Top Things to Do in Destin, Florida

Destin, Florida is home to great fishing, as well as fun on and beyond the beach. Check out the top things to do in Destin!

Charter Fishing with the Destin Fishing Fleet

Destin is called the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” for good reason, but savvy anglers tilt the odds even more in their favor by booking a boat from one of the many charter boats that belong to the Destin Fishing Fleet. With over 250 boats, it’s one of the largest charter fleets in the United States.

Head out on the water on a private group charter, or meet some new friends by joining a shared excursion.

Every deep-sea experience is customizable, with choices from four hours of fun to an overnight adventure, even fishing for swordfish to mahi-mahi.  

Captains and deckhands take care of details, so there’s no need to worry about a fishing license, rods, reels, bait, or even cleaning the fish.

 

Destin Commons

Sunshine complements the shopping at Destin Commons, where more than 90 businesses line the quaint brick roads of this town-like shopping center.

It’s half a million glorious square feet of retail stores to explore, including the charming Southern Living Store — one of only a handful in the United States — and the mouthwateringly scented Spice & Tea Exchange.

All that shopping requires energy, so there are plenty of places to refuel. Grab a sweet treats at Kilwins or IT’SUGAR, or enjoy a savory meal at El Jalisco, La Famiglia, Red Ginger, or World of Beer.

For an entertainment and food combination, there’s underwater-themed Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl & Grill -- a bowling alley with shark and alligator bowling balls.

Yearly special events include the Smoke on the Coast barbecue and fireworks festival for the 4th of July, Halloween Haunt, and Santa’s Arrival to kick of the Christmas season. 

 

HarborWalk Village

HarborWalk Village is a bustling hub for so many fun things to do in Destin. Choose from dolphin watching on a dolphin cruise, water sports, fresh seafood, and shopping for souvenirs.

Visitors can ride in a glass-bottom boat, take a sunset cruise on a charter boat, or board a pirate ship.

Water sports include wave runner, kayak, stand up paddleboard (SUP), and pontoon boat rentals. To really dive in, try out snorkeling or “SNUBA,” a hybrid form of SCUBA and snorkeling. For the real thrill seekers, rise about it all and try out parasailing.

HarborWalk Village also offers an array of things to do for the adrenaline junkie like a zip line, a free-fall ride, and a 40-foot rock-climbing wall! For a birds-eye view, book a helicopter ride and see all of Destin from new heights. 

With all this sporting, you are sure to work up an appetite for food and for shopping. Restaurants serve up the fresh catch of the day as patrons watch the boats and paddleboards go by. HarborWalk Village shops are the place to buy cool nautical treasures and beach fashions to keep your Destin vacation memories alive when you return home. 

 

Big Kahuna’s

For youngsters to the young at heart, Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park is a top place to cool off. As the largest water park on the Emerald Coast, there are more than 40 ways to have summer family fun. It boasts thrilling rides that race, twist, turn and speed through tunnels, a giant wave pool, a lazy river, waterfalls, fountains, and splash pads. Drying off just takes a ride on the Skycoaster or a round of miniature golf.

 

The Track

Start your engines! The need for speed is satisfied at The Track, where go-kart lovers can screech down three-and-a-half stories on the Wild Woody, peel out on the Slick Track, or let a little one enjoy their first time behind the wheel.

Beyond that, it really is all fun and games, from the classic carousel, ferris wheel and bumper cars rides, to an arcade with nearly 50 games, and much more!

Henderson Beach State Park

Soft, sugar-white sand carpets Henderson Beach State Park’s more than one-mile beach, offering a stark contrast to the emerald-green water and brilliantly-colored sunsets. Dunes reach up to 30 feet tall like giant snow banks.

Among the nature parks in Destin, it’s the last true stretch of coastal dune terrain, and a prime spot for ecotourism. Sand pines, scrub oak and sea oats are scattered along the landscape. Wildlife includes rabbits and gopher tortoises on land; herons and sandpipers near shore; and dolphins and sea turtles in the warm Gulf. Migrating monarch butterflies flock in during the fall.

Amenities include a hiking trail that peaks on a dune, 60 campsites, six pavilions with grills and tables, and a playground.

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