Things to do in Destin Florida

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Destin is full of fun things to do while you are vacationing in the area. Restaurants, shopping, and tons of stuff for the youngsters to do. Yes, you come for the white sand beaches with the warm emerald clear waters, but you will find family wanting to do more.  Many of the houses will have private pools, and we've found families spend a ton of time in our pools, sometimes before and after the beach, some days instead of the beach. Destin has so many businesses catering to family activities that you likely won't have enough time to take them all in.  Don't worry, there will be plenty still to do the next time you visit!

things to do in destin florida

fun things to do in destin florida

fun things to do in destin florida

fun things to do in destin florida

things to do in destin florida

fun things to do in destin florida

things to do in destin florida

fun things to do in destin florida

fun things to do in destin florida

fun things to do in destin fl

things to do in destin florida

things to do in destin florida

things to do in destin fl

things to do in destin fl

rainy day activities destin



By far the biggest draw to the Destin area is the perfect white sand beaches!  These beaches come with crystal clear Emerald green water that you can sometimes walk out a quarter mile without going over your head.  The water temps are bathtub like and so calm you will be able to see the fish swimming around your feet.  The emerald coast beaches are very close to those common in the Bahamas.  The draw of the beach has provided the impetus for all the thriving businesses in the area.   

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High rise condos have popped up giving viewers that incredible ocean view.  During the season there will be vendors everywhere offering lots of fun things to do without leaving the beach.  Two of our favorite public areas are that of Henderson Beach State Park Beach and James Lee Public Beach.

Henderson State Park Beach
This public park area is just west of the Crystal Beach area.  Sprawling over 200 acres along the Emerald Coast there are nature trails that make for the most enjoyable walks, and plenty of area for a fun bike ride.  They have two high end resorts there with spa, bed and breakfast, and inn.  Many couples take advantage of these facilities and their beach to tie the knot with a memorable beach wedding memories to last a lifetime.  Wedding party family and guests often utilize the close by beach cottages as an affordable way to handle larger parties.  Beach houses such as DoctorsOrdersDestin can accommodate up to 26 guests.

Crystal Beach
One of the most popular beaches in the area.  The stunning shorelines, wonderful beach cottages, while right in the heart of all the Destin activities make this area highly sought after for family vacations.  Beach access if free to the public, but parking is limited.

James Lee Park Public Beach
This Okaloosa county owned public beach is at the border of Destin and Miramar.  Visitors have a fair amount of parking for beach access along with the Crab Trap Destin restaurant.  There is a beach-side playground available for families with children. When it comes to fun things to do for children, a playground in the clean white sand is as fun as it gets for the young ones.  As with most of the Destin beach access, Chairs and Umbrellas and be purchased down on the beach.  This is another prime area for those wishing to have a beach wedding.  There are many Destin beach house rentals available for extended stays right across from these beaches.  The DoctorsOrdersDestin beach houses are walking distance from James Lee and the Crab Trap.  

If you're wanting to be able to get away from the crowds to feel like it’s really your special place, you will need to find beach house with private deeded beach access.  While public beaches are great and free, they do come with crowds and limited parking.  High rise condos have great views, but when those thousands of people come down to share their sliver of beach, that beach is going to be packed.  It’s just not as fun if your children only have a few feet before they are somebody else's towel. Read about our quest for avoiding the crowds while vacationing in Destin.


Always a fun thing to do is to go out on a boat to see the Dolphins playing!  There are quite a few worthy places to arrange this adventure.  I’ll list a few here.

Olin Marler Charter Fishing and Dolphin Cruises.  Ph. 850-654-7113
Destin Snorkel has Sunset Dolphin and Fireworks Cruises Ph. 850-269-2329
AJ’s Water Adventures Ph. 850-837-2222
Boogies Watersports Ph. 850-654-4497



If a round of golf is your favorite fun thing to do, Destin has some incredible courses. See our Blog dedicated to the Destin Area Golfing.



If you love this area as nearly everybody does, and you want to enjoy the fun things Destin has to enjoy, you should consider staying long than just the day.   The best way is to rent one of these Destin beach houses.  When you stay in one of the wonderful beach cottages you will truly be able to live like a local.  Some will even allow you to bring your canine family members.  Popular sites such as Homeaway / VRBO or Tripadvisor have searchable listings with pricing, galleries, and availability listed real time. Our favorites (and soon to be yours) is the DoctorsOrdersDestin beach house in Destiny East that can accommodate up to 22 guests.  Nestled in Crystal Beach with about half of your neighbors being full time Destonians. Both of these Destin vacation rentals are walking distance to a rare private beach.  Both of the Doctor’s Orders beach houses are wonderfully decorated with beach scapes, comfortable rooms and amenities begging for you to never leave.  Both houses are on large lots with private pools, plenty of parking, and back up to the Destiny West Lakes for spectacular million dollar views from the private balconies off the back of the houses.  



Sometimes the clouds roll in off the ocean and break up you perfect beach day.  This is when you will want to find some fun things to do under cover in Destin. You can literally shop till you drop in Destin!

