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Practicalities

Places to stay, while plentiful, fill with amazing speed, especially at weekends. As a general rule, motels at the east end of the beach are smarter and slightly pricier than those in the centre. Those at the west end are quieter and more family-oriented. The Sugar Sands Motel, 20723 Front Beach Rd (t 1-800/367-9221, w http://www.sugarsands.com; $101–160), is an excellent-value oceanfront motel away from the noise. The cheapest places to eat are the buffet restaurants on Front Beach Road, which charge $9–14 for all you can manage. Alternatively, try one of the regular lunch or dinner restaurants: Shuckum’s Oyster Pub & Seafood Grill, 15614 Front Beach Rd (t 850/235-3214); Mike’s Diner, 17554 Front Beach Rd (t 850/234-1942), which is also open for breakfast, and until late at night; or the Boatyard, 5323 N Lagoon Drive (t 850/249-9273), for alfresco dining beside a lagoon. At night, party-goers congregate at Club La Vela, 8813 Thomas Drive (t 850/235-1061), or Spinnaker, 8795 Thomas Drive (t 850/234-7892), each with dozens of bars, several discos and a young crowd.

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