Coolest Step Back In Time

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What do you get from some buddies that want to bring back an old landmark that meant so much to them when they were in high school? You get Suds-N-Cinema!  

Suds-N-Cinema is the only locally-owned and operated theater on the Emerald Coast. It is the latest incarnation of a theater business in a building that was originally constructed in 1940. The theater, built and owned by John Tringas, was one of the first buildings on what was then called Main Street in downtown Fort Walton.

For decades, the Tringas family operated the Tringas Theater, and it was the only place around to take in a movie. But, over time, new theaters came to the area.  Multiple screens, larger concessions selections, and more modern technology meant that the theater needed to revise its business model in order to stay around.

 Through the years the business has been known by several names: Suds-N-Cinema, Cinema Plus, Downtown Cinema Plus, and even a brief stint as Apples Disco.  Each of these businesses put their own slant on the movie/pizza/beer theme, but none made significant changes that really set them apart from their predecessors.

 That is changing at this very moment as those old high school friends are preparing to open the doors to Suds-N-Cinema. As a team, they converted the building into one that has a combination of Art Deco and Soda Fountain motif. The facility is more comfortable, the aesthetics more enjoyable, there are more food options, and the theater can once again show multiple movies each week.

 Cool Factors:  A step back in time, oldest theater on the Emerald Coast, Have a brewski or wine, some food and sit at a table with chairs with your family and friends. 

174 Highway 98 SE

Fort Walton Beach, FL. 32548

850-226-SUDS (7837) 

Coolest Place to Summer it Up

Crab Island

Choctawhatchee Bay by Destin Bridge


No address on land for this Coolest on the Coast spot! Crab Island is located a little ways out from Harborwalk Village, north of the Destin bridge in the middle of the water bayside.


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If you’re a visitor to the Emerald Coast, you have probably heard of this unique spot. You might even have already seen it while crossing over the bridge coming into Destin from Okaloosa Island. Thanks to its widespread publicity in all forms of media, Crab Island is a famous landmark, or should we say watermark?  Both tourists and locals alike enjoy taking family and friends out to this summertime destination. 

 An underwater sandbar formed after Hurricane Eloise in the 70s, and locals quickly discovered that this is a great place to go. Crab Island got its name from the shape of the island. The sea averages two to four feet deep throughout, and on an average summer day (especially at high tide), it is sparkling and crystal clear. What started off as a nice little spot to dock your boat to swim with marine life up close has now become a hot spot for everyone to gather.

 Crab Island is only accessible by boat, paddle board, or kayak. You can also take one of the water taxis there. Once there, you can find people galore, food and drinks, inflatable water parks, bands, movies and more. It’s a regular gathering spot for locals but they welcome all.  If you’re going as a family, know that the center tends to be more for a party crowd with its bars and bands, while the outskirts tend to be more for families with activities.

Head on out to this top destination On the Coast, and get ready for a day full of adventure, fun, and a whole lot of water.

Cool Factors:             Great place to meet up with your boating friends, Inflatable water parks for the kiddos, Everything you need to spend the day

Coolest Fastest Way to Get Around Town

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Electric Bikes!

Coastal Cruisers

Pedego Electric Bikes

Big Daddy Bikes

Birds, Limes and Jumps. You can easily pick up these electric scooters in big cities all across the country.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately as some might think), these scooters are not readily available to us here On the Coast. What IS available, though, are electric bikes! And we are super fans of them.

Electric bikes allow you to tour all our coastal towns in a day and get a real feel for each little area unique to our coast. Not only are there so many paths to ride on, but you can also stop at each quaint town and spend time shopping or enjoying the great flavors of the many restaurants and coffee houses that preside along 30A. 

Electric bikes make it so easy to travel around Sandestin too. Touring along Miramar Beach from the Silver Sands Outlet all the way to the Brooks Bridge makes for a great day now that there are sidewalks and bike paths the whole way. It sure does beat being in a car or in some cases riding manual bikes where the heat just gets to you after a while! Parking is a breeze too.  

You can pick up electric bikes at many locations On the Coast. We suggest you call ahead and reserve them because carriers have a limited supply! 

