Whether you’re visiting Destin, Florida solo, as a couple, as family, or as a group of friends – there are tons of things to do. Destin has some amazing beaches, with beautiful scenery and tons of wildlife (including some endangered animals such as sea turtles). If you love exploring the waters, there are tons of opportunities from snorkeling, to fishing and dolphin watching. You can also visit the nearby city of Panama City Beach or Fort Walton. Both of which offer some activities such as museums, and eBike Tours.
Even if you’re only here for a day, this guide will give you some ideas on the best things to do in Destin. Although I highly recommend spending a few days here, and staying at one of the amazing beachside resorts. You could also combine your trip to Destin, with a few days in Key West and experience the unique tropical vibe the area has to offer thanks to the Cuban-Caribbean Influence or check out some of its most haunted paranormal hotspots.
Visit Henderson Beach State Park
Henderson Beach State Park is an amazing state park in Destin, Florida, and is one of the best state parks in Florida. It is definitely worth visiting if you love nature or want to visit the beach. The park has over 200 acres of natural woodlands and coast, with its white sandy beach stretching over 6000ft along the gulf coast.
Henderson Beach State Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife such as dolphins, turtles, lizards, and bobcats. You’ll also find tons of different wading, and shore birds such as snowy plovers and American oystercatchers. Plus there’s a really diverse range of plants creating the last surviving patch of coastal scrubs found in Destin, such as sea myrtle, sandhill milkweed, and Choctawhatchee sand pine. This all comes together to form a wonderful, natural habitat that you can enjoy.
The park has a 0.75mile hike that will take you through the dunes and coastal scrub, so you can enjoy the park’s wildlife. Just make sure not to walk on the dunes themselves, as this can damage the environment, kill the plants that hold them together and cause them to collapse.
You’re allowed to swim at the park, so make sure to pack your swimming costume so you can enjoy the beach’s emerald-green waters. Just make sure to follow the guidelines, and stick to low-hazard areas (green flag). The waters can contain man o’ war, jellyfish, and stingrays. The areas these are normally found in are marked with a purple flag, so make sure to avoid those areas.
The park is also great for fishing and possibly catching yourself some redfish, flounder, pompano, and more. You may need a fishing license so make sure to go here, and check before heading off. There are also some rules on where you can fish, so do check where fishing is allowed.
If you enjoy geocaching, the state park has some geocaches available for you to find. These are listed on the Geocache app but you can also find out more information on geocaching in Florida on the state park website.
If you enjoy camping, then why not stay at the park? Henderson Beach State Park has 60 campsites that you can stay on with a tent or RV. These sites are well-equipped with water, electricity, picnic tables, and more. You can discover more information about camping at the park here or reserve your camping spot online, through the Florida State Park reservation site here.
If you’d prefer to stay in a resort hotel, you could opt to stay right by the park a the Henderson Beach Resort. This resort offers private beach access and has two plunge pools for you to enjoy. There’s also a spa, fitness center, and multiple restaurants for you to enjoy. When booking a room, why not opt for one with an Oceanview so you can enjoy watching the sunset from your hotel room balcony? If you need a wheelchair-accessible room, there are also ADA-accessible rooms with Oceanviews available.
Visit Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is a nature preserve known and named for its amazing 25ft (7.6meters) tall sand dunes located along its 3-mile (4.8km) long beach. This park is located just outside of Destin, about a 25-minute drive away but despite being a bit further away it’s really worth the visit.
The state park has a large campsite with space for RVs, tents, and a range of cabins to rent. Making it a great place to stay if you want to be located right by a beautiful beach. The park itself is only accessible on foot, by bike, or using a free tram that will transport you from the campsite to different points throughout the park.
If you have limited mobility, then I recommend making use of this tram. You’ll be able to hop off at one of the main areas and although these spots can get crowded, they still let you access some of the park’s most beautiful areas.
If you’d like to explore further, then I recommend hiring or bringing a bike with you. You’ll be able to cycle along the park’s bike trails, accessing areas that are less crowded and more untouched parts of the park. Exploring on foot is also enjoyable, and there are some trails that will take you to the coastal dune lakes. You can download trails for the park here through Alltrails, or you can ask for a trail map at the park ranger’s office once you arrive. The trails are not marked, so you will definitely need a map and I recommend using the Alltrails one as this lets you navigate through the trails using your phone’s GPS.
