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Best Things To Do in Destin

Beach, beach, beach! Most Destin visitors come here for that sole reason. The gorgeous white sand competes with those at other Florida destinations farther south. However, if you stay on the beach, you'll miss out on the other attractions. Swim in the warm emerald waters of the Gulf, take a swing on the world-class golf courses or cast a line off a pier or a boat. The activity will only help you gain a greater appreciation for Destin's natural splendor.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Destin

Perhaps the biggest draw to Henderson Beach State Park­  aside from its relaxed atmosphere  is the sugar-white sand beach, made up of pure Appalachian quartz. The sand not only remains cool in the summer sun, but it gives the pristine waters an emerald cast. Offering a welcome change of pace from the crowded and hotel-backed beaches closer to the resorts, this easily accessible, safe and clean oasis offers nature trails, spots for grilling, and picnicking and campsites. Recent visitors loved the area's peaceful atmosphere and highly recommended travelers make a stop here.
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Henderson Beach State Park
Perhaps the biggest draw to Henderson Beach State Park­  aside from its relaxed atmosphere  is the sugar-white sand beach, made up of pure Appalachian quartz. The sand not only remains cool in the summer sun, but it gives the pristine waters an emerald cast. Offering a welcome change of pace from the crowded and hotel-backed beaches closer to the resorts, this easily accessible, safe and clean oasis offers nature trails, spots for grilling, and picnicking and campsites. Recent visitors loved the area's peaceful atmosphere and highly recommended travelers make a stop here.
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#2

#2 in Destin

Whether you're looking for a pirate-themed cruise, a romantic sunset sail or a dolphin-spotting excursion, Destin has a boat tour for you. In fact, according to the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, Destin boasts the largest for-hire fishing fleet in the U.S.
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Boat Tours
Whether you're looking for a pirate-themed cruise, a romantic sunset sail or a dolphin-spotting excursion, Destin has a boat tour for you. In fact, according to the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, Destin boasts the largest for-hire fishing fleet in the U.S.
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#3

#3 in Destin

Free
You'll have your pick of stunning shorelines in Destin and neighboring Okaloosa Island, but visitors suggest you make time for Crystal Beach. Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, Crystal Beach is frequently praised by visitors for its ivory sands and crystal-clear waters. Travelers also appreciate how clean the beach is.
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Crystal Beach
You'll have your pick of stunning shorelines in Destin and neighboring Okaloosa Island, but visitors suggest you make time for Crystal Beach. Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, Crystal Beach is frequently praised by visitors for its ivory sands and crystal-clear waters. Travelers also appreciate how clean the beach is.
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#4

#4 in Destin

Much like its Floridian neighbors, Destin and Fort Walton Beach are home to a variety of scenic golf courses. You'll find four championship golf courses and country clubs in Destin alone, and nine total in the Emerald Coast region, meaning you won't have to venture far to perfect your swing.
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Golf Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Golf
Much like its Floridian neighbors, Destin and Fort Walton Beach are home to a variety of scenic golf courses. You'll find four championship golf courses and country clubs in Destin alone, and nine total in the Emerald Coast region, meaning you won't have to venture far to perfect your swing.
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#5

#5 in Destin

When the weather won't cooperate or when you've had your fill of sun and sand, indulge in a little retail therapy at one of Destin's shopping complexes. Whether you're looking for charming boutiques, outlet malls or open-air complexes, the Emerald Coast delivers.
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Shopping Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Shopping
When the weather won't cooperate or when you've had your fill of sun and sand, indulge in a little retail therapy at one of Destin's shopping complexes. Whether you're looking for charming boutiques, outlet malls or open-air complexes, the Emerald Coast delivers.
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#6

#6 in Destin

If you don't happen to spot any dolphins in the wild, or just want to learn more about some of Florida's marine creatures, you may want to pay a visit to the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Though it does feature daily dolphin and sea lion shows, the Gulfarium is no Sea World (it doesn't boast large animals or rides). But even with its small size, the park is still a hit with travelers, especially those visiting with children.
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Zoos and Aquariums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
If you don't happen to spot any dolphins in the wild, or just want to learn more about some of Florida's marine creatures, you may want to pay a visit to the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Though it does feature daily dolphin and sea lion shows, the Gulfarium is no Sea World (it doesn't boast large animals or rides). But even with its small size, the park is still a hit with travelers, especially those visiting with children.
... more

#7

#7 in Destin

Staying true to its reputation as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village," Destin hosts a wide variety of sea creatures, meaning anglers have plenty of hot spots from which to cast off. Test your luck at any one of the city's jetties, beaches, seven piers or the Destin Bridge, where local fishermen often catch pompano, channel bass, bluefish, king mackerel and flounder, among other varieties. Diehard anglers should plan an October trip to see or participate in the Destin Fishing Rodeo, where contestants compete for the most impressive catch of the day. And if simply eating Destin's tasty sea dwellers is more your style, you can nosh on local seafood at the annual Destin Seafood Festival, also in October. If you'd like to eat your own catch but don't have access to a kitchen, several local restaurants will cook your cleaned fish for you, prepare it any way you like it and serve it with your favorite sides. Check with the visitors bureau for a list of participating restaurants.
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Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Fishing
Staying true to its reputation as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village," Destin hosts a wide variety of sea creatures, meaning anglers have plenty of hot spots from which to cast off. Test your luck at any one of the city's jetties, beaches, seven piers or the Destin Bridge, where local fishermen often catch pompano, channel bass, bluefish, king mackerel and flounder, among other varieties. Diehard anglers should plan an October trip to see or participate in the Destin Fishing Rodeo, where contestants compete for the most impressive catch of the day. And if simply eating Destin's tasty sea dwellers is more your style, you can nosh on local seafood at the annual Destin Seafood Festival, also in October. If you'd like to eat your own catch but don't have access to a kitchen, several local restaurants will cook your cleaned fish for you, prepare it any way you like it and serve it with your favorite sides. Check with the visitors bureau for a list of participating restaurants.
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#8

#8 in Destin

Although somewhat on the pricey end for a park of its size, Big Kahuna's is one of Destin's best spots to take the family when you need a break from the beach. The water park is open from mid-May through August and features more than 40 attractions, including slides, water rides and the Honolulu Half Pipe with a wave simulator. You can also float through the park along Big Kahuna's lazy river. And between September and early May – when the water rides are closed – you can still enjoy Big Kahuna's racetrack, mini-golf course and park rides.
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Amusement Parks Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park
Although somewhat on the pricey end for a park of its size, Big Kahuna's is one of Destin's best spots to take the family when you need a break from the beach. The water park is open from mid-May through August and features more than 40 attractions, including slides, water rides and the Honolulu Half Pipe with a wave simulator. You can also float through the park along Big Kahuna's lazy river. And between September and early May – when the water rides are closed – you can still enjoy Big Kahuna's racetrack, mini-golf course and park rides.
... more
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