Pin on the map of Florida showing the location of Destin

Vacation Forward in South Walton and Destin, Florida

Do you want to have fun on vacation and leave feeling great? If you answered "yes," we invite you to "Vacation Forward" on your next South Walton or Destin beach vacation. As vacationers, we like to take mementos home with us that remind us of our visit and our experiences. But have you considered leaving something instead?  Vacation Forward is about “giving back” to the destination and "paying it forward" to the community and the next traveler.  You'll have a fun vacation and feel great about doing something positive.

When you vacation forward, you leave the destination you visited better than when you arrived. It's the small things vacationers can do that create BIG improvements to the community and the environment.  We've outlined some ways you can "Vacation Forward" during your next beach vacation along the beaches of South Walton and Destin, Florida:

Coastal Clean Up

Remove trash on the beach.

When you walk the beach carry a bag. While South Walton and Destin’s beaches are some of the most prisitine in the nation, you’ll be surprised how many small items such as straws, plastic, toys and cups you encounter during your stroll.



You probably recycle at home so it's easy to continue on vacation. Start separate trash bags for cans/glass and plastics at your Destin vacation rental. In Walton and Okaloosa Counties, recycling bins are conveniently located around town and curbside service is offered in some neighborhoods such as Crystal Beach. Click here for a full list of recycled items and locations of Blue Recycling Trailers in Walton County (Miramar Beach & Hwy 30A). In Okaloosa County (Destin), the city offers curbside recycling, or recyclables can be dropped at the DESTIN PUBLIC SERVICES MAINTENANCE YARD at 3949 COMMONS DRIVE, DESTIN (Turn off Hwy 98 next to Bubba Gump Shrimp Company on Indian Bayou Trail to Commons Drive.) The recycling dumpster is located on the right side of the facility, just outside the gate.


Buy local products.

By supporting local farmers, fisherman, and businesses, you can make a big impact on the local economy. Explore what products, including beer, honey, soap, etc. are made locally. When you purchase locally made products as souvenirs and gifts for friends back home, you're gaining a special, meaningful momento while supporting the community you're visiting. Whole Foods in Destin stocks many local products as do local farmer’s markets, which are held on various days all along the Emerald Coast. *photo courtesy of The Honey Hutch.

sea oat planting crop

Plant sea oats.

Our fragile dune system is the first line of defense against storms and provides important habitat for native wildlife. Sea oats are vital to a healthy dune system. The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) offers a variety of opportunities to volunteer throughout the year. Visit the CBA volunteer page to learn more.

CBA Article  Photo Credit Sean Murphy

Help Build an Oyster Reef or Eat at O.Y.S.T.E.R. Partner Restaurants.

CBA’s Offer Your Shell To Enhance Restoration Recycling (O.Y.S.T.E.R.) Program utilizes otherwise thrown-out oyster shells from local seafood restaurants to construct living shorelines for restoration in Choctawhatchee Bay. Dine at one of the participating partner restaurants you’ll help create a living shoreline for our Bay. Want a hands-on opportunity? The CBA seeks volunteers for bagging oyster shells as well as volunteers for reef-building days.  

volunteer topsail

Volunteer at a State Park.

There are five state parks in the area, including Henderson Beach State Park, Topsail Hill State Preserve, Grayton Beach, Deer Lake and Eden State Park, with hundreds of acres in need of constant care. Check out the Florida State Park Volunteer Program or Friends of Topsail Hill State Preserve for opportunities. 

Food for thought 2

Donate Unopened Food Items.

One of the joys of staying in a South Walton or Destin vacation rental is having a full kitchen just like home. This also means you'll probably have groceries left that weren't eaten during your stay. Consider lightening your load for the trip home and donating unopened food products to one of the local food pantries such as Sharing and Caring, Food for Thought or the Harvest House. Call us for the nearest location or simply bring unopened food items to Newman-Dailey's main office in Miramar Beach at check-out and we'll be sure it is delivered to a local food pantry on your behalf. 

visit south walton_turtle_watch

Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles.

Endangered sea turtles nest along South Walton and Destin beaches from May – November each year. Here’s how you can help: do not leave any items on the beach overnight, fill in holes on the beach, use protective red covers on flashlights at night and close drapes/blinds at night to reduce light on the beach. Click here to discover more ways you can help protect sea turtles and if you find a sea turtle nest, contact the South Walton Turtle Watch at 850-233-5150. 


Make a Donation.

When you’re on vacation, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to do everything you wanted to do. For those instances, vacationers can simply make a donation to a local non-profit such as Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, which benefits 16 local children's charities, which will put your donation to good use long after your vacation is over.

Respect the Locals Tee

Buy Recycled Apparel from 30A Company

The 30A Company's recycled apparel line features t-shirts that are incredibly soft and made from 50% recycled plastic and 50% cotton! With many designs available in multiple styles and coastal colors, each 30A recycled t-shirt features a beach-inspired theme, including words, phrases, and images associated with our Gulf Coast lifestyle. 


Start Planning Your Next Beach Vacation

Are you ready to plan your beach vacation getaway? View our premier South Walton and Destin vacation rentals online or call one of our friendly vacation specialists at 1-800-225-7652.

See you @ the beach!