Cool factors: You don’t have to pedal the whole time, Cover a lot of distance, quickly, Gets you outdoors and active

Coastal Cruisers

12605 Emerald Coast Pkwy

Miramar Beach


Pedego Electric Bikes

174 Watercolor Way #106

Santa Rosa Beach


Big Daddy Bikes

2217 West 30A

Santa Rosa Beach


Coolest Spring Water on the Coa

Vortex Springs 


Looking for a change – an exciting place to swim and play away from the beaches of the Gulf?  Then head to Vortex Springs!  Its crystal cool water is so refreshing during the hot summer days. It's just pure fun to be there! You'll find a lot of local families enjoying this spot as well as groups of friends who have discovered this very cool hangout. 

The natural clear spring water stays a cool 68 degrees year-round and is a fun place to dive and swim.  You can also snorkel, paddleboard, kayak, canoe and tube - all are available for daily rental. Food and beverages are permitted at Vortex Springs so pack up those picnic baskets for the full day. If you'd like some shade, the large oaks that surround the area provide plenty. For the littles, you'll find a few playgrounds at Vortex too.  

If you're a camper, Vortex offers that as well. From tent camping to cabins to larger lodges, they can accommodate you and your group. 

For diving enthusiasts, Vortex Springs is home to one of the largest cavern systems, so who knows what you'll discover down below.  The crystal-clear water are perfect conditions to explore and train. If you're not certified, this is the place to do it! Nothing beats the calmness and clarity you'll experience while learning to dive. 

Daily admission is $10. Children 4-8 are $8 and children under 3 are free.  The springs are open Monday-Thursday 8-7 pm, Friday-Saturday 7-8 pm and Sundays 8-5 pm. Vortex Springs also features a diving board, 10 slides, jump platforms and an old-fashioned rope swing that has become a popular signature of Vortex Springs over the years.  Picnic tables are available for use and a gazebo is available to rent. 


Cool Factors: Coolest, clearest springs, cave diving, lots of activities for every age, camping.

1517 Vortex Springs Ln, Ponce De Leon, FL 32455

(850) 836-4979 

Coolest Place to Go Wild!

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Emerald Coast Zoo

So, you ask, what makes this zoo so special? Well…it’s the people! Yep. The people. Last year Rick de Ridder (Rick the Reptile Guy) from the A&E TV show “Wild Transport” heard about the Emerald Coast Zoo and how it was in danger of closure by government agencies. He knew that if the zoo closed, many of the animals there would be euthanized, and he just couldn’t just sit back and let that happen. He sold his home and all his belongings and purchased the zoo. How about that for making a difference and taking action!

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Of course, he couldn’t do this without the blessings of his wife Sara and their three kids David (better known as Tarzan to the locals), Suzy, and Betsy. They purchased a large camper and moved their family of five onto the zoo property, and there they live. We can't think of many families that would even begin to make an idea like this a reality, but that's what this family does.

With the de Ridder’s love and passion for the animals they acquired comes a new passion to make the zoo survive. Many locals have rallied around them with a progressive Go Fund Me page to help with the building of the required larger, new enclosures. For the community it brings a new awareness that there is this super cool zoo right here in our backyard that so many never even knew about

The de Ridders have started new programs to bring awareness such as summer camps, goat yoga and many amazing animal encounters. Rick makes himself available to go to church groups, schools and events to educate, entertain and inform. 

This non-profit, family-owned and operated zoo is not out of the woods yet. It takes a lot of money to feed the lions and tigers (which zoo workers actually held and played with when they were just little cubs some 15 years ago) and all the other wonderful animals at The Emerald Coast Zoo. With new enclosures still being built, the zoo is asking for assistance as they are truly in need of money to improve it. With everyone’s help, they’ll be able to reap the rewards of seeing these animals live in environments more natural to them and will have continued access to these amazing animals who, for the most part, were all hand-raised at this very zoo. 

To contribute, please visit the Go Fund Me link at

Cool Factors: So many hands on encounters, Passionately owned family non-profit, The big cats.

Emerald Coast Zoo

5262 Deer Springs Dr

Crestview, FL. 


Coolest Way to Get Up Close to Dolphins

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Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park


Dolphin Splash EncountEnter the dolphins’ world for an unforgettable experience as you get up close and personal with these sleek and graceful animals. This in water experience allows you to meet, play, touch, interact and learn about our Atlantic bottlenose dolphins alongside a Gulfarium trainer. You'll see firsthand and experience how dolphins have learned to communicate with us!