The park itself has a really diverse ecosystem, with a huge range of wildlife and plants. The park has two coastal dune lakes – Morris Lake and Campbell Lake. These lakes can be accessed by the following trails:
- The Campbell Lake Bike Trail and Deer Track Trail will both take you to Campbell Lake. This lake is open to the public and the waters can be accessed.
- The Morris Lake Traill will take you past Morris Lake, and you’ll also be able to spot the remains of a JB-2 Rocket development program from World War II. The lake itself is closed to the public so you cannot swim, kayak, etc here.
If you’d like to go kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding you should head to Campbell Lake. You cannot bring in your own kayaks/canoes/paddleboards or other watercraft to minimize the chances that non-native places are introduced to the dune lakes. But you can hire them (including paddles and a life vest) from the park store every day, between 8 am to 5 pm.
If you or a party member is disabled and would like a beach wheelchair, you can ask to use one at the ranger station. The beach wheelchairs are free of charge. The beach is accessible by elevated boardwalks, and the campsite has an ADA (accessible) bathroom.
Visit Destin Harbor Boardwalk
Located in the heart of Destin, is the Destin Harbor Broadwalk. Here you’ll find the HarborWalk Village which is one of the best places to go whilst in Destin. There’s a great range of shops, restaurants, and bars. Plus, they hold weekly firework displays each Thursday, these are free to attend but you could enjoy watching the firework display from the waters by taking an evening Tiki boat cruise. There are also other events throughout the year including regular live music events, College Football on Saturdays, and yearly festivals such as the Seafood Festival.
There’s also a range of activities for you and your family to enjoy, such as going ziplining at HarborWalk Adventures, or Axe throwing at the Gulf Coast Axe House.
If you’d like to explore Destin’s waters then I recommend heading here, and either hiring a jetski, joining a banana boat tour, or hopping on one of the tiki boats for an evening harbor lights cruise.
Go Dolphin Watching
Going Dolphin watching is one of the best things to do in Destin. Dolphins are amazing creatures, and watching them in their natural habitat is a really awesome experience.
There are a few dolphin-watching tours you can pick from, depending on what type of experience you’re looking for. If you’d like a more thrilling ride, why not book a dolphin-watching trip where you’ll ride in a speed boat? There’s also the opportunity to take this tour during sunset, so you can enjoy one of Destin’s beautiful sunsets whilst watching dolphins. You can book the sunset tour here.
For a different type of thrilling experience, you could book a ride on a Hydrojet to go see the dolphins and other sea life as well as enjoy views of Destin’s Harbor. This is a 1-hour tour, making it perfect for those who are only in Destin for a few days. You can book this tour here.
If you’re also interested in fishing, you could take part in this 4-hour dolphin tour and inshore fishing experience. The tour is suitable for people of all skill levels, so even if you’re a beginner you can enjoy catching fish. Kids can take partake as well. The tour includes fishing bait, and rods so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own. You can book this tour here.
You could also consider doing a dolphin-watching tour during a day trip to Panama City, which is about 1-hours drive from Destin. From Panama City you can take a 2-hour dolphin-watching tour, that’ll take you out to Shell Island where you can enjoy the white-sandy beaches, plus you’ll get the chance to go snorkeling (equipment is included in the tour price). You can book this tour here.
Go Shopping at Baytowne Wharf Near Destin
Located about a 25-minute drive from Destin Florida, on the banks of Choctawhatchee Bay, is The Village of Baytowne Wharf. This shopping area is home to 16 unique retailers such as Baytowne Jewelers, Aloha Surf Company, American Doll, and more. You can also enjoy grabbing a bite to eat here, at one of Baytown Wharfs’ many unique restaurants, and cafes such as Cosmos Robo Diner where you’ll be served boba tea, burgers, and more by robots!
There’s also a selection of events run throughout the year. Farmer’s Markets are held each Saturday from July through to December 31st. They run from 10 am to 2 pm, and you’ll find a great selection of locally grown produce, award-winning crab cakes, and some really delicious gluten-free sourdough bread. For more information, check out their Facebook Page.
If you enjoy live music, then why not attend one of the free weekly concerts? Taking place each Wednesday, from 7 pm to 9 pm these concerts feature some of the local talented artists.
Take a Boat to Crab Island
Crab Island is one of the most popular places in Destin to visit, and once you get there you’ll see why.
