Things to do in Destin

Things to Do in Destin

With clear water, sugar white sand, and plenty of sunshine, there’s a lot to love about Destin, FL.  Add in some adventure and southern hospitality, and it’s easy to see why Destin is an appealing option for both vacationers and those looking to call the Florida panhandle home.

Located between the historic city of Pensacola, and the popular spring break destination of Panama City Beach along the famed Emerald Coast, Destin offers unmatched beauty and some of the best coastal real estate Florida has to offer.

Let’s take a look at just a few of the many sites and activities that make Destin the crown jewel of the Emerald Coast.


The beaches of Destin are second to none. With 12 access points, and 226 days of sunshine every year, as many as 3.6 million people visit Destin’s beaches annually. 

The sand found along the Destin beaches is some of the whitest in the world. Finely ground quartz from the Appalachian Mountains makes its way down Apalachicola River into the Gulf of Mexico, giving it the appearance of sugar.

Choctawhatchee Bay, located north of Destin’s beaches, filters out many of the darker sediments that would otherwise wind up in the Gulf. This, along with the reflective qualities of the quartz sand, give Destin its world-renowned clear, emerald-green water. 

James Lee Park

Located along Highway 98, this quiet getaway showcases the best of Destin beaches. With three picnic pavilions, restrooms, and showers, James Lee Park offers one of the area’s most convenient access points, all free of charge! 

Henderson Beach State Park

Distinct from all other Destin beaches, Henderson Beach State Park lies on a stretch of over 6,000 feet of unspoiled beach. Since its establishment, the park has added pavilions, a kid’s park, and a 3-mile hiking trail. It’s a great opportunity for birdwatchers and beachgoers to see wildlife in their natural habitat. 

Norriego Point Access

On Gulf Shore Drive on the end of Holiday Isle, you’ll find Norreigo Point. Accessible only from Destin Harbor, it is not located on the Gulf of Mexico. Exploring the dunes is a common pastime, making it a favorite of boaters and water adventurers.  You can also catch a ride to and from Norriego Point via the water taxi.


Originally founded as a fishing town, Destin has some of the most plentiful and beautiful fishing spots that the country has to offer. Locally referred to as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, Destin claims more fishing vessels than anywhere else in Florida.

Whether from boats, the shoreline surf, or piers, you’ll find hundreds of residents and visitors alike looking for their next catch. Redfish, sheepshead, and grouper are a few of the species you can expect to find in the waters off of Destin.


For the more adventurous angler, Destin offers many charter fishing opportunities year round. Just a few miles off of the coast, the Gulf of Mexico is home to tarpon, cobia, red snapper, and countless other large fish that help to make Destin such a popular fishing destination. Listen to the professionals, and you’re almost guaranteed to reel in a big one, with no fishing license required!


Every October since 1948, the town has been home to The Destin Fishing Rodeo. This month-long competition brings in over 35,000 visitors from around the world. With fishing gear, vacations, and over $100,000 in cash prizes offered to winners, the event has continued to grow to its current size. More recently, new categories have been added such as kayak and paddleboard fishing. 

Things to do in Destin


Though relatively small in population, the city boasts over 275 restaurants to choose from. This is due in no small part to Destin’s thriving tourism industry. 

While seafood may be the most popular choice in this coastal Florida town, it’s certainly not your only option. From steakhouses, to Cajun inspired fare, and even pubs offering traditional Irish dishes, there’s no shortage of unique dining experiences to be had.

One weekend in October each year, the city plays host to the Destin Seafood Festival. The area’s best cooks and local artists come together for a truly memorable experience.

Vibrant nightlife

When the sun sets, Destin’s best nightlife turns up the volume. You can enjoy live music, dancing and drink specials at the many bars and clubs Destin has to offer. 

Many of these venues offer stunning views of Destin Harbor, and the marina. But when the music starts, everyone’s eyes are on the stage. Local DJs and bands turn up the party with their music and mixes that will get you moving and keep you on the dance floor.

If you prefer a quieter, more relaxed experience, there are plenty of options for that as well. Destin is home to several low-key cocktail lounges and craft beer bars. No matter your preference, there’s a spot for you.


It wouldn’t be Florida without golf. Florida is the US’s golf capital and Destin, like all parts of the state, has plenty of places to practice the game. 

The Gene Bates and Fred Couples designed Kelly Plantation Golf Club in Destin showcases the natural beauty of Destin’s landscape. The course features miles of waterfront, contoured greens, wide fairways and breathtaking views over the bay. 

Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club’s course is equally impressive. Robert C. Walker, the famed Arnold Palmer course designer, designed the course. The course features a covered 1,200-square foot practice area, and uses video analysis technology to determine a golfer’s potential and make improvements so they can play better on the main course. 


With so many exciting things to do, an unlimited amount of fun can be had in Destin. Beauty, world class fishing, and family fun make Destin one of Florida’s most popular towns. If it’s adventure you seek, an active nightlife, or relaxing by the water is more your speed, Destin is hard to beat. Whether looking to rent or purchase your next home, Destin is a great place to call home.