Looking for a beach getaway for your Thanksgiving vacation? Consider the Emerald Coast. November brings stellar weather, smaller crowds, and endless opportunities for fun with family and friends. Now, that’s a lot to be thankful for!
Locals and visitors alike often enjoy this holiday in similar fashion. Eat. Drink. Beach (or Boat). Then, once that’s done, it’s… Eat. Drink (some more). Shop. Beach. Feast. Shop (some more). Relax. No matter what you decide on, one thing is for sure… an Emerald Coast Thanksgiving vacation will not disappoint!
Turkey Day Feasts at The Beach
Dine in, or grab it to-go, and enjoy some of the finest food on the Emerald Coast for your Thanksgiving Day feast! Here are some hot spots from Destin to 30A that might be an awesome spot to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day day meal. Be sure to check out their websites or call ahead of your Emerald Coast vacation to check on Thanksgiving Day meals, events, specials, etc.
Destin & Fort Walton Beach Area
If you’re visiting Destin or the Fort Walton Beach area for Thanksgiving, you’ve got a wide variety of places to choose from to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. AJ’s on the Bayou on Okaloosa Island is giving back with a Thanksgiving Feast from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and asking for donations only to dine at this feast! Harbor Docks will host their 25th Annual Free Thanksgiving Day Feast Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., which also collects donations to support area non-profits. Aside from those two, the culinary cuisine in this area is not lacking. Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer, hosting from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., is sure to please the seafood-lover’s taste buds, and Sarah K’s Gourmet could provide the perfect meal to take to your condo. Check out these amazing restaurants that are sure to provide the perfect feast for your holiday:
- AJ’s on the Bayou
- Harbor Docks
- Grande Vista Bar & Grill within the Emerald Grande
- Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer
- Cuvee Kitchen + Wine Bar
- The Crab Trap
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House
- Hogs Breath Saloon
- 790 on the Gulf
- Honey Baked Ham
- Marina Cafe
- Sarah K’s Gourmet
- The Gulf, Okaloosa Island
Nestled between Destin and South Walton, Miramar Beach might be small, but it’s culinary offerings are mighty! Give thanks with your family and friends as you cruise aboard The Solaris while enjoying a chef-prepared menu, or taste features hand-picked by Emeril himself at Emeril’s Coastal Italian at Grand Boulevard. Surf Hut provides stunning Gulf views while PJ’s Pasta, Pizza, Ice Cream and Catering would be the perfect spot to order ahead and take a home-cooked meal back to your Miramar Beach condo. Here are some great locations to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day meal in Miramar Beach.
- The Solaris
- Emeril’s Coastal Italian
- Marlin Grill
- Sunset Bay Cafe
- Slick Lips Oyster Bar
- Baytowne Provisions
- Surf Hut
- Hilton Sandestin
- PJ’s Pasta, Pizza, Ice Cream, and Catering
30A & South Walton
Staying along 30A or in the South Walton area for Thanksgiving? The food here will not disappoint. World-famous chefs inspire and cultivate their finest offerings along 30A and visitors and locals alike enjoy not only the award-winning cuisine, but also the scenic views. Chef Jim Shirley is always providing guests with the greatest experiences (and tastes) at his restaurants, Great Southern in Seaside, and The Bay in South Walton (plus check out his newest restaurant, North Beach Tortilla Co., just across 331 from The Bay). Enjoy multiple options for 30A waterfront dining at Bud & Alley’s, Shunk Gulley, Vue on 30A, Old Florida Fish House and more!
- Bud & Alley’s
- Old Florida Fish House
- Cuvee 30A
- Local Catch
- Vue on 30A
- Restaurant Paradis
- Great Southern
- Shunk Gulley
- The Bay
- Cafe Thirty-A
- Modica Market
- North Beach Tortilla Co.
Panama City Beach
The beautiful Panama City Beach boast beautiful landscapes, exciting entertainment, and yet again, great dining options for your Thanksgiving beach getaway. Whether you’re looking for a special Thanksgiving menu at one of PCB’s top restaurants like The Grand Marlin, or you just want to give thanks with a Gulf view at a Panama City Beach waterfront bar like Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant & Tiki bar, here are some of the options you could enjoy a tasty meal – with no clean up necessary!
- The Grand Marlin
- Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville
- Captain Anderson’s
- Shuckum’s Oyster Pub & Seafood Grill
- Boars Head Restaurant and Tavern
- Harpoon Harry’s
- Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant & Tiki Bar
- Uncle Ernie’s Bayfront Grill & Brew House
Thanksgiving Week Events and Entertainment
If you’re looking to visit the Emerald Coast for Thanksgiving, here are some must-attend events happening the week of Thanksgiving.
The Nutcracker by Northwest Florida Ballet
Just in time for the holidays, Northwest Florida Ballet returns to the Mattie Kelly Arts Center to present the 40th annual production of the classic holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Performances will be held on Fri. and Sat., Nov. 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 24 at 2:30 p.m. and features live musical accompaniment by the NFB Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director and conductor David Ott. This timeless tradition is a celebrated favorite of families along the Emerald Coast as it marks the start of their holiday season.