The island was once an actual island but has since eroded away. So now it’s a raised sandbar, with shallow waters in places and floating bars for you to enjoy. The island has live music, and you can rent a paddleboard or go fishing. There’s sometimes floating restaurants so you can buy a bite to eat, or you can choose to bring your own food and enjoy a picnic on the island. If you want to enjoy alcohol whilst at Crab Island, you’ll need to pack your own as it’s no longer sold here.
Getting to Crab Island is fairly easy. You can’t swim to the island, so you’ll need to either book a boat trip, hire a pontoon boat, or ride a kayak or jetski over. If you do opt to make your own way to the island, you will have to pay a pontoon docking fee.
If it’s your first time visiting Crab Island then I recommend booking a boat ride, as this is the easiest stress-free way of getting there. If you want a more novel and unique experience you could visit the island in a Tiki Boat. This boat will take you out to the island for a half-day cruise, and includes access to coolers so you can bring your own drinks and snacks. You can book a ride in the Tiki Boat here.
You could also book a spot on this charter boat that’ll take you to crab island for a 4-hour visit, and sells a range of beer, wine, and soft drinks on board. You can book this charter boat trip here. If you’d like to visit the island on a jet ski, you can book a jetski tour here that departs from Fort Walton Beach (about 16 minute’s drive from Destin Harborwalk).
If you’re traveling as a group, it can work out cheaper to hire a pontoon boat. You can pick between this pontoon boat for up to 10 passengers or this one for up to 12 passengers. Both of these trips include fuel, life vests (for both adults and children), access to a cooler, and docking costs at Crab Island.
Go Go-karting in Destin
If you or your kids are after an adrenaline rush, then why not go Go-karting? Destin has a few go-karting tracks, that are family-friendly so if you’re traveling with kids you can find something fun for them to do.
I’d recommend visiting The Track, which is a family-friendly amusement where you’ll find go-karting, mini golf, an amusement arcade and a selection of kid-friendly rides like bumper cars. They have a few tracks available at the Destin site. Their family-friendly go-kart track has single carts available for those over 16, and for those under 16s, there are double carts. Kids do have to be at least 3ft tall to ride in a double cart, but this is a great way of letting them experience go-karting in a safe environment.
There’s also a rookie track, where kids over 4ft tall can ride alone in a single cart. This gets them to experience riding a go-kart solo without the risks of the regular track. For smaller kids, between 3ft6 and 4ft there’s a kiddie kart available so your kids can drive a go-kart for the first time, that’s been created specifically for young kids.
Go-karting prices vary based on the type of track, cart and the rider’s age. The Track charges you in points which cost about $1 USD each, and a ride on their family track is 9 points, so $9 USD. The rookie track and kiddie carts are 5 points or $5 each. You can buy points online (there are point packages that give a bit of a discount). Points are saved onto a card, which can be used by everyone in your group (so you don’t all need an individual card).
Find out more about their go-karting here and the pricing here.
Play Golf At The Emerald Bay Golf Club
The Emerald Bay Golf Club is a popular 18-hole golf course located along the shores of Choctawhatchee Bay in Destin. You’ll be able to enjoy some stunning views whilst enjoying a game of golf.
To visit, you need to book a Tee Time online, with most time slots being available for 1 to 4 people. You’ll be able to ride in a shared golf cart, and spectators can join but will have to pay a spectator fee. You’ll also need to follow a dress code; you’re not allowed to wear denim and must wear a collared shirt.
Go Shopping at Destin’s Malls
Destin has a few different shopping malls and outdoor shopping centers for you to enjoy.
In Sandestin, there’s the Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. Here you’ll find some popular chain stores such as Pottery Barn, lululemon, Billabong and Sunglasses hut. You’ll also find some great restaurants such as Emeril’s Coastal Italian and Chang’s China Bistro. If you want to watch a movie, you could visit the AMC CLASSIC Boulevard 10 Cinema which shows all the latest movies.
Another great shopping mall is the Destin Commons, which is an outdoor shopping center. Here you’ll find stores such as LOFT, Victoria’s Secret, and American Eagle. If you need fishing supplies, there’s a fishing supply store here called Bass Pro Shops that’ll most likely have what you need.
Across the road from Destin Commons is another shopping area called Paradise Isle. Here you’ll find Petsmart, Michael’s, Ulta Beauty, Best Buy, and other chain stores. If you’re after some souvenirs, head to Alvin’s Island which sells a range of swimsuits, towels, and souvenirs for Destin, Florida.
