Charity De Souza is a Florida native and travel enthusiast. Traveling to over 50 countries abroad and residing in 6, she has a passion for exploring new cultures. While Central Florida is where she calls home, her favorite travel memories include skydiving in Switzerland and watching the sunset in Morocco.
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Nestled on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin is an alluring Panhandle destination known for its white-sand beaches, emerald-hued waters and ample fishing opportunities. From adventurous pirate cruises to kid-friendly waterparks and delectable seafood offerings, Destin caters to travelers of all ages. Full of natural splendor and outdoor attractions, read on to discover the best things to do in Destin, Florida.
What Is It? Another idyllic escape in Destin is Crystal Beach.
Why Do It? Lined with rainbow-colored beach cottages, you can sit under the shade of an umbrella, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters and dig your toes in the sand as you listen to the peaceful sound of the tide rolling in.
Good to Know:This dreamy beach area is a favorite amongst the locals, as its quiet landscapes also offer easy access to pavilions and picnic tables.
What Is It? Destin is known for its range of enticing seafood joints, so much so that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one.
Why Do It? You’ll find some of the best seafood restaurants in Florida here. Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer is popular for its “hook and cook” cuisine with steamed and boiled shellfish platters, while Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House boasts “Gulf to Table Southern Cuisine” with beautiful views over the harbor.
Good to Know:Head to Dewey Destin’s to dine on fresh grouper, or dig into the Creole-style seafood dishes at Louisiana Lagniappe.
What Is It? A perfect respite from the heat, take the kids to Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park, one of the best waterparks in the state.
Why Do It? Loaded with over 40 attractions, hop on Kowabunga Racer with four of your friends and plunge down 300 feet in a race to the finish on a “speed mat” down a slide the length of a football field.
Good to Know:While the waterpark is open from mid-May to August, you can still enjoy the racetrack, park rides and mini-golf course year-round.
What Is It? Grayton Beach State Park is home to one of the state’s most pristine beaches for swimming, and its location 23 miles east of Destin makes it a hotspot for day trips.
Why Do It? In addition to experiencing one of the prettiest white-sand beaches in Florida, you can admire the quiet landscapes and Gulf of Mexico views, or spend your day swimming, surf fishing or hiking through the coastal forest nature trails.
Good to Know:Those who want to indulge in an overnight adventure can book one of the charming cabins available on site, while campgrounds are also available.
What Is It? Home to a scenic golf course, those looking to improve their swing can head to Kelly Plantation Golf Club.
Why Do It? Constructed on the former site of a turpentine plantation, this visually impressive 18-hole course showcases miles of manicured grounds and waterfront landscapes, lined by bayous and magnolia and palmetto trees.
Good to Know:Set along the Choctawhatchee Bay, make sure to admire the 7.5-acre lake that surrounds holes 9 and 18.
What Is It? A perfect excursion for when you’re in need of a souvenir, head to the outdoor retail shops in Destin Commons.
Why Do It? You’ll find a wide range of local and national brands selling anything from electronics and sporting goods to homewares and beauty products, with stores like Bass Pro Shops and H&M available.
Good to Know:After you’ve gotten your fill of browsing the window displays, take a break in the on-site movie theater or grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants nearby.