If you're eight or older, this amazing experience is for you. The Gulfarium also can accommodate those with special needs including mobility, sight or hearing impairments. This encounter happens in shallow water, only three feet deep so no need to worry about swimming with them. 

You'll take home pictures taken by your family and friends, a souvenir towel and one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime!

Cool Factors: Touching a dolphin up close! Interact and play with the dolphins. Communicate with dolphins. Take home swag.

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

·1010 Miracle Strip Parkway SE • Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548


4th Of July Celebrations on the Emerald Coast

The sky’s aglow as we celebrate the 4th of July

The sky’s aglow as we celebrate the 4th of July

Quick list of locations for todays big firework displays

Happy Fourth of July Emerald Coast! Here's your fireworks list so you can plan your evening! Alphabetical of course😊

Aly's Beach

Crestview Twin Hills Park

Defuniak Springs Lake

Destin HarborWalk Village

FWB The Landing

Okaloosa Island The Boardwalk

Navarre Beach

Niceville Bayshore Drive

Panama City Beach both County & City Piers

Pensacola Maritime Park

Pensacola Seville Square

Rosemary Beach North Barrett Square

Sandestin Baytowne Wharf

Santa Rosa Beach - Logan St

You'll want to get to a spot well before 8:30pm at the latest as fireworks start going off around 9pm.

Be safe this 4th of July! Enjoy 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

New Florida Laws that Start July 1st

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Here are a hand full of new laws going into effect July 1st for us Floridians.


Law enforcement can pull you over texting and driving without needing any other reason. 


No more vaping in indoor workplaces.


Bright Futures scholarships get tougher. The highest tier, which covers tuition and fees entirely at state colleges and universities, will require a student’s SAT to be close to 1330 instead of the current 1290. The 2nd tier, which covers 75 percent of costs, would move close to 1200 from the current 1170.


The testing requirements for teachers to get certified just got easier. 


The “Schools of Hope” program expands. Charter schools will now be allowed to open near public schools that perform poorly. 


If you’re a family of four, making $77,000 or less annually, you can now have access to public funded scholarships to private schools.


Vocational and technical training in high schools get the nod through expanded career planning programs and apprenticeships.  


Yeah! Homeowners can grow fruits and vegetables in front yard gardens.

RED TIDE SB - 1552

Florida is dedicating $3 million per year for six years from its general fund towards Red Tide.


More affordable drugs can be imported from other countries, if they’re approved by the U.S. FDA


Prohibits state and local governments from having sanctuary policies for undocumented immigrants. Enforcement begins October 1. 


Civilians who work with law enforcement can get private addresses.


Allows for the development of driverless vehicles in the state.

HEMP - SB 1020

The Department of Agriculture is ready issue rules to govern the growth, use and sale of hemp in our state. The policy would also regulate CBD products. 

Coolest Way to Bring Back the 40's

Junior Bombers Roller Derby

Northwest Florida Fairgrounds

1958 Lewis Turner Blvd

Fort Walton Beach

(813) 362-8644 f 

We’re all looking for something that will build confidence, strength, life skills and accountability for our young ladies. We want a place where they feel safe and encouraged to be active. We also want them to live a better, more empowered life than we did. If you nodded along and agreed with the above, read more to learn a little about what makes the Fort Walton Beach Junior Bombers Roller Derby team an ideal environment for your daughter(s).


40s something, Nicci Starks Lee has been skating for over six years as part of the local roller derby team for adults. When talking about what drew her to roller derby, Nicci explained that roller derby is about more than just skating and playing a game. It’s about providing and being provided with a community and support system. She said that roller derby calmed her down and gave her a much needed outlet while also helping to change her perspective on things that just didn’t need her energy.

After having enough interest, she decided to start the Fort Walton Beach Junior Bombers Roller Derby team for ages 8-17. She began the team to provide young women with an avenue wherein they could belong, get healthy, and keep busy. The benefit isn’t just for the kids, though. The team takes responsibility for representing itself well. Not only will they help build a code of ethics in the kids, but they’re also there for the parents.

