Is Destin worth visiting? If you are planning a summer, spring break or New Year Eve’s vacation on the picturesque Emerald Coast in Florida, then you are bound to have this question.
Destin is the most visited city on the Emerald Coast. 80% of vacationers visiting the Emerald Coast come to Destin for a vacation. So, it’s obvious why Destin is such a loved city in the US.
Destin is well worth your money. Destin boasts everything a vacationer could want: pure white sandy beaches with crystal green oceans, the best fishing sites, golf courses, adrenaline-fueled adventure activities, museums, and the finest luxury shopping malls and exquisite dining restaurants.
Is Destin Worth Visiting? Here’s why it is-
Destin city rests on the Florida Panhandle on the Gulf of Mexico and is dotted with white sandy beaches, Emerald green water, lush-green golf courses and is also popularly known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”.
Let’s dive into good reasons which make Destin one of the most desired vacation destinations in the US.
Destin- “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”🎣
Yes, you read that right, Destin is also popularly known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, and there’s a fascinating history and an amazing well-preserved marine life behind it.
Located on the American Panhandle on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, Destin is one of the gems of the naturally gifted Emerald Coast. The ease of access to the deepest and most blooming parts of the Gulf sets Destin apart from nearby ports on the Emerald Coast.
So, it is not surprising that Destin is home to the largest charter fishing fleet in the US and seafood capital of the US, both of which we will explore more about later. One obvious thing is Destin is a haven for fishing enthusiasts and thousands of them travel to Destin every year, from amateurs to pros to try their luck at fishing.
Savour the best mouth-watering Seafood🍤 cuisines in the USA
Being known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” naturally raises everybody’s expectations of tasting the primary staple food of Destin which is obviously- fish. Destin prides itself in serving the freshest seafood in the US, with many food outlets adapting the ‘Gulf to table’ approach where you will be served a meal of the fresh catch you made from the sea.
Some of the most famous dishes in Destin are jumbo shrimp, Crab legs, snappers, oysters, broiled lobster tail, grouper Parmesan coupled with refreshing beach cocktails, margarita, bottled beers, and steaks and chicken.
Grouper, Tuna, Snapper fish, Cobia and Flounder fishes from the backbone of the seafood cuisines in Destin as these fishes are found in plenty on the coasts of Destin.
Watch the Largest Fleet of fishing vessels🛥 in action
Gifted with impeccable beauty and marine life of the Gulf of Mexico, Destin has truly earned its right to be called “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Destin has the largest fleet of fishing vessels in the US.
Destin Harbor Boardwalk walk is the best place to take a stroll with your family or better half to watch hundreds of private and charter fishing fleets in action and bring in their catch in the evening.
The Boardwalk is also home to plenty of amazing seafood restaurants that serve a variety of dishes including classic American and Mexican dishes, boutique shops, malls, bars, and cafes.
Check out our ultimate guide to Destin Harbor Boardwalk to make the most of your visit to the Harbor.
The best fishing🎣 experience on the Emerald Coast
Destin attracts thousands of fishing enthusiasts every year due to pristine white sandy Beaches and waters which are rich with marine life.
Many fishing enthusiasts head towards the ‘100 Fathom Curve’ when to come to Destin. The ‘100 Fathom Curve’ is the ideal location to get lucky with fishing. The curve is blooming with marine life with fish species like Cobia, Tuna, Grouper and Flounder in plenty, which is why this spot has been so popular among fishermen for centuries.
🏖 Suggested read: Fort Walton Beach vs Destin for a Vacation? An Honest Comparison to Help You Choose!
Enjoy a good round of Golf ⛳
For people who love the game of Golf, Destin boats of many well-manicured golf courses with contoured greens and strategically placed hazards that blend beautifully with the spectacular views of the Bay.
Some of the best Golf Courses ⛳ in Destin are–
- Kelly Plantation Golf Club
- Regatta Bay Golf Club
- Indian Bayou Golf and Country Club
- The Links Golf Club
- Emerald bay Golf Club
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Morrison Springs ♨️- The best diving spot in the southeast
Morrison Springs is known as the most picture-perfect and family-friendly diving spot in the southeast. Morrison Spring diving spot is well-known for its 250-foot diameter spring pool that produces 48 million gallons of crystal-clear water each day.
The Park has many large boardwalks overlooking the springs, a diving dock and a boat ramp that makes this park an ideal destination for an unforgettable family vacation.
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Explore the fascinating history of the town📜
There is a fascinating history behind how Destin got its name ‘Destin’ and later came to be known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”. Destin gets its name from Leonard Destin, a fishing captain who settled in then a beautiful ‘small fishing village’ on the Gulf of Mexico.
Captain Destin brought his own roots and history from New England, from where he belonged. Thus, creating a small town with a touch of colonial architecture from New England. Many buildings and resorts still to this day maintain that old charm and feel of the old Destin, especially the popular Henderson State Park Inn, known as the best resort in Destin.
The Destin Fishing and History Museum allows an opportunity to dive deep into the history of Destin and the reason behind its deep-rooted culture and tradition centred around fishing.
