Visitors Guide | Destin Florida (2024)

Destin Visitors Guide

Good Morning America called us one of the “Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in America.” In 2013, the Travel Channel said we’re the “Best Family Beach.” But anyone who frequents the area knows that Destin and its surrounding destinations are much, much more than words can express.

Visiting the Emerald Coast isn’t a vacation; it’s an experience. While some arrive in hopes of seeing the famous beaches, others are in search of a family getaway. Many are here to relax and explore, while others are here to party. Whatever the case may be for your visit, we welcome you to explore what the area has to offer. Chances are, whatever the reason for your visit, there’s something here that fits your needs.

Family Fun

Packing up the kids and driving to the beach has been a long-lived summer past time for many families along the coast. There’s the thrill of playing in the ocean, building a sandcastle, and enjoying quality time together that coastal towns such as Destin thrive on. If you’re seeking a family adventure, look no further- the Emerald Coast has plenty to offer families visiting the area. Aside from the beaches and great family-friendly restaurants, many area attractions are perfect for the entire family

Gulfarium’s Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach is home to the world’s oldest, continuously operating live marine show.

The Track Recreation Center offers everything from Go-karts to bumper boats. Hours are from 9am to midnight during the summer.

Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park isn’t just a water park; there’s also go-karts, rides and much, much more.

Sandestin itself offers many activities for kids and their adult counterparts. There’s Adventure Landing in the Village of Baytowne Wharf and Jolee Island Nature Park.

Fat Daddy’s Pizza is perfect for a rainy day. There’s great food plus an arcade. Next door, there’s a Laser Tag center that offers even more fun.

Gator Beach is both educational and fun. It features live gators and gator shows- plus it’s built inside of Fudpucker’s Restaurant.

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Shopping

If you’re looking for supply and demand, shopping in Destin is an adventure all its own. Destin Commons, the area’s exquisite outdoor mall, houses dozens of stores. From apparel, to home goods, to a movie theater, it’s at least a day’s entertainment. For the bargain hunter, Silver Sands Outlet Mall is only a hop, skip and a jump away, offering 110 different stores including Coach, Nike, Brooks Brothers, Michael Kors and more. For those searching for a boutique experience, shops off of Santa Rosa Beach’s famed 30-A, as well as shops on Destin’s HarborWalk, offer everything from handmade jewelry to local artists. And if you’re searching for a Spring Break shirt to add to your wardrobe, or a Destin picture frame to add to Aunt Mae’s collection, look no further than the dozens of beach stores located along beach road and off of Highway 98.

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Water Adventures

Just going to the beach is only part of enjoying the Emerald Coast’s pristine waters and white, sandy beaches. There’s diving and snorkeling adventures offered through places such as Destin Snorkel, varied water sports ranging from pontoon boats to parasailing, excursion cruises such as Destin’s Original Sea Blaster and Olin Marler’s Dolphin Cruise, sailing charters, and even the simplest idea of fishing, whether on land or by sea. Surrounded by both the bay and the Gulf of Mexico is what makes the Emerald Coast special- and Destin a top destination for all water lovers and thrill seekers.

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Arts and Culture

Did you know that dozens of films and television shows have been created in the area? Movies such as The Truman Show and Jaws 2 were filmed here, while active television productions on HGTV and The Discovery Channel are actively filming in and around Destin. But that’s not all- the area is highly cultured in theater and entertainment, offering the best in performance arts. The Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center is a world-class leader in entertainment, and one of the area’s best venues. Sinfonia Gulf Coast, the area’s only professional orchestra, also performs regularly. This is in addition to concerts and theater in the parks and, of course, the annual Mullet Festival. With the area’s ever changing culture, it’s best to look up the calendar of events for the time in which you are visiting.

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Going to the Chapel

While any coastal town can offer the simplicity of a beach wedding, Destin and the surrounding areas do it right. Offering not only the look and feel of an Emerald Coast wedding, the area also boasts some of the top wedding planners and venues in the state of Florida. Couples can offer their wedding guests not only a destination wedding, but a variety of possibilities- from a wedding cruise with SunQuest Cruises, to something elegant and refined with Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Whatever a bride and her groom can imagine, the wedding professionals of the Emerald Coast can create.

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Good Eats

The restaurant culture of the Emerald Coast is diverse enough to offer the best menu selections for even the pickiest of eaters. Coastal choices such as Pompano Joe’s, Harbor Docks, Dewey Destin’s and Louisiana Lagniappe bring seafood home. Local favorites such as The Marigny, Stinky’s Fish Camp, Rick’s Crab Trap and Miss Lucille’s Gossip Parlor are off the beaten path, but have varied menus from lunch to dinner. There’s also Fat Daddy’s Pizza, Fudpuckers, and Mellow Mushroom for the kid in all of us, offering the best family friendly cuisine in the area. If your taste buds allow, there’s a bit of every culture hiding in our seaside haven.

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Night On the Town

Sometimes all a person needs is some great music, good drinks, and a few appetizers to make a trip worth while. We pride ourselves on offering nightlife appealing to all generations- from those who like to drink a beer and watch the waves, to those who like to dance the night away. The Village of Baytowne Wharf, located inside the Sandestin Resort, has a lot to offer- everything from the famed Rum Runners dueling pianos, to local favorite The Village Door. AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar offers great live music or talented local DJs alongside their famed drink menu, while The Boardwalk at Okaloosa Island is thriving with Howl at the Moon and The Swamp. If you’re looking for a younger crowd, Nighttown offers an 18+ admission.