Now in their second year, the Junior Bombers are still ramping up their numbers so that they can compete in bouts. A little nervous about this “rough” sport? Nicci made it clear that safety is always first and then went on to explain that the girls are taught how to fall, how to block, how to hit and even how to skate. That’s all before they’re even allowed to work with the team. When they do get to work with the team, the environment for trust and dependability is cultivated at every step. The best part about derby? It stays with you, Nicci says. Derby isn’t just for middle school or high school or college. You can play it the majority of your life and as you move, there’s usually a new team waiting for you.

Cool Factors: Unique form of exercise and activity for young adults, lifelong skills taught, family environment, team building


Coolest Way to Stretch

Massage Envy

Destin (850) 650-8500

Fort Walton Beach (850) 301-2000

Panama City Beach (850) 563-0070


We all know and love Massage Envy, but now we love them for a whole new reason. While massage, in and of itself, is incredibly powerful, Massage Envy has added Streto Therapy, a new method that adds a deeper level of treatment to the experience.

Streto Therapy combines fifteen years of experience working with the human body with the most current medical research to provide relief in a different but tried-and-true manner. By increasing mobility, flexibility and blood circulation, this new method of treatment allows for the body’s natural healing abilities to be even more effective. It aims to release the build-up of tension by stretching your body in a streamlined fashion, starting at the neck and working downwards.

From bad postures to holding in emotions and increased technology usage, our muscles bundle and tighten, creating pain that sometimes can’t be fixed by a standard massage. While stretching is good for you to do on your own, assisted stretching is even better and can intensify the results. The therapy was developed by a chiropractor, a massage therapist and an ergonomist in an effort to create a treatment format that would help people get back to living their lives to the fullest. This combination of physical therapy and massage is ideal if you’re experiencing pain or stiffness and helps to prevent future occurrences and avoid injury.

If you think about the years of damage we’ve done to our bodies just by existing, it doesn’t take any convincing to be sure that this is a therapy style that everyone should try. It’s the perfect complement to other treatments you may be using to bring your body to whole health and wellness. Like many therapies, this process works alongside other therapies to maintain and solidify those results, so you don’t have to be afraid to add Streto to your routine. You have the option of receiving the Total Body Stretch as a stand-alone service or you can add it on to one of the many massage options that Massage Envy offers. With locations in both Fort Walton Beach and Destin, it’s also convenient!

Cool Factors: Stretching for health, pain relief, long-lasting results


Coolest Way to Catch a Wave

JetSurf Destin

10 Harbor Boulevard


(850) 900-7873

Yyyyeeewww!! Tyler and Tyler, the co-owners of Jetsurf Destin, are here to bring the waves to you with motorized surfboards! Originally invented in Czech Republic by a professional surfer, the JetSurf board can reach speeds up to 37 miles per hour. heard that right! In other words, right here in Destin Florida, YOU can carve, grind, and fly on this board at record speeds. Jetsurf is one of a kind, and, after seeing this sport on a YouTube video, the Tylers decided to quit their jobs and move down to the beach to be the first and one of the only to bring the board to America and offer it for rental.

Though Jetsurf can be a seriously competitive sport, anyone over the age of 14 can enjoy the easy-to-ride board.  From lessons to couples surf to stunt surfing, the Tylers have created an inviting environment for everyone to enjoy. JetSurf Destin offers a full experience for those who want to learn and ride or simply chill out on their boat and giant inflatable paddle board.  In other words, we can guarantee a phenomenal time whether you are ultra competitive or just along for the ride. Tyler and Tyler are enthusiastic and committed to making JetSurf Destin a highlight of your year. Born from a need to push the limits of conventional water sports, this company is new and thriving, and with the opportunity to try a brand new and rare sport right here on the Emerald Coast, how can we pass it up?

Cool Factors:  Bragging rights for riding the best and fastest motorized surfboard in the world, Tyler and Tyler, surf with no wave


Coolest Place to Jump

Just Jump

11220 Hutchinson Boulevard Panama City Beach


30,000 square feet of dedicated family fun (for all ages) awaits you at Just Jump Trampoline Park in Panama City Beach! Whether you’re a parent looking for a safe, fun and clean place for your kids to burn some energy or you just want a new and exciting way to get active, Jump Jump is an ideal location for you to do so. You’ll find a tumble track, two Soc-Air courts, dodgeball. basketball, a double trapeze, a Gladiator Pit, a Ninja Course and their oh-so- popular Air Bag within the walls of this epic play zone. There’s even a Kiddie Area for jumpers who are 6 and under with a huge play structure, separate trampolines, a foam pit, a climbing wall, and basketball goal! For only $15/per hour (per jumper), you can have full reign of the whole place. They offer group discounts! On Monday nights, they offer family time from 5-9pm – for just $30, a family of four can spend an hour playing and running all of that energy out. They do require grip socks, but sell them on premise if you need them!

