This Destin Log column is the fourth in a series of “Heaven or Hell” living situations that we experience here in Destin.

The first column was about homeowner Heaven or Hell in which we learned that the benefits of living with a responsible HOA is usually better than having no homeowner rules or regulations at all.

The second column addressed the sightseeing Helicopter Hell (There is no helicopter heaven). Resident reaction was strong; Destin is fed up with being buzzed by what one reader referred to as “Hell Choppers.” There is another public meeting set to hear our concerns about these loud, low-flying sightseeing helicopters. It is scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 5 at the City Hall Annex. Please be there and be heard.

The third column addressed City Hall Heaven or Hell. During the first three decades following its 1984 incorporation, living in Destin was like City Hall Heaven. But more recently it is leaning more toward City Hall Hell. The attempted electric utility power grab comes to mind.

The fourth column looks at how tourism can seem like Heaven or Hell for Destin residents. The latest controversy du jour is how vacation rentals affect our way of life. We hear anecdotal extremes from both sides. This series of columns examines the issue in a more balanced way, fair and impartial.

First, a few disclosures: I have owned and managed my own vacation rental properties in Destin since 1974. Then in 1985, I started managing vacation rental properties for many others. I have learned from over four decades of experience what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to managing vacation rentals. I will share that experience with you in my next few columns.

This topic will be presented in a logical, objective way without hyperbole or exaggeration. I don’t have a dog in this fight since I no longer own, nor do I manage any vacation rental properties anywhere. Like many of you, I have also experienced the ugly side of unregulated short-term rentals and the abuses that go with it. I understand both sides.

In this series, we will first analyze the benefits that come with a vibrant tourism economy: low taxes, robust employment, fine dining, recreation and many others. We will also look at some of the problems that come with tourism: congested traffic, insufficient parking, excessive litter and excessive noise. After that, we will look at how we can solve, or at least minimize these problems. Here is where you can help:

Most residents like the positive benefits of a strong tourism economy while many others object because of the negative side effects that come with it. Please let us know how you feel about this current controversy. Simply email your concerns to me or to the editor of The Log. Our email addresses appear at the end of this column. Thank you for your input.

Jack Simpson has owned and managed rental properties in Destin since 1974 and has lived in the city since 1983. His column is designed to start conversations in the community. To respond to Jack's column in The Log, email your letter to the editor or guest column to To contact Jack directly, email