Alliance is a global environmental movement uniting more than 190 Waterkeepers around the world and focusing citizen advocacy on the issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeeper Alliance is the voice for the world’s waters.

The current President of Waterkeeper Alliance, a non profit environmental group is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He helped form the Alliance in 1999 and from 1984 until 2017, he was a board member and chief prosecuting attorney for Hudson River-keeper contributing to many positive environmental improvements.

Our local group, Emerald Coast Waterkeeper Alliance, organized by Sava Varazo, is based in Pensacola, FL. The Emerald Coast Waterkeeper serves the watershed in Northwest Florida, working to respond to citizen reports of pollution and adverse environmental impacts from the Alabama/Florida state line to Perdido Bay, and Panama City to West Bay.


For a very family friendly outing a must see is the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center about 15 miles west of Crab Island.

The NBSTCC is a working conservation center and education center open to the public on Navarre Beach. Founded in 2013 though grassroots community involvement the NBSTCC mission is to conserve and protect threatened sea turtles through community education and partnered research.

The NBSTCC operates a 2010 square foot conservation and education center open to the public year round. Guests enter the main pool exhibit featuring a 15,000 gallon saltwater pool, home to Sweet Pea, a non releasable green sea turtle, and ambassador-in-residence of the NBSTCC. For many guests, Sweet Pea is the first sea turtle they have ever seen, and her story tells of the dangers, and promise, that human choices have on this imperiled species. Plus many many more sea creatures to adore.



All Things Crab Island and the Emerald Coast

July 26th, 2020

If you are staying or playing on Okaloosa Island, there are plenty of great dining choices on the Island.

Below you will find all of the restaurants on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, FL.


For a master list of Destin & Fort Walton Beach Go To Our Restaurant page



Angler’s Beachside Grill 

Serving seafood since 1999, Angler’s Beachside Grill boasts large booths for maximum privacy and comfort and an open deck that allows a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico as the sun sinks beneath the waves.

Asiago’s Skillet

Serving hearty breakfast from midnight to noon.

The Crab Trap

The Crab Trap is another popular location for those who love great seafood. A great view, outdoor seating, and fresh and local catches.

Fudpuckers Beachside Bar & Grill

Fudpuckers is a popular bar and grill restaurant loved by tourists and locals alike. Live gators make the experience even better!

Floyd’s Shrimp House

Floyd’s Shrimp House is the self-proclaimed best priced shrimp on the Emerald Coast and prides themselves on family friendly dining.

The Gulf

The Gulf serves up local cuisine while overlooking the beautiful waters of Choctawhatchee Bay.

Hightide Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Hightide has been serving up seafood on the Emerald Coast for more than 30 years. They also have a full service bar and oyster bar as well.

Old Bay Steamer

Old Bay Steamer is a popular local seafood destination on Okaloosa Island.

Items like the Super Steamer and Lobster Dinner are some of their most popular dishes.

Rockin’ Tacos

Rockin’ Tacos is a relatively new restaurant on The Boardwalk serves Mexican cuisine right on the Gulf of Mexico. 

Stewbys Seafood Shanty

Stewby’s Seafood Shanty takes pride in serving the freshest and best seafood around on Okaloosa Island.

Waffle House

Offering classic American breakfast and diner foods 24 hours a day.



All Things Crab Island and the Emerald Coast

July 19th, 2020


Recent Updates on Upcoming Events

Destin Seafood Festival 2020

The organizers of the 42nd Annual Destin Seafood Festival, scheduled for October 2-4, 2020, have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event.  

This choice was made with an abundance of caution and with respect to the City of Destin, our community, property hosts, volunteers, patrons, vendors, and sponsors.  Given the uncertainty of this unprecedented global situation and the economic hardships facing our partners, our team feels that this is the most responsible choice based on the information we have today. 

The Destin Seafood Festival is the kickoff event for the annual Destin Fishing Rodeo, which spans the entire month of October. Despite the cancellation of the Destin Seafood Festival, the Destin Fishing Rodeo will proceed as scheduled.   

We look forward to resuming the Destin Seafood Festival bigger and better than ever -October 1-3, 2021.


Billy Bowlegs Festival 2020

The organizers of the Billy Bowlegs Festival and the Torchlight Parade, scheduled for July 30 – Aug 3rd, with an abundance of caution have decided to cancel the event for this year.  Please stay advised for the 2021 dates. 

Destin Fishing Rodeo 2020

The Destin Fishing Rodeo began in May of 1948 to bring people to Destin. It worked! Destin shortly became known as a summer tourist destination and “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”.

The Rodeo founders, people such as Howard Marler, Jewel Melvin and Willie Marler, decided that moving the Rodeo to October would lengthen the tourist season another month. Today the Rodeo is held October 1- 31.

There are no changes at this time.  Please visit Destin Fishing Rodeo for more details.