This state-of-the-art facility is complete with a large open jump area, the latest technology and unique designs to captivate the attention of any visitor – even those who don’t wish to engage in the fun themselves. If you’re  supervising, you can treat yourself to a bout in their massage chairs or you can watch the fun from above on the mezzanine.

Not only is Just Jump a great option for the family, but it’s even better for parties. You can have the best birthday ever by letting them handle all of the details for you. They also have fantastic rates for school field trips, church groups, and group events of any size.

Cool Factors: 30,000 sq ft of fun, Subconscious Exercise, Endless Activities

Coolest Place to Race

The Track

1125 Highway 98 East


(850) 654-4668

Are you ready for fun and adventure this summer that the whole family can enjoy? The Track's signature ride -- The Wild Woody -- allows drivers to race up three and a half stories and then circle back down with an exciting drop at the bottom for a high-altitude driving experience. The Wild Woody features both single and double karts, and the great news is that even young children can join their parents on this ride. With a minimum height requirement for passengers of three feet tall, most three and four year olds are tall enough to ride The Wild Woody. Passengers that are between three feet tall and four feet, 9 inches tall ride for free.

If you have older children that are ready to take the wheel, then anyone that is four feet, 10 inches tall can drive a single kart. In order to drive a double kart, drivers must be at least 16 years old with a driver's license and four feet, 10 inches tall.

The Wild Woody is one of five go-kart tracks at The Track in Destin. For more information on all of the rides and height requirement, visit Be sure to follow The Track on social media for access to special sales throughout the year. One running currently is code: GOKARTS12

Cool Factors:  Great for ALL ages. Young kiddos between 3’ to 4’ 9” can ride FREE with a licensed driver 16 and up, 3 1/2 stories tall and fast.


Coolest Place to Escape From


9375 US Highway 98 W

Miramar Beach

(850) 842-4885

Have you ever wanted to be part of a mystery? To be able to boast that you’ve survived a deadly plague? Or maybe you just love solving clues like Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, or an FBI agent tracking down a security threat. Well you can be all these things at Escapology in Miramar Beach. Step into the escape room and travel around the world to Cuba, Budapest, or Shanghai, solve a clue hunt during WWII, or fight outlaws in the wild, wild west.

This coolest activity on the coast is open rain or shine and is a great activity for family or friends, allowing up to six people to play at once. Escapology escape rooms set you up as a detective solving the clues present in a room. Head over to their website,, to find the perfect scenario. You can check out a description of the escape room and even view difficulty ratings to ensure that you pick the right room for your crew, each room created with attention to every small detail to make the scenario as life-like as possible. Book online to pick which game and time you want to attend, and then head over for your reservation for an hour of fast-paced, critical thinking fun! You can use code ESCAPE2018 for a discount when booking.

You have 60 minutes. The clues are there. You just have to find them. Succeed, and your legacy will live on in the Hall of Fame. Fail, and you will not survive. Do you have what it takes to escape?

Cool Factors: Boasting privilege that you survived, live out your detective dreams, 

rainy afternoon fun, photo evidence


Coolest Place to See Art

Underwater Museum of Art (First in the Nation)

Gulf of Mexico off Grayton Beach

(850) 622-5970


The Gulf waters off Grayton Beach in South Walton just became home to the first underwater museum of art in the country. The UMA (as the Underwater Museum of Art is called) rests on the seafloor about 55 feet below the surface and currently consists of seven unique sculptures created by local and nationally-

recognized artists who applied and were chosen by the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County.


The sculptures, which act as both a habitat for fish and a destination for scuba divers, were attached to heavy concrete pedestals and were permitted and shipped into position thanks to the South Walton Artificial Reef association, which has also created many near-shore snorkeling reefs and diving and fishing reefs farther offshore. However, no other reefs in the country have quite the artistic appeal of this underwater sculpture garden, which is about 0.7 miles off the coast of Grayton Beach. 


