If you are looking for a warm, sunny, vacation destination with plenty to see and do, Destin, Florida is the place for you!
From family fun to wild water adventures, excellent beaches, and stunning surroundings, here’s a look at the best things to do in Destin Florida to help you plan your trip.
What is Destin Florida Known For?
Located on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin is known as the world’s luckiest fishing village. Founded in 1852 by Captain Leonard Destin, the area boasts excellent fishing opportunities.
Destin is home to a massive fleet of charter fishing boats, drawing anglers of all skill levels.
In Destin, you can fish successfully in shallower depths, taking advantage of plentiful numbers of cobia, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, redfish, flounder, amberjack, and tarpon, just to name a few.
But, thanks to underwater geography, deeper sea fishing is also an option should people be looking to catch sailfish, swordfish, and blue marlin.
Each October, Destin is home to the Destin Fishing Rodeo. This month-long tournament has run nearly every year since 1948 and is the premier destination for saltwater anglers from all over.
What Do Locals Do In Destin Florida?
While a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of activities enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. While some things to do are more unique vs popular, this list is sure to get you started.
Locals can be found on the beaches, out on the water, golfing, shopping, dining, enjoying nature, and visiting the area’s theme parks.
So, if you want to blend in with the locals on your visit to Destin Fl, get out and get active!
Things To Do In Destin Florida
The region may be known for its fishing but there are plenty of fun things to do in Destin Florida. Here are just a few of our favorites!
1. The HarborWalk Village
Located along Destin Harbor Boardwalk, The Destin HaborWalk Village is a happening place with activities for the whole family.
You spend a relaxing day window shopping and taking in the views, or you can find yourself a little adventure.
The HaborWalk Village has face painting, escape rooms, mini golf, a laser maze, ziplining, ax throwing, parasailing, and even helicopter tours!
There is paid on-site parking. It is best to arrive early as the lot fills up quickly.
2. The Destin Dash Scavenger Hunt
If you are looking for a unique way to explore the city, why not book a scavenger hunt?
The experience will take you through Destin, popping into local shops, sights, and hot spots. This is a great way to interact with the locals and get a real sense of the town.
And, it is fun for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re traveling and looking for things to do in Destin with your kids or on a friend’s getaway, this is an excellent way to spend an afternoon.
3. Henderson Beach State Park
If a day at the beach is more your speed, plan a visit to Henderson Beach State Park. There are lots of popular beaches in the area, like Miramar Beach and Okaloosa Island Beach, but Henderson Beach State Park is so much more than just a beach.
Famous for 30-foot crystal white sand dunes, this state park was established to protect the natural features of the area. Amenities have been added to increase public enjoyment of the space. Kick back and relax in the sand or wade into the stunning green waters of the Gulf Coast.
Be sure to pack some sneakers as the park’s hiking trails give you a different perspective of the area, allowing you to explore the region’s unique ecosystem.
The amenities on-site include a restroom, shower, playground, parking, picnic pavilion, and an interpretive exhibit.
4. Go Snorkeling
Snorkeling is one of the best things to do in Destin. This part of northwest Florida has very clear water, making visibility perfect for underwater activities. In fact, depending on where you choose to snorkel, you can expect visibility of 20 to 80 feet. This is one of the popular things to do for couples in Destin.
And, being a prime fishing destination, you can expect to see lots of marine life.
Some top Destin snorkel sites include:
- Henderson Beach State Park: The beach is a nesting area for loggerhead turtles so remember to keep your eyes peeled and your hands to yourself!
- Norriego Point: Found near the East Jetty, this is the perfect place for beginners, nervous swimmers, or small children. The waters are typically calm and you do not have to compete with boats.
- East Pass Jetty: The Jetty is a man-made structure designed to prevent sand erosion along the coast where the Choctawhatchee Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico. The stonework has become something of a reef and attracts sheepshead, snapper, redfish, and even occasionally barracuda and hermit crabs. And some keen-eyed snorkelers have even spotted octopuses.
5. Escape Zone 60
Escape rooms are all the rage these days and it isn’t hard to see what. They are fun, they are challenging, and they are the perfect way to make the most of rainy days or to beat the heat.
The minimum number of participants is 4 but most often the rooms will have 6-10 participants.
If you’d like to give your brain a workout, get your group together and head to Escape Zone 60!
6. Crab Island
Crab Island is a popular place to visit. Crab Island is not really an island, it is essentially an underwater sandbar with sparkling blue waters of 1 to 4 feet in depth. This means it is an ideal place to spend a day sunning and swimming!
Crab Island is not accessible by land or car so you will have to get there via boat or jet ski rental. If you are a particularly active type, you can even get there by paddleboard. See this post for more details on how to get to Crab Island.
Once there, you can visit one of the floating restaurants (just check before you go as not all locations are open year round), visit the Gulf Islands National Seashore, or hop on the shuttle boat for a guided tour of the area. Or, you can simply enjoy wading in the warm shallow waters, for a refreshing and relaxing experience.
At Destiny Water Adventures, we have what you need for a perfect day at Crab Island. Located minutes away in Fort Walton Beach, we offer an excursion that includes Crab Island pontoon boat rental with a free Bluetooth stereo and an onboard cooler to keep your drinks ice cold. And each pontoon comes fully equipped with any and all safety gear you might need so you can truly enjoy your day. Our pontoons are ideal for 10-12 people so your entire crew can come along!
We also offer a Crab Island dolphin cruise. Taking a dolphin cruise is a popular Destin activity and with our jet ski package, you can get up close and personal to these fascinating creatures. And because our dolphin adventures are 2 hours long, you can enjoy the dolphins, other marine life, and surroundings at your leisure and with the support of a knowledgeable guide. See this post for the best time of year to see dolphins.
7. Visit a Water Park or Theme Park
If you need a break from the sand and surf, take a trip to Big Kahuna’s Water Park and Adventure Park.
With rides, slides, pools, mini golf, and lots of dining options, it is the place to be for kids and adults alike. It is a way to beat the heat and still have a wild time.
If water parks aren’t really your thing, try Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone on Okaloosa Island. This theme park has everything you could ever want. Mini golf courses, laser tag, go carts, bumper boats, animatronic dinosaurs, a 4-D movie experience, an arcade, and so much more.
For those interested in learning more about marine life, pay a visit to Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Explore exhibits and watch training demonstrations to see some of the most fascinating creatures on earth. Animals on site include gators, stingrays, turtles, penguins, harbor seals, dolphins, and sea lions.
8. Hit the Beach
There are many great beaches around Destin. Some, like Crystal Sands Beach, are private access, but many like Destin Beach, Henderson Beach, and Norriego Point are easily accessible.
When you don’t feel like packing an adventure into your day, simply stake out your sandy paradise, throw down a blanket or towel, and soak it all in!
Make Destin Florida Your Holiday Destination
Whether you’re planning a day trip from Panama City Beach or staying at one of Destin’s great hotels, it is clear that there are plenty of things to do in Destin Florida. Use this as a guide for planning the perfect trip and stop in to visit us at Destiny Water Adventures for all of your water rental needs!