16 Best Things to Do In Destin, Florida

Destin, Florida, is a magical experience with its white sand beaches and crystal blue waters.

Its beauty is owed to the quartz crystal that has been worn down over generations to form the soft, powdery sand that makes Destin a popular vacation spot.

You’ll find there’s much more to this oasis than only the beach, though.

Destin offers plenty of things to do once you’ve had your fill of soaking in the sun and waves.

Things to Do In Destin, Florida

Family Fun

These activities are great whether you’ve got a big group with kids or just want to experience some good, clean fun.

Call ahead to ensure everything is open before you head over.

The Track

the track
Youtube/On The Go Orozcos
Address: 1125 US-98, Destin, FL 32541
Opening Hours: 10 am to 10 pm daily
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays during the morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds
Cost: Prices vary per attraction, starting at $3.50

The Track is an amusement park that’s perfect for anyone who enjoys a little fast-paced fun.

You’ll find minigolf, go-karts, bumper boats, and an arcade.

For convenience, consider buying tickets online and using your phone to get in.

It’ll save a bit of time, though you’ll have to go to a kiosk and print off your card.

You should also check height requirements before you go to ensure any children in the group will be able to ride the attractions. 

Tip: Purchase a value pack online for discounted rates on multiple attractions.

HarbourWalk Village

harbourwalk village
Address: 10 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
Opening Hours: Most businesses operate from 10 am to 10 pm, but hours vary by individual store or restaurant
Best Time to Visit: Early evening for dinner and sunset views
Cost: Free to walk around, individual attractions and restaurants vary in price

HarbourWalk Village is an area jam-packed with activities to amuse any group.

The village offers various exciting options, including the requisite restaurants and stores.

But you can also try more adventurous activities such as rock climbing, zip-lining, and axe throwing.

If you’re looking for something more relaxed, you can play mini-golf.

And for those who want to challenge themselves mentally, try your hand at an escape room.

That said, more thrilling activities are available, like booking an excursion.

Before you go, the best thing you can do is look at what they offer and plan for what you want to see the most.

It’s easy to pick something early only to realize later a different option would have pleased you more. 

Tip: Check the calendar for special events and live entertainment.

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

flickr/Larry Syverson
Address: 1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays in the morning to avoid crowds
Cost: $22.95 for adults, $14.95 for children (ages 3-12)

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is an incredible destination that has been operating since 1955.

Their primary focus is on preserving wildlife, making them a unique and educational destination suitable for people of all ages.

You can witness stunning animals such as dolphins, harbor seals, penguins, and stingrays, amongst others, in their natural habitats as well as performances.

This experience is a remarkable opportunity for you to cherish the natural beauty of these creatures while educating yourself about preserving their environment.

They also offer a variety of different events you can attend, like a Painting Under the Sea night where everyone paints a relevant picture together.

It’s always worth checking their website to see what events are happening during your visit to make the most of your experience. 

Tip: Book a behind-the-scenes tour for a more in-depth experience.


Youtube/Super Family Fun
Address: Various locations throughout Destin
Opening Hours: Typically open 10 am to 10 pm daily
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays or early evenings to avoid crowds
Cost: Prices vary depending on games and activities

There are a lot of arcades in Destin to check out – and there’s no reason to stop at just one.

Fat Daddy’s Arcade boasts a card system instead of having to carry around tokens and tickets for their standard arcade offerings.

Thrills Laser Tag and Arcade has a neon vibe with plenty of games to play while you wait for your turn at laser tag.

Rainforest Black Light Golf and Arcade have a very cool effect, especially if you choose a neon ball while you play through the course.

Tip: Look for deals or coupons online to save on tokens or game cards. 

Outdoor Adventures

If you want to get a little closer to nature, check out these outdoor adventures.

Whether you like to relax in the sun or get a little more active, there are plenty of options. 


