31 Best Things To Do In Destin, Florida [Plus Where To Stay]

Destin, Florida is a great choice for a fun, exciting vacation. You and your family will love it! In our post we will cover 31 things to do in Destin, FL, 5 places to eat (including our favorite restaurant on the beach) and where to stay.

Museums, boat tours, beaches and all the great Destin, Florida attractions you won’t want to miss! Here it is our list of 31 things to do in Destin, Florida. We have a section on things to do in Destin, Florida with kids, for adults, for couples, historical things, group activities and free things.

Table of Contents

What are the top Destin, Florida attractions?

There are so many unique and different things to do in Destin, Florida. From things on the water to amusement parks and water parks. The hard part is picking which ones you will do while you are there! Below are our top picks and keep reading for more fun in Destin:

Things To Do In Destin, Florida With Kids (or without!)

Below is a list of kid friendly attractions that the whole family will enjoy! Even if you are in Destin without kids you will want to check a lot of these out.

1 – Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Gulfarium in Destin Florida

If you like visiting aquariums this is the place for you. They have tons of marine life to see: dolphins, tortoises, sharks, sting rays, sea lions, alligators, and more!

They have a touch tank where you can pet hermit crabs and hold starfish. And if you want you can pay and sign up to help with the animals or swim with the dolphins and sting rays.

We also enjoyed watching the dolphin show! Since it is a smaller facility you are able to get a close seat for the shows. They offer shows throughout the day so you could spend all day there if you wanted to.

They had an obstacle course area for the kids to play plus a sandbox area (perfect for toddlers). Theres is also a snack stand where you could get popcorn, drinks, and much more. I loved that it was right on the water so as you were walking around you were able to look out over the ocean as well.

The Gulfarium is located on Okaloosa Island just outside Destin. It is part of Destin’s Fort Walton Beach area and well worth a visit.

Price: from $24 a person

Buy your tickets here: Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Location: 1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

Great For: Kids, Babies, Toddlers, Adults and Couples

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 5 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: If possible visit in the off season. There were barely any people there when we visiting in November and December.

2 – Dolphin Sunset Cruise

Dolphin Sunset Cruise

You see all the advertisements for the dolphin tour and cruises and my first thought is always: how are they going to guarantee you see a dolphin?

I don’t believe it. I was wrong. We saw so many dolphins! It was crazy!!!

Some of them were playing together in the waves while others swam right next to the boat. It was a really cool experience. Again I wasn’t sure about bringing kids on another boat tour, this time it was for 2 hours.

We came prepared: lots of snacks, treats, and drinks. You can bring all your own stuff on the boat, including alcohol. Plus they have a snack bar if you want to buy anything.

While on the boat they had food we could feed the seagulls. The seagulls took chips right out of your hand! They also have a glass bottom, but to be honest we never really saw much through it.

The highlight for the kids was getting a chance to drive the boat! We saw a ton of dolphins and a beautiful sunset. The kids had a lot of fun and since we had the snacks everyone was great the whole time. Another one to add to the list and you can buy your tickets for the Dolphin Cruise now so you are all ready to go.

Price: from $25 a ticket

Buy your tickets here: Dolphin Cruise now

Location: 102 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, USA

Great For: Kids, Adults and Couples.

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 4 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: Everyone will go to one side of the boat to see the dolphins – but there may be more on the other side where no one is looking!

3 – Pontoon Boat Rental with Destin X Watersports

Things To Do In Destin Florida

How have we been to Destin so many times and never rented a Pontoon or visited Crab Island?!!! This is now on the top of our must do list when you visit.

When you rent the pontoon at the Destin harbor ask the people getting your boat ready how to find Crab Island. Then take a nice boat trip around the bay for a few minutes before finding a place to put your anchor down at Crab Island.

What is Crab Island?

It is a sandbar in choctawhatchee bay that has floating restaurants or what I like to call Food Boats – like Food Trucks but on water. The water level is about waste high for adults and after putting an anchor down on your pontoon you can hang out in the boat or spend hours jumping off the boat into the beautiful clear water.

Before walking over the Food Boats to get some drinks and food! Be prepared it is usually really busy and I am sure can get wild. But with kids go early in the day and it will be fun for everyone.

