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    Louisville, while full of fabulous restaurants, bars, museums, parks and local businesses (#KeepLouisvilleWeird) is lacking one very important thing: a beach.

    Sure, we have a few quarries. Sure, we have plenty of places to swim. But come summer or fall or spring break, thousands of Louisvillians will pack up and head to Destin, Florida. Or as it’s occasionally colloquially known, “Little Louisville.” Destin is actually mentioned in the Urban Dictionary definition of Louisville:
    So what’s the deal with Louisvillians and Destin? The immediate answer is distance: Destin is a nine or ten-hour drive from Derby City and the route is a pretty straight shot. From downtown Louisville it takes about 13 hours to get to Orlando, 16 to get to Miami, 19 to get to Key West. Location, location, location.

    But how many years has this Louisville-to-Destin family vacation train been running? As air travel becomes more affordable and drive time factors less into vacation decisions, why do Louisvillians keep choosing Destin? We asked a few Louisville natives about their connection with Destin to find out: 

    Lauren O’Neil’s love for the area is tinged with nostalgia. “My family and I have been going to Destin for vacation for the past 25 years. I've seen it grow up from this tiny sleepy little beach to the amazing city it is now. It has so much more to offer than ever before, but somehow the area has kept its cozy small-town feel. At first we started going to Destin for vacation because we had friends that lived in the area. And for a young family with kids saving money [taking a vacation] can be hard to do. But Destin was affordable for my parents and a very easy drive in one day. The sugar sand beaches and emerald clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico have always been a delight for me growing up.”

    Kaelyn Burris has visited Destin with her family on spring break for 10 years and counting. “I think so many families love Destin because you always know you will have a good experience. It is always clean, the beach is beautiful and your kids are going to have fun.”

    Jacob C. Phelps has been visiting the Destin area since his teen years and sites the food as a major reason for his repeated return: “Destin is a great place to visit because it is a very well-rounded destination. The beaches are gorgeous - soft, white sand and emerald water. The weather is nice. The activities are endless. The food scene never disappoints... as a foodie, my favorite place in Destin is the Louisiana Lagniappe: great food, drinks and views. It's worth the wait to sit outside on the bay!”

    Whatever time of year you decide to visit Destin, has a list of where to eat, and a list of where to go and what to do. is also giving away a four-day vacation Destin for one lucky group of winners:

    Images: Elizabeth Myers, with the exception of the last two images, taken by Jacob C. Phelps

    Elizabeth Myers's picture

    About Elizabeth Myers

    Big fan of bacon and bourbon, deep fried anything, sweet tea and sweet nothings.

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