A beautiful photo from Destin, FL

Delicious Dining in Destin

Family Friendly Restaurants in Destin

Destin is known for its sugar-white sand, variety of activities, and delicious seafood! If you are taking a family vacation to the beach this spring or summer, it is always good to prepare and find the local spots to eat that your children will love. We have listed our favorite family friendly restaurants in Destin that not only have delicious cuisine for the whole family, but also fun games and activities for the kids as they wait for their food! From breakfast to dessert, we have got you covered!

Planning Your Vacation to Destin

Breakfast & Brunch

Lunch & Dinner

Dessert

All of these family friendly restaurants in Destin offer a little something different. From beach access to playgrounds to yard games, there is sure to be something your kids will love. Check out our Dining – Finest Foods page for even more restaurants in Destin!

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Free Dolphin Tours for Locals to Benefit Harvest House

Calling all locals! How would you like to take a free dolphin tour this weekend and also help out a worthy cause? All you have to do is give Destin Snorkel a call to make a tour reservation and bring along your non-perishable item for the needy. The tours are this weekend, April 16-18. (Locals = Florida resident or military serving locally)

It’s all designed to give back to the community. The good folks at Destin Snorkel realize our local neighbors work hard and rarely get a chance to get out on the water. Organizers say it’s a wonderful way to also help out our community food bank at Harvest House.

 “We are excited that Destin Snorkel is supporting The Harvest House in their second annual ‘Locals First Weekend’.  Their collection efforts are needed now more than ever.  We hope the community will come out and support our efforts,” said Lori Joyner, executive director of The Harvest House.

This drive also helps get the word out to people in need in our local Destin and Miramar Beach communities.

Last year, Destin Snorkel was able to donate over 5,000 pounds of food to The Harvest House. more than 1,600 locals participated in the weekend event.

Each cruise is limited to 49 guests and will fill up quickly. To participate in the “Local’s First Weekend,” please call Destin Snorkel at 850-269-2329 to reserve your spot.

All locals are asked to present a valid Florida ID or military ID at check-in. Tour duration is one-and-a-half hours and subject to change pending weather conditions. Destin Snorkel is at the top of the list of our favorite things to do in Destin, FL.

Guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for Harvest House. Here’s a listing of the most needed items:

• Canned meats (tuna, chicken, salmon, etc.)

• Canned vegetables and fruit

• Canned and boxed meals (hamburger helper, soups, macaroni and cheese, etc.)

• Peanut butter, other nut butters and jelly

• Cereals

• Muffin, pancake and cornbread mix and syrup 😉

• Full sized toiletries – toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap

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Graduation Celebration in Destin

Congrats Grad! Celebrate Your Graduation in Destin, FL

Celebrating an exciting milestone? Congratulations! We would love to help you celebrate by planning a graduation trip to the beach. We have laid out everything you may need to celebrate your graduation in Destin. From the perfect accommodation to where to buy the best cupcakes in town, we have got you covered!

Where to Stay

Southern Vacation Rentals has a variety of condos and homes that can accommodate your party. For the larger group, check out Changes in Latitude! With space for eleven, a fully equipped kitchen, and being located just a short drive away from area attractions, this vacation rental in Destin, FL is perfect for the family celebration.

If you are looking for a condo in Destin, FL for just your immediate family, Sandprints #A6 is perfect for a family getaway. With space for 6 and a 5-minute walk to the beach, you are sure to feel at home in this vacation rental in Destin.

Where to Eat

What better way to commemorate your graduation weekend than by enjoying delicious food! The dining options in Destin are endless, but we have listed some of our favorites below.

Celebration Necessities

In order to truly celebrate this incredible life achievement, you are going to need some themed decorations and desserts! For all of your dessert needs, check out Smallcakes of Destin. From delicious cupcakes to custom cakes, they can do it all! Pro Tip: Their red velvet cupcake is our personal favorite!

For decorations, everyone loves a celebratory sign or balloon wall! Mingle is a boutique balloon service in Destin, FL that prepares gorgeous bouquets of balloons for any occasion! They are able to give you that “Pinterest” look you are after!

Spend your graduation in Destin, FL, and enjoy time on the beach with your closest friends and family. The celebration options are endless! Check out these things to do in Destin for an extensive list of activities that will help add some extra excitement to your weekend!

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Crab Cruncher & Cobia World Championships

Excitement is at fever pitch as cobia season is underway in Destin! One of our premier tournaments, the Cobia World Championships, began with the first catch of cobia and ends on May 9. This is aboard the boat, Full Pull, with the first boat-caught cobia of the season.

One of the divisions of the tournament, the Crab Cruncher Classic is this weekend, beginning tomorrow, April 8 and ending on Sunday, April 11. The Crab Cruncher kick-off party will be Thursday night, at 7:00 p.m., with BBQ on the docks.

