The Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast is a fantastic destination to make memories with family, friends, and your taste buds.  How can you up the flavor of your vacation?  Here are four foodie tips for Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island.

Fish TraxFish Trax

What’s the story behind the fish on your fork?  Find out with Fish Trax.  Search the QR code that comes with your fish to find out where it came from, and who caught it.  You can also see pictures and get more information on the species, the vessel that reeled it in, and the captain.

In order to use Fish Trax, you need to first download a QR code scanner app onto your smartphone. Then, find a participating restaurant. In Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island check out Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer, Dewey Destin’s Restaurant Harborside, Grande Vista Bar and Grille, Harry T’s, and Jackacudas.

Frozen Treats

Not many things help beat the Florida heat better than a frozen treat.  Here on the Emerald Coast, options expand farther than traditional classics, such as ice cream and popsicles.  

When the temperatures start rising first thing in the morning, try an acai bowl for breakfast at Sunset Bowls in downtown Fort Walton Beach.  The base of the bowls is a frozen acai blend, with a texture similar to a thick smoothie.  There’s an array of toppings to give a little sweetness and texture to the tart and creamy bottom layer, including fresh fruit, granola, local honey, coconut, Nutella, and cacao nibs.

For a more dessert feel, stop by Dewey’s New Orleans Style Snowballs.  All of the syrups at Dewey’s are made by hand. For a unique experience, get your snowball stuffed.  The Scarlett O’Hara takes cake batter and red velvet cake flavors, stuffed with real cheesecake, and topped with sweetened condensed milk.  Or for a timeless flavor combination, try the Root Beer Float, with root beer flavored syrup, stuffed with vanilla ice cream, and topped sweetened condensed milk.

Ice cream and sorbet goes to the grown-ups, in a chilly twist on the classic adult beverage – wine! Wine Not at the Harborwalk Village puts infused flavors on a cone, like strawberry champagne, raspberry chardonnay, and black cherry merlot. 

Maas CoffeeLocal Coffee

Skip the chains when going for your morning coffee run.  There are plenty of options for a high-quality cup at local cafes around Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island.  

For example, at Maas Coffee Roasters in Fort Walton Beach, you can try out coffee from different corners of the world.  Drink your coffee there or take back a bag of perfectly roasted beans to your hotel room, to wake you up without the wait in line.

Some of other top reviewed places for that daily dose of java love are, according to Yelp, Main Brew Coffee, Coffee Ave, Capriccio Café, JumpinGoat Coffee, and 2 Birds Coffee.

Seafood Markets

If your accommodation has a kitchen, try your hand at cooking local seafood.  Seafood markets on the Emerald Coast carry fresh fish and shellfish caught along the Gulf of Mexico, like grouper, red snapper, pompano, shrimp, and crabs.  Get varieties not commonly heard of outside of the Gulf Coast, such as Royal Red Shrimp, which has a taste and texture more like lobster than other shrimp.  Some seafood markets worth checking out in the area are Sexton’s Seafood Market, Destin Ice & Seafood, Blalock Seafood & Specialty Market, and Gulf Coast Seafood.