30A Turkey Trot – 10K, 5k, and 1-Mile Fun Run
Runners (and walkers), ready to get your turkey trot on before the Thanksgiving turkey feast? Don’t miss the 30A 10k, 5k and 1 Mile Fun Run on Thursday, Nov. 28, which was ranked one of the top 5 races on Thanksgiving Day by Southern Living Magazine! All races begin and end at downtown Rosemary Beach, Fla, along the scenic 30A. For more information and to register, visit the website.
An Evening of Sparkling Wine and Holiday Lights in The Village of Baytowne Wharf
Start the holiday season with a special sparkling event during the 7th Annual Sparkling Wine and Holiday Lights, Saturday, Nov. 16 from 4-6 p.m. This sparkling event will feature more than 30 champagnes and delicious appetizers at featured Village restaurants. Guests can enjoy the sounds of the season with carolers, plus a sneak peek of the first tree lighting of the season in the Village!
The Nutcracker in Seaside
Join Ballet Pensacola and local area dancers for annual performance of The Nutcracker, based on the critically acclaimed Russian ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s score. Don’t miss this special outdoor 30A event on Nov. 23 at 5 p.m. in the Seaside Amphitheater.
Beach Home for the Holidays
Get ready to create new holiday traditions in PCB this year! Following your turkey trot on Thursday, join Visit Panama City Beach for their Beach Home for the Holidays event on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30 at Aaron Bessant Park to wave goodbye to Fall and welcome in the Holidays! Attendees will enjoy live performances, carol-themed concerts, s’mores, Santa, a tree lighting, and fireworks. Plus, a live concert headlined by Scotty McCreery on Friday!
Festival of Trees at Grand Boulevard
Grand Boulevard’s Festival of Trees kick-off will take place Nov. 26 from 4-6 p.m. The festival kick-off will showcase twelve uniquely-decorated Christmas Trees from area non-profits. Bring the whole family to enjoy the tree lighting and announcement of the Grand Prize winner for best decorated tree. The trees will remain on display through Christmas Day. Come early to join Grand Boulevard merchants for a festive Town Center Holiday Open House & Walkabout from 3-6 p.m.
25th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Harbor Docks Restaurant
Harbor Docks Restaurant, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity in Okaloosa County and Destin Harvest, presents a FREE traditional Thanksgiving Day Feast on Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. for anyone in the community. Volunteers will serve the meal and donations to benefit the two participating charities will be accepted from those who wish to contribute.
South Walton Holiday Parade and Turn on the Town in Seaside
Combine the small-town atmosphere of a beach community parade with a dash of Santa Claus and Christmas cheer, and kick off the holiday with the South Walton Holiday Parade along 30A on Saturday, Nov. 30! The parade begins at 9:00 a.m. in Seagrove Beach and proceeds west to the town of Seaside. Meet Santa after the parade, then at 5 p.m., it’s party time in the amphitheater with holiday festivities and, of course. pictures with Santa! Soon, the master of ceremonies asks all the kids to the stage to sing to the crowd of smiling faces, and after jingle bells, the countdown begins in unison to “Turn on the Town.”
Santa’s Magical Arrival at HarborWalk Village
Bring the family to see Santa arrive at HarborWalk Village Nov. 30 & Dec. 1 from 1-4 p.m.! Celebrate with Destin’s finest as Santa & Mrs Claus make their grand entrance Saturday at noon to HarborWalk Village, kicking-off the Holiday Season. Enjoy kids crafts, face painting, and visiting jolly old Saint Nick.
Baytowne on Ice
Dust off those skates and get in the winter spirit at The Village of Baytowne Wharf’s Baytowne on Ice. For those visitors who miss the cold and ice, our seasonal ice rink is the perfect opportunity to share some of your favorite holiday traditions. Ice rink is open Oct. 26 – Feb. 1. Hours vary daily.
Black Friday Shopping
It’s no secret that nestled along the Emerald Coast is some of the finest shopping in Florida! If you’re ready to grab the best deals during your beach vacation, there are many shopping centers that offer fun events and entertainment on Black Friday and the weekend following, along with some of the best deals of the year! Silver Sands Premium Outlets, home to over 100 designer and name-brand outlet stores is a definite “must shop” for the deal-seekers! Destin Commons, HarborWalk Village, The Market Shops at Sandestin, The Village of Baytowne Wharf, and Pier Park will also be touting their stores’ great Black Friday deals coupled with fun events for the avid shoppers and their families.
Where to Stay For Your Thanksgiving Vacation on the Emerald Coast
No matter what activities, events, restaurants, or beaches you choose for your Emerald Coast Thanksgiving, we wish you a happy beach vacation filled with fun, food and great memories! When you need a place to stay, remember that Condo-World has condos in Destin and Panama City Beach, and beach house rentals along 30A.