9+ Unusual Things to Do in Destin Florida

Set sail into the sunset on a Destin Harbor voyage and discover secrets whispered by the winds. Will you unlock...?
Date Published
March 8, 2024

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Ever wondered how it would feel to have your breath taken away by the vibrant colors of a sunset while sailing across the serene waters of Destin Harbor? Yeah, Destin, Florida—that's right. Not ringing any bells? Let me fix that for you. Nestled against the Emerald Coast's picturesque Gulf of Mexico, Destin is a gem that's been shining under the radar for far too long. And guess what? It’s absolutely brimming with unique adventures that you won't find just anywhere—a city where the harbor isn't just a harbor, but a gateway to nautical bliss, the bayous are not merely wetlands but a mosaic of ecological treasures, and the markets, oh the markets, they’re a carnival of artisanal delights that can tickle even the pickiest of taste buds.

So what’s the fuss about? Well, pack your bags, because we’re about to name-drop like it’s hot. We're talking about Destin Harbor sailing trips that will knock your flip-flops off, eco-tours that redefine the word "wild," and sunset sailing experiences that defy what you thought you knew about the golden hour. Dive into an ocean of activities famed for tickling every fancy—from plunging into the Gulf for a Destin deep-sea fishing charter that’ll have you reeling (pun intended) to capturing those perfect beach photo sessions that scream #VacationGoals.

But hold onto your sunhats,


Embark on a Destin Harbor Sailing Voyage

Picture this: It's golden hour, the time when the sun paints the sky with shades of orange and pink, and you're gliding over the gentle waves of Destin Harbor. Yup, that's what Destin harbor sailing trips can gift you. Trust me, there's nothing quite like catching the sunset on one of these serene sails. The whole experience is a blend of peace and adventure that hooks both laid-back beachcombers and spirited voyagers.

Now, let’s talk specifics. Most sails last about two hours—enough time to escape reality and let the rhythm of the ocean lull you into a state of pure bliss. You might even get to steer the boat if the captain's feeling generous. But let's not get too carried away, folks; it's more about embracing the salty breeze and less about commandeering the ship like Captain Jack Sparrow.

As for the crowd, these sails are a hit with everyone. Whether you're on a romantic getaway, bonding with the family, or in town for a solo retreat, it's got something for you. Got kids? They'll love watching dolphins play in the wake. Singles and couples? Sit back with a glass of something sparkly and drink in the views—ahh, pure magic.

But let me tell you, the true star of these excursions are the sunset sailing experiences. They're the VIP of views. Definitely a bucket-list-worthy affair.

So, after a day of exploring, be sure to carve out some time for a sailing trip. It's like pressing the slower-motion button on your vacation, each moment more picturesque than the last. Remember to bring a light jacket, 'cause it can get a bit nippy on the water after sundown. And honestly, carve out a good chunk of your evening—you'll want to savor every second.


Discover Bayou Treasures on a Destin Eco-Tour

Picture yourself winding through the lush, green waterways, the murmur of wildlife stirring around you — welcome to the heart of nature on a Destin eco-tour. These adventures are far from your typical beach day; they're an up-close and personal encounter with Florida's coastal ecosystems. And let's be real, it's like stepping into a living, breathing postcard!

You, my friend, are in for some real treats because Destin eco-tours are a jackpot of natural wonders. Get ready to:


  • Spot local wildlife as you glide through the serene bayous.
  • Revel in coastal nature hikes that lead you through unspoiled landscapes.


As you hop onto a kayak or paddleboard, prepare to paddle through tranquility and learn strides about the local habitat — and no worries if you're a beginner, there's something for every skill level. And, if your legs are itching for solid ground, venture on a nature hike where the chorus of birds serenades you through a shoreline trek.

For families, eco-tours are a gold mine of educational fun. Kids can ogle at ospreys or gasp as fish dart through the clear waters. Singles, you're not left out — imagine the Insta-worthy selfies with a backdrop of Destin's hidden waterways! And yes, for all you adrenaline junkies, racing through the bayou with your paddle might just quench that thirst for excitement.

