When most people think of attractions in Florida, they either think of the Orlando theme parks or perhaps the beaches of Miami.
But, you know what? There are some other brilliant places to visit in the state, and they still attract millions of visitors each year.
Destin is one of them, and if you are looking for Destin attractions, you certainly won't be short of things to do.
Destin sits right on the Emerald Coast. Beautiful beaches and waters await you on the coast. In fact, the top things to do in Destin all involve water.
But, the popularity of the city means there are plenty of other attractions for those who aren’t huge fans of getting wet.
On this page, we will introduce you to 22 of the best Destin attractions you must add to your itinerary.
|Table of Contents [Show]|
Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link.
As one of the top Destin attractions, the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park will get you up close and personal with all sorts of sea life. This includes dolphins, harbor seals, penguins, and more.
This place is absolutely beautiful, and it is clear that it strongly considers animal welfare. You can wander around the park on your own, but we highly recommend stopping for the various animal talks that happen throughout the day.
You'll get to learn more about the animals that live there. You may even get to see a feeding!
Children under 12 cost $21.95. 13 and up (including adults) are $29.95. There are military discounts available.
The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. most days. You'll probably need to spend a good chunk of the day here to experience everything.
Address: 1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
This is one of the hot spots in Destin where you'll spend much of your time. As we go on and talk about more of the attractions in Destin, you'll realize that many of them launch from the Destin Harbor Boardwalk area.
You can really think of this as the 'center' of Destin. However, the Destin Harbor Boardwalk is so much more than just a launchpad for other Destin tourist attractions. It is a tourist attraction in its own right.
Stretching for almost a quarter of a mile, the Destin Harbor Boardwalk hosts all sorts of shops and restaurants.
In fact, some of our favorite places to eat in Destin can be found here. They make a great place to stop after a few adventures on the water. You can pick up a few cool souvenirs too.
What happens on the Destin Harbor Boardwalk will depend on the time of the year you travel here. Sometimes, there is some live music, but it is mostly just a hustle and bustle of activity.
It is free to get on the boardwalk, and the opening times are set by the restaurants and the shops.
Address: 102 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
Also Read: Best Beach Boardwalks in the USA
Many of the attractions in Destin are natural attractions. You don't have the epic theme parks like Orlando or the party atmosphere like Miami.
Instead, Destin is all about relaxing and perhaps soaking up a few rays. The Henderson Beach State Park is perfect. In our opinion, Henderson Beach State Park is the perfect place to enjoy the Gulf Coast.
As you relax at Henderson Beach State Park, you’ll be surrounded by 30-foot-high, white sand dunes. You’ll also have easy access to the emerald-green waters.
Soaking up the rays on a beach is not your thing? That's fine! Henderson Beach State Park also has some beautiful walking trails, which you can easily spend hours on. There is even a campsite if you feel like staying somewhere slightly different.
Henderson Beach State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset every day. It is $6 per vehicle to park here.
Address: 17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin, FL 32541
Also Read: Best State Parks to Visit in the US
Yes. We know you have a good chunk of beach at your disposal in Destin, but let's be honest, who doesn't love a good water park?
For many, this is one of the top things to do in Destin. Not only is it the largest water park on the Emerald Coast, but Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park may be the most visited of the Destin attractions.
The water park is packed to the brim with standard water park fare. So, a lazy river, countless slides (both for the daring and the not-so-daring), wave pools, and just general pools to swim in.
The adventure park has fewer attractions, but ones that are still worth checking out, e.g., the Skycoaster and Tropical Mini Golf.
Prices can vary depending on the part of the park you want to enter and how many days you plan on spending exploring the park.
For example, entrance to the water park alone is $54.99 (all ages) per day, and if you want to add the adventure park, it is $72.99. You can save money by buying multiple days and purchasing online.
Opening times vary throughout the year.
Address: 1007 US-98, Destin, FL 32541
Also Read: Best Water Parks in the USA
Crab Island is probably the most unique attraction in Destin, mainly because it takes a lot of effort to get there.
The only way to reach Crab Island is via a boat. Most people take their own boats (lucky people!), but if you can't do that, you may be able to pool your resources and rent a boat with other tourists.
