Destin is a charming beach town in the heart of Florida’s panhandle. Spring break in Destin is the ultimate getaway for children, teens and adults, without the crazy atmosphere of many beach destinations during this time. Spring Break has become a byword for hedonism, but according to a study from the travel website HomeToGo, Destin earned the second-highest spot on the list of most popular spring break destinations in Florida. Sometimes, being No. 2 isn’t so bad.
Destin is a lively beach community that has morphed from a quiet fishing village to a bustling beach town and favored spring break getaway for families and adults alike. Tucked away along Florida’s Emerald Coast, you will find beautiful emerald-green waters from the Gulf of Mexico that gently lap the coastline’s sugar-white sand beaches.
Visitors of all ages, from families with small children and teens to adults seeking the ultimate beach getaway, find themselves enamored with Destin’s charms. Expansive resorts, small beachfront cottages, and uniquely designed vacation rentals are all part of what give Destin that family-friendly beach town vibe while providing world-class outdoor activities such as swimming, golfing and fishing. Whether you book a dolphin cruise, or venture under the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf, Destin is sure to find a forever place in your heart.
Spring Break with Young Children
Families with small children will find several kid-friendly activities and accommodations in Destin. Visitors seeking amenity-rich accommodations can book a stay at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, which claims to be the region’s largest full-service, beachfront resort. Watch the kids build sandcastles on the sprawling beach, or splash in one of four heated pools (including one for toddlers). If mom and dad need a break, they can sign children up for the daily Kids Krew and Kids Night Out programs, which feature activities such as flying kites and roasting marshmallows over bonfires at the beach. With their kids occupied, parents can join a yoga class or book a couples’ massage at the Serenity by the Sea Spa.
After a day of fun in the sun, grab a bite to eat at HarborWalk Village, home to the Destin marina, restaurants, shops and amusements. Parents can organize daytime dolphin cruises and interactive pirate ship excursions at the marina while kids fly high on bungee trampolines and run wild in giant, inflatable human hamster balls. After dark, keep eyes and ears open for nightly performances, including concerts and fireworks displays.
Spring Break with Teens
Spring break with teens can present a challenge when it comes to entertainment. By day, your teens can sunbathe on Destin’s fluffy white sand beaches, or burn off energy while stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or simply swimming in the emerald water of the Gulf of Mexico.
After dark, the Village of Baytowne Wharf in Miramar Beach transforms into a shopping and nightlife destination chock-full of teen-friendly activities. For thrill-seekers, the Baytowne Adventure Zone grants teens the chance to zip line over Baytowne and its lagoon, scramble across an aerial ropes course, or scale a nearly 40-foot climbing wall. Shoppers can channel their inner beach bum at stores like Aloha Surf Shop and Island Clothiers. Before leaving, grab a sweet treat at Moo La-La Ice Cream & Desserts.
For a sit-down meal, head to Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar & Grill. When they’re not tucking into a bowl of alligator gumbo or a half-pound Fudburger, teens can visit the restaurant’s Gator Beach to feed live alligators and watch a free interactive gator show, where professional handlers teach the crowd about the lives of alligators. Plus, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays from mid-March to early April, Fudpucker’s hosts Teen Night, for 14- to 17-year-olds. DJs spin tunes and give away prizes at this well-patrolled event, and free soft drinks and water are served.
Free Beach Bonfire
Royal Palm Grille hosts a FREE Beach Bonfire every Monday and Friday night. All ages are welcome! No entrance fee, Free Parking, S’mores, and Drink Specials along with their Full Menu are available. This is a great place to bring the kids and watch the sunset!
Adults-Only Spring Break
Destin’s luxury resorts and colorful nightlife make it a prime destination for adults-only vacations. Whether it’s a guy’s fishing trip or a girls weekend away, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers package deals with perks like spa treatments, shopping vouchers, and Champagne. Anglers will be thrilled to discover Destin is the self-proclaimed “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” and they can book a private trip through outfitters like HarborWalk Charters.
Travelers seeking absolute relaxation can drive to one of the area’s protected beaches, like Grayton Beach State Park, a sprawling nearly 2,000-acre park that is also home to a winding 4.5-mile hiking and bicycling trail. Though Destin’s claim to fame is its beaches, equally notable are its golf courses. Tee off at one of Sandestin’s four championship, 18-hole courses.
After dark, dive into a hearty meal of fried oysters and boiled crab legs at Stinky’s Fish Camp, slurp down a plate of fresh oysters at the waterfront Boathouse Oyster Bar and Grill, or jam to nightly live music at The Red Bar.
Destin delivers when it comes to making memories for all ages on your spring break getaway.