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24 Best Things To Do in Destin, Florida

Welcome to the Florida Panhandle and Destin; a popular vacation destination filled with stunning beaches, exhilarating water sports, and unforgettable attractions for the whole family.

View of water with boats an a building and resort in the background.
(Photo courtesy of Expedia)

From exploring the vibrant Harbor Boardwalk to diving into crystal-clear Emerald Coast waters, there’s no shortage of fun adventure waiting for you.

A boat moving along water with the coast in the background.
(Photo courtesy of Destin Florida)

Read on and discover the top things to do in Destin Florida and make your trip an unforgettable experience.

1. Discover Destin Harbor Boardwalk

Nestled along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, near downtown Fort Walton Beach, the Destin Harbor Boardwalk is the heart and soul of this bustling beach town. With a family-friendly atmosphere, this lively hub offers a variety of restaurants, shops, fishing charters, and bars.

A boardwalk in Destin, Florida with people walking in the evening and sunset.
(Photo courtesy of destinvacationrentals.com)

As you stroll along the boardwalk take in the stunning views of the emerald, green waters and sugar-white sand beaches which make Destin and Fort Walton Beach truly unique destinations. The Destin Harbor Boardwalk offers numerous water-based activities for the whole family to enjoy, including:

Create lifelong memories at the Destin Harbor Boardwalk.

2. Experience Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park

If you’re looking for a thrilling day out with the family, look no further than Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park. Located near the beautiful Crystal Beach, this exciting park offers an array of water slides, swimming pools, and cabanas for a day of fun in the sun. Reveal your inner adventurer on the exhilarating rides or relax and float along the lazy river; all while enjoying the gorgeous surroundings of Destin.

An aerial view of a water and adventure park.
(Photo courtesy of bigkahunas.com)

Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park also offers a variety of family-friendly attractions, including a mini golf course and Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone with arcade games, a 4D movie, laser tag, and more. There’s no shortage of fun activities to keep everyone entertained! Don’t forget to check out the nearby Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park for an exciting marine experience.

3. Relax at Henderson Beach State Park

For a serene beach experience away from the hustle and bustle, head to Henderson Beach State Park. With pristine sands, clear waters, and a peaceful atmosphere, this park is the perfect spot to relax and rejuvenate. The park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, kayaking, and spotting coastal plants and creatures.

Stairs and pathway leading to beach and water.
(Photo courtesy of fecsp.org)

Just a short drive from Destin’s main attractions, Henderson Beach State Park provides a tranquil escape with all the amenities you need for a perfect day.

4. Visit the Air Force Armament Museum

Step back in time and delve into military history at the Air Force Armament Museum. Located in Eglin Air Force Base, this museum showcases an impressive collection of vintage warplanes and armament equipment, providing an educational and engaging experience for all ages.

Indoor view of Air Force Armament Museum with planes and seats.
(Photo courtesy of nwfdailynews.com)

Admission to the museum is free, making it an accessible and budget-friendly activity for the whole family. You can learn about The Air Force and The US Army and marvel at the impressive exhibits, including the unique aircraft on display

5. Delve into Destin’s History & Fishing Museum

Learn about Destin’s fishing heritage and history at the Destin History & Fishing Museum. This fascinating museum showcases the city’s transformation over time, providing an in-depth look at its maritime traditions and deep sea fishing history.

A wall with model fish on them and a hallway in a fish museum.
(Photo courtesy of Expedia)

Explore the museum’s exhibits, which includes antique fishing equipment and information on the history of deep sea fishing. With its engaging displays and educational focus, the Destin History & Fishing Museum provides a unique and informative experience for visitors of all ages.

6. Banana Boat Adventure at Miramar Beach

Experience the thrill of a banana boat ride at Miramar Beach! Hold on tight as you and your friends (4-6 people) bounce over the waves on an exciting adventure!