Once you are at Crab Island, it is an almost party-like atmosphere. In the height of the summer, dozens and dozens of boats will be anchored up.
You'll then be able to head to floating bars and restaurants, all the while wading through the very shallow (and warm) waters.
Crab Island is constantly expanding in size, so there may even be an obstacle course or two to complete.
It is free to get to Crab Island (excluding the cost of having a boat, which varies), and the opening hours are determined by how long that party keeps rolling.
Address: Crab Island, Destin, FL 32540
HarborWalk Village is one of the top things to do in Destin if you’re looking for pure entertainment. In fact, HarborWalk Village is billed as the entertainment district of Destin.
Just like the Boardwalk, HarborWalk Village will likely be the launch point for many of your water-based adventures in Destin. However, there is also a lot to discover on land too.
HarborWalk Village plays host to countless restaurants and stores. Every week, you'll enjoy fireworks shows, and there may even be a bit of live music on occasion.
You'll want to keep an eye on the event calendar to know what is happening and when. You certainly don't want to miss anything if you're in the Destin area!
Address: 34 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
While Destin is now well-known for providing access to the Gulf Coast for swimming and relaxing adventures, it is still a fishing town.
In fact, Destin is known as the 'luckiest fishing location in the world'. Every day, countless fishermen hit the waters for what is regarded as some of the best fishing in the country. The Destin History and Fishing Museum pays tribute to them.
This museum is small but fun once you're inside. You'll get to see over 100 different mounted fish. All of them were caught in the waters of Destin, which should give you an idea about why this place is so famed for its fish.
You'll also go through a journey of the founding of Destin, learn about diving in the area and more.
We don't know about you, but whenever we visit a new town or city, we always like to learn a lot more about where that city came from, and because of this, the Destin History and Fishing Museum is fantastic for us.
The museum is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 am to 4 pm. Entrance is $10, with children under 5 getting in for free.
Address: 108 Stahlman Ave, Destin, FL 32541
Many people head to Destin because they hear how fantastic the fishing is. In fact, many fishermen have made their livelihoods here.
Destin is regarded as having some of the best fishing in all of the US. So, if you're a keen fisherman, why not go out and tackle a bit of deep-sea fishing in Destin? Who knows what you will encounter?
There are some stunning fish specimens out there in the deep seas of Destin, with the most targeted being the swordfish.
But, if you're not lucky enough to grab a swordfish, we are sure you won't be disappointed with the Cobia, Red Snapper, and more.
Even if you don't catch something (you almost certainly will), you'll absolutely love the experience of being out on those beautiful waters.
There are many different boats that offer a deep-sea fishing expedition. This means that prices and times can vary.
If you wander around the harbor area (or pretty much anywhere in Destin), we’re sure you’ll see some of it advertised.
Address: 10 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
Sure, you've probably seen dolphins swimming around in an aquarium or two. But, let's be honest, as beautiful as they look, this isn't their natural environment.
Nothing compares to seeing dolphins swimming out there in the wild, and guess what? Destin is one of the best places to do that.
Hop on a sunset dolphin cruise in Destin, and you'll head out to where the dolphins are. Here, you'll spot wild dolphins swimming alongside the boat.
They love to play with the boats and keep the tourists entertained! It is incredible to see them frolicking in their natural environment, so make sure that you bring your camera along with you.
There are a few companies that offer a sunset dolphin cruise. The most popular is Destin Snorkel.
Prices are $25 for adults and $20 for children up to 13 (for a 90-minute cruise). Times vary throughout the year due to the whole sunset part.
Address: 500 Harbor Blvd #104, Destin, FL 32541
Have you ever wanted to head out on a pirate ship? Well, now you can! Sadly, you won't be looting plunder, making people walk the plank, and burying treasure on islands…but you will still get a pleasant pirate experience for the children.
The Buccaneer Pirate Cruise will have you heading on a pirate-themed sailing ship. On your trip, children will learn how to become pirates.
