24 Best Things to Do in Destin, Florida| 2024 (with Photos)

James A. Smith

James A. Smith - Chief Editor

Last Updated: January 4, 2024

Hey there! James here, and I've compiled a list of the best activities in Destin, Florida based on my own firsthand experiences. Trust me, you won't want to miss out on these amazing things to do in this incredible destination!

 Unforgettable Things to Do in Destin, Florida

Welcome to Destin, Florida, a beautiful seaside city on the Emerald Coast that offers an array of exciting attractions and amazing activities for the whole family.

Whether you're looking to explore the natural beauty of the area, such as Henderson State Park or Crab Island, or dive into marine life at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, Destin has it all.

In this guide, we'll explore some of the best things to do in Destin, Florida, from visiting the world's greatest alligator park, Gator Beach, to playing mini-golf at local courses.

So, buckle up and get ready to discover all the wonders that await you in Destin.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Visit Destin Harbor Boardwalk

Top Choice Hotel

Henderson Beach Resort

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Louisiana Lagniappe

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar

Best Time to Visit

Ideal weather and fewer tourists make it perfect.

Average Temperature

The average temperature in Destin, United States of America is mild to hot.

Transportation Options

Car, taxi, bus, bike, walking, shuttle, trolley, boat.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

When visiting the beautiful city of Destin in the United States of America, I highly recommend indulging in the crystal-clear waters and sugary white sand beaches that stretch along the Gulf Coast—perfect for a blissful day of sunbathing, swimming, and creating lifelong memories.

Additionally, make sure to explore Destin's vibrant harbor, where you can embark on a thrilling deep-sea fishing adventure or hop on a scenic boat tour to spot dolphins and other fascinating marine life—the exhilaration of being out on the water will leave you with a lasting sense of awe and appreciation for this charming coastal gem.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Valid identification (such as a passport or driver's license)
  2. Comfortable walking shoes
  3. Weather-appropriate clothing
  4. Travel adapter for electronic devices
  5. Lonely Planet guidebook or other travel resources
  6. Maps or GPS navigation system
  7. Phone and charger
  8. Cash and/or credit cards
  9. Snacks and water bottle
  10. Camera or smartphone with good quality camera

What Not to Miss

  1. Statue of Liberty
  2. Times Square
  3. Central Park
  4. Empire State Building
  5. Brooklyn Bridge
  6. The High Line
  7. Metropolitan Museum of Art
  8. Broadway shows
  9. Top of the Rock Observation Deck
  10. One World Observatory

What to Avoid

  1. Crowded tourist areas
  2. Rush hour traffic
  3. Expensive restaurants and tourist traps
  4. Overpriced souvenirs
  5. Tourist scams and pickpockets
  6. Unsafe neighborhoods or areas at night
  7. Poorly reviewed hotels or accommodations
  8. Unlicensed tour operators or guides
  9. Overbooked attractions or events
  10. Ignoring local customs and etiquette

1. Relax on the Sugar White Sand of Destin BeachesDestin Beaches

Destin, FL is known for its pristine white beaches and emerald green waters, making it the perfect beach vacation spot.

Sink your toes into the sugar-white sand at popular spots like Fort Walton Beach, Miramar Beach, and Crystal Beach.

Enjoy the family-friendly atmosphere while soaking up the summer sun or go for a refreshing swim in the shallow warm waters of the Emerald Coast.

2. Explore Henderson Beach State Park's Nature TrailsHenderson Beach State Park's Nature Trails

Discover the natural beauty of Henderson Beach State Park, just a short drive from Destin, Florida.

Experience the park's scenic nature trails, where you can explore native flora and fauna while enjoying a stroll.

The park also boasts a stretch of white sand beach, ideal for a peaceful escape from the busier tourist attractions.

3. Discover Marine Life at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Located on Okaloosa Island, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park offers a close-up look at various marine life, including dolphins, sea lions, and sea creatures.

This family vacation hotspot is home to dolphin cruises and educational experiences, making it a must-visit for those fascinated by aquatic life.

4. Experience Crab Island Adventure Tour Crab Island Adventure Tour

Embark on a Crab Island Adventure Tour and visit one of Destin, Florida's most popular attractions. Explore the underwater world around Crab Island or enjoy fun activities like Banana Boat Rides.