  • Harbor Docks is the host for the Cobia World Championships. Proceeds benefit the annual Take-A-Kid Fishing Day and Destin Harvest.
  • Anglers won more than $300,000 in prize money last year.
  • Our partner charter boat captains in Destin, Fl would love to take you fishing for cobia or any of the other bounty available in gulf waters. You can find direct links to First Light Fishing and Phoenix Charter Fishing. You can schedule deep sea fishing or light tackle sport fishing for you, your family, or a group.
  • Even if you’re not fishing any of the tournaments, it’s a great time to visit Harbor Docks each afternoon to watch the boats arrive to weigh-in their catches of the day, then you can enjoy a delicious meal right there at Harbor Docks.

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Find Your Perfect Beach in Destin, FL

A Guide to Public Beach Access Points in Destin

If you are staying in a Destin, FL vacation rental that is not located directly on the beach, it is important for you to know where to access the beach! We have listed below the beach access points in Destin to help you discover your favorite beach on the Gulf Coast!

Beach Access Points in Destin

Norriego Point

Norriego Points is a very popular beach access because of its proximity to restaurants in Destin and activities available for the kids. If you would rather boat to the beach, Norriego Point is a great place to dock for the day!

Gulf Shore Drive (Holiday Isle)

Destin, FL 32541

O’Steen Beach Access

O’Steen Beach Access is another location off of Gulf Shore Drive (Holiday Isle).

Pompano Street Beach Access

Scenic Hwy 98 at Pompano Street in Crystal Beach

Destin, FL 32541

Shirah Street Beach Access

Another Crystal Beach option.

850.837.4242

Shirah Street & Hwy 98 (Crystal Beach)

Destin, FL 32541

Shores at Crystal Beach Access and Park (Gulf Front)

Here you will find a limited parking area, pavilion, picnic tables, showers, and public restrooms.

850.837.4242

2966 Scenic Hwy 98 (Crystal Beach)

Destin, FL 32541

Silver Shells Beach Access

This beach access features ample parking, bike racks, and public restrooms. Located on what is known as “Restaurant Row.”

7th Street & Scenic 98

Destin, FL 32541

Calhoun Beach Access

Calhoun Beach Access features ample parking and public restrooms.

Scenic Hwy 98

Destin, FL 32541

Tarpon Street Beach Access

This beach access in Destin tends to not get overcrowded but does have limited parking available.

850.837.4242

Scenic Hwy 98 & Tarpon Street (Crystal Beach)

Destin, FL 32541

Barracuda Street Beach Access

There is limited parking available at Barracuda Street Beach Access.

Barracuda $ Hwy 98 (Crystal Beach)

Destin, FL 32541

Henderson Beach State Park

There is a fee required to enter Henderson Beach State Park, however, when you arrive you will discover tons of things to do on the beach in Destin! Henderson features ample parking, multiple pavilions, and picnic tables, a playground, boardwalk, nature trail, and so much more.

Visit their website to see up-to-date pricing of entry.

850.837.7550

17000 Emerald Coast Parkway

Destin, FL 32541

James Lee Park

This is another beach access with tons of parking, pavilions, picnic tables, playgrounds, and more!

850.689.5772

3510 Scenic Hwy 98

Destin, FL 32541

June White Decker Beach Park

Here you will find bike racks, parking, and public restrooms.

1950 Scenic Hwy 98

Destin, FL 32541

We hope you find this guide to the many different beach access points in Destin helpful! Before going to the beach, make sure you are caught up on all things beach safety! Visit our blog, Destin Beach Safety – What Do the Flags Mean, for more information.

Click here to find the perfect vacation rental in Destin for your vacation to the Gulf Coast!

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Destin Beach Safety – What Do the Flags Mean?

As beach season kicks off with spring break and Easter vacationers, we have some important information to help you make it a safe and wonderful experience. We want you to enjoy your time riding the emerald waves and splashing in the saltwater while on vacation in Destin, Florida.

We recommend you begin each beach trip by checking the flag color for the day. The local flag warning system is universal across all of our beaches. In addition, Destin’s lifeguards, the Destin Beach Safety team, post the flag alerts on their Facebook page.

Double Red Flag: Water is closed to public due to dangerous water conditions. Do NOT go in the water.

Red Flag: High hazard due to surf and/or strong currents

Yellow Flag: Medium surf and/or current hazard

Green Flag: Low hazard and calm conditions, remain vigilant

Purple Flag: Marine pests present, such as jellyfish, stingrays or dangerous fish

Rip currents, powerful currents of water moving away from shore, are also something you should heed while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. These currents can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.

How to Survive a Rip Current:

  • Don’t fight the current. It’s a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second, but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second—faster than an Olympic swimmer.
  • Relax and float to conserve energy. Staying calm may save your life.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim parallel to the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: Wave, yell & swim parallel!

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Last-Minute Trip To The Beach!

Book Your Last-Minute Vacation Rental in Destin

Whether you are searching for the perfect last-minute trip to the beach, or you are wanting to work remotely and experience a change in scenery, we have the perfect vacation rental in Destin for you! Mainsail is a beautiful resort right on the beach, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful views of the Gulf.