They'll be learning about sword fighting (with plastic swords, don't worry!), singing some pirate songs, scrubbing the deck, and hearing tales of the pirates of the area. They'll even see a real cannon get fired!
This is certainly one of the Destin attractions for the kids, but parents will love watching their children play about on the deck, learning how to become a 'real' pirate.
Plus, they serve alcohol on board, so the adults won't be getting too bored on the journey (it takes around 2 hours to wrap up).
Prices vary depending on the trip that you take. It is mostly $49 for adults and $35 for children up to 14.
Cruise times vary throughout the year, with more cruises leaving during the height of the summer (although that is also when you will be paying way more for your trip).
Address: 100 Harbor Blvd Unit B, Destin, FL 32541, United State
If the hustle and bustle of Destin is getting a bit too much for you, then why not take a trip to The Village of Baytowne Wharf? It's just a short hop from Destin. Although, it doesn't quite have the village feel you would expect.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf is an 'exclusive' area packed with specialty shops and restaurants.
Throughout the year, there are numerous events that really bring the area to life. There are also more adventurous activities, such as ziplining and abseiling.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf is perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway.
While it does get quite busy, particularly during the height of the season, it is still lovely and relaxing. So, it is a must-see in Destin for those who are looking for something a bit different.
Address: 9300 Baytowne Wharf Boulevard, Miramar Beach, FL 32550
Gator Beach in Destin bills itself as the 'World's Greatest Alligator Park'. While we are sure competition isn't too high on that front, we are inclined to agree. Every time we have headed to this attraction, we’ve had an incredibly fun time.
Gator Beach is actually connected to the Fudpucker Restaurant, which is located nearby. Buy a meal at Fudpucker, and you'll get to enter Gator Beach for free.
Here, you'll witness numerous gator shows throughout the day where trained experts will chat with you about feeding, handling, etc.
If you want the ultimate experience (it lasts about 2 hours), you can pay $99 for adults and $75 for children for the VIP package.
With this, you'll open the park, feed the gators, and even get a few photos of you holding a real alligator!
Opening times will vary and are dictated by the restaurant opening times.
Address: 20001 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin, FL 32541
When it comes to places in Destin to relax, Crystal Sands Beach must be at the top of this list. Relax on Crystal Sands Beach; you'll relax in beautiful white sands overlooking those world-famous emerald green waters.
One of the cool things about Crystal Sands Beach is that it isn’t really a well-visited destination, despite how beautiful it looks.
It is a beach that is more for the homeowners in the area, and the tourists steer clear. So, we’re just letting you in on a secret here - go visit this beach.
There aren't many amenities in the area; it is just pure beach. However, you shouldn't be too much of a walk away from local shops and restaurants, so if you get a bit bored of the sun, wander and experience this rather stunning area of Destin.
Address: 3290 Scenic Hwy 98, Destin, FL 32541
Also Read: Best Florida Beaches You Must Visit
Destin Commons is the place to see and be seen in Destin. This shopping complex has over 85 shops and restaurants, and there is always something to enjoy here.
It is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir or two or perhaps do some fantastic shopping at many of the top brands here.
At Destin Commons, one of our favorite things to do is while the hours away at the food hall.
There are a lot of food options here, and there is always a culinary delight that we are happy to sink our teeth into (and this is really saying something since food throughout Destin is always great!).
One of the cool things about Destin Commons is that the owners have really tried to spruce it up, which is great, considering many other shopping malls like this are starting to die off. In places, you can see some stunning locally-created artwork.
Throughout the year, you'll also find numerous events you can attend, e.g., markets, live music, etc. As we said, there is always something to do here.
Obviously, it is free to get into Destin Commons. The opening hours change throughout the year. Check the Destin Commons website for up-to-date information.
Address: 4100 Legendary Dr, Destin, FL 32541
When you're in Destin, you're in the home of top fishing. Can you really go without eating some great fish?
Now, we must admit that Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl and Grill is the ultimate dining experience; it offers fun for the whole family and some incredibly cheap eats.
This underwater-themed restaurant even boasts a bowling alley (which is also underwater-themed).
Almost all of the food at Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl and Grill will be fish-based, but there are a few options (including pizza) for those who aren't seafood fans.
