Mind Tricks for Living in a Tourist Town – Destin, FL

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Rulnick Realty, Inc.

They are everywhere! The roads, the beaches, the stores! Tourists! Living and working in Destin, Florida brings its challenges.  Locals gather at the workplace lamenting about traffic on Highway 98, Scenic Gulf Drive and 30A, and how much more the roads can bear. Vacationers seem to have found a permanent home in our environs on the Emerald Coast.  It used to be just high season from the Spring to Fall, but in the past year, there are more people in town than I’ve ever seen.

Getting from the Mid-Bay Bridge to Sandestin used to be an easy 15 minutes on Highway 98. Now, there are bottlenecks due to construction and it’s more like 30.  Try for a shortcut on Scenic Highway 98, and it’s not any better.  Try getting to the beach from Driftwood Road, where my real estate office is, and you’ll have to dodge people walking four-by-four down the middle of the street, carrying beach bags, umbrellas and sunburns. There is no avoiding it, and them.

Of course, we love our tourists in Destin, Florida. They are the economic strength behind our coastal area.  They support the restaurants, hotels, condos, beach rentals and shops. That is all good. But instead of using logic and reasoning to override the typical mental snap of “Don’t they know how to drive?”, “Why are they so slow crossing the street?” “How many people does it take to buy chips in the grocery store?” “Is that golf cart licensed to be on the road?”, there are a few mind tricks I’ve learned to put me more in the “Om” moment with tourists.

Here they are:

  1. Patience. My mantra is “We are tourists, too.” When we locals visit another tourist place, like Cape Cod, Nashville, or Florence, Italy, we are “them”!  We don’t know where we are going. We crowd attractions. We are slow. We are aimless. Yes, we drive the locals crazy there.  So, they are “us”. Be patient with them.
  2. Kindness. Instead of criticizing the family leaving the beach, walking on the hot pavement in their bare feet, really “see” them.  Look at the cute little girl and her brother, with their sun hats and kid glasses, following their father and mother like ducklings. They are adorable! Smile!
  3. Have a “Vacation Mind”.  This is the greatest trick. Tourists aren’t just getting from point A to point B, from work to appointment to grocery store to home. They are in awe of our Destin area. They notice things we don’t have the time for (isn’t it true anywhere you live?). They appreciate the blazing white sand. They are enraptured by the blue-green Gulf of Mexico waters. They soak in our steamy climate.  They love Destin Harbor, the local fish, the cuisine, the trendy shopping.

Tourists remind us to appreciate what’s all around us.  Who has time for that? Maybe we should make time.


It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, lists and sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Posted by

"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Wendy Rulnick, Broker/Owner Rulnick Realty, Inc.

Call Wendy Rulnick 1-850-259-0422

email itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

www.rulnickrealty.com property searches and community info

Wendy Rulnick helps real estate buyers and sellers on the Emerald Coast of Florida.

Rulnick Realty


Comments (11)

Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Like Destin, we definitely atttract tourists here especially on weekends.  We lay low on weekends, and know the traffic patterns.  And our main artery is under construction, although CalTrans has ben great in facillitating taffic.  It was the same when we lived in Napa...It is OK with us, we have it all week most of the time, and summer 5 days a week.  A

Aug 02, 2021 01:25 PM
Wendy Rulnick

Ron and Alexandra Seigel  A - I am with you about laying low during the weekends! We cannot make it across the bridge to eat in town on a Saturday night! It would take two hours to cross!

Aug 02, 2021 02:58 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Wendy - it's not trickery or magic but knowledgeable(and local) real estate expertise that matters.  You demonstrate that and those who choose you for their real estate representation win.  

Aug 02, 2021 03:43 PM
Wendy Rulnick

Michael Jacobs  I am honored! Thank you so much! (I have to add that I may sprinkle in a little magic sometimes ;)!)

Aug 02, 2021 03:47 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Wendy - I so agree!  We have a lot of winter visitors and being kind and answering their questions from time to time is an easy thing to do. We do try to stay away from some restaurants at that time as we know they'll be packed to the max.  And.....that is a very good thing!

Aug 02, 2021 04:37 PM
Wendy Rulnick

Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker  we know what restaurants "not" to go to during the height of the season!


Aug 03, 2021 06:01 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Wendy- we experienced something very similar when we lived in Delray Beach. But, what I told myself was that these tourists were revenue generators. 

Aug 02, 2021 06:32 PM
Wendy Rulnick

Kathy Streib I try to tell myself that too :)

Aug 03, 2021 06:01 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Tuesday morning, Wendy.

Take care, be safe and have an outstanding summer.

Aug 03, 2021 05:09 AM
Wendy Rulnick

Roy Kelley Thank you for your well-wishes! Happy Day to you, too!

Aug 03, 2021 06:02 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I will have to keep those tricks in mind when the snowbirds here frustrate me on the roads and in the stores, haha.

Aug 03, 2021 05:50 AM
Wendy Rulnick

Brian England Yeah, I could write a whole blog just on the drivers! 

Aug 03, 2021 06:02 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

And not to forget that they purposely walk slow so they can see all there is to be seen and in your town of Destin, there are cool sights all over

Aug 03, 2021 07:04 AM
Wendy Rulnick

Ed Silva  I try to see with their eyes!

Aug 03, 2021 07:06 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

I understand Wendy! Here in Vegas, tourists walking where they want in the middle of the street forced us to create barriers and overhead walkways for them.

Aug 03, 2021 08:31 AM
Wendy Rulnick

Rocky Dickerson We need to do more of that here! It's perilous!

Aug 03, 2021 09:56 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Finding a little kindness it's always the best way to endear yourself, tourist or not. ;

Aug 03, 2021 09:49 PM
Wendy Rulnick

Laura Cerrano Even in the grocery line!

Aug 04, 2021 04:32 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Wendy Rulnick - I've never been to Destin, FL but I heard of it and your photograph makes me want to go there too! Perhaps what the City Council can do (or state) is to put up Toll Gates with very high fees for non-residents to pay for road repairs and to lessen the amont of congested traffic. I understand how important it is for tourists to go on vacation, but the residents should take precedence.... that's my opinion. I'm sure if I was in charge at the local Town Office, I wouldn't be very popular (except with the residents). They deserve their beautiful beaches!

Aug 05, 2021 07:22 AM
Wendy Rulnick

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP  This is a great comment! We do have tolls and they are "more" for a tourist, or, someone who does not have a Florida "Sunpass".  The problem (if it could be called that), is that they want MORE people to come! Glad you liked the photo!

Aug 05, 2021 07:28 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Wendy, My sister is in St. Agustine and loves the beach but likes it better when not many tourist are there.


Aug 05, 2021 07:41 AM
Wendy Rulnick

Will Hamm I have to say that I am with her 100%.

Aug 05, 2021 07:48 AM