destin staycation

Stay-cation in Destin, FL (From a Local!)

My favorite place to stay – Henderson Beach Resort

Henderson Beach Resort features a bed and breakfast-style couples resort and a family-friendly resort. We decided to have a stay-cation at the family resort because of the pool, the spa, and the proximity to the beach. It’s also right in the middle of Destin and close to all the restaurants. its a great pick, especially with kids!

After sun-bathing and snorkeling in the beautiful pristine waters all day, we showered and decided to go to dinner.

During the summer months, restaurants are extremely packed and the wait is often 2-3 hours for the more popular places like Boshamps and Pompano Joe’s. So I highly recommend an early or late dinner to minimize wait times. Reservations are also rare and only required at fine dining locations like Beach Walk Cafe and Seagar’s. Speaking of Beach Walk Café, its located inside the Henderson Bed and Breakfast and recently changed owners in September of 2021 so things are quite different than they were before. They still are adults-only and white table cloth fine dining but a few items on their menus have changed. The food is still amazing but hopefully they will bring back their amazing olive oil bread. The views are still quite stunning and relaxing. It’s my favorite place to eat in Destin, by far! Keep in mind, parties are limited to 4 and it’s considered a fine dining establishment.

The Primrose is Henderson Beach Resort’s featured in-house restaurant and requires reservations! We didn’t realize that and were unable to eat there that evening. Horizons is a small eatery next to the Primrose and we got a few bites there before deciding just to order room service.

The room service was much better than expected – I had steak and crab (it was superb). They even had Terlato Pinot Grigio in stock, my favorite Italian wine. But the main reason for eating in our room was to enjoy our balcony view of the Gulf over Henderson Beach State Park. I don’t know about you, but food tastes better with a salty breeze in your face and emerald-blue water in the distance.

Gulf view at Henderson beach Resort

Another awesome characteristic of this resort is that it allows pets. Pets are people too, am I right? If you are a dog lover like me then this is an amazing place for you. Your pup can go on vacation with you. Keep in mind however that dogs are not allowed on the beach but can be walked in the common areas and potty patch. There is a hefty fine if your pet gets caught on the beach. That is ok though your pampered pooch will enjoy looking at the Gulf from your room (if you choose the gulf view rooms).

The resort also has an amazing spa geared toward healing. Their massage therapists are amazing at bringing calm and zen into the massage. You can choose your fragrance and initiate and end with a gong vibration to release the tension. They also have a spa jacuzzi and calm room where you can rest if you choose. They also offer Mani Pedis if you would like that service as well.

Now, we didn’t to spend our entire time at the resort, so we looked for some activities to do in the area. After some research, we decided on a helicopter ride over the Gulf!

My son and dad rode with me (you can only have up to 3 people) and they had a blast. Timberview Helicopters was the tour company we went with.

Another awesome adventure I highly recommend is to call Captain Pam with Smile and Wave Adventures. She charters an amazing sail boat private cruise.  This is one of our favorite things to do in Destin.  She leaves from the Marina Café boat dock and cruises around the harbor and crab island and even goes briefly into the Gulf of Mexico.  Every time we go we see tons of dolphins, a few sharks, manatees, and turtles.  Truly a wonderful relaxing experience.  My son even falls asleep, its just that calming.  

Captain Pam and the fam!
smile and wave charters

My daughter had a blast!

I hope that our stay-cation gives you an example of how to have fun in Destin, FL. There’s plenty more to do so don’t limit yourself to the above options. Just a reminder, make sure you plan ahead, especially in the summer. Activities book up quickly and waits are very long if you don’t have a reservation.

And finally, if you’re looking for a photographer, check out my work! I do family beach photography, maternity shoots, high school seniors, couples, and more. Head on over to pricing to get started.

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