Recommended things to bring:

  • Snorkel Gear
  • Paddle Board
  • Floaty
  • Football
  • SunScreen
  • Sunglasses
  • A cooler full of food
  • Water

Price: from $200

Buy your tickets here: Pontoon boat rental with Destin X Watersports

Location: 214 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, USA

Great For: Kids, Adults and Couples.

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 5 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: If you go earlier in the day you can pick the spot you want at Crab Island – it gets really busy!

4 – Catamaran Sailing Trip With Sailing Moby

Catamaran trip in Destin, FL

If you being the captain of the pontoon doesn’t sound fun then leave the driving to the Sailing Moby team and bring your family (max of 6 people) onto their sailboat. Then sit back, relax and let them take care of everything on your boat ride!

What I loved about their boat is they have an inside area. So if you have little ones that need to take a nap or get out of the sun there is a perfect place for this.

They will take you to Crab Island to just hang out there if you would like. Or they have some other great recommendations on places to go based on the weather and what your crew would like to do.

For us we opted to sail to a couple islands where the kids got out to snorkel by the beach and then were able to jump off the boat – their favorite part of the trip!

Recommended things to bring:

  • Snorkel Gear (they do provide it – so if you are OK with that you can use theirs)
  • Sand Toys
  • Beach Toys
  • Towels
  • Food – you are welcome to bring a cooler on board
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Water
  • Bathing Suits – just wear these – it will make it easier

They also have a bathroom on the boat which is super helpful when you travel with kids or plan to have a couple beverages on your trip.

Price: from $440

Buy your tickets here: Sailing Moby

Location: 1201 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 USA

Great For: Kids, Adults and Couples – could work with toddlers or babies since there is a room downstairs they can go if they are getting fussy and don’t want to stay by their parents.

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 5 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: If you like heights ask about jumping off the boat by the beach! They know the spot where the water is deep enough. But always be sure to check the water level yourself and make sure it is safe!!!

5 – Maximum Magic Show

We were so excited to take the kids to an actual magic show! If your kids are like ours they love seeing magic tricks and being able to go to a live show that was family friendly was a great way for them to see their first magic show.

Price: from $27 a ticket

Buy your tickets here: Maximum Magic Show

Location: 10 Harbor Blvd Unit 234, Destin, FL 32541, USA

Great For: Kids, Adults and Couples – but the show is geared towards kids.

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 4 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: If you want a seat up front you need to get there early. We were one of the last people there and had to get seats in the back. We could still see everything but there were definitely better seats.

6 – Golf Garden 9 Hole Executive Course

Golfing in Destin

Looking for some adult time in Destin and want to get away for a quick round of golf? This is the perfect place to go. There are a variety of golf courses in the area but this is a nice course that isn’t too big so you can knock a round of 9 out pretty quickly.

Price: from $27 a ticket

Buy your tickets here: You can book your tee time online now!

Location: 12958 US-98, Miramar Beach, FL 32550, USA

Great For: Kids, Adults and Couples

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 3 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: It is an executive course so there are a lot of par 3’s so have your irons dialed in to score well!

7 – Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone 4D Movie Experience

Looking to get out of the sun and away from the beach and water then head to Wild Willies where you can play arcade games, see a 4D movie, play laser tag. Then head outside for a mini golf course and a ropes course. So many fun activities!!

Price: from $8

Buy your tickets here: Check out the combo deals at Wild Willy’s here!

Location: 1306 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, USA

Great For: Kids, Adults and Couples

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 5 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: You do have to sign up for some movie times, golfing, lazer tag so figure out what you want to do and what times are available right when you get there.

8 – Parasailing

If you have never gone parasailing we highly recommend it. All of our kids love it and it is another great way to get a different view on the beach and ocean. It can also be a great couples activity to do.

With how clear the water is in Destin I bet there is a good chance you could see some bottlenose dolphins or sting rays in the deep waters while you are up there!

Price: from $45

Buy your tickets here: Check out this great deal on Destin Parasailing!

Location:530 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, USA

Great For: Kids (over 6), Adults and Couples

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 5 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: This can be scary the first time you do it. But once you get up there it is pretty amazing!

9 – Kayaking

You can rent 1 or 2 seater kayaks to explore the harbor and bay, and even paddle yourself out to Crab Island, if you’re up for it! Other renters have even seen dolphins and other wildlife while kayaking the area. This is a great activity to burn some extra energy while enjoying the great views and wildlife!

