See a dolphin: Besides dolphin cruises, the jetties offer the best lookout point for playful dolphins. Just head to the beach located under the Destin bridge and walk along the waterline until you reach the rock jetties. It’s a bit of a hike out across the rocks, but it will be worth it, both for the sunset, and spotting dolphin.
Watch the sunset: Finding the perfect spot to watch the sunset in Destin depends on the time of year due to the location of the sunset.
During the summer months the sun sets along the Choctawhatchee Bay so the best places to watch the glorious sunset include: Clement Taylor Park, Dewey Destin’s Crab Island, Norriego Point and the jetties.
In the fall and winter months the sun sets across the Gulf, so pick any beach access and bring a picnic, and just enjoy the free show!
Take a selfie:
- In front of the “Welcome to Destin” sign
- By the carved Magnolia Tree at HarborWalk Village
- Inside the huge shark jaws at the Destin History and Fishing Museum
- By the Shark replica hanging outside of Bass Pro at the Destin Commons
- In front of the wave painting at Gusu Paddle & Surf Shop
- Atop the giant red lawn chair in front of Factory Direct Furniture Destin
- Next to the green bus in front of McGuire’s Irish Pub
See the stars: The key ingredients for good star viewing are: A. a dark place and B. a wide- open area.
Tom Haugh, the Outreach Coordinator for the Northwest Florida Astronomy Association said that while Destin has plenty of open space at the beach, the moisture and sand in the air make visibility tough.
“Destin has a couple of city parks and that is where I would start looking to find a dark site,” Haugh said. “However, with all the businesses catering to the tourist trade, I don’t know if the skies will be that much darker by moving closer to the bay, but any distance from the gulf will be beneficial.”
With that in mind you might try the city park at Joe’s Bayou. Haugh did note that Henderson Beach State Park does host star gazes a few times a year with the next scheduled date being March 31. To find out more visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/park-events/Henderson-Beach.
Catch a fish: If you are not charting a boat for a fishing trip, the next best thing is fishing from land. There are several options for land fishing in Destin and each pose a different challenge.
You can try your hand at surf fishing, which is fishing straight from the beach, but you will need to have the right gear in order to keep your line from floating back to you.
You could also try dock fishing at one of the city’s many parks including Clement Taylor Park and Mattie Kelly Park and Nature Walk. Just remember that, unless fishing from a charter boat, a fishing license is required for anyone older than 12 years of age. Recreational fishing licenses can be purchased online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or at retailers such as Walmart, Bass Pro Shops, and Half Hitch Tackle.
See fireworks: The HarborWalk Village offers a weekly fireworks show during the summer
season. Every Thursday night at 9 p.m. fireworks let off across the harbor at the jetties, and can be seen best from the HarborWalk Village, Norriego Point, and the Destin Bridge.
Build a sandcastle: Of course any beach access will do for building a sandcastle, but did you know you could hire an expert to give you and your crew sandcastle building lessons? This fun group experience will have you wanting to enter a sandcastle contest. Find out more at https://beachsandsculptures.com/
Swim laps: Besides going to the beach, avid swimmers visiting Destin may want to locate a good lap pool. Currently the closest public pool to Destin available for lap swim is in Fort Walton Beach at the Bernie R. Lefebvre Aquatic Center. Lap swim is available for $7 daily or $35 monthly and schedule can be found http://ecfitnessfoundation.org/home/bernie-r-lefebvre-aquatic-center/program-schedule-the-bernie/.
Keep the kids busy: Destin seems to be designed for families and fun, and with so many
options available it’s actually pretty easy to keep the kids busy while here. Some year-round favorites for youngsters are The Track Family Recreation Center, Big Daddy’s Arcade, and the many kids adventures in the HarborWalk Village. During the summer season, a trip to Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park is a must. As for dinner, you can’t go wrong with LuLu’s, Fudpucker’s or Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill.
Stay up all night: Where can you go in Destin to stay up all night? Well there aren’t any 24 hour restaurants or bars, but you can get pretty close at these places:
Lucky’s Rotten Apple: Located at 205 Mountain Drive, Lucky’s slogan is “Where the locals hang.” The bar is perfect for drinks, fun and dancing and is open seven days a week from noon until 4 a.m.
Coyote Ugly Saloon: Known for their female bartenders who dance on the bar top, Coyote Ugly Saloon in Destin is located at 100 Harbor Blvd. and is open from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Club Bimini: The upstairs bar of AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar has been a hot spot for both locals and visitors and features live bands, D.J.s and special events throughout the year. AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar is located at 116 Harbor Blvd. and the upstairs bar Club Bimini is open until 2 a.m.
Asiago’s Skillet: After partying it up until the wee hours of the morning, head over to Asiago’s Skillet on Harbor Boulevard for a great early morning breakfast, as the restaurant is open from midnight to noon. Located at 300 Harbor Blvd.