Your Guide To Destin, Florida

Florida Blogs - Exploring Things to Do In Destin, Florida - Banner

Learn more about this popular beach getaway spot in the Florida Panhandle!

Are you ready to explore Destin, Florida’s stunning white beaches and crystal clear waters? Get ready for an unforgettable vacation on the Florida Panhandle as we take you on a journey through some of the best attractions in this beautiful region. From the inviting Gulf Coast to family-friendly activities and attractions, let us be your guide to the Destin area and all it has to offer!

The Emerald Coast is the perfect place for sun-seekers to relax and soak up the sunshine. Just steps away from gorgeous white sand beaches with emerald green waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Destin offers visitors the chance to engage in water sports and activities like parasailing, paddle boarding, fishing charters, snorkeling, and kayaking. And for those seeking an adrenaline rush, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in thrill-seeking activities such as jet skiing and boating. 

Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply want to sit back, relax and take in the stunning views of the Gulf Coast – a Destin vacation has you covered! You’ll also have easy access to nearby Fort Walton Beach where you can explore even more. Let’s dive into this incredible location and explore some of its most fantastic attractions.

Embrace the Sun, Sea, and Adventure

From its impressive beaches to its exciting activities, this is a place where you can truly experience the best of what Florida has to offer! Whether you’re looking for an unforgettable family vacation or simply seeking some rest and relaxation away from city life, Destin will fit the bill. 

Play + Relax 

The primary attraction here is undoubtedly the inviting Gulf Coast. Also referred to as the Emerald Coast, the area is famous for its crystal clear waters and gorgeous white sand beaches. But that’s not the only outdoor experience you’ll find in the Sandestin area!

The Beaches

Build sandcastles with the kiddos, go parasailing or kayaking, take a boat tour or fishing charter, go on a sunset cruise, paddle on a pontoon boat, watch for dolphins on dolphin cruises, join a guided tour, stroll along the beach with your partner…the beautiful beaches here call you to explore and enjoy. 

Henderson Beach State Park

This popular beach is known for its tranquil atmosphere and breathtaking views of the Gulf Coast. It’s an ideal spot to lay out a towel and watch the waves roll in! Plus, this protected area is home to a variety of wildlife, making it perfect for spotting some local creatures in their natural habitat.

James Lee Beach and Park

This beach is perfect for those looking for some adventure, as it offers a range of activities, such as snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding. James Lee Beach and Park is an ideal choice if you are looking for a spot to get away from it all in the Florida Panhandle.

Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach, located just west of Destin, is one of the most popular beach spots for families, thanks to its numerous nearby activities and restaurants. Here you can enjoy a range of family fun from arcades to shops, plus a variety of delicious dining options.

Crab Island

Crab Island is a must-visit for those looking to truly explore the Gulf Coast! This sand bar requires a boat to access and is an ideal spot for swimming, kayaking, or simply enjoying the sunshine. You can snag plenty of charter boats for the day to help get you there.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

If you want a bit more privacy during your visit, head to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Here you’ll find miles of white sand beaches and plenty of room for you to enjoy a day in the sun without being crowded. This area is a bit off the beaten path, but it’s worth the visit.

Exciting Attractions

While the beaches offer plenty of space for swimming, lounging, and exploring, there are also plenty of entertainment options available nearby. From amusement parks to water parks and beyond, there are plenty of great places to check out. 

Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park

If you’re visiting with kids (or looking for a fun day out yourself!), Big Kahuna is a must-visit. With its 40+ rides, slides, and attractions, this is one of the most popular places to cool off and have some fun! The park temporarily closed in 2019 for updates and renovations and reopened in Spring 2023 to welcome visitors back to the new and improved Big Kahuna’s!

Destin Harbor Boardwalk

Stroll around Harborwalk Village for unbeatable views of the glittering waters and stunning sunset. This boardwalk is lined with restaurants and shops, making it a great spot to grab a bite to eat before heading out on your evening adventure. While here, make sure to check out some of the shops offering a variety of wares, from souvenirs to handmade crafts.

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Get up close and personal with sea creatures at Gulfarium! Here you can observe dolphins, see sharks, feed stingrays, and explore interactive exhibits focused on marine education. You’ll enjoy learning about the local wildlife and seeing them in their natural habitat.

Boogies Watersports

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, head over to Boogies Watersports! Here you can rent jet skis or go parasailing with friends. You can even take a ride on the giant inflatable water slide or explore the area in a banana boat. A local favorite, Boogies is a must-visit when you are in town.

The Track Family Recreation Center

Want to have fun outside the water? Head to The Track Family Recreation Center! Here you can take your pick from go-karts, mini golf, bumper boats, and more. With various rides and activities, this is the perfect spot for family fun without ever having to leave Destin.