Eight people riding a banana boat on the water and they are all cheering.
(Photo courtesy of visitlauderdale.com)

Located at 2237 Scenic Gulf Drive Miramar Beach, Fl 32550, the Banana Boat Experience offers a private excursion or join a group for a fun-filled day on the water. Be prepared to get wet and have a blast on this unforgettable banana boat adventure!

7. Embark on a Sunset Tiki Boat Cruise

Unwind after a day of adventure with a picturesque sunset tiki boat cruise. As the sun sets over the horizon, the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, creating a magical atmosphere for an unforgettable evening.

The sun is setting while a few people are out on a tiki boat on the water.
(Photo courtesy of stpetetikitours.com)

Choose from a variety of cruise options, such as the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise or a romantic dinner cruise, to suit your interests. The Buccaneer Pirate Cruise offers a family-friendly experience, complete with squirt gun fights, sword fights, face painting, and even treasure hunting.

For a more intimate evening, a romantic dinner cruise provides the perfect setting to enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the stunning views of Destin’s coastline.

8. Jet Boat Thrills in Destin

Satisfy your need for speed with a thrilling jet boat ride on the waters of Destin! These high-speed, action-packed boat tours offer an exhilarating experience that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

A group of people riding a hydro jet boat on the water.
(Photo courtesy of hydrojetboats.com)

Choose from a variety of tour options and companies, such as AJ’s Water Adventures, Screaming Eagle Sports, and HydroJet for a heart-pounding adventure on the water. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or simply looking to explore Destin’s beautiful coastline, a jet boat tour is an experience not to be missed.

9. Sail the Emerald Coast

Choose from a variety of sailing tours, such as a private boat or catamaran adventure or a romantic dinner cruise, to create the perfect experience for you and your travel companions.

An aerial view of the emerald coast. A city in the background on the land.
(Photo courtesy of findrentals.com)

As you sail through the emerald green waters, take in the breathtaking views and enjoy the gentle ocean breeze.

10. Paddleboard and Swim at Okaloosa Island

Experience the beauty of Okaloosa Island through paddleboarding and swimming in its clear waters. This picturesque island offers calm waters and mild waves, making it an ideal spot for beginners and experienced paddleboarders alike.

People paddleboarding on the water.
(Photo courtesy of tripshock.com)

As you glide through the water, keep an eye out for the variety of marine life that calls Okaloosa Island home. There’s always something new and exciting to see on this stunning island. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and a sense of adventure!

11. Dolphin Spotting in the Gulf of Mexico

Dolphin spotting in the Gulf of Mexico is a key activity in Destin. Witness these graceful creatures in their natural habitat while on a guided tour. Choose from popular options like the Dolphin Sunset Cruise or the snorkeling and dolphin tour. It’s an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

A dolphin looking happy with its head out of the water.
(Photo courtesy of doublefunwatersports.com)

The best time to spot wild dolphins is during sunset, when they are most active and visible. Be sure to bring your camera to capture these magical moments as you watch the dolphins frolic and play in the emerald green waters. Whether a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, a dolphin tour in Destin is an experience not to be missed.

12. Fishing Excursions with the Pros

Join a professional fishing excursion to reel in the catch of the day and experience the city’s renowned fishing scene. Known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin is a popular destination for deep sea fishing enthusiasts and novices alike.

Two men smiling, one is holding a fish he caught.
(Photo courtesy of lionstaleadventures.com)

Choose from a variety of fishing excursions led by experienced professionals who will guide you through the process and help you make the most of your fishing adventure. With its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life, a fishing excursion in Destin is an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

13. Luxurious Catamaran Experiences

Set sail on a luxurious catamaran experience, offering a relaxing and memorable way to explore Destin’s waters. Choose from a variety of catamaran options, such as a private catamaran adventure with Captain Pam or a group excursion, to create the perfect experience for you and your travel companions.

