When many people think of Florida, they think of Miami, Orlando or perhaps Key West. An equally attractive destination, however, is the area along the Gulf of Mexico known as the Emerald Coast. While this region stretches for about 100 miles and covers several counties, Destin is the best known village and the location of many hotels, resorts and other places to stay. Destin is both a picturesque and historical area and a place that’s great for fishing, hiking and enjoying the white sand beaches.
Let’s look at some of the leading attractions you can expect to find in the Destin area.
Leading Attractions and Activities in Destin
Destin has the nickname “the world’s luckiest fishing village.” While it’s not quite the same quaint and quiet town it once was, it still maintains its charms as a quaint town by the Gulf of Mexico where both locals and visitors still do plenty of fishing.
- Destin Harbor and Boardwalk. This is the heart of Destin, with an old fashioned boardwalk that’s fun to stroll, with great views of the harbor. It also has HarborWalk Village, which offers a variety of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. It’s a lively place to come any time of day. During the day you can browse in local shops; at night you can find a variety of nightclubs.
- Henderson Beach State Park is one of the area’s prime destinations for nature lovers. It offers trails for hiking, beautiful beaches, campsites, showers, picnic areas and more. This is often one of the quieter and less populated places to visit in Destin.
- Boat Tours -Whether you want to go fishing or just enjoy a boat tour, you have many choices. Companies such as Gulf Angler Fishing Charters and Intracoastal Experience (and many others) offer tours on many types of boats. Southern Star Dolphin Cruise is good option if you want to see some dolphins or whales.
- Water Sports -Destin is also a fun place for jet skiing, parasailing, snorkeling, scuba diving and other water sports. You can bring your own equipment or rent it. Diving shops such as ScubaTech have everything you need. If you want to try something new and adventurous. Power Up Watersports has something called a Flyboard, that allows you to hover over the water.
Dining and Nightlife
Destin offers a rich variety of options for dining out and finding things to do. As you might expect in a beachside town, seafood is the main attraction in many of the best restaurants. Some of the finest seafood can be found at popular places such as Louisiana Lagniappe, Caribbean Joe’s and Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House.
Mimmo’s Ristorante Italiano is one of the area’s favorite Italian restaurants. The Pancakery is a fun and delicious option for breakfast, or anytime you’re in the mood for pancakes, omelets and other breakfast favorites.
For entertainment, you can find many bars and nightclubs offering live music. If you’re in the mood for dancing, Nightown is one of Destin’s most lively discos and nightclubs. Boathouse Oyster Bar and Grill is ideal for both enjoying a meal and hearing great local bands. Other popular places can be found around HarborWalk, such as Jester Mardi Gras Daiquiris
Where to Stay
You have plenty of choices for accommodations in Destin. You can stay in a luxury resort full of activities, a cozy bungalow or a romantic couples only hotel. It all depends on your preferences and budget.
The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is a great choice for people who want the full resort experience, with great golf courses, luxury spa treatments, gourmet food and easy access to water sports.
The Inn on Destin Harbor offers a smaller and cozier environment where you’re still right on the Harbor.
Henderson Beach State Park Campground is the place to go if you want to take your RV or otherwise camp out near the beach.
The Henderson Park Inn is a couples-only B & B that has won numerous awards, including “The most romantic hotel in the U.S.” It’s right on the beach and offers lots of amenities such as beach services, bicycles, picnic lunches and daily happy hours at sunset.