Who Lives in Destin?

Posted by Destin Real Estate Sales on Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at 8:07am.

Ocean Reef Resorts has had the privilege of providing fine distinctive privately owned vacation rentals in Destin since 1982. Generations of guests have happily stayed every year at one of our professionally managed properties along with kids and even grandkids. It has become a wonderful passed down family tradition. This is not a surprise since the shimmering white crystalline beaches and jeweled waters of the glowing gulf continually receive national accolades. Our guests have made this their BEACH “home away from home!”  

Who Visits Destin

Who Visits Destin
They are in good company. The average income of visiting families is $178,600. It is a convenient “drive to” destination for many since 82% take a car down to see us and 72% bring their kids since this is a very family friendly place to be. About 76% come from cities in the Southeast and Texas. Most visitors are from these top five cities: Atlanta 18%; Dallas/Fort Worth 10%; Birmingham & Nashville 6% and Houston 5%. An extensive study revealed that while here 98% go to the beach, 93% eat in restaurants, 83% spend relaxing leisure time with their families and 73% go shopping. In 2018 visitors to the Emerald Coast rated overall enjoyment of their vacation experience at a 9.2 on a scale of 1 to10 and 95% plan to come back. A full 20% in the current year are first-time visitors.  

Celebrities in Destin

Destin, Miramar Beach and the lovely coastal villages established along Scenic 30A in South Walton also have visitors who are famous national celebrities and some of them have homes here. Tom Cruise was spotted years ago at Café 30A with his wife at the time Nicole Kidman. John Travolta was seen on Holiday Isle. Jim Carrey and Laura Linney were in Seaside almost twenty years ago when they filmed on location there for a fantasy comedy called “The Truman Show”. Wayne Rogers who played Trapper John on the popular TV show “Mash” retired to Kelly Plantation.  Political strategists James Carville and Mary Maitland and singer Jessica Simpson have recently been spotted in Seaside at Bud & Alleys. Actress Katie Holmes and her daughter Suri spent Memorial Day weekend in Rosemary Beach. Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood fly down there from Nashville on a regular basis for vacations. Other celebrities and sometime residents who have homes here include Britney Spears, Sheryl Crow (who frequents the Red Bar in Grayton Beach), Jessica Simpson, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and Keith Urban. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his two time Super Bowl winning brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, have been seen at Baytowne enjoying seasonal festivities. Other football players who spotted here include Cam Newton, Kevin Greene, Jason Elam, Keith Brooking, Danny Wuerffel along with basketball legend Michael Jordan. Peyton and Eli Manning, Cam Newton and Danny Wuerffel have homes here. Matthew McConaughey was on the Jimmy Kimmel Show and told him all about his love of Destin. Jimmy Kimmel asked him where it was located and McConaughey replied: “I’ll fly you down there!”

Celebrities who visit Destin love to do so incognito since besides the beautiful beaches and gorgeous gulf they are not bombarded by the paparazzi during their stays here. Those who own residences usually buy them through LLCs or under other names to maintain their privacy. Others who are not as private and maintain homes or luxury condos here include: Britney Spears in Destin;  Bestselling novelist John Grisham at Kelly Plantation; Vince Gill and Amy Grant at Seascape; Dallas Cowboy team owner Jerry Jones at Four Mile Village; members of the Sam Walton (Wal-mart) family, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan along Scenic 30A;  Republican political advisor Karl Rove in Rosemary Beach; former Governor Mike Huckabee, (father of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders)  in Blue Mountain Beach.  An acclaimed celebrity hairstylist from Hollywood named Scott Tyler moved to Grayton Beach a few years ago to semi-retire and opened a salon there. His previous clients included Barbara Walters, Madonna, Kathy Bates, Sharon Stone, Diane Sawyer, Marisa Tomei, Leeza Gibbons and even Frankie Avalon. Undoubtedly he’s told them all about it! He was also the award-winning hairstylist for the Academy Awards for three years.  Country pop singer Jessica James Decker and nationally renowned chef Emeril Lagasse live in the exclusively gated residential enclave of Burnt Pine within the already gated community of Sandestin. Lagasse loves it here so much he hosted a walking tour of Harborwalk Village a few years ago on the Good Morning America News Program when they released results of a nationwide poll that declared Destin the Fourth Most Beautiful Place in America. After moving here he opened his own restaurant on Grand Boulevard.

Living in Destin

25 Sandy Dunes

View 25 Sandy Dunes

Many others who have come down to play have bought to stay at least for family vacations since only 64% of homes in the Destin area are owner-occupied year round. Many rent out their homes or condos through Ocean Reef Resorts during a large part of the year but reserve them for their own use for special holidays or vacations. This helps provide lucrative income as well as certain tax benefits. Destin has a population of about 15,000 but of the 703 homes currently for sale, almost one third (228 of them) are priced $1,000,000 or more. They are in high demand since real estate appreciation has been averaging around 7% each year. Fortunately for most average buyers the median home price in Destin currently stands at  $279K while those in adjoining Miramar Beach are at $395K.

If you want to join in to take advantage of owning your own place in paradise contact our Ocean Reef Real Estate division at 877-392-6085. Our staff of friendly professional Realtors can give you an in-depth market analysis of comparable properties for sale, annual rental income estimates for possible property investment and schedule a tour of homes you may be interested in seeing. We will be pleased to be of service!


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