Whether it's a two-hour escape or a full-day expedition, these tours adjust to your schedule. And the best part? You're minutes away from Destin's beaches and eateries — because after all that paddling and hiking, you’ll need some top-tier grub. So gear up for an immersive journey and take a swing at the local favorite, the Destin eco-tours.

To sum it up: Get ready to blend adventure with nature's beauty on your eco-tour. It's the unbeaten path to an unforgettable experience in Destin. See you in the great outdoors!


Enjoy Artisan Delights at Destin's Local Markets

Picture yourself wandering through aisles lined with the freshest catches and treats that scream "Eat me!" Destin's local markets are a cornucopia of flavor where you can indulge in a local seafood market visit or go ice cream parlor hopping.

Destin isn't just about beaches and boats; the local markets here are a treasure trove of artisan goods that'll make your taste buds do a happy dance. You've got seafood so fresh, you’d swear it just leaped out of the Gulf! And here's the scoop: the ice cream parlors are dishing out flavors that'll make you feel like a kid with a golden ticket in a candy shop.

Give your palate the tour it deserves:


  • Hop between 2-3 ice cream parlors, each with their own signature style and flavors that'll have you coming back for more.
  • Schedule 3-5 local seafood market visits because, honestly, why settle for just one? Explore the colorful stalls brimming with the day’s catch, and meet the friendly faces behind these family-run stands.


So, what's the catch? None! Just pure, indulgent fun. Whether you've got a hankering for some silky-smooth gelato or jonesing for a jumbo shrimp, these markets cater to everyone. Solo adventure-seeker? Family pack? The laid-back, friendly vibe of Destin's markets means there's a sweet (or savory) spot for all.

Make it a day event; start with a seafood sample platter, ease into the afternoon with a crafty cone or sundae, and hey, why not grab some local jams or spices for the road? Your only regret will be not having enough room to try everything.

So, while you're exploring all that beautiful Destin has to offer, don't forget to treat yourself to these small but mighty markets that are bursting with local charm and flavors. Trust me, your Instagram and your stomach will thank you. Now, what are you waiting for? Dive into the sights, smells, and tastes of Destin's delightful markets!


Capture Memories with Destin Beach Photo Sessions

Imagine the soft white sands under your toes, the blush of sunset reflecting off the crystal-clear Gulf waters, and you're there, right in the middle of this picture-perfect scene. But guess what? This isn't just a dreamy backdrop; you can freeze this moment in time with a Destin beach photo session!

Destin boasts some of the most stunning shoreline, and beach photo sessions here are something else. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, and honey, these photos will write novels. So why would you settle for a selfie when you can have a professional capture you and your loved ones with these jaw-dropping views?

Now, let's chat about who this is perfect for. Are you here to celebrate love? Maybe a family get-together? Or do you want that solo glam shot that says, "I'm living my best life"? Whatever it is, beach photo sessions are ideal for everyone—yes, even toddlers look adorbs with the beach as their stage!

You'll find plenty of seasoned photographers in Destin ready to turn your moments into treasures. From a romantic couple's shoot to a full-blown family affair, they've got you covered. And the best part? Most photographers know the hidden spots, the secret times when the lighting is just divine, and how to capture that spontaneous laugh or the gentle caress of the ocean breeze. It's all about making memories that'll last longer than your tan lines.

Make sure you book in advance, especially if you're eyeing a sunset slot. Those golden hours are prime time for magic, and slots fill up faster than ice melts in Florida sun! Spend about an hour, give or take, and let the photographer guide you. They'll have you feeling like a beachside model in no time. Trust me, you'll walk away with a gallery that screams, "This is Destin, and it's beautiful, just like you!"

Remember, this isn't just about the photos—it's about the experience. It's a chance to truly soak in the beauty of Destin's beaches and have a blast while doing it. Whether it's giggles or tender moments, each click of the camera is capturing the essence of your Destin story.

