It’s not always clear where the Emerald Coast ends and begins. But one thing is for certain – that long stretch of beaches along Okaloosa and Walton counties sure is pretty.
The Emerald Coast was ranked No. 10 as a top destination in the U.S. from the travel website Lonely Planet, named among popular travel spots such as Denver, Colorado, Asheville, North Carolina and The Adirondacks in New York.
The website describes the Emerald Coast as “a 100-mile stretch of sugar fine sand and beachfront towns” that play host to vacationing celebrities such as Sandra Bullock and football star Tony Romo giving mention to spots such as The Henderson Beach Resort and the town of Seaside.
The Emerald Coast is usually viewed as the stretch of beaches in Okaloosa County.
As the director of marketing for Walton County Tourism Development Council, Loughman said she never gets tired of seeing local beaches receive accolades.
“Never,” she added. “Bring them on.”
And when it comes to positive praise, Loughman said South Walton is happy to be a part of the Emerald Coast, even if it is a technicality.
“We are proud to be a part of the Emerald Coast,” Loughman said. “South Walton has special qualities with the acclaimed beach neighborhoods that provide different experiences and make repeat visits very unique. Our personality is also very unique with eco-friendly, eco-tourism that helps the community stand out.”
Okaloosa County TDC board member and owner of the Magnolia Grill, Tom Rice, said he has a hunch as to why the Emerald Coast is named dropped among top destinations.
“It’s not the pine trees or the palm trees,” he said. “It’s the white sand and the clear, emerald water. I recently visited St. Petersburg Beach and walked over the brown sand and thought ‘This is nice, but it’s not Destin.'”
Rice said the area has had many different monikers – the Playground Area and the Miracle Strip. Whatever the name may be, the views are still unbeatable. And families are coming in from all over to see it for themselves.
“I look at what people post on TripAdvisor and other sites and what I’m fascinated with is where people are coming from – it’s everywhere around the globe,” he said. “(In 2017) we’ll be continuing to tell the story of this place to remind people to come back or visit for the first time.”
Credit to: The Walton Sun