Santa Rosa Beach Florida: We see it every year. People die or get injured by doing stupid things, not paying attention, or just by taking unnecessary risks. Tis the season for tourists, and while locals should know better, they aren’t necessarily immune to the perils of what happens during the season.

The issue: During peak vacation season…which is happening while we write this…the populations of Panama City Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Destin, Navarre, Pensacola, Okaloosa Island, and all of the surrounding beach areas of the Emerald coast grows exponentially. We’re not talking about some measly 10% growth rate. We see millions of tourists annually and as a result, we see the death and injury tolls rise with it.

Because we care, we thought we would offer a little advice to keep you from ruining your vacation and losing your life. Below are our five big tips for how not to die on vacation:

  1. Watch the Flags: Not sure if you know it or not, but the lifeguards place those red, yellow, green, and/or purple flags on the beach every morning for a reason. You should know what they mean. The red flags…double red flags especially… mean you should definitely stay out of the water. While the waves here in the Gulf are nowhere near what you might find on the east and west coasts, the rip tides are sneaky…and can cause the best swimmers to drown. For more information on the flag system, recognizing rip tides, and other water safety tips, check out this link.
  2. Don’t swim past the second sand bar: Believe it or not, we have a few sharks in the waters of the gulf…because, believe it or not, sharks live in water….salt water is their favorite. (See this article about sharks in the Gulf). Just past the second sand bar, the sea floor makes a drastic drop, and many sharks hang out there….for dinner.  Sharks excluded, poor swimmers should stay closer to shore as well.
  3. When it’s raining, stay in the condo: It’s raining, so your beach day plans are ruined. What do you do? If you’re smart, you should just stay in the condo and relax…but we know you won’t. Not sure where exactly in the Constitution it is written, but it seems there is an amendment that states, “When on vacation and it rains, you should go shopping and clog up the roads.” More traffic means more chances at wrecking your car. More chances of a wreck equal more chances that you’ll die. If you die, then your vacation is going to suck…for everyone you know.
  4. For the Love of God and all that’s holy, do not ride a bike on a major highway: This should be very obvious…but apparently it isn’t because we have several people die every year because they thought it was a good idea to ride their bike on Highway 98. Locals are guilty of this one as well. Yes, there is a bike lane and yes, you do have just as much right to be there as a car, but your chances of winning a car versus bike street fight are very slim.
  5. Don’t drink too much: Yes, you’re on vacation. You should relax, but just because you’re away from your pastor and hometown church congregation doesn’t make it okay for you to do 47 shots of Yaeger and then move about the area. You exponentially increase your chances of dying from something really, really stupid if you do.  Every year we see people get drunk who believe they are stronger, quicker, and/or better balanced than the normal, Yeagerless person. Guess what? You’re not. You’re impaired, and you cannot properly walk on that 14th-floor balcony railing without falling to a very gruesome death.


We know it seems like we are jaded on this subject, and maybe we are a little bit, but we do tire of seeing folks die every year for the same reasons. If you follow our instructions, your chances of having a better vacation drastically increase. Enjoy the area, enjoy your family, and be safe and enjoy a continued existence. Doing so will allow you to visit again.