From old stories, award-winning fishing examples, collection of antique fishing rods and reels to original Post Office building where you can see the world’s oldest seine fishing boat (The Primrose), vintage photographs of early settlers, captains and their boats, there is enough to satisfy the history buff in you.
A Haven for Water-sports lovers🚣🏻♀️
Destin naturally gifted coastlines make it the perfect destination to embark on an endless list of adventure activities. From snorkelling, Parasailing, jet-skiing, kiteboarding, surfing, waterskiing to paddleboarding, the experience of enjoying water sports in Destin is amongst the best in the world.
You can enjoy and learn all these thrilling activities from experienced and patient instructors who are always taking joy in helping you out.
Enjoy the best boating🛳 excursions on the Emerald Coast
Boating is the best way to get an unparalleled view of the Emerald Coast and learn and observe how the fishermen go about their daily work across the crystal green waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
You can easily rent a private boat or rent a charter and set sail deep into the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf where marine life welcomes you with all its glory. Watch Dolphins swim and hunt fish, hunt crabs with kids, watch pelicans grab their prey and above all keep an eye out for an occasional visit by sharks.
The best spots to go boating in Destin–
- Crab Island– The most loved boating destination in Destin. Crab island apart from being utterly gorgeous with shallow waters is also a place to enjoy a bunch of other water activities with your family.
- Gulf Islands National Seashore– Located along the Choctawhatchee Bay, this seashore is perfect to pull your boat on the shores and enjoy some private time with your family.
- Joe’s Bayou- Perfect place for wakeboarding, snorkelling and jet-skiing.
Explore and have fun at Destin’s outdoor festivals⛴
Being known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” it’s no wonder that Destin’s major festivals are all centred around their primary industry i.e., fishing.
Destin is home to the best fishing festivals in the US. Major festivals like the Destin Fishing Rodeo and Destin Seafood festival held in October attracts thousands of fishing enthusiasts and seafood lovers from all over the US.
The Destin Fishing Rodeo festival is the ultimate fishing tournament where fishermen from amateurs to pros compete put their fishing skills on display in front of thousands of tourists. You can join in on the action on one of the registered fishing boats or just be a spectator and watch hundreds of fishing boats bringing in their catch from the sea.
The Destin Seafood festival is the highlight of Destin’s outdoor activities. This festival is a haven for seafood lovers as you will get to savour the most delectable seafood cooked by some of the best seafood outlets in Destin. You can enjoy the freshest seafood dishes with the spectacular views of the Destin port on HarborWalk Boardwalk.
Most Vibrant Nightlife on the Emerald Coast🍻
If you are a party animal and like to stay awake drinking and dancing to live music till the early hours of the morning, then there’s another reason why you would love to visit Destin.
The fishing town of Destin is home to wonderful bars, pubs, nightclubs and malls that are open till the wee hours of the morning.
HarborWalk Village’s beautiful and busy atmosphere of malls, shops, restaurants, boutiques and bars with live music along with the picturesque Destin harbour form a perfect backdrop for a night out with your loved ones.
Best adventure parks on the Emerald Coast🧗🏻♀️
Destin boasts of the best adventure parks on the Emerald Coast, which are fun for kids and adults alike. Destin has all kinds of adventure parks and activities, from rollercoaster rides, water sports, arcade games, laser tag to the most extreme adventure sports for adults who love the thrill of adventure sports.
The best adventure parks in Destin are–
- Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure park– One of the best and unique adventure parks in the country with activities for every age group.
- The Track– For kids and adults who love go-karts then this is a place you must visit. The Park also has mini-golf, blaster boats and much more to keep you busy enjoying your day.
- Crab island – A trip to a destination is incomplete without visiting this most desired destination. Crab Island as the name suggests is not an adventure park but underwater floating sandbars that have become the go-to destination for families to enjoy water sports.
- Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone – Enjoy rope climbing with your kids along with endless arcade games and if you want to relax head straight to the 4D movie theatre at Wild Willy’s
- Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park– Your kids will love every moment of their time here and so will you watching Dolphins leap out of the water and do crazy acrobatics.
Best shopping experience on the Emerald Coast🛍
Destin is one of the most visited coastal towns in the US also boasts of some of the best shopping complexes on the Emerald Coast. Malls with shops of world-class brands, boutiques, restaurants, spas, theatres, arcade games and other stores, Destin has everything for everyone.
The best shopping malls in Destin–
- Destin Commons
- Silver Sands Premium Outlets
- Grand Boulevard
❓ Frequently asked questions?
What is the best time to visit Destin?
In April and May, when the weather is good, the sea is warm, and the sun is shining, Destin is at its best (expect highs in the mid-70s and 80s).
If you arrive early, you may experience colder temps and ice-cold water. A summer trip will put you in the midst of the crowds and at the peak of the season’s prices.
What is the cost of a vacation to Destin, Florida?
A 7-day trip to Destin costs an average of $1,847 for a single traveller, $3,317 for a couple, and $6,219 for a family of four.
How safe is Destin for tourists?
Destin has the one of the lowest crime rates of all the major tourist destinations in the US with overall crime rate of 14 per 1000 residents.
Which airport is close to Destin, Florida?
Destin – Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS)