Pensacola to Destin

Back in 1996, Michelle and I spent a night in Destin while on a road trip to Disney with our kids. We fell in love with the beautiful white beaches and clear water and we couldn’t wait to experience it again. Our original plan was to sail down the bay from Pensacola to Destin over several days, but after looking closely at the charts, we realized that there were several bridges with low clearance, which made the bay route off limits for Double Wide (she has a 61 foot mast height).  So, we left Palafax Yacht Harbor in unsettled weather, headed for Destin via the Gulf of Mexico.

As we approached the Pensacola jetties, we could see that a squall line was moving in quickly, so we decided to duck in behind Perdido Key and wait for better conditions. It was lucky for us that the weather caused us to stop, because we enjoyed a fantastic day doing nothing but laying around, watching the rain squalls pass through, reading, and napping. Late in the afternoon, we launched our dinghy (“Trailer Trash”) and went ashore at Perdido Key, a historic site, and walked around the old battlements.

The next morning we left McRee Cove and headed out into the Gulf and down the coast to Destin. Along the way, we dodged a few rain squalls, but generally had a very pleasant sail. The highlight of the sail was a visit by a very energetic pod of dolphins.


We sailed through the Destin jetties around 2:00 PM with strong winds and a contrary current, making for a very rough entrance. The East Pass Bridge, with a 49 foot vertical clearance, was blocking our access to the bay, so the only option was to turn right and enter Destin Harbor, which offers good protection and plenty of room to anchor. We found a nice place to anchor, near another catamaran, the Sea Esta, and several other sailboats. Once settled in, we put our dinghy in the water and visited our neighbors aboard Sea Esta. Tom and Karen Forney were visiting Destin from Pensacola and provided us with good information about Destin.

We spent a couple of days in Destin, poking around the beach, enjoying several excellent meals and drinks ashore and waiting on a part for the generator. Part installed and generator running, we made ready to head back to Pensacola.

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