Another option, that’s just across the street from Henderson State Park, is the Emerald Coast Center. Here, you’ll find DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bealls, and a Walmart. There are also some great places to eat such as La Famiglia Italian restaurant and Wave ice cream & coffee. There’s also an indoor trampoline park at the Emerald Coast center, which is suitable for all ages and makes for a fun family-friendly thing to do.
Visit Miramar Beach
With beautiful white sand, emerald-green waters, and a vibrant diverse atmosphere this beach should be one of your must-go places in Destin.
At the beach, you’ll be able to enjoy volleyball, swimming, parasailing, and jet skiing. You could also take a ride on a banana boat, and have the chance to spot dolphins and turtles. You could also book a private guided boat tour of Miramar Beach, which includes floats, snorkeling equipment, coolers, and more. This tour is great if you’re visiting as a large group as this boat is suitable for up to 15 people.
If you’re visiting Florida as a couple or family, why not book a private photo shoot on Miramar Beach and get some professional, photos to capture your memories?
Miramar is located near the Grand Boulevard shopping center, so you’ll easily be able to combine a visit to the beach with some shopping. If you’d like to grab a bite to eat, you’ll also find some great restaurants at the Grand Boulevard.ake Sandcastle Lessons on Miramar Beach
Take Sandcastle Lessons on Miramar Beach
If you or your kids like building sandcastles, then why not up your sandcastle-building game by getting lessons from professionals? You’ve probably seen those large sand castles they build at competitions and events. Well now’s your chance to build one whilst visiting Miramar Beach.
Book a lesson from Sandcastle Rockstars, for 1 hour or 2 hours duration. During the 1 hour lesson, you’ll work together to build a 3ft sandcastle. In the 2-hour lesson, you’ll get to take part in building a 5ft castle. Kids can take part in both lessons, with the 1-hour lesson being recommended for those aged 4+ and the 2-hour lesson recommended for kids aged 7+.
Prices are charged based on your group size (the cheapest being for 4-5 people), and start at $220 USD for the 1-hour lesson and $320 USD for the 2-hour lesson. You can find out more on the Sandcastle Rockstars website.
See The Stoked Comedy Hypnosis Show (Adults only)
If you’re on a child-free vacation, why not attend The Stoked Comedy Hypnosis Show? You’ll be able to see Terry Stokes, a world-renowned hypnotist perform live. This is an adult-only comedy show, so you should expect adult-language and adult-only jokes.
During the show, you should expect some audience participation but you don’t have to take part if you don’t want to. The shows are about 1-hour long, and the theater is located at the Harborwalk Village in Destin so you can easily combine this with a day of shopping, a walk around the marina, and something to eat at one of the nearby restaurants. Tickets start at $26.68 per adult, which you can book online here.
Visit a Waterpark
Love waterparks? Then you have to visit Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park. There’s tons of activities and rides at this park, such as Jumanji where you backslide down a waterslide that’s over 70 feet long! Or, you could go surfing on the Honolulu half pipe. For those wanting something calmer, there’s a lazy river and for kids, there’s a range of kiddy-friendly waterslides.
Here’s a preview of the rapid slides at the park, from Themepark HD.
The park is closed for the season, until Spring 2023. You can book your tickets for 2023 online, here.
Get your tickets for Big Kahuna’s Waterpark
Visit the nearby Okaloosa Island
Okaloosa Island is a small island located between Destin and Fort Walton Beach. The island is only about a 10-minute drive from Destin, so you don’t have to go far to access this beautiful beach, fishing pier, and tons of wildlife.
Okaloosa Island has a great fishing pier, known as The Island Pier. The pier reaches 1262 feet (384 meters) out into the Gulf of Mexico, making it a great place to go for a walk and take in the views. There is a $2 charge to go on the pier, but it’s well worth it – especially if you’d like to watch the sunset. You’re also welcome to go fishing off the pier, as long as you get a day pass that includes a fishing license. These cost $8 for adults, and $5 for children aged 6-12 years old, children 5 and under can fish for free. If you need to rent a fishing rod, these are available for $20 to 25 per day. You can find more information on the prices to visit or fish off the pier, here.
The Island Pier also holds events throughout the year, with a firework display taking place each Wednesday at 9 pm.