So, smile wide, strike that pose, and let the Emerald Coast backdrop do the talking. This, my friend, is one souvenir that won't stay tucked in a drawer!


Venture Offshore on a Destin Deep-Sea Fishing Charter

Imagine the salty sea breeze in your hair, the vast blue Gulf waters around you, fish teeming below, all while you've got the fishing line in hand waiting for the big one to bite. That's what you get on a Destin deep-sea fishing charter. You, my friend, are in for a serious adventure - and maybe even the catch of a lifetime!

Destin charter fishing trips aren't just a boat ride. Here's where you can show off your rod-wielding skills or learn a few tricks from the seasoned captains and crew. Whether you're looking to wrangle a fierce marlin or a sleek tuna, these charters are where memories (and fish tales) are made.


  • Why is deep-sea fishing a must in Destin?
  • It's the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village," after all.
  • The Gulf's depths are teeming with game fish.
  • Expert crews are ready to make your trip unforgettable.


With options that range from half-day jaunts to full-day excursions, you can choose your own sea-worthy adventure. Worried about experience? Don't be! These trips cater to both newbie fishers and the well-seasoned angler. While you battle the deep-sea behemoths, keep an eye out for dolphins playing in the wake – they love to steal the spotlight.

For an unforgettable experience, book a fishing charter and hightail it off the coast of Destin. Just be ready to wrestle with some of the most sought-after fish in the sea while you swap tales and make friends with fellow fishing enthusiasts.

Pulling in a hefty catch isn't only exhilarating – it's a full-on workout! Expect to flex those muscles because these Gulf fish don't come up without a fight. It's not only thrilling for solo travelers but insanely fun for families and friends. So, what are you waiting for? Get those sea legs ready, we've got fish to catch!


Savor Sunsets at Henderson Beach State Park

Imagine the sun painting the sky in hues of orange and pink as it dips below the horizon, the sound of waves gently lapping at the shore, and the soft feel of white sand between your toes—that's just a taste of what awaits at Henderson Beach State Park.


What kind of outings can you expect at Henderson Beach State Park?

You can expect serene beach vistas perfect for picnicking, a nature trail teeming with wildlife, and most profoundly, awe-inspiring sunsets that command your attention.


Why Henderson Beach State Park is a Must-Visit

Henderson Beach State Park isn't just any strip of sand; it's 6,000 feet of scenic shoreline tucked away in Destin, offering a respite from the buzz of city life. Feeling adventurous? Trek the nature trail and keep your eyes peeled for gopher tortoises, or simply relax and absorb the panoramic views of emerald waters.

Photography enthusiasts and lovebirds, listen up! The gradient skies at dusk provide a perfect backdrop for a memorable beach photo session. Trust us, the selfies will be epic.

Families, you've found your paradise. The kids can splash around while you set up a serene beachside picnic. And if you're flying solo or with your other half, soak in the tranquil vibes or cozy up for the sunset show.


Nearby Attractions

Once you've had your fill of sunset magic, don't think the fun has to stop. Nearby, you'll find cozy eateries where you can savor fresh, local seafood and cap off the day with a creamy scoop from a local ice cream parlor.


How long should you spend at Henderson Beach State Park?

Give yourself at least 2 to 3 hours here. Enough time to lounge, explore, and witness the day shift to night, but who are we kidding? You might never want to leave.

What's that? You're ready to bolt to Henderson Beach State Park? We don't blame you. Wrap up your day amidst the natural beauty of Destin with a sunset that'll have you saying, "Let's do it all over again tomorrow!"


Experience Secluded Shores on Destin Beach Exploration

You're walking on the soft white sand, a gentle breeze caresses your face, the sound of waves lapping against the shore fills the air. You're exploring Destin's secluded beaches, and in this moment, nothing else matters. Imagine a place where every step brings a new discovery, where the hustle of daily life is left far behind. You've found your slice of paradise right here.