With so many fun things to do on Crab Island, including boat tours and boat trips, it's no wonder this boat tour is a hit with families and adventure seekers alike.

Located near the Destin Bridge, it's a must-see on your visit to the Emerald Coast.

5. Stroll Along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk

Destin Harbor Boardwalk

Destin Harbor Boardwalk is a bustling hub of activity, boasting shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Watch fishing charters depart from the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village," take a stunning sunset cruise as you explore the lively harbor, or learn something new at the Destin History and Fishing Museum.

With all the attractions along the boardwalk, you'll never run out of fun things to do in Destin, Florida.

6. Dive into Family Fun at Big Kahuna's Water ParkBig Kahuna's Water Park

Big Kahuna's Water Park, situated in the heart of Destin, Florida, promises a day full of family fun with exciting water slides, a relaxing lazy river, mini golf courses, and other thrilling attractions.

This amusement park is located just a short drive from Fort Walton Beach and is an essential stop on any family vacation to the Emerald Coast. With something for everyone, Big Kahuna's Water Park offers rides and attractions that cater to all ages.

From the adrenaline-pumping water slides to the calmer wave pools and kids' play areas, this park ensures a memorable experience for everyone in the family. The park also features a mini golf course, where families can challenge one another to a friendly game amidst the beautiful surroundings of the park.

For those seeking a break from the water activities, enjoy a variety of snack bars and shaded areas to relax and recharge.

7. Enjoy Banana Boat Rides at Crystal Beach

Banana Boat Rides at Crystal Beach

For an adrenaline-filled adventure in Destin, FL, try these unique boat rides at the picturesque Crystal Beach. Hold on tight as you're pulled along the stunning emerald waters of the Emerald Coast, creating an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

Located near other popular attractions such as Henderson Beach State Park and Crab Island, it's a must-try activity when exploring the area.

The fun doesn't stop at Banana Boat Rides. Crystal Beach offers a wide range of other water activities, including paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet skiing.

Take advantage of the beautiful setting and explore the waters around Destin, FL, as you glide along the coast, soaking up the sun and picturesque views.

8. Immerse Yourself in Destin History at the Fishing Museum

Destin History at the Fishing Museum

Delve into the rich history of Destin, Florida by visiting the Destin History and Fishing Museum. Destin History and Fishing Museum showcases Destin's heritage as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village."

Situated near Fort Walton Beach and Henderson Beach State Park, this one-of-a-kind attraction offers visitors a chance to learn about the local fishing industry that has been at the heart of the community for generations.

The museum features an array of fascinating exhibits, including vintage photos that capture Destin's early days as a small fishing village. Get a glimpse of the unique artifacts, antique fishing gear, and impressive collections of fish caught in the area.

The museum also tells the stories of the pioneers who built Destin's reputation as a premier fishing destination, contributing to the city's growth and success over the years.

9. Book a Deep Sea Fishing Charter in the World's Luckiest Fishing VillageDeep Sea Fishing Charter

Experience the excitement of deep sea fishing in Destin, FL, known as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village."

Book a fishing charter to embark on an unforgettable adventure, guided by experienced captains who will take you to prime fishing spots teeming with various fish species.

Whether you're a novice or an experienced angler, fishing is an activity you won't want to miss.

10. Catch a Sunset Cruise Along the Emerald Coast

Sunset at Emerald Coast

Nothing compares to the breathtaking beauty of a sunset over the Emerald Coast. Board a sunset cruise and sail along the picturesque shoreline as the sun sets, casting warm hues over the water.

Bring your camera to capture the stunning views and create lasting memories of your Destin vacation.

11. Visit the Indian Mound Museum in Fort Walton Beach

 Indian Mound Museum

Discover the rich history of the region at the Indian Mound Museum in Fort Walton Beach. Immerse yourself in the fascinating past of the Emerald Coast and learn about the people who inhabited the area before European settlement.

The museum houses a vast collection of Native American artifacts and exhibits showcasing the area's cultural heritage.

12. Embark on a Dolphin Cruise in Choctawhatchee Bay

Choctawhatchee Bay

Experience the beauty of Choctawhatchee Bay as you witness playful dolphins in their natural habitat on a captivating dolphin tour.