Address: 4251 Legendary Dr, Destin, FL 32541
Grayton Beach State Park has won numerous awards. In fact, it is classed as one of the best beaches in the United States.
So, if you're looking for a beautiful beach to relax on, the Grayton Beach State Park is one of the top places to visit in Destin.
The main highlight of Grayton Beach State Park is the beach, and we have no doubt this is where you'll be spending most of your hours.
However, if you can pull yourself away from the beach for a while, you have over 300 acres of state parks to explore. This includes beautiful coastal path trails.
Grayton Beach State Park opens at 8 a.m. each morning and closes at sunset. It costs $5 per vehicle to get in.
Address: 357 Main Park Rd, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Want a fun experience for all the family? Why not head to Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone?
Here, you can enjoy bumper boats, rope climbing, go-karts, an arcade, and more. There is fun to be had around every single corner!
Wild Willy's Adventure Zone has variable pricing, depending on the activities that you take part in, e.g., the Go-Karts are $11.99 for a go around the track, and laser tag is $10.99 per game.
There are sometimes bulk packages where you can save money by buying multiple experiences at once.
Opening times vary depending on the attraction.
Address: 1306 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
The Indian Temple Mound Museum hosts over 1,000 artifacts from the Native American occupation of the area.
It tells the story of Destin long before it became Destin. On top of this, there are a few artifacts from early settlers (including some pirates).
Some of the artifacts here are prehistoric, and you won't find a better collection in this part of the US.
It is a smaller museum, but it is worth the trip if you are looking for places to go in Destin that won't break the bank.
For adults, it is $5 to get in, and for children (up to 17), it is $3.50. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Address: 139 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
James Lee Park is a beautiful beach. It is immaculate and offers stunning views over the Gulf Coast.
In fact, the views are so great that you'll often find that many people are getting married on the beach or at least having their snaps taken.
There is a children's play area here and some limited amenities. However, it is mostly about beach relaxation. The sand is soft, and the water is clear; what more could you possibly ask for?
The beach is free, and it is open from dawn to dusk.
Address: 3510 Scenic Highway 98, FL 32541
Banana boats are fun. If you've ever been on one, then you'll know that. However, in our experience, no banana boat excursion is more fun than the one in Destin.
Not only will you have a fun-packed ride being towed along, but there's also a chance that you'll get up close and personal with dolphins and sea turtles.
There are a few banana boat excursions operating from Destin, but the best one can be found behind Pompano Joe’s Seafood House. A trip will cost just $25, and children are welcome.
Sail times vary throughout the year.
Address: 2237 Scenic Gulf Dr, Destin, FL 32550
Looking for shopping opportunities at top brands, including Disney, Nike, and Michael Kors? Well, the Silver Sands Premium Outlets are where you need to be spending your time.
There are tons of stores to explore here, and since these are mostly outlet stores, the prices are ridiculously cheap.
The Silver Sands Premium Outlets are open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Address: 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy W, Miramar Beach, FL 32550
If you want the ultimate Go-Kart experience, a trip to The Track in Destin may be in order.
There are a couple of Go-Kart tracks here, including one designed to be especially slippery for a more unique experience.
On top of this, you have a few bumper rides, some country fair-style rides, and mini golf.
Prices and opening times can vary depending on the attraction that you are enjoying.
Address: 1125 US-98, Destin, FL 32541
Destin is a top fishing destination, although, for tourists, it is perhaps best known for its white beaches and emerald-green waters.
April and May are the best times to visit Destin. The weather is perfect. It is neither too hot nor too cold.
The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is the top destination in Destin. Here, you'll see dolphins, sea lions, and other sea life.
A trip to Crab Island is incredibly unique. It is a collection of floating bars and other activities. It can only be reached via boat.
Destin attractions are so much more than just spending your time on the beach (although, we reckon that's where you'll be spending most of your time). You also have great food, shopping, fishing, and museum opportunities. No matter who you are, we are sure you'll never be short of things to do in Destin. In fact, there is so much more that we haven't covered. Just wander around the streets of the city, and you'll find tons of adventures.