Youtube/Ian Macfarlane
Address: Various charter services in Destin
Opening Hours: Charters typically depart in the morning
Best Time to Visit: Early morning for calm waters and optimal visibility
Cost: Prices vary by charter service, starting at around $150 per person

There are plenty of fishing charter options for the avid fisherman, but you should also consider checking out freediving and spearfishing.

If you haven’t been before, you can book an instructor to go with you and teach you the ropes.

Places like Benthic Ocean Sports will let you rent equipment, take you out, and help you learn to spear the fish that surround you.

Wherever you book, call ahead to check for the requirements and book an appointment. 

Tip: Book in advance and research local licensing and catch limits regulations.

Dolphin Cruise

dolphine cruise
flickr/Will D
Address: Various providers in Destin Harbor
Opening Hours: Cruises typically operate between 9 am and 7 pm
Best Time to Visit: Late afternoon or sunset cruises for cooler temperatures and better chances of spotting dolphins
Cost: Prices vary by provider, starting at around $25 per person

Dolphin cruises are a great chance to get out on the water and see some wildlife up close.

Tour guides like those at Destin Dolphin Cruise are knowledgeable and will help you get near the dolphins as well as answer questions about the local area.

Many boats will play some music, too, and the breathtaking views of the ocean, warm sunshine, and the company of these friendly creatures will make your day perfect.

For the best and most memorable experience, Plan to take one of these on a beautiful day to have the best experience.

Tip: Look for group discounts or bundled activity packages for additional savings.

Crab Island

crab island
flickr/Scott Jackson
Address: Accessible by boat in the Choctawhatchee Bay
Opening Hours: 24/7, but popular during daylight hours
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays in the morning or early afternoon to avoid crowds
Cost: Boat rental fees vary; free to access Crab Island itself

Crab Island is a place to spend a day with some good drinks and good friends.

The island offers various attractions like floating bars, adrenaline-fueled obstacle courses, and ample opportunities to soak in the sun while indulging in water-based activities.

The waters surrounding Crab Island are shallow, with a depth of fewer than four feet in most areas, providing you the chance to swim carelessly throughout the day.

You have the choice to take a tour boat or charter your vessel to anchor near the island.

The best time to visit Crab Island is during high tide, ensuring a pleasant experience.

Food isn’t always available, but there are often vendors on their own crafts. Pack your own to be safe. 

Tip: Bring sun protection, snacks, and beverages for a fun day on the water.


flickr/Trent Begeman
Address: Various providers along Destin's beaches
Opening Hours: Typically operate from 9 am to 6 pm
Best Time to Visit: Mornings or late afternoons for calmer winds and cooler temperatures
Cost: Prices vary by provider, starting at around $80 per person

Parasailing takes you high over the water as you float in the air behind a boat.

You’ll see more than just Destin itself.

Many people notice the marine life from so high up, and you’ll get views you can’t see anywhere else.

Check with the company you book with before you go to make sure you meet the requirements.

For example, Gilligan requires people to be between 90 and 450 pounds and can fly between two and three people. 

Tip: Book online in advance and check for seasonal discounts.

Great Dates

Spending a little time together with that special someone is the highlight of any vacation. Here are some date ideas to help you plan a romantic time together. 

Tiki bar tour

tiki bar tour
Youtube/Ocean Reef Resorts
Address: Various tiki bars in Destin
Opening Hours: Most tiki bars operate from 11 am to 11 pm
Best Time to Visit: Early evening for happy hour
specials and sunset views

Cost: Prices vary by bar; expect to pay around $10-$15 per drink

For a fun tiki bar tour, check out Cruisin’ Tiki Destin, where you can set out on the water along with a few tasty drinks.

Travelers mention enjoying the sunset cruise and even getting to hop in the water with their drinks, depending on the weather.

Some of the boats even have floaties and water toys to make things a little more silly.

With a little luck, you may even spot a pod of dolphins on your trip. 

Tip: Plan your route and consider using a rideshare service for safe transportation.

