Dining decisions can be relatively easy for families in their own communities: you know exactly which neighborhood dive has the best chicken fingers and which spot has the free ice cream with kids’ meals.
You know which place has the unfortunate “watery” mac and cheese you need to avoid, and you know which restaurant has the most patient and friendly servers, the kind who are willing to pick up the crayons your kid tossed under the next table eight times before you even order.
You also know how to avoid the white linen tablecloth restaurants your brood would destroy within seconds.
However, on vacation, you are faced with unfamiliar choices, and you want to be sure you choose a location that will work well for your whole family, which could mean three generations and ages ranging from 3 to 93.
We have done the groundwork for you and picked our top eight kid friendly restaurants Destin FL that are family-friendly; these Emerald Coast choices are all a safe bet for family dining and are sure to be loved by not only the little ones in your group but also the grown-ups. Just like our post sharing the best area beaches, we aim to make your trip the absolute best it can be. Let’s go!
800 Quietwater Beach Road, Gulf Breeze
Complete with live entertainment and an onsite gift shop, a sand volleyball court, and a play area for kids, Flounders has been a favorite for vacationers and locals alike since 1979. You can add your name to an online waitlist before you arrive and enjoy all the traditional seafood favorites you would expect, plus a full sushi menu.
No dining experience at Flounders is complete with a giant slice of key lime pie, so save room for dessert or order some to-go.
114 Amberjack Drive, Fort Walton Beach
When it comes to feeding families, pizza is always one of the best ways to serve a crowd without breaking the bank. But even if some in your group do not love pizza, Fubar serves mouth-watering wings, pasta entrees, salads, and sandwiches, all in addition to a solid kids menu with a variety of choices.
Keeping the kids entertained at Fubar is also easy, thanks to a game room with pool tables and foosball. Another reason to love Fubar? On Monday nights, military personnel and first responders enjoy free pizza at this Destin restaurant from 6 to 9 p.m. If you do get there when it’s super busy, remember…it’s pizza! You can always bring it back to your hotel or your Airbnb.
1451 Navarre Beach Causeway, Navarre
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, this place has you covered for great family meals in a fun atmosphere. Kids will love the grass hut vacation vibe (and grown-ups will, too!), and live music in the summer plus beach volleyball and stunning water views make it a family-friendly choice and a great spot to enjoy all the Emerald Coast has to offer. You can sit down for a great and fresh seafood meal at Sailor’s Grill (which also serves burgers, tacos, sandwiches, and more) or grab delicious to-go items from Juana Bites to Go and enjoy your food on the beach.
20001 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin
Fresh seafood, chicken, and even alligator (!) make the Fudpucker’s menu a family favorite for vacationers in Destin. Kids love leaving their mark on the restaurant’s graffiti wall almost as much as they love visiting the live alligator farm. Non-alcoholic “kiddie cocktails” and milkshakes round out the delicious kids menu, and adults love the generously portioned seafood entrees, salads, and sandwiches.
4607 Legendary Marina Drive, Destin
Yes, we are talking THOSE Buffetts. Lucy is the younger sister of famed entertainer Jimmy Buffett and brings her love of coastal cooking to three restaurants in Gulf Shores, Alabama; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and this popular location in Destin. Families can check-in online to join the waitlist for this kid friendly restaurant, or they can simply head to Lulu’s and put a name in before enjoying the beach arcade.
Lulu’s is a standout choice for any family with dietary restrictions: there are gluten-free, soy-free, shellfish-free, seafood-free, egg-free, and dairy-free options, all available among the restaurant’s delicious offerings.
33 US 98, Destin
For families who have had their fill of fish, McGuire’s Irish Pub is a great alternative. This popular steak house and Irish pub, which is the restaurant’s second location after their flagship Pensacola pub, offers traditional fare such as shepherd’s pie and fish and chips and also a “Leprechaun’s Menu” with several kids’ favorites. Live music makes McGuire’s a popular draw in Destin, and they also serve a Sunday brunch with favorites such as Eggs Benedict, Belgian waffles, Bloody Marys, and mimosas.
10 Harbor, Destin
This restaurant is located at the popular Destin Harbor Boardwalk. Say Cheese is a grilled cheese lovers’ dream! A simple menu with three bread choices (country white, sourdough, or multigrain) offers fans of these ooey-gooey and truly American sandwiches the chance to jazz up an old favorite.
From spinach and artichoke to barbecue chicken, there’s a grilled cheese here for everyone in your group. This is a favorite stop for famished crowds after a long day of boogie boarding, sandcastle building, or just sunning by the shore. It is a great choice when looking for a family-friendly restaurant to finish off your day in Destin.
1284 Marler Avenue, Fort Walton Beach
Rounding out our list of family-friendly favorites in the Destin area, The Gulf is simply a must-do when you travel to the Emerald Coast. Not only do they serve outstanding fresh food, but the restaurant’s unique vibe also stands out from all of the other choices we have mentioned here.
Designed out of recycled shipping containers, The Gulf aims to reduce its carbon footprint and serve guests in a way that is enjoyable and environmentally ethical. They change menus seasonally to take advantage of what’s fresh and also offer outstanding live entertainment and unbeatable views.
We think that’s about it. Your only problem now is choosing which place to eat at first, and then in what order you can hit the rest. Just remember, if you have leftovers…be sure to hook up the staff at Destiny with a doggy bag when you come to rent your boat or jet ski. 🙂