Destin Vacation Guide

Where To Eat, Shop, Play, and Stay in Destin

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About Destin

Found on Florida's Northwest Gulf Coast on the Florida Panhandle, known as the Emerald Coast,  just east of Pensacola, Destin is the perfect vacation spot for active families, golfers, and fishermen. 

Known as 'The World's Luckiest Fishing Village', Destin will be sure to please anglers of all ages. The Emerald Coast is breathtaking with emerald green water and white sugary . There are tons of things to do, not to be missed is the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, Henderson Beach State Park, Big Kahuna's Waterpark, and Crab Island. Destin hosts coastal festivals such as the Destin Fishing Rodeo and the Destin Seafood Festival.

Cities in Destin

Destin is located in northwest Florida along the Emerald Coast

Nearby Cities:

  • Fort Walton Beach, FL
  • Niceville, FL
  • Wright, FL
  • Crestview, FL
  • Pensacola, FL
  • Ferry Pass, FL
  • Brent, FL
  • Warrington, FL
  • West Pensacola, FL
  • Ensley, FL
  • Myrtle Grove, FL
  • Bellview, FL
  • Lynn Haven, FL
  • Panama City, FL
  • Springfield, FL

Destin Zip Code(s): 32540, 32541

Destin area code: 850

What County is Destin in?: Okaloosa County

Destin Area

Destin Area

Highlights of Destin

There are thirteen beach access points in the city of Destin stretching from Orrego Point all the way down to James Lee Park.

  • Destin beaches are known for their sugar soft sand and emerald green water that draw millions of visitors each year.
  • Henderson State Park boasts 6,000 feet of shoreline, a three-quarter-mile nature trail, and amenities like outdoor showers, camping, grills, boardwalks, pavilions, and a playground.
  • Destin Harbor Boardwalk stretches along Destin's Harbor - dotted with restaurants it hosts the Destin Seafood Festival and the Destin Fishing Rodeo each October.
  • Destin Commons will be sure to please the entire family with lots of shopping, a movie theater, and restaurants.
  • The Baytowne Wharf is a quaint village hosting restaurants, bars, and shops.
  • Don't miss the Buccaneer Family Friendly Pirate Cruise replete with sword and water gun fights, treasure hunts and more.
  • Fishing, sailing, and boating are a huge part of Destin's life so be sure to hop on a charter and enjoy fishing, snorkeling, and swimming in the emerald green waters.
  • There is an abundance of golf courses in the area that cater to golfers of all levels, check out the Sandestin courses.

Best Suited for outdoorsy types, such as active families, fishermen, golfers, and snowbirds.

Things to do in Destin

Discover The Ultimate List Of Things To Do In Destin Florida

Destin is perfectly suited for outdoor water sports and golfing. Here's a handy list of things to do to help you find out if it's the perfect fit for your next vacation.

  • 13 award-winning beaches
  • surfing, skimboarding, bodyboarding
  • fishing (beach, boat and pier fishing)
  • boating (sailing, sunset, dolphin and pirate cruises)
  • snorkeling
  • parasailing
  • golfing
  • shopping (Silversands Outlet, Destin Commons)
  • mini putting
  • segways
  • parks and nature trails
  • abundant of restaurants

Things to do indoors in Destin when it rains

  • Wild Willy's Adventure Zone: think indoor amusement park!; go-karting, bumper boats, and 4D movies are just some of the activities here; open from 11 am-7pm every day
  • Indian Temple Mound Museum: learn about how Indigenous peoples have influenced the area; thousands of years are reflected in their display of artifacts, even prehistoric ones; fees range from free to $5
  •  Uncle Buck's Fishbowl & Grill: bowling is probably on the bottom of your vacation to-do's, but Uncle Buck's puts a twist on bowling since it takes place in a large enclosed aquarium 
  • Sunshine Yoga: whether you're up for a challenge or just hoping to relax, try a yoga class at Sunshine for a first-class experience 