Baytowne Wharf

baytowne wharf
Address: 9100 Baytowne Wharf Blvd, Miramar Beach, FL 32550
Opening Hours: Most businesses operate from 10 am to 10 pm, but hours vary by individual store or restaurant
Best Time to Visit: Early evening for dinner, shopping, and live entertainment
Cost: Free to walk around, individual attractions and restaurants vary in price

The Village of Baytowne Wharf is a great place to eat, shop, and spend time together.

When you want an easy day with a bit of walking involved, grab your wallet and head over.

It’s especially great at night because you can take in music, have a drink, or even dance, depending on the venues you choose to visit.

If you get lucky, you can even catch fireworks or outdoor films.

Tip: Check their Facebook group to see what they have going on before you choose a day to visit. 

Helicopter Tours

Youtube/Helicopter Tour Over Destin Florida!
Address: Various providers in Destin
Opening Hours: Tours typically operate between 9 am and 5 pm
Best Time to Visit: Mornings or late afternoons for optimal visibility and cooler temperatures
Cost: Prices vary by provider, starting at around $50 per person

One great way to get a bird’s eye view of Destin is to take a helicopter tour.

Companies like Timberview Helicopters offer a variety of tour packages, including a 14-mile flight down the coast or a 20-mile flight over a deep water shelf.

The longer the tour, the higher the fee.

There are weight limits, and if you want a private tour for two people, you may need to book a special package to ensure you’re alone. 

Tip: Book in advance and choose a tour that includes sights you’re most interested in.

Shard Shop

shard shop
Address: 34940 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Suite 114, Destin, FL 32541
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday 12 pm to 6 pm
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays for smaller class sizes and more personalized attention
Cost: Prices vary by project, starting at around $35 per person

The Shard Shop is an art boutique that offers classes where you can make a memory to take home from the beach with you.

Glass and broken pottery are used in the designs, and they’re finished with resin so that they last a lifetime.

Keep in mind that the art isn’t ready until the next day because it has to be cured, so don’t make this the last stop of your trip. 

Tip: Wear closed-toe shoes and prepare to get a little messy while creating unique glass art.

Local Flavor

If you’re a history buff, there are a lot of places to go and learn more about the local area.

Air Force Armament Museum

air force armament
flickr/Photog aka eddie penland
Address: 100 Museum Dr, Eglin AFB, FL 32542
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 am to 4:30 pm, closed Sunday and Monday
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays to avoid crowds
Cost: Free admission

If you like military history or things that fly, make a trip to the Air Force Armament Museum.

They have decommissioned planes, helicopters, and even artillery.

You can also use their walking trail to get a little more time outside once you’ve seen everything.

The SR-71 Blackbird is definitely an impressive sight, plus admission is free.

Bring your camera, because they encourage you to take photographs. 

Tip: Allow at least 1.5 hours to explore the exhibits and outdoor aircraft displays.

Destin History and Fishing Museum

destin history and fishing museum
flickr/Nathanael “Sparky” Miller
Address: 108 Stahlman Ave, Destin, FL 32541
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 am to 4 pm, closed Sunday and Monday
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays in the morning or early afternoon
Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (62+), $3 for children (7-17), free for children 6 and under

To learn more about Destin itself, check out the local museum.

You can park right outside, and admission is relatively inexpensive.

Once you’re in, you can browse through exhibits that discuss the local area, its history, and the fish you might find in the waters.

One interesting fact you’ll learn at the museum? Jaws 2 was filmed nearby!

Tip: Visit during a special event or fishing tournament for a more immersive experience.

Indian Temple Mound Museum

flickr/Innisfree Hotels
Address: 139 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 am to 4:30 pm, closed Sunday
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays in the morning or early afternoon
Cost: $5 for adults, $4.50 for seniors (55+), $3 for children (4-17), free for children 3 and under

Here you can learn about the indigenous people of Destin and many of the early settlers who made it home.