A catamaran on the water and a few people up top while the sun is setting.
(Photo courtesy of getmyboat.com)

As you sail through the emerald green waters, enjoy the stunning views of Destin’s coastline and take in the gentle ocean breeze. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for a unique way to explore the area, a catamaran experience in Destin is an unforgettable adventure.

14. Get Up Close with Alligators at Gator Beach

For a unique and exciting encounter with nature, head to Gator Beach, the largest alligator park in the area. Here, you can:

  • Feed and hold alligators
  • Watch live alligator shows
  • Take part in the Gator Cook-off
  • Learn about alligator conservation
A group of small alligators on wooden walkway.
(Photo courtesy of Gator Beach Facebook Page)

The park’s convenient location and diverse range of activities make it a perfect destination for families looking for an educational and thrilling experience. Some of the other activities here include:

  • Guided nature walks
  • Wildlife spotting
  • Picnicking
  • Cycling
  • Boating
  • Fishing

15. Sunset Strolls at Clement Taylor Park

Experience a romantic sunset stroll along the pier at Clement Taylor Park, a picturesque location perfect for unwinding after a day of adventure. With its waterfront gazebo, pier, pavilion, and beach swim area, this park offers a peaceful setting for a leisurely walk as the sun sets over the water.

Two people sitting on the beach watching the sunset.
(Photo courtesy of gibsonbeachrentals.com)

As you mosey through the park take in the breathtaking views of the Emerald Coast and its vibrant marine life. Whether you’re visiting with a loved one or simply seeking a moment of tranquility, a sunset stroll at Clement Taylor Park is a must-do activity in Destin.

16. Refresh at June White Decker Park

Cool off with a dip at June White Decker Park, a small beachside park with convenient amenities and nearby dining options. It’s an ideal spot for a refreshing swim or a relaxing day on the beach. The park features:

  • Direct access to the Gulf of Mexico
  • Bike racks
  • Parking
A crowded beach with rainbow umbrellas and buildings in the background.
(Photo courtesy of sandee.com)

While visiting the park, be sure to explore the nearby dining options for a delicious meal or a quick snack between swims. With its beautiful location and convenient facilities, June White Decker Park is the perfect spot for a leisurely day in Destin.

17. Try Indoor Axe Throwing

Test your skills and have a blast at Axes and Ice Cream. Indoor axe throwing offers a fun and challenging experience that will leave everyone feeling accomplished and entertained while enjoying a frozen treat.

A interior view of the Axes and Ice Cream store in Destin. There is an American flag, TV, and t-shirts in the background. The checkout desk with ice cream is also there.
(Photo courtesy of Axes & Ice Cream)

This was personally one of my favorite places to visit while in Destin! I really liked the ice cream cookie sandwiches and you have an axe nearby if sharing yours with a friend!

18. Interactive Learning at Emerald Coast Science Center

Visit the Emerald Coast Science Center for a fun and educational experience the whole family will enjoy. With its interactive exhibits and hands-on learning experiences, the center provides a unique and engaging way to explore the world of science. The center promises a range of interactive experiences for visitors of all ages. Some of the experiences you can expect include:

  • Hands-on science experiments
  • Virtual reality simulations
  • Interactive displays and exhibits
  • Educational workshops and classes
An interior view of Emerald Coast Science Center with the colorful walls and admissions desk.
(Photo courtesy of Expedia)

19. Explore HarborWalk Village

Stroll through HarborWalk Village, an outdoor destination filled with cafes, bars, galleries and souvenir shops

For a fun-filled family vacation afternoon, head to the heart of Destin, where this vibrant village offers endless entertainment and a lively atmosphere for visitors of all ages.

An aerial view of a small concert with fireworks in the background and buildings in the evening.
(Photo courtesy of thedestinlog.com)

In addition to its shopping and dining options, HarborWalk Village also offers a variety of water sports and activities to enjoy. Rent equipment on-site for a day of adventure on the water, or simply relax and enjoy the picturesque views of the harbor and its surroundings.