Price: from $40

Buy your tickets here: Click here to book your Kayak rentals! Or if SUP boards are more your thing, rent those here!

Location: 200 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, USA

Great For: Kids, Adults and Couples. Would also work during a toddlers nap time – we have had our kids fall asleep while sitting in between our legs while kayaking.

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 4 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: This can be very tiring so be prepared for that!

10 – Smile n Wave Sailing Adventures

Destin Sailing

Take a private catamaran adventure on the Smile n Wave! Captain Pam will take you out to the best spots to look for dolphins, go swimming, out in the Gulf, visit Crab Island and more. Just talk to her and see what she recommends!

Her boat is great for families as it has a bathroom below deck. Along with an area where you can get inside with your kids for a minute if you need to.

She had awesome chairs on the boat that we could sit in and a couple net areas out over the water you could hang out in. She was also totally fine with the kids walking around and switching up where they were sitting while we are sailing.

You can bring your own food and drink along and Captain Pam offers you a cooler if you don’t have one.

We saw a bunch of dolphins and just enjoyed being out on the water when we did our 2 hour trip! Captain Pam was super nice and made all of us feel really comfortable on our trip. When you are in Destin you will want to do this!

To learn more visit her site Sailing In Destin!

11 – Uncle Bucks FishBowl and Grill

Uncle Bucks

This is not your typical bowling alley! This is an underwater experience! You can choose to eat your dinner at the restaurant; where you sit at a table with sharks hanging from the ceiling, or you can eat while you bowl. Whatever works for you!

The bowling area gives you the feel of being underwater – from the sights and sounds, it is an underwater experience! We had a lot of fun and it was great with the kids since they had bumpers and also a bowling ball ramp so the kids could roll the ball right down it.

We loved the extra touch of the bowling balls being covered in sea creatures too! The food was good, the drinks awesome, and the atmosphere was great! If you are looking to get out of the sun and into the air conditioning or looking for something to do at night when it gets dark out Uncle Bucks is the place for you!

Price: from $32

Buy your tickets here: Learn more at their website.

Location: 4251 Legendary Dr, Destin, FL 32541

Great For: Babies, Toddlers, Kids, Adults and Couples.

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 5 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: The scenery will keep all ages entertained!

12 – Buccaneer Pirate Cruise

Pirate Cruise

We had a great time on the buccaneer pirate cruise. I wasn’t sure at first how it was going to go. Four kids on a boat, but from the minute we walked onto the boat they started entertaining the kids and it didn’t stop until we docked about 90 minutes later. We don’t even know where they took the boat since we were so in to what was going on 🙂

They did everything from squirt gun fights and sword fights to having the kids swab the deck (which they loved! I need to buy one of those mops!) to face painting and pulling a real treasure chest out of the ocean, like for real! Plus they “shot” the cannon twice.

It was a great time and I would recommend it for kids ages 3 and up! And if you have any pirate gear make sure to dress up. It makes the experience even better. My Mom has an awesome pirate costume so she wore it on the ship and fit right in! Actually, she almost got a job!

Price: from $22 (for kids) $26 (for adults)

Buy your tickets here: Buccaneer Pirate Cruise

Location: 100 Harbor Blvd Unit B, Destin, FL 32541

Great For: Toddlers, Kids, Adults and Couples.

Crazy Family Adventure Ranking: 5 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: The scenery will keep all ages entertained!

Here are more fun things to do in Destin! We haven’t had the chance to try them all but they are on our list for next time we visit!

13 Big Kahuna’s Water Park

If you are visiting in the heat of summer and looking for a water park to cool off check out Big Kahuna’s waterpark!

Price: from $40

Buy your tickets here: Big Kahuna’s Water Park

Location: 1007 US-98, Destin, FL 32541, USA

14 – Kids Fishing Trip

Destin – known to have the worlds luckiest fishing is a great place to take the kids out fishing! I also love how this trip is geared towards kids as anyone with young kids knows spending time on a boat with kids can be a challenge but also awesome to watch them bring in their catches!

Be sure to check out our list of 8 Fun And Exciting Destin Fishing Charters for your trip!