No matter what type of vacation experience you are looking for, Destin offers plenty of attractions to make your visit unforgettable. From the beaches to the boardwalks and beyond, you’ll find something fun or relaxing for everyone here!

Top Dining and Shopping

After exploring the beaches and attractions, check out the many excellent restaurants and shops! From seafood shacks to upscale eateries, there’s plenty to choose from here. You can spend time shopping at some of the area’s best retail and boutique spots., get a delicious dinner, grab dessert after a day in the sun, and so much more. 

The Back Porch

Located on the Destin harbor, The Back Porch is a local favorite for seafood lovers. Enjoy fresh Gulf-catch fish and dishes made with local ingredients in this relaxed beachfront setting. You can enjoy a nice meal while watching the sunset over the harbor!

Marina Cafe

Another hotspot on the harbor, Marina Cafe blends classic American cuisine with a touch of Creole. Enjoy favorites like sushi, or order up a seafood platter for the ultimate coastal experience. You’ll also find an extensive wine list to enjoy with your meal.

McGuire’s Irish Pub of Destin

Want to grab a pint with friends after an afternoon of exploring? Head to McGuire’s Irish Pub of Destin for a cozy atmosphere, delicious pub fare, and plenty of beer on tap. They also feature live music that will have you dancing the night away!

Dewey Destin’s

This harborside spot serves up “Catch of the Day” specials, tons of fresh fish (think trout, flounder, wahoo, snapper, swordfish, and more), seafood gumbo, crab legs, steamed shrimp, Keylime pie, and much more. They also offer burgers, grilled chicken, and kids’ favorites. 

Where to Shop in Destin, Florida

Destin also offers plenty of shopping opportunities for those looking to pick up souvenirs or gifts. There is something here for everyone, from art galleries and boutiques to high-end stores. And if you are looking for some local specialties, make sure to check out the farmer’s markets and seafood stands.

The Destin Commons

This popular outdoor mall offers several of the Destin area’s top shopping destinations. You’ll find all the latest designer labels as well as smaller boutiques featuring handmade items. You can also find various restaurants and eateries for a quick bite. This area has quickly become one of Destin’s most popular shopping spots.

Shoreline Village Mall

Another popular shopping spot in the area is the Shoreline Village Mall. This open-air mall features an array of local stores and artisan boutiques. You can also find a variety of eateries and bars to enjoy while shopping!

Shoppes at Paradise Isle

Over at Shoppes is Paradise Isle, you can find an array of clothing and souvenir stores. This spot also offers a range of eateries to grab a bite while shopping. No matter what you’re shopping for, you’ll probably find it here!

Banana Bart’s

Don’t forget to stop by Destin’s favorite gift shop – Banana Bart’s! This eccentric shop has something for everyone, from quirky gifts to beach apparel. You can also find an array of local items, like t-shirts and keychains. Make sure to drop by before you leave town.

The Village of Baytowne Wharf

Set on Choctawatchee Bay, Baytowne Wharf is just about 20 minutes down the road from the city of Destin. It’s home to an escape room, boutique shops, delicious seafood restaurants, year-round events, and fun nightlife. 

Learn the History of Destin, Florida

From its humble beginnings as a small fishing village to becoming one of the most sought-after vacation destinations in the South, Destin, Florida, has gone through many changes over the years.

The area was initially founded in 1835 by Captain Leonard Destin and his family. Over the years, many others followed in their footsteps and set up businesses in the area. With its abundant fishing industry, sugar cane farming, and turpentine production growing rapidly throughout the 19th century, Destin didn’t take long to become a thriving town.

By the mid-20th century, successful fishing and tourism had begun to pop up across the shore. The businesses drew tourists to the area, and its popularity grew steadily throughout the decades thanks to new developments such as hotel accommodations, marinas, and golf courses that were built.

Today, Destin continues to be a popular destination for travelers from all around the world looking for a scenic getaway with plenty of entertainment options available nearby. The key is finding the perfect place to stay during your Emerald Coast vacation!

Where To Stay in Destin, Florida

Whether you’re looking for a cozy beach cottage or a cool condo, you can find it here! At Florida Cabins for YOU, we offer a range of great vacation rentals for YOU. We offer easy online (or by phone) reservations, helpful vacation pros, and a wide range of amenities – including beachfront views, full kitchens, big screen TVs, condos with swimming pool access, and more! 

From beach days and deep sea fishing to shopping sprees and nights out on the town, you’re sure to have an amazing time in Destin. So book your vacation rental today and start planning a trip filled with fun, sun, shopping, and adventure!