Destin's beaches offer an escape for everyone – from the solitude seeker to the adventure enthusiast. They're not just stretches of sand; they're sanctuaries of peace. You can spend a full day here, from sun-up when the sand is cool and inviting, to sunset when the sky explodes in colors that’ll make your heart soar.

Perfect for families who want to build epic sandcastles, friends on a getaway looking to laugh and splash in the waves, or couples desiring a romantic stroll at dusk – Destin's beaches are versatile. And if you're one to seek the thrill, grab a surfboard and ride the emerald waves. Close by, you'll find quaint eateries where you can refuel with some fresh, local seafood for a taste as miraculous as the view.

So, what makes these shores stand out from the rest of Florida's vast coastline? It's the serenity and untouched beauty that seem almost otherworldly. It's where sea turtles find solitude to nest and where dolphins play just beyond the break. Don the snorkel gear and gaze upon vibrant marine life that gives the feeling you've plunged into a living, breathing aquarium.

You want to know the best part? On your way to these hidden gems, you might just find your very own secret spot. So, bold explorers and beach lovers, it's time to let the sands of Destin lead the way to memories that will last a lifetime. And hey, just in case you want to plan your coastal adventure with the utmost precision, you can get more insights on the secluded shores that make Destin a must-visit.


Delight in Local Crafts at the Destin Commons

Dive into the heart of local creativity at Destin Commons, a bustling hub where shopping and entertainment collide. You won't just shop; you'll embark on a treasure hunt for unique crafts and quirky finds that scream Destin charm. With over 90 stores, it's like a candy store for shopaholics but also a perfect family hangout spot. You've got your checklist — destin common shopping trips, check!

Between the palm-lined streets, the Destin Commons unfolds like a colorful tapestry of local artisans showing off their masterpieces. Here's the scoop on why this place is a magnet for all:


  • Local Color: Bursting with vibrant goods crafted by the talented hands of Destin's artisans, it's an explosion of culture served on a platter. Gawk at the hand-painted ceramics and whisper a silent prayer of thanks for not having to bring another generic magnet home.
  • Family Frolics: Got kids in tow? Fantastic! Let them loose on the epic playground while you sip on a latte from that chic cafĂ© over yonder. Or, better yet, turn them into mini treasure hunters looking for the perfect souvenir to take home.
  • Sweet Tooth Heaven: Oh, you thought this was just about crafts? Wrong! Prepare to say goodbye to your diet because the sweet treats here are irresistible. Whether it's the whiff of freshly baked cookies or the frozen nirvana of the local ice cream parlors — happiness is just a bite away.


Whether it's a solo mission to find that perfect handcrafted necklace or a family outing that leaves everyone buzzing with excitement, Destin Commons has got you covered. Spend a leisurely 2-4 hours here, because why rush? Especially when there's a splash fountain beckoning you to frolic under the Floridian sun.

And let's not overlook the destin boardwalk visits that beckon; steps away, the boardwalk is your ticket to stunning waterfront views that'll have your Instagram followers turning green with envy.

So, grab that shopping bag, slap on some sunscreen, and revel in the quirky joys of Destin Commons. This isn't just shopping; it's a delightful journey into the heart of Destin's vibrant community spirit.


Glide Along on Destin Harbor Paddleboard Rentals

Imagine the sun kissing your skin, the salty breeze playing with your hair, and the gentle lull of waves beneath you as you glide across the glistening water. That's the serenity you'll find with paddleboard rentals on the Emerald Coast. Whether you a solo adventurer seeking tranquility or a group of friends craving some fun, paddleboarding in Destin Harbor is an absolute must.

Paddleboarding not only gives you a unique perspective of Destin's picturesque harbor—it's also a fabulous workout and a much-needed digital detox. Picture this: you, standing tall on your board, surrounded by nothing but crystal-clear waters, with dolphins occasionally surfacing nearby. Yes, that's the kind of moment that turns into a lifelong memory.

