7 Best Things To Do in Destin, FL

June 30th, 2023

7 Best Things To Do in Destin, FL

Things To Do in Destin 

Are you searching for the best things to do in Destin, FL? Here are the top seven things to do in Destin! 

Home to white sand beaches and emerald waters, Destin, Florida, in Northwest Florida, is a sought-after destination along the Gulf Coast. Found near the continental shelf, Destin is best known as a popular fishing village for its large gathering of fish that live 20 miles offshore. 

Offering an affordable cost of living, safe neighborhoods, and beautiful homes for sale, it is no wonder that Destin is beloved by many. A great place to call home for families, and young professionals, one of the best reasons to relocate to Destin is its mixture of indoor and outdoor activities. 

Though there is no denying that the beautiful beaches and the fishing opportunities are the main attractions in Destin, there are plenty of other things to do that will keep everyone entertained. From waterfront shopping to outdoor adventures, having fun is easy, thanks to the city's abundance of museums, state parks, top-rated restaurants, and family-friendly activities. 

Whether you are looking for a new date idea or are planning out what to do over the weekend with your kids, Destin has no shortage of unique things to do that are perfect for all ages. If you are moving to Destin or just visiting the area and want to learn how to spend your time, this guide is for you. Keep reading to learn more about some of the fun things Destin offers all year. 

Here are the best things to do in Destin 

Henderson Beach State Park

Location: 17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy 

Hours: 8 AM to 8 PM daily

Phone Number: (850) 837-7550

Henderson Beach State Park is one of the best things to do in Destin for its beautiful surroundings and pet-friendly nature trail. Famous for its thirty-foot white sand dunes and warm waters, there is no better place to soak up the sun and spend time with friends and family. 

Located on a protected strip of the Emerald Coast along the Gulf of Mexico, this 200-acre park is found three miles east of Downtown Destin. It is an affordable activity that every beach and outdoor lover will enjoy. Home to 60 campsites, a boardwalk, and a playground, this is a great spot to fish, picnic, bike, hike, swim, and spot wildlife. 

Though many people visit for recreation, this state park is also frequently used for weddings, celebrations, reunions, and family gatherings. Featuring multiple amenities, including wheelchair access, restroom facilities, shower stations, campfire circles, a picnic pavilion, an interpretive exhibit, and plenty of parking, Henderson Beach State Park has it all. 

Recognized as the last remaining coastal scrub area in Destin, this state park was established for enjoyment, preservation, and protection. No alcohol, glass, animals, or fires are allowed on the beach. 

Henderson State Park sand dunes near the water

Destin Harbor Boardwalk

Location: 102 Harbor Blvd 

Hours: 8 AM to 6 PM 

Phone Number: (850) 683-3009

The Destin Harbor Boardwalk is a top attraction and a go-to spot for entertainment. Stretching a quarter mile along the waterfront, this boardwalk is the perfect activity for all ages since it is home to local shops, great restaurants, and lively bars. First constructed in June 2012, the boardwalk has become a must-visit destination with its stunning views and endless fun. 

Offering easy and convenient access to local fishing charter boats, including the Destin Fishing Rodeo, there is no better place to visit if you are interested in offshore fishing. The top fish species caught in Destin are redfish, snapper, grouper, tarpon, mahi-mahi, sailfish, tuna, and amberjack. Also, providing a large selection of water sports activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and parasailing, some companies offer rentals at the boardwalk. 

From private sunset cruises to dolphin cruises, there are more ways than one to have an adventure when in Destin. In our opinion — visiting the Destin Harbor Boardwalk is the best way to spend the evening after a long day at the beach. 

Destin Harbor Boardwalk at dusk with people walking

Destin History and Fishing Museum 

Location: 108 Stalhman Ave 

Hours: 10 AM to 4 PM Tuesday - Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday 

Phone Number: (850) 837-6611

Whether you are a history lover or a seasoned angler, the Destin History and Fishing Museum should be at the top of your list of things to do when in Destin, Florida. This small museum is located across from the Destin Community Center and is home to over 100 fish mounts that were all caught in Destin waters. 

Featuring a mixture of displays of local aquatic life, nautical artifacts, and antique fishing rigs, this museum showcases the evolution of the fishing industry in Destin. Offering interactive and hands-on exhibits that can be explored through self-guided, audio, or personalized tours, there are more ways than one to get the whole experience at this fishing museum. 

Founded in 2005 as a non-profit, exhibits featured include the Rodeo Gallery, which focuses on the Destin Fishing Rodeo, Diving in Destin which highlights the history of diving in the area, and the Mike Long Memorial Fish Wall. Providing affordable admission, general admission for adults is $10, $9 for military personnel and first responders, $8 for seniors, and $5 for students. Anyone under five years old is provided with free entry. 

Destin Commons 

Location: 4100 Legendary Dr 

Hours: 10 AM to 9 PM Monday - Saturday, 11 AM to 7 PM Sunday 

Phone Number: (850) 337-8700

Are you looking for a great place to go shopping? Look no further than Destin Commons, an upscale open-air shopping center home to more than 85 stores and delicious restaurants. From nationally known retailers to local boutiques and specialty stores, this premier shopping experience is family-friendly and laid-back. AMC, Bass Pro Shops, and Belk are the three anchor stores here at Destin Commons. 