On the boat ride, expert guides will share fascinating insights about Destin's history, fishing culture, and marine life, enriching your adventure.

As you glide through the water, observe these intelligent creatures swimming, leaping, and interacting alongside the boat, creating unforgettable memories.

A dolphin cruise is a must-do activity for nature enthusiasts, families, and visitors seeking to connect with the diverse marine life of Destin, FL.

So, get ready to embark on this magical boat ride and create lasting memories amidst the stunning beauty of Choctawhatchee Bay.

13. Sail with Buccaneers on the Pirate CruiseBuccaneers

Channel your inner pirate on the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise. This family-friendly excursion takes you on a high-seas adventure with swashbuckling pirates, complete with sword fights, treasure hunts, and water cannon battles.

Kids and adults alike will enjoy this thrilling experience on the emerald waters of Destin.

14. Encounter Alligators at Gator BeachAlligators at Gator Beach

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure during your visit to Destin, FL? Gator Beach, the world's greatest alligator park, should be at the top of your list of Destin attractions.

This family-friendly destination is perfect for anyone seeking a thrilling experience, complete with up-close encounters with some of the most fascinating reptiles on the planet.

Nestled in the heart of the Emerald Coast, Gator Beach offers an array of interactive experiences and educational opportunities for all ages.

At Gator Beach, you can learn about the world of alligators in their natural habitat, take part in daily feeding sessions, and even hold a baby gator if you're feeling brave.

As you explore Gator Beach, be sure to snap some memorable photos and soak up the excitement and wonder of this one-of-a-kind experience.

15. Admire Beach Sand Sculptures at Miramar BeachMiramar Beach

Admire Beach Sand Sculptures at Miramar Beach, located just a stone's throw away from Destin, Florida, and Fort Walton Beach.

Take a stroll along the stunning shoreline and marvel at the intricate sand sculptures skillfully crafted by talented local artists. As you explore the area, you'll find yourself surrounded by attractions that make the Emerald Coast a beloved vacation destination.

These awe-inspiring works of art showcase remarkable skill and creativity, serving as the perfect backdrop for capturing memorable vacation photos that will always remind you of your visit to Destin.

From Crab Island to Henderson Beach State Park, there's so much to see and do during your stay in the area.

16. Experience Okaloosa Island's Sea Lion ShowOkaloosa Island's Sea Lion Show

Experience Okaloosa Island's Sea Lion Show, just a short boat ride away from Destin, Florida.

Located near Fort Walton Beach and the popular Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, the sea lion show is one of the many Destin attractions that will surely leave you and your family with lasting memories.

Be captivated by the amazing performances of these intelligent and entertaining marine mammals as they showcase their tricks, play games, and interact with their trainers.

Just about a quarter mile from the Destin Bridge, Okaloosa Island offers visitors a range of activities and attractions beyond the sea lion show. Explore the nearby Henderson Beach State Park and Crab Island, or delve into Destin's history at the Fishing Museum.

With all the attractions in and around Okaloosa Island, you'll have endless things to do in Florida, during your visit to Destin.

So pack your own food, gather your loved ones, and embark on an unforgettable adventure in the Emerald Coast's world of marine wonders.

17. Unwind at Destin Commons Shopping CenterDestin Commons Shopping Center

Spend a leisurely day at Destin Commons, a premier open-air shopping center offering a wide array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Shopaholics and bargain hunters love a trip to Destin Commons while they are in Florida. From designer boutiques to popular chain stores, Destin Commons caters to every taste and budget.

After a day of shopping, unwind at one of the center's many eateries or catch a movie at the on-site theater.

18. Set Sail on a Private Boat Tour of the Emerald Green WatersEmerald Green Waters

Charter your own private boat and explore the stunning emerald-green waters of Destin at your own pace. Enjoy a personalized experience, whether you prefer sightseeing, dolphin watching, or snorkeling in secluded spots.

A private boat tour provides the perfect opportunity to create lasting memories with family and friends.

19. Challenge the Family to Mini-Golf at a Local Course

Rainforest Black Light Golf & Arcade Miramar Beach

Looking for some friendly competition and fun during your Destin vacation? Why not challenge the whole family to a game of mini-golf at one of the local courses in the area?