That’s good news not just for scuba-diving art lovers, though – in addition to providing a unique dive spot, the sculptures are designed and selected for their suitability as marine habitat, so even in the absence of scuba divers, the UMA is certain to have many visitors, including schools of baitfish, grouper, sea turtles and dolphins. This is just the beginning for UMA, since the CAA says they plan to continue to select artists and add to the underwater collection every year!


Cool Factors:  First in the nation, creating a habitat for fish and a destination for divers.


Coolest Beach Music Concert

Hangout Fest

Gulf Shores, AL

May 17-19, 2019



Unicorns, fairy dust, donut floaties, wings, neon lights, flying dinosaurs, sand between your toes… You must be at the Hangout Fest! This three-day festival is right on the beach and it is an unforgettable and unique experience to share with friends, family, and even strangers (sorry, Mom). With past lineups including Portugal. The Man, The Struts, The Chainsmokers, Group Love, Twenty One Pilots, BlackBear, The Killers, Florence and the Machine, and Kendrick Lamar, this yearly May festival is the complete package for a beach vacation getaway.


If you weren’t able to come to the par-tay this year, here are some of the cool festivities you missed out on: The Hangout Ferris wheel, roller disco, pop-up shops, puppy-kissing booth, crazy sculptures and art, Malibu beach house, The Psychedelic Bus, Hammock Beach chillin’, bonfires, delicious eats, Inkbox tattoo parlor, beach volleyball, and yoga.  Yeah, we know… it’s cool, and you better come with us next year! Though tickets always sell out, never fear! Tickets for Hangout Fest 2019 are available starting early February, so get ready to bust out those glitter tubes, chubbies, and fanny packs and mark off May 17-19 with a neon pink highlighter!


Cool Factors: Roller disco for some rad photo ops, chill vibes and way too many puppy kisses, never-ending music from your favorite bands, glitter and sand (is there anything cooler?


Coolest Place to Roll & Bounce Around

Fort SK8 Family Fun Center

202 Racetrack Rd NW

Fort Walton Beach

(850) 863-1223


“Eat, Play, Skate, and BOUNCE!” All in one place! That’s the motto of our next coolest on the coast - Fort SK8 Family Fun Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida! Featuring everything from a Jump Zone to an 11,000 sq ft roller skating floor, Fort SK8 really has something for every age. Blaze a trail roller skating with the family, hang out with friends, get some exercise and skate to some rockin’ music. After skating, head over to the Jump Zone with little ones and older kids alike to bounce off all your energy in over 2000 sq ft of bounce magic, featuring a HUGE inflatable obstacle course, bounce houses, and a special toddler zone. When you need a break from skating and bouncing, score some tickets and prizes in the arcade. If you're exhausted by now, sit back and relax in their brand new massage chairs while enjoying some snacks at the Rollin’ Cafe, a full-service cafe specializing in your favorite skating treats.

Fort SK8 also hosts some of craziest parties On the Coast. You can celebrate with a 3D glow party which includes up to 12 guests, unlimited skating, food, and FREE passes for future visits! Shake it up with the electric neon party and wear some crazy colors. Or you can even request a character party and chose your favorite character from the ever-growing list of characters to make the day extra special. And the best part, no clean up! From show up to clean up, they’ve got you covered, so get ready for the most fun  and stress-free party you’ve ever had!

Check out their website,, to stay posted on specials and fun events such as Teen Night, Heros vs Villains, Nerf Wars, Late Skates, $1 Wednesday, Family Fun Friday, and other discounts and passes. You can even sign your kids up for free skating passes!

Cool Factors:  Something for every age, exciting special nights of fun, 42 years of business so they know what they’re doing!


Coolest Rehab On the Coast

C.A.R.E. Center at the Gulfarium

1010 Miracle Strip Parkway

Fort Walton Beach

(850) 243-9046


With a mission to act as a beacon for coastal conservation through marine animal rescue and rehabilitation, encouraging awareness with public education and opportunities for active participation, it's no wonder we have chosen the C.A.R.E. Center at Gulfarium to be one of our Coolest on the Coast picks this year! The staff who work tirelessly here, are true heroes to our coast. 