Price: from $480

Buy your tickets here: Kids Fishing Trip With Rolling Tide Charters

Location: Kids Fishing Trip With Rolling Tide Charters – 21987 US-331, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459, USA

15 – Banana Boat Rides

Take a private ride on the banana boats! This is a one hour trip where they take your private group (minimum 4 people, maximum 6 people) out in a boat and pull you behind on the bouncing banana boats.

A great opportunity to cool off, have some laughs and excitement, enjoy the water adventure and potentially see some wildlife while you’re out. Riders must know how to swim!

Price: from $45

Buy your tickets here: Private Destin Banana Boat Excursion

Location:314 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, USA

Map Of Destin

Here is a map of Destin showing a few of the attractions mentioned and the vacation home we recommend. You can see it is a bigger area since it does stretch from Fort Walton Beach to Destin to Miramar Beach.

What historical things can you do in Destin?

Destin isn’t just a tourist town there are also a few historical things you can do in the area. The history of Destin and learning about how they were so known for fishing and why the sand is so white and soft is really interesting.

16 – Indian Mound Museum

Want to learn about the history of the area? Then check out the Indian Mound Museum where you can learn about the Native Americans that lived in the area and see a variety of artifacts found here as well.

17 – Destin History and Fishing Museum

Visit this museum to learn how a small fishing town (termed the “luckiest fishing village”) turned into a huge vacation destination. It really is quite amazing.

BONUS Activity!

If you happen to be in Destin in the month of October and you love salt water fishing you may really enjoy the Destin Fishing Rodeo! There are all kinds of prizes daily, weekly and monthly during October and any child who brings in a fish over 1lb gets a free rod and reel! Fishing may even be free if you hop on one of the boats on the chartered fishing fleet for the event.

There are so many fun things to do on a trip to Destin – the list goes on and on! If you want to give bungee jumping a go check out The Track, or if you want to learn how to build beach sand sculptures you can schedule a Sand Castle building lesson or go jet skiing.  If you are into animals then check out the gators at Gator beach.

What are things to do for adults in Destin Florida?

Destin is a great family destination but also has a lot of great activities for adults to do. Here are a few we recommend:

18 – Private Gulf of Mexico Sunset Sail

Go out for a sunset sail on the ocean. Nothing is better when you are by the water than getting out and taking in the sunset. Plus this is a private tour.

Price: from $300

Buy your tickets here: Private Gulf of Mexico Sunset Sail

Location: Marina, 214 Harbor Blvd East Pass, Destin, FL 32541

19 – Dinner/Dance Cruise

Take your significant other out for a cruise that starts with dinner and ends with dancing! Perfect way to get out on the water and have some fun.

Price: from $82

Location: 9300 US-98, Miramar Beach, FL 32550, USA

20 – Destin Harbor Sunset Tiki Cruise

Take a Tiki bar out on the water! Seriously it is an actual tiki bar that you will go out on and watch the sunset from the water. Talk about a memorable experience.

Price: from $59

Location: 302 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, USA

21 – Buccaneer Adults Only Pirate Cruise

Head out on a pirate ship adventures that is only for the adults! Must be over 21 to go on the ship.

Price: from $20

Buy Tickets: Buccaneer Adults Only Pirate Cruise

Location: Marina Level: 100 Harbor Blvd, Suite A

What are Things to do for Couples in Destin Florida?

If you have a chance to visit Destin with your significant other do it! There are some great couples activities.

22 – Rent Jet Skis

Jet Ski rentals are perfect for the water sports loving couple. The Jet Ski’s can fit 2 people so if you want to share a ski for a romantic trip you can! Or if both have a need for speed then each get one and hit speeds of 50mph+ as you jet across the Choctawhatchee Bay.

Price: from $70

Buy Tickets: Destin X Jet Ski/Waverunner Rentals

Location: 1201B Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, USA

23 -Rent a Pontoon Boat

Rent a pontoon boat and head out on your own private boat for the day. A perfect date afternoon!

Price: from $200

Buy your tickets here: Pontoon boat rental with Destin X Watersports

Location: 214 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, USA

What are good group things to do in Destin, Florida?

24 -Deep Sea Fishing Party Boat

Head out with 30-35 people for a 4 hour deep sea fishing adventure! You are on a 65 foot boat and will hopefully catch snapper and grouper while you are out. All fishing equipment is included.