With a variety of family-friendly venues offering themed courses, creative obstacles, and delightful landscapes, Destin's mini-golf courses have something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you're a seasoned mini-golf pro or a first-time player, you'll find these courses engaging and challenging for all skill levels.

Navigate your way through a pirate-themed adventure, explore the tropical greens of an island-inspired course, or enjoy the fun and excitement of a course set in the heart of Destin's bustling harbor.

As you put your way through the courses, make the most of the opportunity to bond with your family and create lasting memories.

Share laughs and stories while tackling tricky holes, and don't forget to snap some photos to remember the fun-filled day.

20. Enjoy Dolphin Watching at Destin HarborDolphin Watching at Destin Harbor

Destin Harbor is a popular spot for dolphin watching, offering plenty of opportunities to observe these playful creatures in their natural environment.

Take a stroll along the harbor, or book a guided boat tour for a closer encounter with these fascinating marine mammals. Either way, it's an experience that should be on your Destin, FL bucket list.

21. Visit Harborwalk Village for Dining and EntertainmentHarborwalk Village

Harborwalk Village is the heart of Destin, bustling with dining, entertainment, and shopping options. At Harborwalk Village, you can savor mouthwatering local cuisine at waterfront restaurants, enjoy live music at lively bars, or shop for souvenirs at charming boutiques.

Don't miss the weekly fireworks display during the summer season, lighting up the night sky over the harbor.

22. Get a Taste of Local Cuisine at the Surf HutSurf Hut

Indulge your taste buds at the Surf Hut, a popular beachfront eatery serving delicious seafood and Southern-inspired dishes.

With a laid-back atmosphere, fantastic ocean views, and a diverse menu, the Hut is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal with family and friends while experiencing the local flavors of Destin.

23. Take Part in Outdoor Adventures in the Seaside City

Seaside City

Destin is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering countless activities for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. Embark on a parasailing adventure, rent a paddleboard, or explore the area's scenic nature trails.

With so many outdoor adventures available, there's no shortage of fun activities to enjoy in this vibrant seaside city.

24. Explore Destin's White Sand Beaches with the Whole Family

Destin's White Sand Beaches

Destin's white beaches are perfect for families looking to create cherished memories during their first vacation. Build sandcastles, take a refreshing dip in the emerald waters, or simply soak up the summer sun.

With shallow warm waters and a family-friendly atmosphere, Destin's beaches offer a safe and enjoyable environment for kids and adults alike.

FAQs Regarding Things to Do in Destin, Florida

Now we are going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about things to do in Destin, Florida.

What is Destin Florida best known for?

Destin, Florida is best known for its beautiful white beaches, the bustling Destin Harbor, and the intriguing Fishing Museum, which showcases Destin's history. The city is also famous for fun things like amusement parks, theme parks, the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise, and exhilarating boat rides to visit Crab Island or experience a dolphin tour.

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

To save on your Destin vacation, consider visiting during the off-peak season, which falls between December and February.

During this time, you can still enjoy boat rides in Destin Harbor and visit Crab Island, while taking advantage of lower prices and smaller crowds.

What is the best month to go to Destin Florida?

The ideal months to visit Destin, Florida are between April and October when you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, from dolphin tours to amusement parks.

Keep in mind that June through August can be busier with tourists, but you'll have more opportunities to participate in fun things like exploring the Destin History Fishing Museum or taking a ride on the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise.

What is the number 1 beach in Destin Florida?

The number 1 beach in Destin, Florida is arguably Henderson Beach State Park. This beautiful beach boasts sugar-white sand, and clear emerald waters, and offers a tranquil, family-friendly atmosphere.

It's also perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and taking in the breathtaking views of Choctawhatchee Bay.

Summing up: Best Things to Do in Destin, Florida

Destin, Florida, offers a treasure trove of family fun, adventure, and relaxation with its stunning white beaches, world-class attractions, and rich history.

We've explored some of the top activities in this vibrant seaside city, such as visiting Gator Beach or Crab Island, playing mini-golf at local courses, and embarking on boat tours.

With so much to see and do, there's something for everyone in Destin. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your unforgettable family vacation to Destin, Florida, today.