Here's the scoop:


  • Rentals are typically available by the hour, so you can choose how long you want to explore.
  • Even if you're a newbie, most rental places offer a quick lesson to get you started.
  • For the best experience, aim for early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday sun.


So, who's this perfect for? Honestly, everyone! Families will love the laughter-filled bonding time, couples can enjoy a romantic paddle at sunset, and it's ideal for those of you out there who just want to chillax in the middle of the ocean (well, the harbor, but let's not get nitpicky).

Pro Tip: Go for those Insta-worthy moments by catching the sunset while on the water. It's the perfect backdrop for a silhouette shot that'll make all your friends double-tap with envy. Oh, and while you're at it, click here to find the hottest spots for paddleboard rentals and get ready to have an absolute blast on the water!


Magical Evenings at Destin Harborwalk Village Events

Imagine strolling down the boardwalk as the sun dips into the Gulf, painting the sky with strokes of pink and orange. At Destin Harborwalk Village, you're in for evenings that are nothing short of magical. Trust me, the Harborwalk Village events are where memories cling to you like the salty air.

Now, what exactly awaits you here? Live music, festivals, fireworks—you name it! These aren't your run-of-the-mill small-town affairs, they're full-blown celebrations that light up the harbor and invite you to dance under the stars. What sort of crowd gathers here, you ask? Everyone! Whether you're flying solo, on a date, or towing along your energetic kiddos, there's a vibe here that's inclusive and buzzing with energy.

Bring your appetite, because between catching live performances, there's a cornucopia of delicious eats to devour. You're on vacation, so calories don't count—at least that's the unofficial Harborwalk motto, right? From fresh seafood to the sweetest ice cream, your taste buds are in for a tour de force.

And hey, you can't forget about the shopping. This is the perfect chance to snag some local crafts, a cool new outfit, or maybe even a whimsical trinket to symbolize your Destin adventure.

Here's a pro tip: carve out an entire evening for the Harborwalk hustle. The events usually kick off when the sun starts to bow out, and you'll want to soak in every moment without rushing. So, clear your schedule, put on your comfy shoes, and dive headfirst into the pulsing heart of Destin's nightlife.

Before you hit the hay, cap off the night with a stroll along the water, because nothing—absolutely nothing—beats the tranquility of the harbor at night. It's the sort of peace that calms your soul and brings a grin to your face. A perfect end to a perfect evening, wouldn't you say?


Uncover Hidden History at Destin Museums


Let's time travel, shall we? Imagine stepping right into the salty sea breeze of yesteryear at the Destin History & Fishing Museum. Ever wondered what old-school fishing gear looked like or how Destin came to be known as "The World's Luckiest Fishing Village"? Oh, you're about to find out.

At this gem of a museum, you can dive deep into Destin's past. The exhibits are packed with antique fishing rods that would make any modern angler do a double-take. Authentic seine nets, still smelling faintly of past catches, are on display beside photographs of rugged fishers and their legendary hauls.

But it's not just about fish and nets. The museum casts a wide net, showcasing relics that tell tales of the early days of Destin. From the days of hardy homesteaders to the evolution of a bustling fishing industry, every artifact has a story.

And hey, you; make sure to check out the collection of fossils - yes, fossils! These pieces of history tell a way older story about the land you're standing on. It's the kind of spot where both little tykes with boundless curiosity and grown-ups with a taste for history can have a blast.

Planning Your Visit:


  • Duration: Give it a good hour or two. There's more to see than you'd think.
  • Perfect For: Families, history buffs, and, well, pretty much anyone who's ever cast a line or enjoyed a fish tale.
  • Nearby: After soaking in the history, you're just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the docks, where today's captains can tell you a fish story or two.


So, grab your crew, because it's a goldmine for brainy fun and a heartfelt nod to the anglers of days gone by. Discover the tools, the stories, and the legacy that's as rich as a Destin fishing trip yours ever hoped to be.