Romantic things to do in Destin for couples

  • Village of Baytowne Wharf: this area is packed with different date ideas, whether it be zip-lining, dancing, a walk along the water, a dinner date, or a bar with live music
  • Just Chute Me Parasail: if you and your partner are the adventurous-type, look no further parasailing above the water for an incredible experience
  • The Emerald Sanctuary: unwind at this tranquil day spa with a serene setting with prime spa services, ranging from massage therapy, skincare, body treatments, and more
  • AMC Classic Boulevard Cinema 10: head to this next-level cinema for a classic date night; outstanding service where you can even order a meal and a glass of wine to your seat 
  • Boogie's Glass Bottom Boat: treat your partner to a unique cruise lasting 2 hours that includes sight-seeing the bay, harbor, and gulf with a tour guide 

Kid & Family-Friendly things to do in Destin

  • Big Kahuna's Water & Adventure Park: the kids will love this park with over 40 thrilling attractions including wave pools, slides, rivers, and rides; little kids can enjoy the splash pad and big kids can enjoy the Jumanji or Maui Pipeline 
  • Buccaneer Pirate Cruise: board Captain Cannonball's pirate ship for an adventure cruise on the water; the fun doesn't end with their sword fights, pirate stories, treasure hunts, water gun fights, face painting and more
  • Crab Island Adventure Tour: the boat will first take you to an inflatable island of trampolines and slides on the water, followed by a visit to the sandbar to unwind
  • Fat Daddy's Arcade: the kids will be occupied for hours in end with the endless arcade games, retro and new
  • Track Family Recreation Centre: land attractions like go-karting, bungee jumping, a carousel and mini rides await all ages at this fun park!

Things to do unique to Destin

  • Henderson Beach: this beautiful 1.5 mile stretch has plenty to explore, from the land and sea critters to sand dunes and blue waters 
  • Destin Harbor Boardwalk: the colourful walk is a must-see spot in Destin; in the morning, grab a coffee and walk the fishing charters or catch the sunset at night 
  • Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier: the best fishing spot for a chance at catching fish; you can rent fishing gear for dirt cheap and kids under 5 can fish for free 
  • Fudpucker's Gator Beach: a real Floridian experience that lets you get up close & personal with gators 
  • James Lee County State Park: hike in Florida's Emerald Coast and discover the flora, fauna, and incredible views Destin has to offer

Explore Destin

Food, Drinks, and Shopping in Destin, Florida

Shopping in Destin 

  • Destin Commons: an outdoor shopping mall that's the center of mainstream shopping, dining, and entertainment; browse about 70 stores and grab a bite to eat with their many restaurant and snack bar options 
  • Downtown Fort Walton: this historic area is packed with locally owned shops, fun restaurants, museums and more; there's so much to see between the markets, artisan shops, and crafters 
  • Okaloosa Island Boardwalk: just over the bridge from Fort Walton, a day of looking through souvenirs, apparel, decor, and accessories from local and well-known brands awaits you 

Dining & Restaurant Options in Destin

 The Destin-Emerald Coast offers fresh Gulf seafood--so good that you could live off of it during your trip. Generally, Destin has a diverse mix of cuisines, inspired by a few cultures. There's no shortage of delicious, local restaurants and cafes with different atmospheres to satisfy you on your vacation.   

Best Dine-in Restaurants in Destin

  • Mimmo's Ristaurante Italiano: a popular spot among locals serving Southern Italian cuisine, worthy of a thumbs-up from any Nonna; feast on the homemade pastas, breads, pizzas and more crafted by owner-chef Mimmo
  • Harbor Docks: seafood served here comes directly from the Gulf, then sent to the Harbor Docks' market, and then served on your plate or in a sushi doesn't get any more fresh than that!  
  • Red Onion Organic: if you're looking for something not typical to Florida, try Red Onion for its mediterrenean cuisine; authentic dishes such as tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, and feta cheese rolls can be enjoyed in their intimate atmosphere
  •  Real Thai Fusion: one of the best Thai spots in the area, which fuses the flair of Emerald Coast cuisine with authentic & traditional Thai dishes 
  • La Paz: the place for your Tex-Mex cravings combined with fresh Destin seafood; their most popular plates include fish tacos, tequila lime shrimp, and their street tacos--not to mention their margaritas made with fresh-squeezed fruits and 100% agave tequilas & mezcals

