Destin Travel Guide

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Welcome to our comprehensive Destin travel guide, where we’ll take you on a captivating journey through the stunning beauty of Florida’s Emerald Coast. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, beach lover, or fishing aficionado, Destin offers a wealth of experiences and adventures that will leave you in awe. Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, this picturesque city boasts pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and a charming small-town atmosphere. So, let’s dive in and discover all that Destin has to offer!

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Quick Facts

  • Location: Located in the northwest part of Florida’s panhandle, bordering the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Language English is the official language
  • Currency US Dollar
  • Weather: Enjoy a subtropical climate with warm summers, mild winters, and an abundance of sunshine throughout the year.
  • Population: Around 13,000 permanent residents, but the number swells during the peak tourist season.
  • Distance from Major Cities: Approximately 50 miles from Pensacola and 335 miles from New Orleans.
  • Cost to Visit Destin’s hotels offer rates from $85 to $299 per night, with an average cost for a week-long trip to Destin of around $1,847 for a single traveler and $6,000 for a family of four. The lowest cost for a group of four considering food, travel, and sightseeing is $128 to $256 per day.

Top Things to Do in Destin

1. Relax on the Stunning Beaches

Destin is renowned for its world-class beaches, with their powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters. Head to Henderson Beach State Park, where you can unwind on the secluded shores and take in the panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. For a more lively atmosphere, visit the popular Destin Harbor Beach or the scenic Miramar Beach, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and beachside picnics.

2. Embark on a Fishing Adventure

Dubbed the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin offers a paradise for anglers of all levels. With its proximity to the Gulf Stream, you’ll find an abundance of fish species, including red snapper, grouper, and king mackerel. Charter a fishing boat and venture into the deep sea for an exciting offshore fishing experience or cast your lines from the Destin Harbor Boardwalk where you can catch fish without leaving the shore.

3. Discover Underwater Wonders with Snorkeling and Diving

Dive into the vibrant underwater world of Destin by snorkeling or diving. Put on your snorkel gear and explore the vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish just off the coast. For diving enthusiasts, the nearby “The Jetties” offers a unique marine ecosystem with sunken ships and artificial reefs, providing an exhilarating diving experience.

4. Explore the Natural Beauty of Destin

Immerse yourself in the captivating natural beauty of Destin by visiting the breathtaking parks and nature reserves. Take a stroll along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk and admire the stunning views of the harbor, or explore the diverse ecosystems of the nearby Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, home to rare wildlife, pristine beaches, and serene hiking trails.

5. Indulge in Water Sports and Thrilling Activities

Destin is a haven for thrill-seekers and water sports enthusiasts. Try your hand at parasailing and soar above the emerald waters for a bird’s-eye view of the coastline. For an adrenaline rush, hop on a jet ski and zip across the waves, or embark on a kayaking adventure through the scenic Choctawhatchee Bay.

6. Shop and Dine at Destin’s Unique Establishments

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Destin by exploring its charming shops, boutiques, and local markets. Find unique souvenirs, beachwear, and handcrafted items at the Destin Commons or the Village of Baytowne Wharf. After a day of shopping, indulge in fresh seafood at one of the many waterfront restaurants, where you can savor delicious dishes while enjoying stunning sunset views.

7. Enjoy Family-Friendly Attractions

Destin offers a multitude of family-friendly attractions that will keep everyone entertained. Visit the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, where you can interact with dolphins, sea lions, and marine life through educational presentations and live shows. The Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park is another must-visit destination, featuring thrilling water slides, wave pools, and go-kart tracks.

8. Experience Nightlife in Destin

As the sun sets, Destin comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. Head to HarborWalk Village and enjoy live music, waterfront dining, and vibrant bars. Dance the night away at one of the nightclubs or sip on a refreshing cocktail while watching fireworks light up the sky during the summer months.

Exploring the Beaches

Destin boasts some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world, making it a paradise for beach lovers. Whether you’re seeking quiet solitude or vibrant social scenes, here are a few must-visit beaches during your stay:

Henderson Beach State Park:

Henderson Beach State Park:  destin

This pristine beach offers over a mile of secluded shoreline, nestled amidst picturesque sand dunes. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing in peace.

Crystal Beach:

Crystal Beach: destin

This pristine beach offers over a mile of secluded shoreline, nestled amidst picturesque sand dunes. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing in peace

Norriego Point:

Norriego Point: destin

Situated at the entrance of Destin Harbor, Norriego Point is a hidden gem. Take a leisurely stroll along the sandy shores and witness stunning sunsets over the Gulf.