Price: from $65

Location: 102 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541, USA

25 – Axe Throwing

Rent a lane and try your had at Axe Throwing. Who in your group will be the best?!

Price: from $25

Location: 304 Perry Ave SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, USA

What free things are there to do in Destin, Florida?

26 – Destin Commons

This is an outdoor mall located in Crystal Beach that makes shopping so much more enjoyable than having to be inside walking from store to store. At Christmas they have an awesome tree and holiday display. There is also an outdoor play area for the kids to play. There are a lot of great stores and restaurants so you can eat, shop, play, and/or people watch!

27 – Village of Baytowne Wharf

A great area for dining, shopping and nightlife. Plus there area lot of activities and festivals that go on here. The village is not on the beach so if you are looking to get away from the sand and surf for a while this is a great place to go. Plus they have yummy ice cream!

28 – HarborWalk Village

The HarborWalk Village is loaded with restaurants and shops and is the place where a lot of the water activities in Destin (Pirate cruise, Dolphin cruise, pontoon rental) take off from. They also have a variety of different activities available at the Destin Harbor Boardwalk.

29 -Hiking

There is even some Hiking to do not far from Destin!

Hiking in Florida! Not quite the same as hiking to the top of a mountain in Yellowstone or the Appalachian mountains but it was still a fun hike. In Florida’s Emerald Coast you can find nature trails and hike at the following parks: Henderson Beach State Park, James Lee County State Park or John Beasley Beach Park. Or you can just go for a nice walk on the beach.

30 – The Sunset

Watching the sunset over the water in Destin is a must!

Looking for a FREE Destin Attraction that you can do every night?! We highly recommend making it a nightly ritual to get a glass of wine for the adults and some juice boxes for the kids and heading out to see the sunset out over the water. Or if you can get away for a romantic couples sunset!

It was amazing how every night the sunset looked different and amazing. After watching it one night it seemed impossible that it could be any prettier and then it would amaze us again!

When you are staying on the Emerald Coast, make it a priority to see the sunset every night! You won’t be disappointed! Even if there are clouds – the sky still changes to an amazing color.

There’s quite a few other things to do in Destin Florida with kids. Depending on when you are coming make sure to check all activities schedule. Their prime season is from May to September. So in the off season things may not be open.

31 – The Beach

Destin Beach is a great place to hang out!

If you want you can literally do nothing, but beach it. Swim in the ocean, play in the sugar white sand, and hit the swimming pool for a few hours every day. To be honest I can’t think of a better family vacation! Plus the white sand beaches on the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico are so beautiful.

A beach vacation can be all about focusing on your family and deepening your family bond since you aren’t running off to a bunch of activities. Instead you are taking life slow and enjoying that non-rushed feeling.

What I love about the Emerald Coast is when you are at a resort, condo or RV park on the beach, you don’t even realize all of the hustle and bustle that is going on out on Hwy 98 and all the attractions Destin has to offer.

Destin Beaches

  • James Lee Park
  • East Pass
  • Henderson Beach State Park
  • Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island
  • Grayton Beach State Park – outside of Destin but worth a visit!

Tips for having a great beach vacation:

  1. Buy some breakfast food to have ready so you don’t have to rush out in the morning and so you don’t have hungry kids.
  2. Sit out on your balcony or head out to the beach to sit and enjoy your coffee while the kids either play, eat breakfast, watch TV. No seriously, let them watch TV or do their own thing while you take in the views and enjoy your morning coffee!
  3. After everyone has eaten breakfast head down to the sugar white beaches and build sand castles. They have the perfect sand for it! You may have to mix in a little water if it has been dry, but once you get the right consistency you are good to go! Swim in the water, play frisbee, just hang out.
  4. Head back for a nice slow relaxing lunch. If it was hot out, take some time to relax in your room or RV. Play a card game, watch a movie, read a book as a family and enjoy the fact you have no where to be!
  5. Head out to the pool (if where you are staying has one) or else head back down to the beach!
  6. As a family, cook and prepare dinner and then eat it outside.
  7. Finish the night up by watching the sunset and going for a walk on the beach.
  8. Go to bed and wake up the next day and repeat steps 1 – 8 again!
For a great place to stay and enjoy your Destin vacation, check out the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. This resort is beautiful and right on the white sand. Enjoy the pool and beach while soaking up the sun on your ultimate beach vacation!