Dive Destin's Underwater Wonders on Snorkeling Trips


Ever dream of gliding through crystal-clear waters while schools of vibrant fish dart around you? Well, it's time to slip on those fins because snorkeling trips along the Emerald Coast are your ticket to an underwater extravaganza that'll have your Instagram friends green with envy.

These snorkeling trips showcase a side of Destin that many don’t know exists. You'll trade sandy toes for flippers and become part of the aquatic ballet, with starfish and sea turtles as your co-stars. Picture yourself floating above a canvas of coral, spying on the silent conversations between octopuses and crabs. It's an intimate peek into the ocean life Destin is famous for.

While the Emerald Coast embraces you with warmth, on these snorkeling adventures, you'll be caressed by tepid waters as you explore the underwater labyrinth. Here's the kicker—an average trip lasts about three to five glorious hours, just enough time to forge a bond with nature you didn't know you needed.

Suitable for every level of adventure-seeker, these trips are perfect for families craving a Finding Nemo experience, couples seeking a splash of romance, or solo travelers eager to mingle with the marine crowd. The guides know all the secret spots where the aquatic life likes to hang out, and don't worry about gear—they've got you covered there too.

Now, if you're raring to go, there are those who've walked this path before you – and they've left whispers of their escapades. From the comforting tug of the currents to the eye-popping hues of the fish, the reviews are in, and it's unanimous, Destin's underwater snorkeling trips are not to be missed.

So, ready to take the plunge? Check out the top spots for snorkeling trips on the Emerald Coast and prepare to be dazzled by Destin's underwater ballet!



Q: What things are there to do in Destin, Florida for couples?

A: Hold hands strolling along the white-sand beaches, take a sunset sail, or sip wine at a cozy bistro. Destin's got romance covered.

Q: What can families do in Destin, Florida?

A: Splash around at Big Kahuna's Water Park, meet marine animals at Gulfarium, or have a beachside picnic. Family fun is everywhere in Destin.

Q: What activities are available in Destin, Florida for adults?

A: Check out the vibrant nightlife, hit up the golf courses, or go deep-sea fishing. There's plenty for adults to enjoy!

Q: What are some unique things to do in Destin, FL?

A: Dive the Underwater Museum of Art's sculptures or hunt for treasure on a pirate cruise—Destin's full of surprises!

Q: Where can you find cheap, fun things to do in Destin, Florida?

A: Hit the public beaches, trek nature trails at Henderson Beach State Park, or visit the HarborWalk Village—all easy on the wallet.

Q: What are things to do in Destin, Florida in December?

A: Experience holiday magic with boat parades, festive light displays, and seasonal events—Destin gets jolly in December!

Q: What is Destin Florida most known for?

A: Destin is famous for its stunning beaches, world-class fishing, and emerald-green waters. It's a slice of paradise!

Q: What kind of attractions are in Destin Florida?

A: From amusement parks to natural preserves, Destin's attractions span thrilling water sports, shopping, and outdoor adventures.

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

A: For perfect weather and fewer crowds, aim for April to May or September to October. You'll get that just-right beach vibe!

Q: What's the cheapest month to go to Destin Florida?

A: Look for deals during late fall or early winter—think November to early February. You'll save big and avoid the tourist rush.


Final Words

Alright, you just got the scoop on some of the most incredible things to do in Destin, Florida. From the peaceful sailing trips that leave you awestruck at sunset, to the hidden treasures on eco-tours and the bustling local markets brimming with artisan delights. Throw in those picture-perfect beach photo ops, adrenaline-pumping deep-sea fishing, and those serene beachside sunsets, right down to paddleboarding on the Emerald Coast and diving into underwater escapades.

Each adventure offers a unique slice of this coastal haven. Remember, the goal here isn't just to see; it's to fully immerse yourself and create memories that stick. So go ahead, dig into these experiences with the zest they deserve. And who knows, the next time you're plotting things to do in Destin, Florida, you might find yourself becoming a regular at some of these unforgettable spots.

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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