Fishing#7 in Best Things To Do in Destin
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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.
Okaloosa Island Pier welcomes visitors every day from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., mid-November through mid-March; during the summer, it's open 24 hours a day. Angling rates are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for youths 6 to 12, while children ages 5 and younger can fish for free. You can also rent rods and reels for $7 to $8 depending on the size. Observers will be charged $2 to watch the action. You do not need to obtain a permit if you're fishing from a pier with a saltwater fishing license or a for-hire vessel (such as a guide, charter or party boat) that has a valid charter boat license or charter captain license. For more information on fishing permits, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Should you want to test your skills on open waters, Destin Harbor also plays host to a variety of vessels for deep sea, inshore and bottom fishing. Visitors also say a visit to the harbor is a must, with lots to see and plenty of restaurants and bars. Charters and fishing cruises – which also double as sightseeing opportunities – can be scheduled at FishDestin.com.
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#1 Henderson Beach State Park
Perhaps the biggest draw to Henderson Beach State Park – aside from its relaxed atmosphere – is the sugar-white sand, mile-long 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. The park rangers and staff also received accolades for their helpful tips and vast knowledge of the area.
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