The Village of Baytowne Wharf
9300 US Highway 98 W Sandestin, FL 32550 Ph: 850-267-8279
destin florida house rentals
The Village of Baytowne Wharf is home to more than 30 world-class Destin, Florida shops and specialty boutiques offering colorful choices, local treasures and unique gifts. You’ll find everything from resort apparel and children’s clothing to art and accessories. Start your Destin shopping excursion by pursing the unique boutique finds at Island Clothiers and end the evening on a fun note with a stuffed sea animal from Toys & Treasures.

Silver Sands Premium Outlets
10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy W Destin, Florida Ph: 850-654-9771
destin florida house rentals

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is a short drive from Destin shopping locales including the Silver Sands Premium Outlets, home to 110 designer and name brand outlet stores. Find impressive savings of 25% to 65% every day at Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, DKNY, Gap Outlet, J.Crew, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and more.  Saving $$$ is always a fun thing to do.  Whether you’re a local, a business traveler, or family vacationer, Florida shopping at Sandestin will “suit” your needs! Shopping is perfect for those rainy days where you still want to have plenty of things to do in Destin Florida.

Grand Boulevard at Sandestin
215 Grand Boulevard Sandestin, Florida 32550 Ph: 850-654-5929

Grand Boulevard at Sandestin is the distinctive, new 52-acre “shop, work, play and stay” town center located at the entrance to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. The town center includes two Marriott discount Destin hotels with over 300 combined rooms, Class A office space, Grand Park, Publix grocery store and a variety of retailers and restaurants making their debut into Northwest Florida.

Destin Commons
4130 Legendary Dr Destin, Florida Ph: 850-337-8700
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Destin Commons, Destin’s favorite Mall and lifestyle center. Award winning shopping and dining destination. Voted “Best Place to Shop” by readers of Emerald Coast Magazine. Voted “Best Shopping Center” by locals, this open-air lifestyle center feels like a small-town village with 95 specialty stores, restaurants and entertainment with something for everyone! Kids will love the mini train, interactive water fountain and Pirate’s Cove soft playground. Stores include Belk, Bass Pro Shops, AMC 14 Theaters, H&M, Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill bowling alley and restaurant, Chipotle, Charming Charlie, Forever 21, Sephora, Williams-Sonoma and more. One of the most fun things to do in Destin when the showers come down is catch a good movie at the AMC 14 Theaters.

Harborwalk Village
10 Harbor Blvd Destin, Florida Ph: 850-424-0600
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HarborWalk Village on the Destin Harbor is an inviting collection of sixty or so waterfront restaurants, nightclubs, water activities, quaint shops, exclusive boutiques and more than 20 boats from the Destin Charter Boat Fishing Fleet.  The whole family will find and abundance of fun things to do while visiting this Destin attraction. This is where the Emerald Coast gathers for weekly fireworks, seasonal festivals and live entertainment.

Paradise Key at Kelly Plantation
4427 Commons Dr, E Destin, Florida 32541 Ph: 850-650-5005
destin florida house rentals

Home to Publix, Stein Mart, Old Navy, Pier One, Hibbett Sports, Ross Dress for Less, Sporty Lady, Bed Bath & Beyond, AT&T, TGIFridays, banks and other specialty stores.

Plantation Plaza
4495 Commons Dr W, Destin, Florida 32541
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You will find The Fresh Market, Marshall’s, HomeGoods, Destin Health & Fitness Center, Home Depot, and small specialty stores located here.

The Market Shoppes
9375 Hwy 98 W Sandestin, Florida 32550 Ph: 850-267-8092
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This mall of upscale shops features a gazebo, a playground, and a courtyard with a fountain. The landscaping and ground are well kept and includes exotic plants and a small water feature. The shops at the Market Shops sell clothing, jewelry, gifts and artwork. After a fun day of shopping grab some food or coffee.



Baytowne Adventure Zone
9300 Baytowne Wharf Blvd, Miramar Beach, Florida 32550
Ph: 850-428-2736

The all new Baytowne Adventure Zone in The Village of Baytowne Wharf is one attraction in Destin, FL that will give you four more reasons to “hang” around Sandestin longer. Get an aerial view of the Village and its surroundings as you soar across the lagoon. Afterwards, head over to the Mini Ropes Course or the challenging Sky Trail Ropes Course for skill-testing fun. If you still haven’t had enough fun, the Tower Climb and Eurobungy are two other Destin attractions that are sure to give you plenty of fun things to do in Destin Florida.



Uncle Bucks Bowling
4251 Legendary Dr, Destin, Florida 32541
Ph: 850-269-6100

Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill features a truly unique atmosphere and design geared for family fun and dining. Casual family dining is available in the Grill where you … saltwater aquarium with scores of beautiful, tropical fish. It is elevated to provide views of the bowling action while serving up your favorite refreshment. 12 full lanes of bowling that offer a unique underwater ocean.  Uncle Buck’s is just a couple blocks the DoctorsOrdersDestin beach houses.  If you enjoy bowling, add the underwater atmosphere and you are sure to find this a unique fun thing to do while visiting Destin Florida.