Considered the best outdoor shopping center on the Emerald Coast, this lively and vibrant center has been open for over 18 years. It continues to add more stores and restaurants to its directory. Home to the first Southern Living store in Florida, an underwater-themed bowling alley, a mural art walk, and a renovated play area for the kids to enjoy, the fun never stops. 

Hosting multiple events throughout the year, including the Star Spangled Food Truck Festival, Smoke on the Coast BBQ Festival, Halloween Haunt, and Santa's Arrival, there is always something new and exciting going on that everyone will love. To learn more about upcoming events and experiences, check out the Destin Commons website for more information. It is no wonder that Destin Commons is one of the best things to do in Destin. 

Destin Commons in Destin with palm trees

Buccaneer Pirate Cruise 

Location: 100 Harbor Blvd Unit B 

Hours: 8 AM to 6:30 PM daily 

Phone Number: (850) 269-0869

Providing an exciting adventure for the whole family, hop aboard the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise for a day full of excitement and entertainment for all ages. This top-rated boat tour agency departs from HarborWalk Village in Destin and takes visitors on a journey along the Emerald Coast to discover lost treasure. 

Providing family fun from beginning to end, the captain and mates offer an interactive experience by singing, dancing, and encouraging crew members to participate in sword fighting, pirate training, water gun battles, and a treasure hunt. Featuring authentic cannon fire and the ability to hoist treasure from the sea, this voyage will be an unforgettable experience for everyone young at heart.

Sailing for one and a half to two hours, this popular pirate cruise will be the highlight of your vacation in Destin. For those 21 and older, adult beverages are for sale on deck. There is even a Scalleywags After Sunset Cruise available in the summer that is only 21+ and features live music, a full cash bar, and pirate performances. Please feel free to book your cruise today for a great time with friends and family. 

Gator Beach - The World's Greatest Alligator Park

Location: 20001 Emerald Coast Pkwy 

Hours: 11 AM to 10 PM daily 

Phone Number: (850) 654-4200

Gator Beach, also called "The World's Greatest Alligator Park," is found at Fudpucker's Beachside Bar and Grill and is a popular tourist attraction in Okaloosa County full of live alligators. Home to over 100 alligators, visitors will get the chance to feed them, take pictures with them, and even hold them. Most alligators living in the main pond here are between two and six feet long. 

This one-of-a-kind alligator park offers free admission and is a unique place to spend the day. Featuring interactive live gator shows intended to educate the public about alligators, Gator Beach hopes that visitors will be entertained and learn something new along the way. 

All staff at Gator Beach are professionals and knowledgeable about alligators, which makes this experience so unique. Offering a Crocodilia Discovery Zone, which features displays, exhibits, and a specially designed habitat for baby alligators, the fun never ends at this alligator park. 

An excellent place for a school trip or weekend activity for the whole family, VIP experiences can be booked ahead of time online. 

Alligator in the mud and water in Florida

Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park 

Location: 1007 US-98

Hours: 10 AM to 6 PM 

Phone Number: (850) 837-8319

It is no secret that Destin experiences high temperatures, especially during the summer. One of the best ways to cool off when the weather is hot is by heading to Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park. This beloved water park in Destin features more than 40 water attractions, thrill ride attractions, and a mini-golf course. 

With 60,000 square feet of indoor water park attractions and a retractable roof alongside outdoor areas, this is the largest water park on the Emerald Coast. Offering something fun and exciting for everyone, visitors can enjoy the lazy river, speed slides, a half pipe, a wave pool, and kiddie slides. 

Offering tons of entertainment for an affordable price, this water park is the perfect destination for private events, corporate events, birthday parties, and groups. Not only is Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park safe since there are always lifeguards on duty, but plenty of parking, restrooms, cabana rentals, locker rentals, and in-park dining are available. 

Water and adventure park tickets can be bought separately or together, depending on how you want to spend your day at the park. Purchasing a season pass is an excellent investment if you plan to visit the park more than once yearly. 


As a safe place to live in Florida, here are some common questions about the top things to do in Destin. 

What is Destin, Florida, best known for? 

As one of the best places to live in Florida, Destin is known as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village" since the city has the largest fishing fleet in the state. 

What is the best time of year to go to Destin, Florida? 

Even though Destin is frequented by visitors all year, the best time to visit Destin is in the Fall for its smaller crowds, lower prices, and warm temperatures. 

Can you swim on Destin beaches? 

Home to beautiful beaches, Destin is the perfect place to swim when water conditions are safe, and it is encouraged to swim near a lifeguard.  

Can you drink alcohol on the beach in Destin?

Alcohol is permitted on the beach in Destin as long as there are no glass bottles, littering, or underage drinking. 

Destin, Florida blue and yellow sign on the beach on a sunny day

Best Things To Do in Destin, FL - Final Thoughts 

Boredom is not an option when living in Destin. No matter how you want to spend your day, there is always something to do to keep you occupied. If you are moving to Florida and are considering buying a home in Destin, contact the experts at UpHomes to find your dream home

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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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