Playground of the Gulf Coast

Whether you call it the “Playground of the Gulf Coast, ” the “Miracle Strip” or call it by its current name, “The Emerald Coast,” you are referring to the Sunshine state’s best kept secret.

If you are longing for incredible sugar white sands that stretch for miles, emerald green waters to swim and surf, family-fun attractions, golf or just a place to relax, you’ll find it all here on Florida’s beautiful Emerald Coast.

Emerald Coast Beach

[Photo: Emerald Coast Beach]

This stretch of the Florida coast has undergone several name changes.  In 1946, for marketing purposes it was call “Playground of the Gulf Coast”. In 1956, journalist Claude Jenkins labeled the area the “Miracle Strip” for its 100-mile stretch of scenic highway, 98’s legendary motels, hotels and nightspots.  Andrew Dier, a junior high school student, came up with the idea to call it the “Emerald Coast” as part of a contest to find a new area slogan. 

The Emerald Coast is an area that stretches about 100 miles through five counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay from the cities of Pensacola (most western) to Panama City (most eastern).

Destin Florida Mall and Nightlife

[Photo: Destin Florida Mall and Nightlife]

What’s So Special About the Emerald Coast?

The cities of Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island are known as the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast because they are in the center of all the hustle and bustle.

In fact, the Emerald Coast has been named one of the “Top 10 Best Destinations in the US” in 2017 by Lonely Planet, which is the largest travel guide book publisher in the world.

Destin Harborwalk

Destin Harborwalk [Photo by: Emerald Coast CVB-Destin Harborwalk]

Known throughout the southeastern U.S. for its beaches, places to stay and lifestyle, in addition you will discover that the Emerald Coast is more than sand and surf. Named one of the “Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in American,” by Good Morning America, the area has an abundance of outdoor retail and entertainment centers, fishing and dolphin cruises and local seafood restaurants that focus on the Gulf-to-Table philosophy.

Golf Course

[Photo by: Emerald Coast CVB]

If golf is your thing, you will not have a problem finding a golf course nearby whether you are in Destin, Ft. Walton Beach or Okaloosa Island. Of course, while there are many great golf courses to choose from, there are a few you should keep at the top of your itinerary. Here are some 18-hole courses you will want to play: Kelly Planation Golf Course, Regatta Bay Golf Course, Emerald Bay Golf Club, Indian Bay Golf Club and the city of Ft. Walton Beach has two 18-hole Championship Golf Courses – The Pines Course and The Oaks Course.

With 297 sunny days per year, summer temperature high of 89 degrees and winter low of 42 degrees, easy access by car or plane and all the other things the Emerald Coast has to offer, why wouldn’t you want to explore Florida’s little known secret?


References: emeraldcoastfl.com, nationalgeographic.com, en.wikipedia.org