Some say eating fish on Florida’s Emerald Coast is like tasting fish for the first time.
In fact, the culinary sensibilities of the region are defined by gulf-to-table dining, “as well as fresh seasonal fare caught by one of our local captains,” states Maureen Morgenthien, deputy director of sales & marketing for the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. Morgenthien follows this up by saying that visiting groups should visit local restaurants “like Brotula’s, Anglers Beachside Grill, or Dewy Destin’s Harborside” to really get a feel for it.
Destin and Okaloosa Island’s easy access to the deep ocean opens up the menus of local restaurants to fresh seasonal seafood. Restaurants will also prepare your group’s catch, and with the largest fishing fleet in the nation, the odds are with landing a barrel full during a half- or full-day fishing charter led by an experienced captain. To really drive the hyperlocal experience home, attendees can tour Destin Brewery or visit Props Brewery for local craft beer tastings.
These foodie experiences can easily be paired with activities for which this destination is well known. Destin is among the top destinations in the world for shelling, for example. Groups can also try yoga and s’mores bonfires on the beach, yolo bike adventures, an array of art classes and snorkeling and diving (many local shops offer lessons and a variety of excursions) among artificial reefs and shipwrecks. They can also jump on the geocaching bandwagon (picnic baskets in hand) in Okaloosa County Parks. For a limited time, the parks are offering a custom trackable Okaloosa County Geocache Trail coin after completing various trail requirements—a fun keepsake for attendees.
Morgenthien says one of the culinary trends she has been noticing on the MICE front is the desire to include live personalized chef stations instead of plated or buffet style meals. Look to hotels such as the Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village, the newly opened Henderson Beach & Spa Resort or The Pearl Hotel to help get this going.