Category Destin

10 Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA | U.S. News Travel

IMG_0884Taking the family to the beach can create lifelong memories, as long as every member of the family is satisfied. To help you choose your next family beach vacation, U.S. News considered factors like safe waters, kid-friendly attractions, dining options, spacious accommodations, multi-generational appeal and overall accessibility. The list below features destinations across the country that are most ideal for family getaways, according to travel experts and our readers. Weigh in by voting below, then use this list to plan your upcoming travels.

Source: 10 Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA | U.S. News Travel

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Travel Channel’s ‘Best Beaches’ is a list of dream vacations

Hanauma Bay, Oahu. Beach Maniac photo.

The Travel Channel’s 2013 list of the Best Beaches includes a few I have been fortunate enough to visit already, and a few that are high on my bucket list. Among those I have already visited, my favorite on this list is Hanauma Bay on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, which was named the Best Beach for Adventure. On the far side of Diamond Head volcano from Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, this tranquil bay has amazing coral reefs just offshore, allowing for incredible snorkeling right off the beach. To protect the coral, all visitors are taken through an instructional tour before being allowed onto the beach. What I liked best is you can snorkel for a while, climb up on shore and rest and then go right back in whenever you want.

Another spot I have been fortunate enough to experience is Rick’s Cafe in Negril, Jamaica, named the Best Beach Bar. I only visited for an hour or so as I swam to the bar from a catamaran docked just offshore as part of a snorkeling trip but it was an experience I will never forget. No, I did not take the adventurous (and dangerous) 30-foot dive off the rocks into the sea, but I sure enjoyed watching others do it as I relaxed with a cool one.

Then there is the Best Beach Boardwalk, Venice Beach, California. If you have not yet visited this iconic beach, be sure to add it to your to-do list...

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Surprised Gulf of Mexico shrimp boat captain hauls in man’s lost prosthetic leg

Fred Robinson's prosthetic leg safely on shore. Photo credit: Screenshot from WKYT video.

About 10 days after a man lost his $30,000 prosthetic leg while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico near Destin, Florida, a surprised shrimp boat captain hauled it in while fishing. He then tracked the owner down and has arranged to return the leg.

It was initially a scary haul for Matt Willingham, who said one of his fishermen saw the leg in a turtle excluder, a specialized device that allows a captured sea turtle to escape when caught in a fisherman’s net. According to the Northwest Florida Daily News, Willingham was relieved to discover that it was a prosthetic leg and that he had not found a body.

Fred Robinson. Photo Credit: WKYT TV.

Willingham reached out to the media, which helped publicize his unusual catch, and that – along with contacting the manufacturer – led to the owner of the leg. As it turned out, it really wasn’t hard to track down Fred Robinson, of Crestview, Florida, who lost it while swimming in Choctawhatchee Bay between Fort Walton Beach and Destin over the Memorial Day weekend. Robinson played football for the University of Kentucky in the 1980s, and his prosthetic leg is emblazoned with the UK logo, as well as the university’s motto and wildcat mascot.

“I got the call and I was shocked! I just started laughing, they found my leg!” Robinson told WKYT TV in Lexington, Kentucky.

Robinson said he went swimming while boating and the current sucked the limb out from under ...

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Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort ranked among Top 50 Resorts Worldwide by Tennis Resorts Online

Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.

If you like to combine tennis with your beach vacation, the Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort in the Florida Panhandle just might be your dream resort. Hidden Dunes was ranked as one of the top 50 tennis resorts worldwide by Tennis Resorts Online. Located near Sandestin, Hidden Dunes Tennis Center, which features six championship clay Rubico courts, received high marks for overall tennis experience, tennis staff, instruction and game matching.

Tennis Resorts Online solicits the opinions of racquet-wielding vacationers worldwide and compiles their collective experience into an annual ranking of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps. Resorts are ranked in more than 20 categories, ranging from the tennis courts and instruction to the quality of the lodging, children’s programs and value for the dollar.

“We are thrilled to make the list,” said Hidden Dunes Director of Tennis Renee’ Broxson, USPTA. “We have been making lots of improvements to the tennis center and the Pro Shop and guests have been really excited about our new tennis packages as well.”

The 27-acre beach resort enclave of condos, cottages and villas is tucked away amid the trees, providing a quiet oasis for tennis enthusiasts and beach lovers. The Tennis Resorts Online feature noted that “guests who opt for Hidden Dunes seem to regard tennis as almost as essential amenity as the white-sand beach.”

“People like coming to Destin for the emerald water...

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‘Boast the Coast’ campaign aims to boost tourism in northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast

Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau officially announces the phase two launch of the national ‘Boast the Coast’ tourism campaign, as they hit the road to tell people around the country about this laid-back slice of Florida’s upper Gulf Coast. A multi-city, interactive RV tour will travel to five target cities, making stops at area events to help those who deserve a vacation “Get A Little Sand in Their Soul” and to be joined in the nationwide effort to “Boast the Emerald Coast” (

“The idea for ‘Boast the Coast’ started following a 2010 survey where the beaches of Florida’s Emerald Coast did not rank among the favorites of TripAdvisor users,” says Emerald Coast CVB President and CEO Mark Bellinger. “Anyone who has visited the beach towns of DestinFort Walton Beach or Okaloosa Island know the emerald-green water and sugar-white sand are second to none. This survey proved to us not enough people know about this gorgeous slice of Northwest Florida, so we decided to take our message on the road in a grass roots campaign to spread the word.”

To kick off the second leg of the campaign trail, the Emerald Coast wrapped RV makes its first stop inBristol, Tenn., on Saturday, March 17-18, at the NASCAR Bristol Motor Speedway, followed by Dallas on Friday, April 13-14; Louisville, Ky., on Friday, April 20-21; Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, May 26-28 andNashville, Tenn., on Thursday, June 7-10.

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