Time and time again over the years we have witnessed the C.A.R.E. Centers amazing efforts to rehabilitate and release various species of sea turtles brought to them or rescued from debilitating situations. From the large Leatherbacks coming in at over 600 pounds to the smaller Green Turtles, we are so fortunate to have a facility like the Gulfarium here On the Coast! The hundreds of people who gather for a turtle release back to the Gulf are always eager to learn and understand the balance we humans play with nature. It's just so exciting and such a great opportunity for the public to learn about the C.A.R.E. Center. 

So what do you do if you find a stranded animal? Well, you call 1-888-404-3922 and observe the turtle at a distance until help arrives. If you try and help and push it back into the water, it might restrand and die so it's best to sit tight with your new found friend and observe. Here's a few more tips while visiting our coast and what you can do to help the sea turtles out. First, if you've been enjoying our beach, when leaving, make sure you fill in ALL the holes you've dug up and flatten those sandcastles and sculptures. This gives a clear path for the female sea turtles who are nesting and those cute little hatchlings. Also keep the exterior lights off of your homes and avoid using flashlights, fireworks and bonfires from May through October. Turtles use the moonlight to help navigate and those manmade light can be confusing to them. So be a good neighbor to our sea life and do your part to help them survive.

Cool Factors: Saving wildlife, educating the public on our sea-life


Coolest Java Cafe

2 Birds Coffee + Cafe

1040 US-98  Destin

80 Seascape Drive, Unit 103

Miramar Beach


Delectable, creative, unique, refreshing.  These are a few words that describe 2 Birds Coffee + Cafe.  From their signature blackberry lavender scone to their fried PP&J to their fancy toasts, 2 Birds has everything you are looking for in a clean and chic cafe.  Coffee aficionados are sure to find a happy home for an amazing breakfast or lunch at either one of the locally owned and operated locations in Destin and Miramar Beach.  With impeccable service and a welcoming atmosphere, 2 Birds is the place to go whether you are looking for a place to relax with friends and family over brunch or are in need of a pit-stop for a beautifully brewed cup of joe!  

Cool Factors:  Hub for coffee connoisseurs, 50s aesthetic with a modern chic flair, exquisitely unique twists on dishes


Coolest Way to Learn

Emerald Coast Science Center

31 Memorial Drive

Fort Walton Beach

(850) 664-1261

Ever wondered how much fun it would be to have your entire family play on a room-sized iPad? Join us at the Emerald Coast Science Center to experience just that with our brand new SMALLab exhibit! SMALLab is an embodied learning environment where every person is up, moving, and collaborating. Movement is tracked by motion capture cameras, allowing you to walk around on a 15-foot by 15-foot playing field to complete activities.

Your family can work together to solve puzzles, create stories and character plots, study the world, and paint digital masterpieces with this innovative programming. With SMALLab, our classroom becomes the fraction, letter, molecule, paintbrush, or playing piece in hundreds of educational activities—all so much fun kids don’t even realize they’re learning! This super fun, super interactive method allows children to collaborate and learn as they move. With lessons over science, language, arts, and more, SMALLab lessons give families a unique, innovative way to learn together. SMALLab programming can be tooled to fit a wide variety of age ranges, from age 2 to 102—so everyone in the family will enjoy going beyond the screen and immersing themselves in science with SMALLab.

The Science Center is only the third museum in the entire country with SMALLab, so we’re very excited to feature several SMALLab events each day Monday through Friday this summer. For a list of scheduled times or to sign up for an event, visit our website at Be sure to bring your socks—we throw shoes and most of the rules to the side when SMALLab is involved. Playing in socks allows us to keep our SMALLab mat in good shape, and kids always have fun kicking off their shoes and playing in SMALLab. Words simply can’t describe this cutting-edge exhibit, so experience the magic of SMALLab firsthand!

Our museum is also home to over 45 touchable, workable exhibits and over 30 animals. Be sure to stop by and say hello at one of our Creature Features this summer, where your kids can have an unforgettable, amazing time meeting some of our animals up close in a safe learning environment. We also give guests a chance to be amazed by chemistry feats during our Chem Demos, so there is something for everyone this summer at the Science Center. Bring the whole family and discover the difference a hands-on encounter with science can make.

Cool Factors:  3rd museum in the country to have a SMALLab, so much fun the kids don’t know they are learning, great for all ages