What is there to do on a rainy day in Destin, Florida?

The hope is that you have clear skies and lots of sunshine when you visit Destin. Reality is there be a rainy day in there. Never fear there are plenty of things to do in Destin on a rainy day!

  • Wild Willy’s Inside Activities
  • Bowling at Uncle Bucks
  • Indian Mound Museum
  • Destin History and Fishing Museum
  • Maximum Magic Show

Where to Eat

LuLu’s Destin

It’s hard to categorize a restaurant as a thing to do in Destin with kids, but we absolutely loved LuLu’s! Any time the kids have somewhere to play while we wait for our food is a great restaurant and LuLu’s has that and more!

Dinner on the patio at LuLu's in Destin Florida

There is a nice sand/beach area that has 2 containers filled with kids sands toys. Plus a palm tree for them to climb on, cornhole, and hula hoops! While the kids played we were able to sit at our table and listen to the live music.

Their food selection is awesome with a focus on food allergies. With a town filled with seafood it is nice to have an option where they are on top of food allergies and give you lots of options.

When you are done eating they have some great desserts including a Krispie Kreme bread pudding or natural homemade popsicles! The kids loved the root beer and sea salted caramel flavor. And so did we!

Location: 4607 Legendary Marina Dr, Destin, FL 32541

Crab Trap

Crab Trap

When you are in Destin you should definitely check out the Crab Trap! Our server Daniel recommended that we try the Bairdi Crab dinner. It was the perfect recommendation.

The Crab was delicious and it was so easy to get a lot of the meat out. I am by no means a crab eating expert so Daniel our server came over to show me exactly how to do it.

We also tried the Hot Crab Dip and the Southern-Style Crab Cake and they were both delicious! Craig got the catch of the day and was really happy with his meal as well.

If you aren’t a seafood fan don’t worry! They also have pasta and burgers and the kids menu has a few options like chicken tenders and burgers.

The restaurant is located on the beautiful Destin beach and when the weather is nice you can sit outside.

You can check out their menu and learn more here: The Crab Trap

Small Cakes of Destin

You know we love our sweets and when we couldn’t find a local donut place we headed out for Cupcakes! As you can see they were super yummy and the kids loved them. I did too! They had lots of great flavors and I had to stop myself from coming here every day to try a different flavor.

Location: 36150 Emerald Coast Pkwy #110, Destin, FL 32541

Beach Restaurant – Surf Hut

There are a variety of restaurants on the beach so depending on where you are staying you can look into what is in your area. We loved walking down the beach to a restaurant for happy hour and appetizers or dinner or lunch.

Surf Hut is one of our favorite restaurants in Destin, FL.

We really enjoyed The Surf Hut and were told that the The Back Porch was a great spot to checkout too!

Location: 551 Scenic Gulf Dr, Destin, FL 32550

Dewey Destin’s Seafood & Restaurant

Dewey Destin currently owns two restaurant locations with family friendly atmosphere serving fresh-as-can-be fish daily! There is also a snowball location that serves New Orleans style snowballs to help you beat the heat and a third restaurant location coming soon!

Fun Fact: Dewey Destin’s Seafood & Restaurant is owned by the great, great grandson of the founder of Destin, Leonard Destin!

Location: 9 Calhoun Ave, Destin, FL 32541

When To Visit

The Emerald Coast is an amazing vacation destination. We have never visited during prime time (May to September). So we can’t speak for what it is like during that time. But I have heard it gets busy but the weather is beautiful.

We have always visited in the off season and we do we miss out on some activities (that aren’t open) but we love that it is less busy and that the weather isn’t super hot. We have been there in November and December and normally had weather in the 60’s with sunshine making it feel much warmer.

Where to Stay

AirBnB option

Zula Life Vacation Homes

We stayed at this amazing vacation home that was a short walk to the beach (it saves you a lot of money if you aren’t right on the beach!). The house had plenty of room for multiple families to stay along with a long Kitchen table, big couch and plenty of outside sitting. Plus our favorite part was the hot tub and pool. We spent a lot of time just hanging out back there.

