Thanksgiving on the Emerald Coast

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.

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 will not disappoint!

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

The Nutcracker by Northwest Florida Ballet

Northwest Florida Ballet returns to the Mattie Kelly Arts Center to present the 39th annual production of the classic holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Performances will be held on Fri. and Sat., Nov. 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 18 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.

Sparkling Wine and Holiday Lights in The Village of Baytowne Wharf

The Village of Baytowne Wharf

Start the holiday season with a special sparkling event during our 6th Annual Sparkling Wine and Holiday Lights, Saturday, Nov. 17 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, and a sneak peek of our first tree lighting of the season!

The Nutcracker in Seaside

The Nutcracker in Seaside

Join local area dancers and Ballet Pensacola for the seventh annual performance of the ballet that launched a national holiday tradition, The Nutcracker, based on the critically acclaimed Russian ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score. Don’t miss this special event on Nov. 17th at 5 p.m. in the Seaside Amphitheater.

Festival of Trees at Grand Boulevard

Festival of Trees at Grand Boulevard

Grand Boulevard‘s 9th annual Festival of Trees kick-off will take place Nov. 20 from 4-6 p.m. The festival 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. Come early to join Grand Boulevard merchants for a festive Town Center Holiday Open House & Walkabout from 3-6 p.m.

30A 10K

30A 10K

Runners (and walkers), ready to get your turkey trot on before the Thanksgiving turkey feast? Join the 30A 10K Thursday, Nov. 22nd! All races begin and end at downtown Rosemary Beach, Fla, and consist of a 10k, 5k, and 1 Mile Fun Run. For more information and to register, visit the website.

24th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Harbor Docks Restaurant

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. 22 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

South Walton Holiday Parade

Combine the small-town atmosphere of a beach community parade, throw in a dash of Santa Claus and holiday cheer to kick off the holiday. The Holiday 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

HarborWalk Village

Bring the family to see Santa arrive at HarborWalk Village Nov. 24th & 25th at 12:00 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

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 October 27th – February 2nd. Hours vary daily.

Thanksgiving Feasts

Thanksgiving Dinner

Dine in, or grab it to-go, and enjoy some of the finest food on the Emerald Coast for your Thanksgiving feast! Here are some hot spots from Destin to 30A who 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 Thanksgiving Dinners

Miramar Beach Thanksgiving Dinners

30A + South Walton Thanksgiving Dinners

Football fan? Many local restaurants and bars will be featuring the games throughout the Thanksgiving week and weekend, so call ahead and check on what games are being shown. You might even find a restaurant or bar overlooking the beach, so you’ll get the best views of the beach while cheering on your team! Can’t beat that.

Shop ‘Til You Drop


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, and The Village of Baytowne Wharf, 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

Sterling Shores Interior

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, condos in Panama City Beach, and beach house rentals along 30A.