Destin Restaurants on the Water

  • Louisiana Lagniappe: savor Creole-inspired eats at this waterfront restaurant, which is continuously the winner of the local 'Award of Excellence' 
  • Brotula's Seafood House & Steamer: Brotula's specializes in locally-sourced seafood dishes as well as steamed or boiled shellfish platters; the favourites among locals are the steamed snow crab, lobster, and mussels 
  • Pompano Joe's: known for their unique Caribbean taste, which shows in their flavourful dishes and colourful, open-air restaurant; sip on a refreshing drink and enjoy a delicious meal with a Gulf view 
  • Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House: with a great location on the Destin Harborwalk, Boshamps will spoil you with incredible sunsets; the chef's Southern roots combined with his knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean cuisine make for an equally incredible meal 

Takeout Restaurants in Destin

  • Jackacuda's Seafood & Sushi: locally-sourced seafood prepared in a Southern-Floridian culinary style; their extensive menu lets those who might not be craving seafood also choose other yummy eats
  • The Pancakery: a great spot for American breakfast-to-go, serving all from sweet pancakes & waffles to savoury omelettes and benedicts
  • Zesty Baguette Bistro & Pho King Dumplings: try Vietnamese take-out for a change! This spot offers boat loads of Pho and dumplings to try, and if you're not into that, this place has got you covered with its other menu items like Korean BBQ and fried rices 
  • Lulu's: true Floridian cuisine with generous servings; don't miss out on their crab melts, fried pickles, key lime pie, fried green tomatoes and more

Restaurants that will Deliver

  • Dynasty Chinese Cuisine: Destin's twist on Chinese cuisine; egg rolls, spring rolls, general tso chicken, and hot & sour soup galore, delivered right to your door
  • Squash Blossom Cafe: a new gourmet Caribbean cafe with unique dishes for lunch or dinner delivery; vegetarian and carnivores alike will enjoy this spot
  • Miller's Ale House: if you're looking for something reliable, the casual American pub food at Miller's Ale House is sure to live up to that standard; great option for the kids with its choices of calamari, burgers, fries, or nachos
  • Pizza by the Sea-Sandestin: support local by ordering from this spot for delivery; yummy American-Italian style pizza for those nights-in   

Best Breakfast & Brunch Restaurants

  • Crackings: breakfast taken up a notch; the perfect combo of healthy and sweet breakfast options with many variations of benedicts, omelettes, or scrambles; pair a mimosa with one of their brunch items 
  • Mama Clemenza's: go international at Mama Clemenza's with their Italian cafe atmosphere; European breakfast and brunch comes to life here with homemade plates such as lemon curd ricotta pancakes or the tomato & mushroom breakfast risotto
  • Another Broken Egg Cafe: southern-inspired entrees for breakfast and brunch; beignets, brie, potatoes, and other classics with a twist!
  • Sunset Bay Cafe: you're in for a treat here with the restaurant's amazing view of the Gulf; beautifully decorated fruit platters, brunch tacos, savoury omelettes and more 

Local Lunch eateries you don't want to miss!

  • The Wine Bar: we highly recommend sharing with your fellow vacationers to get a taste of all the yummy plates this spot has to offer; has a European vibe and known for its charcuterie and cheese boards, along with its many wines
  • Pazzo Italiano: a cosmopolitan atmosphere serving Italian cuisine; don't miss out on their homemade wood-fired pizza  
  • Cantina Laredo: Mexican & Southwestern eats located on the Grand Boulevard; fresh enchiladas, guacamole, fajitas and more; great food, great service, great prices!
  • Harry T's: sit al fresco at this spot, located in Harborwalk Village, and watch the world go by on the water; indulge in seafood platters, burgers, nachos, crab cakes, or hush puppies at Harry T's
  • The Local Market: if you're looking for something quick, head to The Local Market for a great selection of sandwiches, toasts, burgers, pasta salads, and the list goes on   

Are there Bars or Clubs in Destin?

  • The Craft Bar: this is an urban classic in Destin with an excellent beer list; their craft beers are endless so there is sure to be something that meets your tastes; head to their happy hour from Monday-Friday, 2PM-6PM
  • The Other End: if you're down for surf culture at a dive-type bar, check out The Other End for their 16 rotating beers, wine list, and cocktails all on the waterfront; accessible by boat
  • Bric A Brac: dance the night away at Bric A Brac; just be sure to check which night you're going on since they have theme nights, such as Latin Night, Hip Hop Night, or European Techno night

Where To Find Vacation Rentals In Destin, FL

You're in luck! You can find vacation rentals right here on Florida Rental By Owner (FLARBO)! Our rental listings are 100% managed by the property owner or manager. Ditch the pesky third-party fees and interference - no middle man (Or woman) here!