If you’re visiting Okaloosa Island between April and October, you may spot some sea turtles. These amazing creatures can be found throughout Destin but many of them end up making Okaloosa Island their chosen destination during the mating season. During the mating season, the turtles come ashore and make a nest. They’ll normally lay their eggs in June/July but can do this as late as October.
If you do spot a sea turtle, or come across a sea turtle nest please don’t disturb them. The turtles are endangered, and can easily be startled. They use up a lot of energy when nesting and laying legs, so keeping contact to a minimum is really important. It’s also a crime to disturb the turtles.
You’re also asked to do keep artificial lighting to a minimum, don’t take photos of the turtles with your camera flash on or shine a torch at them. Fill in any holes you make on the beach and take all your trash home. If staying near the beach, turn off any balcony lights and close your blinds at night.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, Okaloosa Island has tons of eateries to pick from. For seafood, you could eat at the Old Bay Steamer, or The Gulf on Okaloosa Island. If you’re looking for breakfast, Asiago’s Skillet is probably the best breakfast restaurant in the area (and they have some vegetarian options). If you’re vegetarian, you could visit Rick’s on the Island or Al’s Beach Club. Both of these have vegetarian and vegan options available.
Learn to Surf In at Okaloosa Island
If you’re interested in learning to surf, then why not learn to surf with a professional instructor at Okaloosa Island? Okaloosa Island is only a 10-minute drive from Destin, so you don’t have to go far to access this beautiful beach.
During this lesson, you’ll first learn the basics, and then get to go in the water and try to catch a wave. The cost of the surfing lessons includes a surfboard, but you need to make sure you have your own wetsuit.
For more information and to book your surfing lesson, go here.
Visit The Destin History and Fishing Museum
If you’re interested in learning more about fishing and the history behind fishing in Destin, make sure to head to this quaint little museum.
Whilst small, the museum covers much of Destin’s fishing history. You can learn how the Destin fishing rodeo started, and how it became one of the longest-running fishing rodeos in the USA and why it’s so important to the local community. Their newest exhibition covers Destin’s diving history, and you can learn about how diving and snorkeling became popular in destin for both locals and tourists. There’s also a fish wall, dedicated to displaying over 100 mounted fish that were caught in the waters surrounding Destin.
Entry to the museum for adults costs $5 USD, for students aged 7 to college it’s $3 USD and children under 6 go in for free. For those in the military, first responders, and seniors (age 55+) it’s $4 USD to enter. Find out more information on The Destin History and Fishing Museum website.
The museum has different events throughout the year, which are advertised on its Instagram.
Visit Fort Walton Beach
Fort Walton Beach is a small city about 15 minutes from Destin. The city has some great beaches, such as John Beasley Park where you can go snorkeling around a man-made coral reef.
Whilst in Fort Walton, why not go kayaking at night in a clear bottom kayak? You’ll have the chance to spot fish and other sea life during the 45-minute tour.
If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a picnic you could visit Liza Jackson Park, and enjoy a picnic at a waterfront park whilst your children enjoy the play area.
There’s also a selection of museums that I recommend visiting:
The Indian Template Mound Museum
An archaeological site covering over 12,000 years of Native American History. Your ticket includes access to nearby museums including The Camp Walton Schoolhouse, Garnier Post Office Museum, Fort Walton Temple Mount, and the Civil War Exhibit Building.
Tickets only cost $5 USD for an adult, and $3 USD for children aged 3 to 17, children under 3 go in for free. So this is excellent value for money and budget-friendly. Find out more on their website here.
The Emerald Coast Science Center
This science museum is a great place to visit with children as they have 45 interactive exhibits, which your children can touch, feel and play with. They have outdoor exhibits including a boat (which you can board), and a Dino Dig Pit where you’ll be given tools to dig and see what creatures you can find.
There are also some indoor exhibits that cover dinosaurs, robotics, engineering, physics, and more The museum also has a sea turtle sanctuary exhibit where you can learn more about these amazing creatures, and about sea turtle conservation. The museum also has 30 different animals, including birds, guinea pigs, degus, and even an African pygmy hedgehog!
Entry to The Emerald Coast Science Center costs $12 USD for adults, $10 USD for children aged 3 to 17, and children under 3 go in for free. For the latest opening times and pricing information, visit their site here.