The house is located just a couple minutes from Hwy 98 where you have all the stores that you would need. Yet is in a quiet neighborhood without a lot of traffic. The driveway was also large enough that we could park our 21 foot travel trailer there when we stayed – it was so nice not to have to leave the rig somewhere plus we didn’t have to pack since everything was right there in the driveway!

Honestly it was hard to leave the house to go do anything! If you are coming with your family (and dog – yes they allow pets!) or planning a multi family trip be sure to check out Zula Life or any of their other properties: Zula Dreams and Zula Beach.

Hotels

Hilton Sandestin Beach, Golf Resort & Spa

If you’re looking for luxury at it’s finest, check out the Hilton Sandestin Beach, Golf Resort & Spa. The resort is located right on the white sand and emerald water. You will be in paradise with a fantastic pool and a great beach bar overlooking the ocean.

Holiday Inn Fort Walton Beach

Holiday Inn Beach is on the other side of the bridge from Destin but is a beautiful place to stay!If you aren’t going to be traveling in an RV we recommend the Holiday Inn Fort Walton Beach. We were able to tour the hotel and spend a day swimming in the pool. The facility is amazing! It is very new, clean, and comfortable.

They offer a kids room that has bunk beds and an Xbox in the room! Plus the rooms have an amazing balcony that looks out over the pool and the ocean.

The kids LOVED swimming in the pool. It has a zero entry end, which was great for our little ones and also has a lazy river! Plus there is a hot tub and an indoor pool if the weather is cooler when you are there.

We loved that you could walk right out to a beautiful beach too. So you could spend your morning at the beach, head in to eat lunch at their restaurant and then head out to the pool in the afternoon.

This hotel is perfect for families but would be great for couples as well! Click here to check out the Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach!

For other amazing hotels in the Destin area, click here!

RV Parks

Rent an RV

Have you ever considered renting an RV?! It would be an awesome way to stay in Destin and you can get a spot right on the beach or stay a quieter State Park like Grayton Beach or Henderson Beach State Park.

Check out great RV Rentals in the Destin area. And Learn more about renting an RV and planning an RV trip.

Camp Gulf RV Park


Camp Gulf RV Park is perfect for beach camping in Destin!

This is one of our favorite campgrounds in all of North America. Seriously, it is so cool to be so close to the beach! Our RV spot was literally 20 yards from the beach.

Yes, there was a row of RV’s in front of us for most of the time, but it didn’t matter. (We couldn’t stay in those spots because pets aren’t allowed in those sites).

There is a couple rows of RV spots that are right by the beach. If you are someone who prefers not to have sand in your RV everyday. There are also spots that are farther back and away from the beach. Some of these spots are closer to the pools at the campground.

There are 2 pools and if you go in November they put a big tent over the back pool so that you can still swim even if it is colder outside. Being in North Florida it does get colder in the winter months.

Every day we opened our door to the smell of the surf, the feel of the ocean breeze, and stepped out into beautiful white sand. Yes, we slept with sand in our bed and I don’t think we will ever get all of the sand out of our car. But we don’t care. It was worth it!

If you don’t have an RV you can rent one! This campground is worth it!

We stayed at Camp Gulf, which is in Miramar Beach. We love this campground because of how close the sites are to the beach. We’re total beach fans!

If you don’t want to stay in and around Destin, Emerald Coast RV Resort is about 30 minutes down the coast in Panama City Beach, and The Hideaway Retreat is about 25 minutes up the coast in Navarre, FL.

Grayton Beach State Park

This is probably our all time favorite state park. It’s in Grayton Beach, which is east of Destin, away from all the craziness, and tucked back in a private little spot perfect for quiet camping. While you’re not right on the beach like at CampGulf, you are just a short walk, bike ride or drive away from it. This is the kind of place where you don’t really do anything but beach bum it!

We have heard people ask if Panama City is better then Destin our answer is no. The gulf coast – other wise known as the emerald coast is magical!

Want more ideas on things to do in Destin, Florida?! Check out this great post from 365AtlantaFamily: The Best In Beachy Fun

If you are looking to fly in there are some regional airports in the area or else you will have a drive from some of the larger surrounding cities/airports.

Also, be sure to check out our Florida Road Trip as this Northwest Florida location is a stop on the route!

