Top 10 Reasons To Visit The Emerald Coast During the Christmas Holidays


Christmastime is a great time to visit Florida’s Emerald Coast

Some people may think you’re a little off for going to the Florida Panhandle in December – like six months or so off. But that’s one of the reasons that makes it the ideal time of year to visit.

You can enjoy all the great things the Emerald Coast has to offer without the summertime crowds, and there’s still plenty to do even though the temperatures are about 40 degrees lower.

We present the 10 reasons to come to the Emerald Coast in the winter. Just make sure you pack some clothes with a little more coverage than your bathing suits and flip-flops:

10) The price of condos during the winter months drops like the mercury in the thermometer. You can stay in the same condo you do during the summer months for a fraction of the cost.

9) Many winter visitors use their mini-vacation to do all their Christmas shopping on the Emerald Coast, and for good reason. The abundance of outlet stores and shopping malls makes it the perfect place to buy all your gifts for the entire family, saving you money and gas over trying to complete your shopping list at home. Just make sure you drive a big enough vehicle to carry it all home.

8) Sure, there are many summertime venues that are closed in the winter but Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Navarre Beach also offer many attractions during the winter months that aren’t available during the summer. For instance, Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) will present the first ever staging of “A Dickens Christmas” at the Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village Veranda Room on December 11, 13 and 21 at 7:30 p.m.; and on December 13 and 20 at 2:00 p.m. It’s the perfect way to get the family in the holiday spirit.

7) Sure, the water parks and amusement rides are shut down for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in some splashing-around fun during your Christmas visit. Most of our condo properties offer heated pools and hot tubs and other attractions that will give you and the kids the rare chance to swim and play even when it’s cold outside.

6) There’s a reason rates are cheaper in the winter months. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. With the Emerald Coast relatively empty compared to the busy summer months, local businesses drop their prices to attract as many guests as possible. That means fewer folks in town and fewer folks to stand in line behind at area attractions and less traffic!

5) The weather outside may be frightful, but the shopping is so delightful. The outlet stores and shopping malls that stock their shelves for the summer rush are desperately trying to empty them during the winter moths so they can start the process all over again. Visitors can find clearance sales and buy items at a fraction of what they would have cost six months ago.

4) All your favorite restaurants that you are forced to stand in line or make reservations for during the summer are open and awaiting your arrival this time of year. Also, may restaurants offer winter specials to attract more customers, such as buy-one-get-one-free deals or special menu items that are available in the summer. Best of all, you can walk right in and sit right down.

3) Some of the area’s top tourist attractions change during the winter months, adding a holiday spin to their usual offerings. For example, HarborWalk Village in Destin becomes a virtual Winter Wonderland from the arrival of Santa (by boat), Christmas caroling and concerts, to ringing in the New Year with a spectacular New Year’s Eve Celebration.

2) The Emerald Coast is also known for golf, but things start to slow down on the green around this time of year. As a result, you can play 18 holes on some of the top area golf courses for a fraction of the cost you would pay during the golf season. Many courses even offer free golf on Christmas Day, when you can show up and walk the course at no charge. It’s a real Christmas miracle.

1) The Emerald Coast may be strictly a vacation destination for those who don’t live here, but Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Navarre Beach is also where many of us call home. As a result, there are many community Christmas shows and programs available all over town, from Singing Christmas Tree to Living Nativity Scenes to special services for the holidays. It’s a good chance to get a true locals’ experience.

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