Not everybody gets the opportunity to go deep sea fishing and haul in the big fish that you can take back to your beach house and cook up.  This could be on of the most fun things you ever do!  Again, there are a wide array of these companies, I’ll list a few.

Olin Marler Charter Fishing and Dolphin Cruises. Ph. 850-654-7113
Tripadvisor’s Fishing Charters page
Tripshock Fising Charters page
Destin Area Fishing Guide



Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548
Ph: 850-243-9046

Young ones are bound to have fun while getting wild at the zoo, splash around at a water park, or interact with a live dolphin at the Gulfarium. Speaking of dolphins, dolphin watching cruises are very popular here, as are pirate cruises. Or you can discover the culture and rich history of the area at one of five museums.



 Seeing the Beach from the sky while crossing off riding in a Helicopter from your bucket list should be on your list of fun things to do while vacationing in Destin.

Beach Helicopters
34859 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin Florida 32541
Ph: 850-269-7717



How fun would it be to fly over the water?  Yet another thing to add to your list of things to do in Destin Florida.  During the season these guys are everywhere.  You can usually see their phone numbers on the parachutes, or you can pre – arrange with a vendor below.

Listed below are some vendors but you will most likely have to travel to the beach where they take off. You can also just call the phone number on parasail for the vendor servicing the beach you are enjoying. Now you’re venturing onto the extreme fun side of things to do in Destin Florida. See Current Prices & Book Parasailing in Destin Online



Crab Island – Rent a Pontoon

If you want to have a fun party in the world's biggest bathtub, this is your chance!

Destin Vacation Boat Rentals

612 Harbor Blvd Destin, Florida 32541 Ph: 850-650-2628




Snorkeling At Destin Florida

Although there are no coral reefs in the northern Gulf of Mexico, the exceptional water quality makes snorkeling a popular pastime with locals and visitors alike.  Seeing the colorful life under the sea is sure to be a fun experience.



The Track 1125
US Highway 98 East, Destin, Florida 32541
Ph: 850-654-4668

The Track Family Fun Park in Destin Florida has elevated family fun three-story go-karts, miniature golf, arcades, thrill rides and more. This Family Fun Park in Destin features fun for the whole family, ranging from thrill rides like the Hurricane 360 and SkyFlyer, to family go-kart tracks, miniature golf, bumper boats, bumper cars, Kids Country rides, and more. The Track’s signature attraction is the elevated, multi-level Wild Woody go-karttrack. The Track is a must consider for fun things to do in Destin Florida.



On a hot summer day, Big Kahuna’s is sure to be one of the most fun things to do in Destin.

Big Kahuna’s 1007 U.S. 98, Destin, Florida 32541 Ph: 850-837-4061

Voted by The Travel Channel as one of the best water parks in America, The Big Kahuna’s Water Park area opens only on weekends for starters on May 2nd & 3rd, then going 7 days a week beginning MAY 16… just in time for the Memorial Day weekend blast & kick-off to Destin’s summer season! Thanks to Beach TV @BeachTVGulfCoast for the video.



Kayaking is great fun while spending the day at the beach.  With the clear waters, the ocean life becomes more amazing as you get out a way from the beach.  Abundant fish, jellies, and sometimes even dolphins will be swimming around you.  During the season many beaches have Kayaks for rent by hour or day.  Some Destin beach house rentals such as Doctor’s Orders #1 allow the guests to utilize the Kayak stored at the house.



There are two bowling alleys very close to DoctorsOrdersDestin, Uncle Bucks Fishbowl @ 4251 Legendary Dr (pretty much across the street) and Hurricane Lanes @ 34876 Emerald Coast Pkwy which is also very close.

Shopping or catch a Movie
Destin Commons is just around the corner @ 4130 Legendary Dr with plenty of shops and an AMC Theatre.
If you're heading to Destin Commons you will go right by the huge Bass Pro Shops which also has a 10,000 gallon aquarium stocked with fish that Dad and the little guy are sure to enjoy!
A couple more rainy-day excursions in Destin Commons are Build-A-Bear, and RideMakerz.  Not only will you get to take home the most rugged radio-controlled car you can get, but the little ones get to actually build it.  Wonderful engineering experience for the little car lovers. 
rainy day activities destin

You could try the new 7D Virtual Reality Movie Experience @ 24 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541 Ph. 850-837-7007

Rock Climbing
Let your little athletes burn off some energy at Rock Out Climbing.  Great time to try a new challenge that they will never forget and may take a liking to.
rainy day activities destin

Blast Arcade and Lazer Maze
118 Cannery Ln, Sandestin Florida – on the way to the Silver Sands Factory Outlets!

Destin Blacklight Mini Golf and Laser Tag
Indoor Mini Golf perfect for that rainy day @ 20011 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin Florida 

Escape Zone 60
Live, Interactive, Fun, Puzzle solving game where you have 60 to solve the puzzles to escape your room! Visit Website

The Redbird Art Experience
Let your little artists express themselves. Behind the Target on Emerald Coast Pkwy. Visit FB Page