The emerald-green water along the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast is not only beautiful, it’s full of adventure – the kind you can have both on fishing boats and in restaurants. These legendary waters lure those who love to fish, those who love fresh seafood and those who can’t get enough of either. Whether you plan on picking up a rod and reel – or just a fork – you can’t help but catch the excitement.
Fish, to taste right, must swim three times – in water, in butter and in wine.
While Native Americans fished in these pristine waters along the Emerald Coast as early as the 7th century A.D., the fishing industry here didn’t begin until 1835 when Captain Leonard Destin from New Long, Connecticut, moved to the area. “The Luckiest Fishing Village in the World” became Destin’s official nickname on October 15, 1956. Florida Governor Collins went out on a charter and came back within 15 minutes with a 19-pound King Mackerel. When a reporter said it was hard to believe that he caught that fish in 15 minutes, he piped back, “Not if you’re fishing in Destin. Them boys live with the fish. Destin’s the ‘World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.’”
The first restaurant in Destin was opened in 1960 by Vernon “Bud” and Joyce La Fountain. Back then, a seafood platter cost just $2.50. Today Destin is home to America’s largest fishing fleet and dozens of one-of-a-kind restaurants serving fresh Gulf to Table cuisine.
If the fish isn’t Gulf-to-Table fresh, eat cheeseburgers.
– CAPTAIN GARY JARVIS, BACK DOWN 2
Fried, grilled, blackened or bronzed, nothing beats the taste of fresh fish caught off the Emerald Coast. Here there isn’t one catch of the day – there are several. From rustic oyster bars and open-air cafes to candlelit restaurants, all our local eateries offer the freshest, largest variety of seafood.
All fish taste pretty much the same, right? Wrong. Chefs on the Emerald Coast are doing amazing things with a huge variety of fresh, local fishes. There are 20 kinds of edible fish to sample at any given time. When you combine fresh fish with fresh ideas, something magical happens.
From the depths of the Gulf of Mexico to the sleepy bayous, beautiful lakes and pristine waters of the Choctawhatchee Bay, there is an abundance of fish to be caught here year-round.