Looking for more adventures in Florida? Check out our following posts:

Florida Keys Road Trip: 29 Amazing Places To Visit [Map Included]

4 Favorite Florida Beaches – From a near native Floridian

The Best Place to See Turtles in the Florida Keys

Top 10 Florida Keys Beaches

29 Best Things To Do In Gulf Shores, Alabama

17 Great Reasons To Make St. Augustine Your Next Family Trip

7 Things To Do In Miami With Kids

Hawks Cay: The Best Resort In The Florida Keys

8 Fun And Exciting Destin Fishing Charters

The Best New Orleans Plantation Tours To Take With Kids

26 Epic Things To Do In Key West [Including Where To Stay]

9 Best Airbnb Gulf Shores Vacation Rentals For Families

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Things To Do In Destin Florida

Disclosure: A big Thank You to Destin Fort Walton Beach Florida, TripShock and the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, area attractions, and restaurants for hosting us. All opinions expressed are our own. Truth.



DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.

47 thoughts on “31 Best Things To Do In Destin, Florida [Plus Where To Stay]”

  1. This!! What a great post; we are excited to visit!! Thanks for scoping it out and doing some of the homework for us!!!

      • Next time y’all visit Destin, Fl y’all should come out fishing with us. We are a family friendly fishing guide service that specializes in kids fishing charters and offers inshore bay fishing and near shore gulf charters. Would love to have y’all out for a fun day of fishing

  2. It looks like you had a great time! We have not been there as a family yet but I hope to do so soon. The dolphin cruise looked like a blast and the water was beautiful!

    • We definitely recommend getting there, it is gorgeous there! The dolphin cruise was very fun and we saw a bunch of dolphins!

    • Maybe Destin should now make it known how the beaches are now restricted. People no longer have access except at public beaches. One can’t even walk-in many areas because of Florida’s new law. I recommend to tourist to take your money elsewhere.

        • It’s not just Destin. It’s all of FL. The law was HB 631. There’s a lot more to it, but apparently it allows beach front homeowners, condos, and hotels to restrict who has access to the beach down to the wet sand line. This is only valid if the entity can prove that they own the property down to the wet sand/dry sand line which most people do not. Customary Use also comes into play meaning that if even if an owner had rights down to the wet/dry sand line if they allowed the public to use the dry sand area the public would have a claim to continue to use the beach. The whole thing is a mess, but when we were at our property this summer there was a lot of talk, but I never really saw anything. The thing I hate the most is the stupid beach chairs lining the beaches everywhere. Our property is on the bayside, but out friends that have a condo on the beach tell us it’s almost like a status symbol to have your own permanent beach chairs. This, plus people bringing those huge tents, turning the beach into a daily campground with trash/crap all over the place, is what are ruining the beach.

  3. Oh my! You missed the unique whole family experience of SandCastle Lessons with Beach Sand Sculptures. An award-winning, top rated TripAdvisor activity in Destin. One of the few locations in the world to learn the tips and tricks to build a 3 1/2 ft tall sand castle.

  4. You couldn’t find a local donut shop? Next time go to The Donut Hole.
    Baytowne Wharf has a ton of stuff, and they always have something going on. Live music, free inflatables, lawn games, fireworks, etc. You don’t gave to spend money either although there are lots of restaurants and shops.
    Also try Goofy Golf in Shalimar.

  5. Thanks for all the info we’re planning a trip in August and I’m trying to get an idea of activities to do with the kids. I saw parasailing, what’s the age limit for kids to be able to do that?

  6. We are going to Destin in November over Thanksgiving as a family with a 7 and 9 yr old. Are the dolphin cruises and parasailing open that time of year? I wasn’t sure if it was warm enough. Thanks!

    • Yes, they’re open. We did it in November when we were there. Check with them when you get there as the actual cruises are all weather permitting and November can be iffy.

  7. Thank you for the suggestions. We are retired couples about to stay in Destin with a forecast of not so enjoyable weather. We will follow up on some of your suggestions with a rain jacket.

  8. We are planning our first family vacation to Destin in July. We are goi g the week of 4th of July. Anyone know of any special Fourth of July activities they have at that time?

    • I’m not aware of any specific 4th of July activities, but I’m sure they put on a great show. Check some of their municipality websites closer to July for some updates. Have a great trip!

  9. I noticed you said that you couldn’t find a local donut place. My family and I’s favorite donut place in Destin is the Donut Hole.

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