Do you have questions about Destin Florida, or need help planning your trip? Join our Destin Travel Facebook group here

Transportation for Destin

How To Get To and Around Destin

Flying Into Destin

There are a couple of airports to choose from within 2 hours of Destin, Florida. Whether you live in the United States, Canada, Europe, and beyond you are sure to find a final destination close by.

Destin - Fort Walton Beach Airport - (VPS)

Destin - Fort Walton Beach Airport is the closest airport to Destin. It is about 16 miles (26 km) away. Travel time is approximately 26 minutes. This airport is serviced by six major U.S. carriers are United, American, Delta, Allegiant, Glo, and Contour Check available flights with each carrier.

Pensacola Airport - (PNS)

The Pensacola Airport is located in nearby Pensacola, Florida. It is 51 miles (82 km) away from Destin. It usually takes 1 hour 19 minutes to travel this route. It is a destination of five US carriers. The main airline carriers are American, Delta, United, Southwest, and Silver Airways. PNS is less busy than Tampa International Airport and is frequently used by pilots of private planes

Driving To Destin

While Destin, FL may be a long drive for many of us, travelers in nearby states love the relatively short drive :

  • Atlanta, GA 5 h 20 m 333 miles
  • Mobile, AL 2 h 2 m 108 miles
  • Biloxi, MS 2 h 56 m 168 miles
  • Chattanooga, TN 6 h 21 m 405 miles
  • New Orleans, LA 4 h 8 m 250 miles

Getting Around Destin


Despite the busyness, a car is the best way to get around Destin, it's the easiest way to ensure that you can visit all 13 beaches and the many attractions in the Destin area. It may be slow sometimes but you'll get to where you're going in due time.

If you prefer to let someone else do the driving you can take advantage of the many taxi companies, Uber, or Lyft.


Use two wheels instead of four to avoid the gridlock, Hwy 98 has 5 dedicated miles of bike lane/pedestrian path on the north side. You'll find bike rental shops are plentiful. Bonus: you can skip the gym while on vacation!

There are several shops that rent scooters and mopeds as well if you'd prefer not to rely on pedal power.

Public Transportation

Emerald Coast Rider (EC Rider) offers routes to points of interest. Fares for a single ride are $2.00 or choose several different passes that vary in length. 

Statistics about Destin

36+ Properties for rent

Prices range from $135/night

The majority of Destin listings on Florida Rental By Owners are condos. Destin condo buildings have amazing amenities, many visitors come back year after year to their favorite building.

Weather for Destin

Average temperatures in Destin, FL vary throughout the year

The hottest months are June, July, and August, and with the heat comes the rain - don't worry though, Florida rains are typically short, and then the sunshine returns.

October through March are cooler with daytime temperatures in the 60's

FAQs about Destin

Answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Destin is very popular with snowbirds, the weather isn't as warm in the winter as in the south of Florida, but it's a lot warmer than the northern states! 

Destin offers many activities throughout the year including the snowbird season.

Prices for vacation rentals are typically lower in the winter with many rentals offering monthly rates.

Yes! We love our pets and we know you do too.

When searching Destin vacation rentals on Florida Rental By Owners it's easy to use the pet-friendly filter to show pet-friendly rentals only.

Search pet-friendly Destin rentals here

Destin is great for families. Many vacation rentals are located in complexes with tons of family-friendly activities.

There are also tons of family-friendly parks, attractions, and restaurants.

Destin is the perfect place for couples to reconnect.

Enjoy moonlit beach walks, fine dining, spectacular sunsets and so much more.

While college kids are welcome during spring break Destin is primarily a family-focused location.

 You're in luck! You can find vacation rentals by owner right here on Florida Rental By Owner (FLARBO)! Our rental listings are 100% managed by the property owner. Ditch the pesky third-party fees and interference - no middle man (Or woman) here!

es! We have several subscription levels to suit any budget to advertise your vacation rental. Our Book Direct, No Commission Fee Subscription Model suits the majority of short-term owners. Find out more here

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