The Floridian panhandle is home to many fine communities filled with exciting attractions for visitors of all ages and interests. One of the most famous visitor-friendly cities in this region is Destin, Florida. From the harbor, to museums, shops, restaurants and water parks, there are many amazing things to do in Destin Florida. Here are six of the most popular tourist attractions in this picturesque Gulf of Mexico bordering city.
1. Stroll Along the Shoreline at Henderson Beach State Park
Located at 17000 Emerald Coast Parkway, this natural park includes sand pines, scrub oaks, and dune rosemary facing over a mile of natural scenic shoreline. Discover the beauty that can only be found in the rare coastal dune ecosystem while enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and fishing.
There are two pavilions and a boardwalk that enables every member of your family, including pets, the opportunity to get out and enjoy being right on the water. There are 60 campsites that include water and electric hookups. The entire facility is A.D.A. accessible, including wheelchair access for the beach. Enjoy family friendly fun at one of the best beaches in Florida. You will be amazed to discover these all-white sugar sand beaches along the green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This is the place to be for families looking for things to do in Destin, Florida.
Make certain you bring your camera. There is plenty of wildlife running around the park, making this the perfect Destin tourist attraction for those who love nature. It is open year round.
You might also like: 5 Best Beaches in Florida
2. Tee Off at the Kelly Plantation Golf Club
Work on lowering your handicap at what is considered to be the crown jewel of the emerald coast. Kelly Plantation Gold Club includes more than 7,000 yards of beautifully designed holes. This amazing golf club offers picturesque views of the awe-inspiring Choctawhatchee Bay. It is one of the best things to do in Destin for those who love golf. Bring your golfing buddies and enjoy holes facing 11 lakes and miles of waterfront.
This beautiful environment is perfect for more than practicing your swing. Weddings and special events can be held in a dining room that can accommodate up to 50 guests throughout the year. Contact the staff at 850-650-7600 or visit them at 307 Kelly Plantation Drive to learn more.
3. Have a Splash at Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park
Don’t settle for a boring afternoon seeking things to do in Destin. Bring your family on down to Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure park for a day filled with great times swimming and riding thrilling slides. This summer park is located at 1007 US-98, just past Gulf Shore Drive. Big Kahuna is home to one of the most sought Honolulu half pipe rides, perfect for surfers of all levels of experience.
Beyond the excitement filled waterpark with many adult and child friendly pools, there is a theme park that includes a “cyclone” that spins you like a top 85 feet in the air. There is also a tropical themed mini golf course with 54 challenging holes and a sky coaster that takes you 100 feet into the air at up to 60 miles per hour.
If you are looking for things to do in Destin for kids, this water park will surely delight the little ones. Just remember to pack your sunscreen, swimming suit, and towel!
4. Do Some Shopping at the Destin Harbor Boardwalk
Stretching nearly a quarter mile along the beautiful Destin Harbor, this historic Boardwalk provides access to the local waterfront and many attractions including water activities, charter boats, and great restaurants. There are four parking lots available on a first serve basis for free. You can park at the corner of Marler Street and Highway 98, the corner of Zerbe Street and Sibert Avenue, and at either the Destin Community Center or Destin Library. Be on the lookout for signs. During special events parking may be restricted. If you stay at a local hotel, you can avoid this, and walk down to the boardwalk without dealing with any traffic!
There are many festivals that take place throughout the year on the boardwalk. If you are looking for things to do in Destin Florida in October, do not miss the famed Destin Seafood Festival on the first weekend of October, and the Destin Fishing Rodeo held throughout the entire month of October. With its ample seating and lush landscaping this is one of the best things to do in Destin, Florida, with family!
5. Learn More about the Florida Panhandle at the Destin History & Fishing Museum
Of all the things to do in Destin why not make the educational choice? Located at 108 Stahlman Avenue, next to the Destin Community Center, this 5500 square-foot museum covers the history of Destin from its start as a small fishing village to becoming a major tourist attraction.
Educational attractions include:
- 75 Mounts of Locally Caught Fish;
- Destin Fishing Rodeo Gallery;
- Historic Photographs, Documents, Fishing Equipment and Other Artifacts;
- Local Community Genealogical Data;
- “Why Destin Sand is White” Exhibit;
Prices are $5 for adults; $4 for children/students (through college), seniors, and service members. Children under 6 are free. Guided tours are available for student groups and families. The facilities offer self-guided tours with MP3 players as well. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The museum might be one of the best things to do in Destin when it rains.
6. Relax in the Destin Harbor
You can spend a relaxing day with your family and kids strolling around the Destin Harbor. The area is full of restaurants with harbor view, shops, live bands, and sea boats. If you prefer stay close to the shore, you can enjoy great sea food (we recommend oysters), listen to music, walk the Destin Boardwalk and take photos with the beautiful views. However, one of the most exciting things to do in Destin Harbor is catch a boat and go for dolphin viewing. Children especially will be delighted to see the dolphins swimming, but also the pirate ships and the sailboats.
Planning a trip, be it for yourself or your entire family, should not be a hassle. By choosing to spend your relaxation time in Destin, you open each day to many tourist attractions. Start with an early morning walk along the board walk, and beat the heat at the local water park. As the sun sets, stop by the restaurant at one of the most visited golf courses in the state, and enjoy a delicious plate of genuine Floridian cuisine. There is always plenty of things to do in Destin!