10 Top Things to Do in Destin

10 Top Things to Do in Destin

Destin has a plethora of things to do but some are a must for your first trip to the Emerald Coast. Whether you like a gentle boat ride to watch the sunset, a high speed boat dolphin tour, or renting your own jet skis, we have it all.

Dolphin Encounters

dolphin tours in Destin thins to do
Photo credit: Sail Away Destin

Where can I swim with the dolphins is one of the top questions asked in our Facebook group. The water in Destin is warm enough, the dolphins don’t need to migrate, so you get to enjoy them all year long. The best way to see the dolphins in Destin is to hire your own catamaran with a private captain. They know all the spots to take you where you can watch the dolphins swim and play. Do some swimming and snorkeling while you are at it.

Starting at $125/hr for 1-6 people

Starting at $150/hr for 1-6 people

3 hours Starting at $350

Starting at $25/person 

Dolphin Encounters

Reef Burgers is a floating restaurant on Crab Island in Destin, Florida

One of the most photographed places and highest rated attractions in Destin. It is the focal point for many aerial shots of Destin and has been featured on many TV shows such as HGTV and Good Morning America.  Crab Island is not an island at all. It’s an underwater sandbar. Learn more…

First time visitors should understand the tides and boat traffic before you venture out on your own. There are several tour companies who provide transportation to and from the sandbar or will provide a captain for your rental.

Starting at $49/person

4 hours starting at $425

Rental w/Captain 
4 hours | $580

sailing charter smile n wave with pam kane in Destin
Photo credit: Smile N Wave

Charter a catamaran with your own private captain. There are many different options available for Snorkeling Tours, Sunset Sailing Cruises, Moonlight & Seasonal Fireworks Cruises, Party on Crab Island, and Dolphin Sightings. Sailing charters provide your family with a memorable and exciting adventure for a lifetime.

Starting at $125/hr for 1-6 people

Starting at $150/hr for 1-6 people

Destin is the self-proclaimed “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” It is also one of the best places in the state to go snorkeling. The clear water and white sandy bottom allow for easy viewing of marine life, including large schools of fish, stingrays, seahorses, crabs, anemones, sea urchins, and sea turtles.

There are several tour companies that have snorkeling adventures or you can venture out on your own if you are willing to fight for parking. O’Steen Beach is an area protected by the east Jetty which provides for calmer water and great visibility on most days. Parking is limited and you must have the parking app in order to pay the $5. Download Parking App

There are 16 different reef sites along the coast of Walton County, Florida. All are conveniently located near public beach accesses with parking and restrooms. Each reef structure is made of a combination of steel, concrete, and Florida limestone.​

snorkel dolphin reef in miramar beach

Dolphin Reef offers visitors a fascinating glimpse at South Walton’s ocean life. The reef is composed of more than 75 artificial structures that, when viewed from above, form the shape of Miramar Beach’s resident Bottlenose dolphins. Located just 685′ from shore and at a depth of 12-20′, the dolphin reef is easily accessible by kayak or paddleboard, and given its shallow depth, it can be explored by snorkelers and swimmers. Learn more…

Recently voted #13 Top U.S. Beach by TripAdvisor (we know it’s number one).
Enjoy 6000 feet of undeveloped natural shoreline or explore a .75 nature trail that winds around the beautiful sand dunes of the park. More Info…

James Lee Park is a beach park with 3 pavilions, 41 picnic tables, 9 dune walkovers, a playground, restrooms with changing rooms, and 166 parking spaces. Known by some as the Crab Trap Beach since the restaurant is on the east end of the park. More info…

kid-friendly fishing charters
Photo Credit: Nelson Guide Company

Set out to sea to hook a prize-winning catch on a private charter or do some nearshore gulf fishing, inshore bay fishing, specialized kids fishing, shark fishing, and fly fishing.

Enjoy being surrounded by the sea and all the inspiring marine life including sea turtles, dolphins, and even flying fish.

Get the “Local’s Experience”
From $165/hr 1-4 people

Dolphin, Bay Tours
and Nearshore Fishing

Sunset Cruise

Sunset cruise in Destin Florida

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico is not to be missed. During the summer you won’t actually get to see the sun dip below the horizon due to our beaches facing the south. However, with a few clouds in the sky, you will always have a spectacular show.

Destin has several options for a sunset cruise from a floating Tiki Hut in the bay to your own private sailing yacht and everything in between.

See the many cruise options you have here

Boardwalks & Shopping

the village of baytowne warf in Sandestin Florida

The Village of Baytowne Wharf is host to a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. You’ll find weekly movies and concerts on the lawn throughout the spring, summer and fall, which are perfect for the whole family. Baytowne Village also hosts great seasonal events, like trick or treating in the village for Halloween, and fireworks to ring in the New Year. There are also a variety of tasty food and wine festivals throughout the year, including the Baytowne Beer Festival and a champagne festival!  Sunset cruises and watercraft rentals are available at the marina. Learn more…

Location:
9300 Emerald Coast Parkway
West Miramar Beach, FL 32550
(800) 622-1038

GPS Coordinates: 30.378230, -86.330954

Destin Boardwalk and HarborWalk Village

Destin Boardwalk

The Destin Boardwalk stretches for a quarter of a mile and brings together the unique character of the harbor with recreational activities, shopping, restaurants, access to water sports, and so much more. Destin Boardwalk merges into the HarborWalk Village which is a hub of year-round activity and entertainment, and a fantastic place for an evening stroll and watching the sunset. The Destin Harbor hosts the Destin Fish Rodeo during the month of October as well as many other festivals and events. If you’re in town for Christmas, the Destin Christmas Lighted Boat Parade is not to be missed.

Located:
102 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541

Destin Commons

Destin Commons is Destin’s favorite shopping mall and dining destination with a great selection of restaurants, quick serve and treats. Voted Best Place to Shop by readers of Emerald Coast Magazine

Located:
4100 Legendary Dr, Destin, FL 32541

Beach Bonfire Destin

End your perfect day of fun in the sun with a relaxing bonfire on the beach! Relax by the fire, listen to the waves crash on the beach, roast a marshmallow or three, and enjoy the company of your favorite people. Let a dedicated professional do all the work for you while you sit back, relax, and enjoy every moment of this awesome beachside bonfire experience! Learn more…

Bonus – Big Kahuna’s Waterpark

Big Kahuna’s is the favorite place for fun in Destin and has something for everyone; From Lazy River to Speed Slides, our attractions are sure to keep the fun going for hours. Challenge yourself on our Honolulu Half Pipe or a round of mini golf for added fun and adventure. Learn more…

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