Air Force Armament Museum
This military museum covers the history of the US Air Force. You’ll be able to see real airplanes including the F-4 Phantom II Jet, a B-17 World War 2 Bomber, and a B47. Plus loads more including helicopters and also some virtual tours of different aircraft.
The museum has exhibits that cover the history of the US Air Force from The Korean War, The Vietnam War, World War 1 and 2, and The Gulf War. There are also exhibits on different types of modern weapons, aircraft, airpower, and more.
Entry to the Air Force Armament Museum is free of charge, so it’s definitely worth visiting if you or your children are interested in learning more about the US military.
Watch The MAXIMUM MAGIC Show
If you’re looking for an amazing show that will leave you crying with laughter, be sure to check out The MAXIMUM MAGIC Show at Okaloosa Island Theater. With tricks, jokes, illusions, and more, this show is not to be missed. The show’s family-friendly so be sure to bring your kids along, and you should expect some audience participation.
The show starts a 6 pm and runs for about 90 minutes. So you can easily combine this with a trip to Okaloosa Island beach and The Island Pier. Tickets start at $37.34 USD per adult, and $23.74 USD per child.
Go Inshore Fishing in Choctawhatchee Bay
If you love fishing, then why not take this opportunity to go inshore fishing in Choctawhatchee Bay (sometimes referred to as Destin Bay)? The area is one of the best fishing spots in Florida, as it connects to the Gulf of Mexico and the tidal currents help create a more diverse range of species living in the waters.
At Choctawhatchee Bay, you can catch Black Drum, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Redfish, Sheepshead, and more species of gamefish that are native to the area.
To take advantage of this great location, I recommend booking a private charter such as this one that’ll give you 4 hours of inshore fishing with an experienced captain. You’ll be supplied with all the fishing equipment and bait needed, as well as the fishing license. After you’ve caught your fish, they’ll help with cleaning and packaging them for you to take back to your accommodation. You can book your inshore fishing charter here.
If you’re traveling with children who are interested in fishing, why not opt for this 2-hour kids’ fishing charter? The shorter duration is great for kids who may otherwise get bored on the longer 4-hour charter, plus it’s beginner-friendly and the Captain will help your kids catch their first fish. You can book here.
Go Offshore Fishing in Destin
Another option for fishing in Destin is to hire a private offshore fishing charter that’ll take you out into the Gulf of Mexico. These charters are perfect for families and groups, and you’ll be able to catch a wide variety of fish including triggerfish, king mackerel, grouper, snapper, and more.
On this private charter, you’ll be provided with all fishing equipment, bait, and guidance if needed. You can also play your own music, so be sure to have a playlist ready to connect to their Bluetooth speakers.
Ride a Banana Boat
If you’re looking for a more thrilling fun boat ride, then why not ride a banana boat? Such as this private banana boat tour that caters to 4 to 6 people, and prices start at $59 USD.
During this tour, you’ll be able to control how fast the captain goes (by signaling to them to go faster or slower), and if you’re lucky you may spot different sea life such as dolphins!
You can book this excursion here. I recommend booking in advance as it is popular and does sell out fast.
Go On a Day Trip To Panama City Beach
Whilst on vacation in Destin, Florida I recommend heading to the nearby Panama City Beach. About 1 hour and 10 minutes drive from Destin, you’ll find an amazing beach with tons of activities to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, enjoy the waters or, explore the city there really is something for everyone here.
If you’re looking to relax, why not enjoy some beach yoga? You could join this yoga class, that’s for a minimum of 2 people. The instructor will supply you with the yoga mat, and props and instruct you throughout the class. You can book the yoga class here.
If you’d like to explore the water, why not go paddleboarding? You can hire a paddleboard, but if you’re new to paddleboarding why not book a 1 or 2-hour lesson to get you started? The lesson is private so you’ll have the instructor’s full attention. During the lesson, you’ll learn the correct paddle board stroke technique, how to turn, and more. Lesson costs include access to a paddleboard, paddle, and safety equipment.
You could also explore the waters by boat, and go dolphin watching during this 2-hour boat tour. During the tour, you’ll go dolphin watching and cruise to Shell Island, where you can go snorkeling.
If you’d prefer to go cruising during sunset, why not book this sunset & dolphin catamaran cruise, where you’ll be able to relax during a 2-hour cruise through the Grand Lagoon?
If you love snorkeling, I recommend taking a boat trip that’ll take you out to some amazing snorkeling spots in the Gulf of Mexico, plus you’ll get to visit Shell Island which is a great spot for snorkeling. You’ll have the chance to spot a range of sea life – including dolphins! You can book a snorkeling boat trip here.
