7 Best Neighborhoods in Destin, FL

December 20th, 2023

7 Best Neighborhoods in Destin, FL

Best Places to Live in Destin 

Are you searching for the best neighborhoods in Destin, FL? Check out these great places to live in Destin with information on local favorites. 

Located in Northwest Florida, the famous city of Destin is best known as "the world's luckiest fishing village" since it is the country's number one most popular fishing city. As a gathering place for blackfin tuna, grouper, king mackerel, and other fish, many people travel here for plentiful fishing opportunities and emerald green water. 

Home to prime real estate, white sandy beaches, world-class golf courses, water sports activities, and fun things to do for all ages, Destin is the perfect place to live and visit. Considered one of the best places to live in Florida, Destin has a lot to offer its residents and plenty of safe neighborhoods to choose from. 

If you are moving to Destin and are looking for a great place to call home that best fits your lifestyle, then you are in the right place. If you would like to learn more about its highly-rated communities and the local favorites in each community, please keep reading. 

Here are the best neighborhoods in Destin 

Kelly Plantation 

Kelly Plantation is a gated and exclusive community in the heart of Destin. This luxury subdivision is between the Choctawhatchee River and the Gulf of Mexico, making it a sought-after place for families and retirees. This community is designed with nature in mind, with many parks, walking trails, and green spaces, including a 250-acre nature preserve. 

Home to the Kelly Plantation Golf Course, which offers a premium golf experience to its visitors, this golf course features towering trees, swampy bayous, and pristine Bermuda greens. Considered a challenging course, Kelly Plantation has been named among the "Top 5% of Golf Courses in North America" by Golf Digest. 

Featuring nine neighborhoods, each with its feel, all within one community, there are plenty of beautiful homes to choose from. From luxury townhomes to traditional golf course homes, each home provides a unique style designed to enhance the neighborhood's natural beauty. 

Local Favorites: 

Kelly Plantation Golf Club: As one of the best golf courses in Destin, players get to soak up the coastal scenery with miles of waterfront, beautiful towering trees, and 7,000 yards of well-maintained greens. This 18-hole course is open to the public and considered challenging. 

Fudpucker's Beachside Bar and Grill: Serving the area since 1982, this locally owned and operated establishment is a fan favorite restaurant for its location on the waterfront, great food, delicious drinks, live entertainment, and family-friendly atmosphere. 

Lulu's: Dine on fresh-caught seafood and authentic coastal cuisine at this lively eatery situated on the waterfront. Lulu's is the place for a good meal, featuring live music daily, a fun atmosphere, and friendly service. 

Destin Florida Beach beautiful blue water and white sand

Crystal Beach

Found off Scenic Highway 98 in Destin lies the beautiful community of Crystal Beach. Located minutes from Downtown, Crystal Beach is a sought-after vacation rental community and a place to call home for its proximity to the beach and many delicious waterfront restaurants. Best known for its charming beach cottages, fantastic restaurants, family-friendly parks, boutique shops, and fun things, there is always something exciting happening in Crystal Beach. 

Local Favorites:

Camille's at Crystal Beach: This laid-back seafood restaurant on the beachfront serves sushi, fresh-caught seafood, and sandwiches. Featuring a cafe open from 7 AM to 5 PM and a main restaurant open from 4 PM to close, there is a unique dining experience available for everyone. 

O'Quigley's Seafood Steamer and Oyster Bar: Offering dine-in and takeout options, this popular sports bar serves fresh Gulf seafood and other Destin favorites in a vibrant setting. Locally owned and operated, this is an excellent spot for lunch and dinner. 

Sarah K's Gourmet: This gourmet takeout restaurant serves ready-to-heat American favorites made using the best ingredients and are all freshly prepared. Best known for its jumbo lump crab cakes, add a dessert to your order. 

Luxury Florida Condos with balconies and palm trees

Holiday Isle 

Holiday Isle is one of the best places to live in Destin since Destin Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico border it. Found near white sand beaches and prime fishing opportunities, Holiday Isle is a unique experience. Specializing in vacation rentals, this neighborhood features several canals, allowing renters to dock their boats outside their front doors. 

Providing spectacular views of the Gulf and many sought-after amenities, including private and community pools, grilling areas, and beach access, it is no wonder that Holiday Isle is a top Destin neighborhood. With convenient access to the city center, residents and renters will be within walking distance of popular restaurants, parks, and local shops. 

Local Favorites:

The Local Market: Visit this rustic cafe, open daily from 7 AM to 3 PM, for breakfast and lunch favorites. With a menu full of smoothies, juices, breakfast tacos, sandwiches, and salads, there is something on the menu for everyone to enjoy. 

Bric å Brac: Considered to have some of the best crab cakes in Destin, this exciting restaurant and bar offer a family-friendly atmosphere, live music, a dance floor, and an outdoor patio. 

Mimmo's Ristorante Italiano: This is the go-to spot in Destin for homemade pasta and other authentic Italian food. With one location in Destin and another in Santa Rosa Beach, Mimmo's is perfect for a celebration, date night, or a relaxed evening with friends and family. 

Regatta Bay 

Regatta Bay is a beautiful residential community in Destin that is near the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay. As a premier golf community that is gated, many residents spend their time playing at this top-ranked course. Home to the Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club, 120 acres of protected nature preserve, and 29 acres of lakes, Regatta Bay offers a quiet and highly-rated neighborhood. 

