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RV Trip: Destin, FL – The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village

I've written before about Destin FL and its awesome beaches, it's upscale dining and shopping and how it's one of our favorite Roadtreking destinations. But I've always been curious about the Welcome to Destin sign we see on Highway 98 that brags about this panhandle town's moniker as “the World's Luckiest Fishing Village.”

How did that come about, I wondered? Turns out, it's another story about another very interesting place.

To find the answser, I first stopped at the Destin History and Fishing Museum, located a block off 98. Inside, I met museum director Kathy Marler Blue,

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The nickname itself goes back to 1956 when then Florida Governor Leroy Collins stopped by the local fishing docks on a campaign swing. A local fisherman, Captain Salty tried to get the Governor abound his boat for a short tour of the harbor but the governor had a full schedule. Capt. Salty said it would only take 20 minutes and he guaranteed a catch so, reluctantly,with the press watching and waiting, Collins climbed aboard. In 20 minutes he was back, proudly holding a 29 pound King Mackerel.

The press corps was pretty dumbfounded and one of the accounts of that day and that catch noted that Destin was “the world's luckiest fishing village.”

Kathy took me over to a display, showing an old newspaper photograph of the governor and  Capt Salty. “The town fathers liked that notoriety,” she said. “So a few years later, they made it the town's official nickname.”

The entrance to Destin Harbor
The entrance to Destin Harbor

Bt there's a reason why Destin really is the world's luckiest fishing village. And that has to do with the crystal clear, emerald-colored waters of the Gulf Of Mexico.  First, there is a great diversity of limestone structures off shore as well as artificial reefs which have been positioned over the years to further encourage breeding of reef fish such as grouper, snapper, amberjack, and trigger fish. Seasonal fish such as cobia also make the area popular for in-shore fishing.

Besides boats, there are lots of places to shore fish
Besides boats, there are lots of places to shore fish

Another huge factor is Destin’s proximity to the Desoto Canyon further off shore, where the gulf floor drops below 3,000 feet in spots, making it attractive for billfish like Blue Marlin, Sailfish and Wahoo.  But there are lots of other drop offs.

Destin is unique among Gulf Coast communities in that deep water is within a relatively short distance of shore. Within a half-hour of leaving Destin Harbor, anglers are in waters as deep as 60 feet and 100-foot depths are easily within 10 miles of shore.

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Destin is such a great fishing spot that it has the largest charter boat fleet in the entire state of Florida.

I walked down to the check out the fleet, using the quarter mile Destin Harbor Boardwalk. There are private charters and group charters available and al you ave to do is be there when they come back to the docks to see that, indeed, Destin is one awesome fishing place.

The busiest fishing month is October when the city hosts a huge fishing rodeo that draws anglers from all over the world.

There's plenty of parking for RVs in the parking lots around the Boardwalk and lts of places to camp in the area; See my stories on state parks near Destin or beach camping near Destin.  And for what other attractions are in the area, see this story on the Emerald Coast.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

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The Cutting Edge charter captain shows of his catch
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Destin has the largest charter boat fleet in Florida
Some of the fishing fleet
Some of the fishing fleet
A deckhand brings shows off a black fin caught on a charter
A deckhand brings shows off a black fin caught on a charter
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The Destin Princess brought in a nice haul of black fins and grouper (the grouper is second from the right)
The fish are cleaned and bagged for those who book a charter
The fish are cleaned and bagged for those who book a charter
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This guy is waiting or a handout
Ths guy was so happy with his catch of red snapper that he immediately booked another trip for the next day
This lucky fisherman was so happy with his catch of red snapper that he immediately booked another trip for the next day


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Mike Wendland

Published on 2017-04-09

Mike Wendland is an Emmy award-winning journalist, traveler, and producer of RV Podcast, the RV Lifestyle travel blog, and the RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. Mike, traveling with his wife Jennifer and their Norwegian Elkhound, Bo, has vast experience and a great passion for exploring North America, previously working as a long-time NBC-TV News Channel Technology Correspondent and now sharing his love for the RV lifestyle with millions. Mike is not only an adept RV life enthusiast but also a skillful storyteller, bringing to his channels stories from the road that perfectly capture the magic and hardships of this lifestyle.

2 Responses to “RV Trip: Destin, FL – The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”

June 11, 2017at7:46 pm, John ORourke said:

Hey Mike, I’m the day shift Security Supervisor at the Emerald Grande pictured in your article. Next time your passing thru stop in and say hello. Great article btw.

June 11, 2017at10:34 pm, Mike Wendland said:

Hey John… we’re down that way just about half of the year. I’ll look you up. Wont be back till after Labor Day and the tourists start going home . 🙂

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