View of Destin, FL from the water with text "Pros & Cons of Living in Destin, FL"

The Pros and Cons of Living in Destin, FL

If you’ve ever spent any time along Florida’s Emerald Coast, then there’s no doubt you’re familiar with Destin. Known for its world class fishing and beautiful beaches, Destin is one of the most popular spots in the Panhandle. Not only for the millions of tourists that visit every year, but also to anyone looking to make their home in Florida. 

If you’re considering a move to Destin it’s important to be able to make an informed decision. With that in mind, let’s take a look at all the great things Destin has to offer. And just to keep it fair, a few of the drawbacks as well. We’ll also discuss some of the history of the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”.

So without further ado, here are the pros and cons of living in Destin, FL.

A little bit of history

Captain Leonard Destin, hailing from New London, Connecticut, was the first to take to the Gulf of Mexico in search of what the waters had to offer. He began his journey around 1835, but it wasn’t until 1850-1852 that his misadventures saw him land in the city that bears his name today – Destin. Here, Captain Destin laid the foundations for the fishing industry. This proud legacy is still celebrated here today.

The City of Destin was officially established in 1984, after the growth and development of the small fishing village had led to a need for local government. Despite being in its infancy in terms of local government, the city of Destin has been a fishing haven for over 150 years, and a premier vacation destination for just as long.

Fishing rod cast off the back of a moving boat

The pros of living in Destin

Before we get started here, we’d like to mention that this is not an exhaustive list. We’ll highlight the top reasons to live in Destin, but certainly not all of the reasons. That would take way too long. So with that being said, let’s look at some pros to living in Destin, FL.

The fishing of course

For over 130 years, commercial fishing was Destin’s main source of income. Nowadays, tourism may be the main focus, but the city is still a fishing mecca, especially with deep waters just a few miles away. 

With over 150 charter boats, and numerous locations for shore and pier fishing, there’s something for everyone. With over two dozen species of fish, including grouper, snappers, amberjack cobia, tuna, sailfish, wahoo, and tarpon, you’re sure to have success fishing in Destin.

Fun in the sun

The Emerald Coast is renowned for its crystal-clear, emerald green waters, immaculate white sands, and breathtaking sunsets. 80% of all the Emerald Coast’s yearly visitors choose Destin. 

They can enjoy the Gulf of Mexico’s choppy waves and the calmer waters of Choctawhatchee Bay any day of the year. For those lucky enough to call this enchanting stretch of coastline home, it truly is paradise.

It’s a great place to raise a family

The city of Destin is known for its diverse economy and it pays off. Residents of Destin enjoy incomes well above the national average. The median household income here is $71,000, compared to the US average of $57,000, and individual averages of $40,000 versus $31,000. 

The public school system is also top-notch. Destin’s elementary and middle schools rank in the top 85% of American schools, with test scores far exceeding national averages. Not too shabby if you ask us.

The food

Destin is home to over 275 restaurants, offering something for every craving and budget. As a coastal town, residents can look forward to some of the freshest, most reasonably-priced seafood around. 

But of course you’re not limited to seafood! High-end steakhouses, traditional Italian spots, and Cajun specialty restaurants all call Destin home. Seriously though, try the seafood.

A fantastic nightlife scene

When the night falls in Destin, visitors and locals alike can take their pick of places to party. Vibrant bars and clubs with live music and dancing, to more laid back craft beer bars and cocktail lounges. There’s something for everyone. 

Enjoy stunning views of Destin Harbor while listening to local DJs and bands. Or just kick back and relax with a brew. Whatever your nightlife preference, Destin has it.

Top notch golfing

With eight top-notch courses in the area and another 17 within a 20-mile radius, golfers can tee off in the morning and still have time for the beach in the afternoon. 

Would it even be Florida if there weren’t great golfing options? With such a high concentration of quality courses, Destin is a must-visit for any golf enthusiast.

Boardwalk leading to beach

The cons

While many people would consider Destin to be Gulf Coast paradise (us included), it’s not without its faults. In the interest of helping you make an informed decision, let’s look at the cons of living in Destin, FL.

It gets crowded

With an estimated population of only 14,000 full-time residents, Destin is by no means a booming metropolis. But it also has a relatively small footprint of only 8 square miles. This means the population density is pretty. Especially for a city of its size. 

When you include the millions of tourists that visit during peak months, things can get a bit cramped. Unfortunately, this can lead to overcrowding, which is a common complaint about the city according to reviews.

The traffic

So about that whole overcrowding thing. This leads to some pretty rough traffic conditions on occasion. Unlike a lot of tourist destinations, the increase in people means an increase in vehicles. Due to its location, many folks from the surrounding areas choose to drive to Destin. There are several major cities well within driving distance.

In addition, there aren’t many options available to get around congestion. Route 98 is the single roadway that makes its way from one side of town to the other. As I’m sure you can imagine, this can lead to some pretty hefty commute times.

It’s not always summer

Destin is a dream destination for many, and with good reason. Winters are much warmer than areas in the north. But, unlike south Florida, the Panhandle does experience a cooler offseason from November-February. 

During this time, tourist numbers drop and many of the town’s restaurants and attractions may close. Fortunately, Destin is home to a diversified economy, so there are plenty of job opportunities away from the resort area. 

Summing it up

No place is without its faults. But if you ask us, Destin comes pretty close. With all the great things it has to offer, there’s no doubt in our mind that the good outweighs the bad.  

We hope this has given you all the information you need on the pros and cons of living in Destin, FL. Are you ready for your own piece of paradise? If so, the only thing left to do is contact a trusted discount realtor and find the home of your dreams. We’ll see you at the beach!