They have special exhibits, a Confederate Fort, and an old post office that you can see bundled with the same ticket on-site.

The special exhibits change regularly, providing fresh and exciting content for visitors.

One of the best features of the museum is its intimate size.

It’s not a huge museum, but it can give you some great context to the local area and really help round out your vacation. 

Tip: Combine your visit with a trip to the nearby Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum.

Holland Farms

holland farms
flickr/Lennart van D
Address: 2055 Homer Holland Rd, Milton, FL 32570
Opening Hours: September-October: Monday-Saturday 8 am to 6 pm, Sunday 9 am to 6 pm; hours vary outside of pumpkin patch season
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays in the morning or early afternoon to avoid crowds
Cost: $12 general admission, additional cost for special events or activities

For something a little different, visit Holland Farms.

You can rent a wagon, take a pony ride, and enjoy local food from the vendors.

There are also plenty of fun physical activities, like a barrel walk, glider, and slides.

Take a train ride through the property and check out the sunflower fields to put a little beauty into your day. 

Tip: Check their website for up-to-date information on seasonal events.

Relaxation and Wellness

  • Spas and Massage Centers Destin offers various spas and massage centers where you can unwind and rejuvenate. Some popular options include Serenity by the Sea Spa, Henderson’s Salamander Spa, and Massage Envy.
  • Yoga and Fitness Classes Stay active and balanced during your vacation by attending yoga or fitness classes. Studios like Destin Hot Yoga, Pure Barre Destin, and The Yoga Haus offer different styles and levels to suit your needs.
  • Beach Meditation: Connect with nature and practice mindfulness by meditating on Destin’s pristine beaches. For a serene experience, we suggest you go for early morning or sunset sessions. The peaceful sound of the waves and the breathtaking views will help to clear your mind and soothe your soul. 

Water Sports and Activities

  • Paddleboarding and Kayaking Rent a paddleboard or kayak and explore Destin’s waters up close. Many local rental shops and guided tours are available to help you navigate the area.
  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving Discover the underwater world of Destin by snorkeling or scuba diving. Local dive shops and tour operators offer lessons, equipment rentals, and guided excursions.
  • Jet Skiing and Boat Rentals Experience the thrill of jet skiing or rent a boat to explore Destin’s waterways at your own pace. Numerous rental companies in the area provide a variety of options for all skill levels.

Shopping and Dining

  • Destin Commons Shop at this open-air shopping center featuring popular retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment options like a movie theater and playground.
  • Silver Sands Premium Outlets Find great deals on designer brands at this large outlet mall, featuring over 100 stores.
  • Local Seafood Restaurants Savor the fresh, local seafood in Destin by dining at popular eateries like Dewey Destin’s Seafood, Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House, and The Back Porch.

Festivals and Events

  • Destin Seafood Festival: Held annually in October, the Destin Seafood Festival celebrates the area’s fishing heritage with live music, arts and crafts, and delicious seafood.
  • Destin Fishing Rodeo: Participate in or watch this month-long fishing tournament in October, featuring daily weigh-ins and various prizes for anglers.
  • Annual Sandestin Wine Festival: Held in April, this event features wine tastings, culinary treats, live music, and seminars for wine enthusiasts.

Seize the Sunshine: Unleash Your Dream Destin Getaway Today!

Whatever you decide to do in Destin, you’re sure to have a great time.

Once upon a time, the peninsula was actually an island, and it offers many of the same beautiful views and activities that you’ll find in similar destinations.

It’s a perfect little gem on the gulf coast, so don’t hesitate to book a trip today.

Discover More Florida Destinations!

After enjoying Tampa’s attractions, explore more of Florida:
Explore Florida: Find diverse experiences, from beaches to cities and natural parks, in our Florida guide.
Orlando: For theme parks, shopping, and nightlife, check out our Orlando guide.
Fort Walton Beach: Relax on white-sand beaches and enjoy water sports with our Fort Walton Beach guide.
Happy travels, and discover the best of Florida!