Book your tickets to go snorkeling:
If you want to explore Panama City, why not book an eBike tour? During this tour you’ll learn about Panama City Beaches’ history, and pass by local parks, the Floriopolis community art center, museums, St. Andrew’s farmer’s market, and more. You can book this eBike tour here.
Take your kids to Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone
Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone is a family-friendly adventure park, near Okaloosa Island is about 10 minute’s drive from Destin. The adventure park has tons of rides and fun activities such as; bumper boats, go-karts, laser tag, a 4D cinema, a treetop rope course, miniature golf, and more.
There is no entrance fee to the park, instead, you pay per activity. For example, go-karting is $11.99 USD per person (+$5 for a passenger). The rope course is $16.99 USD per person. They also offer some package deals, such as $49.99 per person for access to an 18-hole mini golf, the rope course, bumper boats, and go-karting. If you’re a member of the military or public safety, you can get a 10% discount.
If you want to find out more information, visit their website here.
Goto the beach at James Lee Park
James Lee Park is a great spot with beach access that’s located between Henderson State Park beach and Miramar Beach. If you want to avoid the cost of Henderson State Park and have somewhere quieter than Miramar Beach, then this is an ideal location.
The beach has parking available and is within walking distance of some of the best beach-side accommodations in Destin such as this 8-bedroom holiday home. You’ll find some great restaurants such as the Crab Trap Destin.
The beach has plenty of deckchairs and umbrellas available, restrooms, picnic tables, accessible walkovers, and bike racks. It’s a great place to spend a few hours, or even all day just relaxing by the sea and enjoying the waters.
I hope you found this guide helpful. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Destin, check out my guide to the best Beachside hotels and resorts.
If you’re flying to Destin and need to hire a car, I recommend booking through Discover Cars as they offer some great deals with car rental prices in Destin, Florida starting for as little as $58.88 a day. Discover Cars offer 24/7 support and include free cancellation.
If you have any tips, or recommendations for things to do in Destin please let me know in the comments below.
More Travel Tips & Resources
- Get Travel Insurance – Don’t leave home without travel insurance. Travel insurance can cover you in case you have an accident, get sick, lose your passport or other belongings, miss your flight, andis canceled/delayed. If you’re in the UK, I recommend using Allclear, for the USA you should consider AXA and for the USA, UK & Rest of the World check out SafetyWing.
- Hiring a car – I recommend booking your car hire through Discover Cars. They offer 24/7 support, and free cancellation. They help by finding the cheapest car hire available, by searching hundreds so companies so you don’t have to.
- Booking budget-friendly accommodation – I normally book hotels and hostels through Booking.com, as they allow me to filter for properties based on my needs. They also have a great free cancelation policy. For my UK holidays, I normally use Park Holidays to book lodges/caravans and pet-friendly accommodation. For long-term stays and holiday rentals, I use VRBO.
- Booking Tours – When I am booking tours, I like to use GetYourGuide or Viator. They both have great selections of guided tours, skip-the-line tickets and city passes. For tours run by locals, AirBnB Experiences has some great selections as well.
- Booking Flights – I always find my cheapest flights using Kiwi or Skyscanner. Both search for the cheapest flights, and let you filter by stops, times, etc so you can find the cheapest options. You can also sign up for Jack’s Flight Club to be alerted to cheap deals if you’re happy to travel anywhere.
- Travel eSims – If your phone supports an eSim, I recommend using Airalo. They sell eSims based on country, region, and even global ones! There’s one for almost every country and they can work out cheaper than sim cards.
- Travel Sim cards – If you don’t want an eSim, then this Orange travel sim card will have you covered for Europe or this Global Sim Card that works in over 200 countries. Make sure to check out my sim card guides for information on buying local sim cards.
- Face masks – Not just for covid! I’ve worn an n99 face mask on planes since 2017, as they’ve helped me avoid getting sick from other passengers’ germs and avoid bad smells. I always wear a Cambridge Mask when visiting countries with high pollution such as Taiwan, as they help against air pollution, bacteria, and more.
- VPN – Whilst traveling you’ll normally end up using WiFi in public places or at your accommodation, which may not be fully secure. I recommend using Proton VPN, as they don’t track your browsing history and are reasonably priced.