Rain, rain … don’t go away? While you may have come to the beach for a bright and shiny vacation, we have insider information on how to have fun when the clouds roll in.
“Boy, that is a challenge in sunny Florida!” says FWB resident Felicia McQuaid, owner of the Healing Clinic Downtown. “Rainy days are a great opportunity to connect to yourself and relax.” (We bet that’s why she suggested No. 3.)
So trade in your beach umbrella for the hand-held variety, then get out and make the best of a soggy situation.
1. PLAY. When you can’t play in the sand, there are plenty of indoor opportunities for gaming or goofing off. Grab lunch, pet a gator and get your game on at Fat Daddy’s Arcade inside Fudpucker’s Okaloosa Island. Coming soon to Destin’s Bass Pro Shops is Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl – a dining and bowling experience that might just be your ‘sunshine on a cloudy day.’
2. LEARN. The Emerald Coast Science Center on Brooks Street Downtown is a fun place to interact with your kids and learn about everything from motion to electricity to the human digestive system. Or, travel back in time at Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center – where you can explore a reconstructed 20th century school house and view an Indian Mound dating back to the year 900 A.D.
3. UNWIND. If the weather is stressing you out, try a yoga class at Dragonfly Yoga or treat yourself to some holistic care such as massage or reiki therapy at the Healing Clinic, both conveniently located just over the Brooks Bridge in Downtown FWB.
4. SHOP. Forgo the big box souvenir shops in favor of local flavor. Downtown FWB is home to plentiful artisan jewelers, clothiers and antique havens. Destin Commons has all your favorite stores, from culinary to couture. And Silver Sands Premier Outlets features your favorite designer brands at daily discounts of up to 65 percent.
5. EAT. When the going gets wet, whet your appetite! There are so many scrumptious places to dine along the Emerald Coast. Try Downtown dining or, for a truly special treat, head down the highway to explore the local flair of Scenic 30-A.
6. BATTLE ZOMBIES! (We are frighteningly serious.) At the 7D Movie Ride at HarborWalk Village, you can choose from interactive 3D movies that incorporate moving seats and simulation effects to create a 7D experience of battling robots, pirates or zombies with a video game ‘gun’. “It’s hard to explain,” says lifelong Destin resident Nicole Remele, who manages the office for the Southern Star Dolphin and Buccaneer Pirate Cruises. “You just have to experience it … it’s a blast!” There is also a traditional AMC Theatre at Destin Commons, if you just want to sit back and enjoy the popcorn.
7. SET SAIL. Remele would be remiss not to note that the Southern Star will cruise in light rain. For those willing to brave the elements, the boat has plenty of cover, as well as a climate-controlled cabin and drop-down enclosure on the upper deck.
8. GO WILD. The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is open seven days a week, rain or shine. You can take cover as you explore the Living Sea exhibit, with floor-to-ceiling viewing windows into a 50,000 gallon aquarium. There are also animal encounters galore, with sea lions and stingrays and turtles … oh my!
9. BE PAMPERED. Just because the sun won’t shine, doesn’t mean you can’t! Get your nails done, have your hair styled or schedule a full-blown makeover to wow your family or friends back home. May we suggest Brava Hair Studio & Day Spa in Downtown FWB or Fusion Spa Salon, an Aveda Lifestyle Salon in Sandestin.
10. CREATE. While you’re making memories, consider making a souvenir work of art. Raise your glass and your paintbrush at The Emerald Cork, or paint your own pottery at Fired Up.
Even the grayest day can be beautiful. When all else fails, just take in the view. Find comfort in the clouds from the balcony or poolside bar of your beachfront hotel.