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Surrounding Area

Destin, Sandestin, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Okaloosa Island, Holiday Isle, Seaside, Alys Beach and the surrounding towns leave a lasting impression on those who visit. It’s not just about the experience; it’s about the memories. With so many options, and places that will forever impress upon its visitors, the Emerald Coast strives to see families, friends and visitors return again and again. By opening up to new ideas and new experiences, the possibilities are endless. We truly hope this Destin Florida Vacation Guide will help you enjoy all we have to offer. Visit Destin today!

Visitors Guide | Destin Florida (2024)

FAQs

Is Destinflorida com a legit website? ›

First off, destinflorida.com is your one-stop-shop for all things Destin! On destinflorida.com you will book your property directly with the owner or property manager, allowing you to save money on the unnecessary booking fees charged by most other travel sites!

How much money should I bring to Destin Florida? ›

Budget travelers to Destin often spend around $82 per day. This usually includes a stay at a hostel and meals at affordable restaurants around town. Many budget travelers also prefer free activities over those that cost too much money. If you have a bit more money to spend, you should budget around $192 per day.

Is Destin Florida worth it? ›

Visit Destin Florida, aptly referred to as both the 'Crown Jewel of the Emerald Coast' and the 'World's Luckiest Fishing Village', for spectacular beaches that are continually voted among the top in the country, and some of the best fishing in the world.

How many days should I spend in Destin Florida? ›

Known for its pristine white sand beaches, emerald waters, and vibrant marine life, Destin is a popular vacation destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you're seeking relaxation, adventure, or a mix of both, a 5-day vacation in Destin is the perfect way to unwind and explore this charming coastal city.

How to check if a site is legit? ›

How to check if a website is legit
  1. Study the address bar and URL.
  2. Investigate the SSL certificate.
  3. Check the website for poor grammar or spelling.
  4. Verify the domain.
  5. Check the contact page.
  6. Look up and review the company's social media presence.
  7. Check for the website's privacy policy.

How can I know a legit site? ›

Look for the secure padlock: Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers display a padlock in the URL field to indicate "safe" websites. You can click on the padlock to confirm that the certificate belongs to the same company as the website you are trying to visit.

What is the best month to go to Destin Florida? ›

The best time to visit Destin is in April and May when the water is warm, the sun is shining and the temperatures are comfortable (expect highs in the mid-70s and 80s). If you visit any earlier, you risk cooler weather and chilly water. A summer trip will put you among the crowds and the peak prices.

What's the cheapest month to go to Destin Florida? ›

November-February (Winter Months)

If you're looking for the cheapest time to visit Destin, Florida, consider visiting between November and February. These months are during the off-season, which means lower prices for hotels, airfare, attractions, and more.

Can you drink beer on the beach in Destin Florida? ›

According to www.destinbeachvacationrentalsinc.com, alcohol is allowed on the beach, but not in state parks. Similar to Gulf Shores and Pensacola, glass is not allowed. Public beaches in the Destin area that are operated by Okaloosa County have separate rules and regulations. NO GLASS on the beach.

Can you walk on Destin beach at night? ›

After the sun sets, the beach is a whole new playground!

Bring a bucket and some red flashlights (the red light protects local sea turtles) and search for ghost crabs scurrying across the sand.

Why is Destin FL so popular? ›

Known as the “World's Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin boasts the widest variety of fish species in the area, direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, and the nation's largest commercial fishing fleet.

What is the best beach to stay on in Destin Florida? ›

These places are best for beaches in Destin: Henderson Beach State Park. Crystal Sands Beach. Jetty East Beach.

Is Panama or Destin better? ›

Travelers will usually find more to do in Panama City. Although Destin and Panama City are popular destinations, Panama City has more sights and attractions for tourists. Panama City is very popular for its nightlife and music, while Destin attracts visitors for its resorts.

Is Destin a walkable city? ›

Travel tips. Downtown Destin is easily walkable, not least because it's mostly clustered around the Harbor Boardwalk. Here, you'll find a lively scene with dining, shopping, and nightlife entertainment spots.

What is so special about Destin Florida? ›

Natural Wonders of Destin, Florida

The underwater 100 Fathom Curve draws closer to Destin than to any other spot in Florida — creating the speediest deep-water access on the Gulf. This phenomenon makes the area the “Billfish Capital of the World” with a world record catch of 1,061 lbs.

What airport do you fly into for Destin Florida? ›

The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) is the closest airport to the Destin area. It's located roughly 16 miles away from Destin in Valparaiso, Florida. Airlines flying into VPS include Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta, Sun Country Airlines, and United Airlines.

How far is Destin from Orlando? ›

The distance between Destin and Orlando is 370 miles. The road distance is 417 miles.

What side of Florida is Destin on? ›

Destin, FL is located in Northwest Florida (Florida Panhandle), east of Pensacola but west of Panama City. You can get to Destin from the west end of I-10 if you're coming from southern Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama.

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