Destin’s Culinary Delights: Top Restaurants to Indulge In

When it comes to culinary experiences, Destin is second to none. With a vast array of dining options, from seafood shacks to upscale eateries, there is something to tantalize every palate. Let’s explore some of the top restaurants that make Destin a food lover’s paradise:

  1. The Back Porch – This iconic waterfront restaurant is renowned for its delicious seafood and panoramic views. Indulge in their signature dish, the Amberjack Sandwich, while savoring the gentle ocean breeze.
  2. Louisiana Lagniappe – For a taste of Cajun flair, head to Louisiana Lagniappe. With its elegant ambiance and delectable dishes such as the Blackened Redfish, this restaurant is a treasure trove of flavors.
  3. Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House – Nestled on the picturesque Destin harbor, Boshamps is a must-visit for seafood enthusiasts. From their famous Oyster Bar to the mouthwatering Grouper Pontchartrain, every bite is a testament to their dedication to culinary excellence.
  4. Beach Walk Henderson Park Inn – Situated in the tranquil Henderson Beach State Park, this intimate beachfront restaurant offers a romantic ambiance and a menu bursting with fresh seafood delights. Treat yourself to their Lobster Bisque or pan-seared Scallops for a truly memorable dining experience.

Unwinding in Style: Best Hotels in Destin

To complete your dream vacation, choosing the perfect accommodation is crucial. Destin boasts a wide range of luxurious hotels and resorts that ensure a comfortable and memorable stay. Here are a few of the best options:

  1. Henderson Park Inn – As one of the top-ranked adult-only hotels in the United States, Henderson Park Inn offers a serene and exclusive experience. With its beachfront location, complimentary breakfast, and personalized service, this charming inn exudes tranquility and elegance.
  2. The Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort – This magnificent resort caters to discerning travelers seeking unmatched luxury. From the lavish rooms with breathtaking views to the world-class spa and fine dining options, every aspect of your stay at The Henderson is designed to pamper and rejuvenate.
  3. The Palms of Destin Resort & Conference Center – Perfect for families and groups, The Palms of Destin offers spacious accommodations and a host of amenities. Whether you’re lounging by the lagoon pool or enjoying the on-site basketball courts and fitness center, this resort has something for everyone.
  4. Silver Shells Beach Resort & Spa – Nestled along the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Silver Shells Beach Resort & Spa is a luxurious oasis. With its private beach, spa, and exquisite dining options, this resort ensures an unforgettable and indulgent retreat.

Best Time to Visit Destin

The climate in Destin is generally pleasant year-round, but there are certain times that offer the best experience. Consider the following factors when planning your trip:


Destin experiences hot and humid summers and mild winters. The peak tourist season is during the summer months when temperatures hover around the 90°F (32°C) mark. If you prefer milder weather, consider visiting during the spring or fall when temperatures range from the 70s°F (20s°C) to mid-80s°F (30s°C).


Destin attracts tourists from all over the world, especially during the summer months. If you prefer quieter surroundings and less crowded beaches, consider visiting during the off-peak season, such as winter or early spring. You’ll still be able to enjoy the city’s charm while avoiding the hustle and bustle.

Events and Festivals

Destin hosts several exciting events and festivals throughout the year. Plan your visit around events like the Destin Seafood Festival or the Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo to experience the city’s vibrant culture and indulge in local traditions.

Packing List: Essentials for Your Destin Adventure

Before embarking on your trip, it’s crucial to have a well-prepared packing list. Here are some essentials you should consider packing for your Destin adventure:

  1. Swimwear: Destin is famous for its stunning beaches, so be sure to pack plenty of swimwear to soak up the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters.
  2. Sunscreen: With the sun shining brightly in Destin, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is a must. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen with a high SPF rating to keep your skin safe.
  3. Beach Towels: Pack a few beach towels to relax on the sand and dry off after a refreshing swim in the ocean.
  4. Protective Gear: If you’re planning on indulging in water sports or activities like snorkeling, be sure to bring along snorkels, masks, and fins to make the most of your underwater adventures.
  5. Light Clothing: This beach destination calls for lightweight and comfortable clothing. Pack breathable cotton outfits that will keep you cool throughout the day.
  6. Flip Flops: Swap your sneakers for a pair of comfortable flip flops to give your feet a break and enjoy the laid-back beach vibes.
  7. Beach Bag: A beach bag is essential for carrying all your beach essentials, including sunscreen, beach towels, and snacks.

Trip Planning Resources was established in 1996 and has since grown to become one of the largest online travel agencies in the world. With an inventory of over 28 million accommodation options in over 230 countries and territories, it offers an unparalleled selection for travelers of all kinds. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel, a cozy bed and breakfast, or even a budget-friendly hostel, has you covered.

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Hi!I’m Kim!

A passionate adventurer, homesteader, home cook and food lover who loves nothing more than sharing my favorite trips, skills , and recipes with the world.



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