20. Shop ’til You Drop at Destin Commons

Indulge in a shopping spree at Destin Commons, an outdoor mall featuring over 95 stores and a variety of dining options. Located near the beautiful Crystal Beach, this mall offers a unique shopping experience for visitors to Destin.

A view of the Destin Commons with a fountain in the center and buildings on both sides.
(Photo courtesy of Destin Commons)

Browse through popular stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, Bath & Body Works, and Belk, or take a break and enjoy a meal at one of the many nearby restaurants. With its convenient location and diverse range of shopping options, Destin Commons is a must-visit destination for shopaholics and casual browsers alike.

21. Race to Victory at The Track, Destin

Compete for the checkered flag at The Track, Destin, a popular destination featuring go-kart tracks and much, much more.

Multiple people go karting. A man in the foreground has his hand out pointing.
(Photo courtesy of The Track Facebook Page)

For endless family fun and entertainment, The Track is perfect for families and friends of all ages. Race around the go-kart tracks, challenge your friends to a round of mini-golf, or enjoy the thrilling rides and arcade games. With its convenient location and diverse range of activities, The Track is a must-visit destination for those seeking an adrenaline-pumping experience.

22. Create Glass Masterpieces at a Glassblowing Workshop

Create your own glass masterpiece at a hands-on glassblowing workshop guided by local artisans. Learn the basics of glassblowing as you craft your own unique piece art.

Two people glassblowing.
(Photo courtesy of zenglass.com)

Workshops are available with safety measures in place to ensure a fun and secure experience for all participants. Whether you’re looking to try something new or hone your existing skills, a glassblowing workshop in Destin is a creative and unforgettable experience.

23. Laugh Out Loud at The Stoked Comedy Hypnosis Show

Experience side-splitting laughter at The Stoked Comedy Hypnosis Show. This immersive and entertaining comedy hypnosis show, performed by Terry Stokes, focuses on entertaining rather than demonstrating the hypnotist’s power, making it suitable for all ages.

A hypnotist on stage making people in chairs fall asleep.
(Photo courtesy of visitowa.com)

The Stoked Comedy Hypnosis Show offers an unforgettable evening of laughter and amusement, as audience members become part of the show and engage in hilarious antics under the hypnotist’s guidance. Be sure to catch a performance of The Stoked Comedy Hypnosis Show during your visit.

24. Snorkel the Emerald Coast

Dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Emerald Coast and snorkel among vibrant marine life for an unforgettable underwater adventure. With its stunning beaches and abundant sea life, the Emerald Coast is a popular for snorkeling enthusiasts.

A person snorkeling underwater and holding a starfish.
(Photo courtesy of destinfwb.com)

With its crystal-clear waters and breathtaking underwater scenery, a snorkeling experience on the Emerald Coast is a must-do activity during your visit to Destin.

Frequently Asked Questions

An aerial view of Destin, Florida.
(Photo courtesy of traveler.marriott.com)

What is Destin Florida best known for?

Destin, Florida is well-known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and fishing, earning it the nickname “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” Tourists flock to Destin to experience a variety of activities, including parasailing, golfing, and dolphin cruises. The Emerald Coast offers an abundance of seafood restaurants to tantalize taste buds and amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico.

What is the best time of year to go to Destin Florida?

If you want warm water, sunny days and comfortable temperatures, then April and May are the best months to visit Destin, Florida. You can avoid the crowds and peak prices by avoiding a summer trip, and enjoy great conditions in September – February during the off-season.

What are some popular water-based activities in Destin?

Heading to Destin for an aquatic adventure? Make sure to check out the popular dolphin cruises, banana boat rides, snorkeling, and paddleboarding!

An aerial view of clear waters near Destin, Florida with a large amount of boats in the water.
(Photo courtesy of tripshock.com)

Interested in visiting florida? check out these other locations that you’ll love:

“How boring would the world be if everywhere and everyone were the same. Safe travels and good adventures.” Scuba Jay

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