7 Ways to Spot an Emerald Coast Local
Every year, millions of visitors enjoy the sand, sun, sea, and amazing things to do on the Emerald Coast. With so many vacation rentals, hotels, and beach side restaurants and shops, it’s strange for some to imagine that people live here year-round!
Locals are few and far between in the Spring and Summer months, with beach travelers filling out every corner of the coast, but spotting one is easy if you know what to look for. As a Destin, Florida, native, I’ve developed 7 Ways to Spot an Emerald Coast Local!
Table of Contents
- Not Amazed by Marine Life
- Used to the Temperature
- Minimal Beach Setup
- Dress Code
- Supporting Everything Local
- Protective of Our Home
- Always Willing to Help
1. Not Amazed by Marine Life
Pictured above is one of the fun and friendly dolphins you may encounter on a Santa Rosa Beach dolphin cruise, or just by visiting one of the local beaches
Everyone can agree that it’s cool to witness a pod of Porpoises, elderly Green Sea Turtle, or Pelican gobbling down a flapping fishy, but as a beachside resident, I probably wouldn’t be rushing to activate my camera app. Part of the magic of visiting the beach is taking in the sights, but if Joe Shmoe on the docks isn’t stopping in his tracks to watch a blue crab clamp down on a finger mullet, he may just be a local!
2. Used to the Temperature
If you don’t feel prepared to enjoy some fun in the hot Florida sun, check out this recent blog for tips on tanning while visiting the Gulf Coast
High temperatures and humidity are simply unavoidable in Florida, but most Floridians are used to it. We don’t all love the heat, but can typically handle it without breaking a sweat!
3. Minimal Beach Setup
A TripShock Traveler Story describes beach bonfires as the perfect set up for a night out by the water
No need for fancy beach accessories, us Emerald Coasters have perfected beach going in the years of living on the water. 50SPF Sunscreen is a necessity to a weekend warrior, but to a Florida beach bum, a little tanning lotion does the trick. Sand is second nature, and a case of beer can be picked up on the drive over.
Stripped down setup leads to easy and on the spot trips, which occur daily when living just minutes from the beach! Whether you’re enjoying 30A beach chair rentals, or just soaking up the sun on your own, sometimes less is more.
4. Dress Code
It’s not uncommon to see locals dressed in swim attire not just at the beach, but around town, as well
Locals know the drill, regardless of attire (or lack thereof), it’s easy to spend a worry free day in paradise. If you walk into a fast food joint to find a shirtless and shoeless customer enjoying a meal, they might just be a local.
5. Supporting Everything Local
Those native to the Emerald Coast love supporting local, live music! Check out this recent TripShock blog for the best places to go for entertainment in South Walton
Most of the beach communities along the Emerald Coast are small towns. The populations dwindle after Spring Break and Summer, leaving year-round residents to fend for themselves. The neighborhood feel is especially noticeable at smaller music venues, locally-owned restaurants and bars, and community events.
6. Protective of Our Home
Image by Ilka Cole from Eglin Air Force Base
Thinking about trampling the Sea Oats, bringing glass to the beach, or feeding the dolphins? Just don’t let a local see you; negligent actions towards the community are one of the few things that can put you on our bad side. The dangers of pollution and interfering with the delicate Gulf Coast ecosystem are well known to Emerald Coast residents, and most have seen the effects of disrespectful behavior on the part of a few careless beach vacationers.
Follow the rules, and you’ll be sure to make plenty of lasting friends during your stay! Click here for more information about beach safety and guidelines: https://www.destinchamber.com/beach-safety-guidelines.
7. Always Willing to Help
Emerald Coast locals make for the best tour guides, also. Pictured above, a young girl proudly shows off her catch of the day caught on a guided fishing charter with Florida Boy Adventures
Yes, it’s true that locals may get frustrated with bad traffic and long lines, but most know that without tourism, thousands of good people across the Emerald Coast would be out of a job. Most Florida Emerald Coast residents are happy to offer expertise on dining, entertainment, and things to do, and may even chime in on a conversation if they can offer help!