Local Favorites:

Rutherford's 465: This lakefront restaurant provides dine-in and takeout options for brunch and lunch. With a menu full of crab cakes, burgers, sandwiches, and salads, there is always something new to try. 

The Back Porch: Located in a colorful building on the beach with a long porch, beach chairs, and beautiful views of the Gulf, this beloved seafood restaurant has been serving locals since 1974. 

McGuire's Irish Pub of Destin: This Irish pub in Destin offers a fun experience for all ages with live music most nights, large portions, reasonable prices, and friendly service. Opened in 1977, this restaurant has been voted one of the best steakhouses in Destin and features a New York Irish Saloon theme.  

Large home in Destin, Florida, with palm trees and blue sky

Indian Lake 

Found in one of the best locations in Destin, the neighborhood of Indian Lake is situated near many popular amenities. Offering one-, two-- ---, and three-bedroom floor plan condominiums, Indian Lake provides world-class service and luxury to its residents. 

This community sure knows how to focus on the details, featuring professional landscaping, a pool, a sun deck, a dog park, a fitness center, balconies, and parking. Most units have gourmet kitchens, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and an in-unit washer and dryer.

Check out these homes for sale in Indian Lake

Local Favorites:

Louisiana Lagniappe: Opened in 1984 inside the Sandpiper Cove condominiums, this upscale waterfront restaurant is best known for its top-rated Louisiana-style seafood dishes on the waterfront. 

Pazzo Italiano Destin: Serving wood-fired pizza, pasta, and other Italian favorites, this award-winning restaurant is locally owned and provides a contemporary atmosphere that the whole family will love. 

Taste of India Destin: Recently opened, this delicious restaurant serves authentic Indian cuisine with high-quality ingredients. Each dish is freshly prepared, and a daily lunch buffet and a diverse menu for dinner are offered. 

Downtown Destin 

Downtown Destin is a place for young professionals and individuals looking for fun things to do and a more exciting way of life. Considered to be the hub of it all, Downtown Destin is located in the heart of the city and is the home of many restaurants, shops, nightlife, and live entertainment. Found east of Okaloosa Island and west of Crystal Beach, Downtown Destin is ranked as one of the best places to live in Destin for its proximity to the waterfront and local businesses. 

As the destination of Destin's Harbor Boardwalk, which stretches a quarter of a mile along Destin Harbor, residents and visitors alike will be provided with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and access to fishing charter boats and fun water activities. Providing many fun opportunities, there is always something new to do when living in Downtown Destin.  

Local Favorites:

Henderson Beach State Park: Featuring thirty-foot dunes, this protected strip of the Emerald Coast in Destin is great for camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking, weddings, swimming, wildlife viewing, and relaxing. Not only is this state park pet friendly, but there are restroom facilities and plenty of parking on site. 

Destin Harbour Boardwalk: This lively tourist attraction is a famous destination home to bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Found a quarter mile along the waterfront, this free activity is an excellent spot for the whole family.

Destin Commons: This open-air shopping center is home to over 85 stores and restaurants, with a mixture of locally-owned shops and nationally-known retailers. This beautiful place to shop and hang out features a play area and multiple seasonal events throughout the year. 

Henderson Beach State Park sand dunes

Miramar Beach 

Located 21 minutes from Destin, Miramar Beach is a beloved census-designated place in Walton County, home to over 6,000 people. Tending to have fewer tourists, Miramar Beach is a popular place to call home for its many beachside resorts, condos, and beachfront homes

Offering one-of-a-kind views of the Gulf of Mexico, this coastal town is often considered part of the city of Destin and is recognized for its warm white sand and clear waters. Often referred to as a hidden gem in the Florida panhandle, life in Miramar Beach is full of opportunity. 

Local Favorites:

Axes and Ice Cream - GCH - Miramar Beach: Throw axes and eat ice cream at this top-rated ice cream shop and axe-throwing venue. A fun and unique experience for a team outing, date night, birthday party, or family hangout, visitors are bound to have a good time. 

Grand Boulevard at Sandestin: This upscale shopping center is home to national brands, local retailers, dining experiences, entertainment options, three hotels, and office spaces. 

Emerald Coast Wine Cellars: Serving delicious wine for a great price, this popular attraction in Miramar Beach has muscadine wines, red wines, white wines, specialty wines, and seasonal wines. 

Aerial view of Destin with buildings and parking lot near the water


Here are some common questions about the best neighborhoods in Destin. 

Where do celebrities live in Destin, Florida? 

Celebrities like Matthew McConaughey and Sheryl Crow love spending time in Destin and Miramar Beach along scenic 30A. 

What is better, Destin or Miramar Beach?

Destin is home to many fantastic beaches in Florida and is known for its finer sand, more giant waves, and clear and warm water, making it a popular spot for locals and vacationers. 

What is the most excellent beach in Destin? 

One of the best beaches in Destin is Henderson Beach State Park, home to warm waters and thirty-foot white dunes. 

Why is Destin, Florida, so famous?  

Often referred to as the "Crown Jewel of the Emerald Coast," Destin is a popular place to live and visit for its beautiful beaches, significant fishing areas, delicious seafood restaurants, and spectacular views of the Gulf. 

Best Places to Live in Destin, FL - Final Thoughts 

Destin offers plenty of great places to live, whether you are searching for a tight-knit community or a neighborhood found near top amenities. If you are moving to Florida and are ready to make Destin your permanent home, we want you to be happy with where you decide to land. Contact the experts at UpHomes when you are prepared to start your home search

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.

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