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I lived in Destin a looong time ago. I'm just down the road from you in Portland now. I've always thought that was one of the prettiest areas in the Gulf. White sand beaches and emerald water. It has a couple nicknames, the Chamber of Commerce prefers the Emerald Coast, locals call it the Redneck Riviera. Summer is a bit of a mess, this time of year should be quiet and is really nice. Not as many restaurants are open, but you don't have a 2 hour wait, either. Bud and Alley's was always a favorite...looks like it is still highly rated. http://www.budandalleys.com/
There's a couple state parks in the area, Henderson Beach west towards Destin, and you should definitely hit Seaside, Grayton Beach and if you're up for a drive, along the coast East towards Port St Joe.
Have a great trip!