Mainsail in Destin, FLYour condo at Mainsail includes a private balcony, and we are sure this will be your favorite spot to unwind from your day on the beach. Not only does your condo have spectacular Gulf views, but it also comes with a fully equipped kitchen. You can spend your day soaking up the sun, then spend your evening cooking a homemade meal with your family.

This vacation rental in Destin has everything necessary to make your stay memorable, but the resort also features amenities you won’t find anywhere else. From tennis courts to a community pool, Mainsail truly has it all.

  • Community Pool and Hot Tub
  • Kiddie Pool
  • On-Site Fitness Facility
  • Shuffleboard Deck
  • Tennis Courts

Staying at Mainsail means being just a short drive away from all that Destin, FL has to offer. We included some of our favorite activities in Destin, but for an extensive list, visit our Things To Do In Destin page!

  • Shopping at The Destin Commons
  • Dining at Camille’s at Crystal Beach
  • Catching waves with Ride on Surf School
  • Searching for dolphins with Olin Marler Dolphin Cruises

Don’t miss your chance to book your vacation rental in Destin for late spring! Click here to learn more about Mainsail in Destin, FL!

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Emerald Coast Open to Battle Lionfish Invasion

Let’s talk lionfish. According to the National Ocean Service, lionfish are native to the Indo-Pacific, but are now established in the Gulf of Mexico, along the U.S. southeast coast, and the Caribbean.

How did the fish get here? While the exact cause is unknown, it’s likely that humans provided a helping hand. Experts speculate that people have been dumping unwanted lionfish from home aquariums into the Atlantic Ocean for up to 25 years.

Since lionfish are not native to Atlantic waters, they have very few predators. They are carnivores that feed on small crustaceans and fish, including the young of important commercial fish species such as snapper and grouper.

Unfortunately, NOAA researchers have concluded that invasive lionfish populations will continue to grow and cannot be eliminated using conventional methods. Marine invaders are nearly impossible to eradicate once established. Lionfish hunting is done by scuba diving and snorkeling as lionfish are rarely caught on hook & line.

The Emerald Coast Open was created for this purpose. The main tournament is scheduled for May 14-May 16, with pre-tournament fishing already underway. As of March 24, 484 lionfish have been turned in. Registration for the tournament is here.

If you plan to join the lionfish hunt, our friends at Destin Snorkel an assist with scuba or snorkeling equipment. It will definitely rank high on one of the most interesting things to do in Destin!

 

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Top 3 Spring Events in Destin, Florida

Spring Events in Destin

Looking for things to do during your spring vacation to the beach? Springtime is a wonderful season to visit the Gulf Coast because of the temperate weather and beating the summer crowds! Check out our team’s top 3 favorite spring events in Destin!

Sandestin Wine Festival

The 34th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival is an event in Destin you won’t want to miss. The event will take place April 15th – 18th, 2021 and feature a comprehensive selection of wine in all varieties, styles, and price ranges. The festival is not only perfect for those who consider themselves wine connoisseurs, but also those who are looking for good food, wine, and entertainment.

Spring Kite Festival

Kitty Hawk Kites’ annual “Fly Into Spring” Kite Festival is being held April 3rd – 4th, 2021 at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. This event is one your kids will love! Not only will you see a variety of kites flying high by professionals in the business, but you can also learn how to fly your own kite. To learn more about this spring event in Destin, click here!

Sunset Celebration at HarborWalk Village

Destin's HarborWalk Village

Sunset Celebration is an event that has a little something for everyone! Not only is it located at HarborWalk Village, one of the most popular attractions in Destin, FL, but it also features live music and family-friendly activities. Enjoy local artists, great food, and incredible entertainment while also experiencing the famous Florida sunset.

There are so many spring events in Destin, FL! Check out our extensive list of things to do in Destin by clicking here! From fishing to shopping, we have listed every activity under the sun. You are bound to find something for everyone!

Searching for the perfect accommodation? Visit Southern Vacation Rentals to find the right vacation rental for your stay on the Gulf Coast!

 

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What to do in Destin for Spring?

5 Activities in Destin

Planning a spring vacation to the Gulf Coast? From surfing to go-carts, there are so many fun activities to do in Destin! With daylight savings time approaching quickly, you will find more time in your day to fit in more activities the whole family will enjoy. Below we have listed our Top 5 favorite activities in Destin, but for an extensive list with Tripshock, click here.   

Dolphin Cruises and Tours

Ask any local, and they will tell you that no matter how many times they have seen a dolphin in Destin’s emerald green waters; they get excited every time! Hopping on a dolphin cruise is a must when visiting the Gulf Coast. Get a tour of the Gulf of Mexico while spotting beautiful dolphins. Local Tip: Book a cruise at sunset to enjoy time spent with family on a boat watching the sun go down.  

Kids running on the beach

Bike Rentals

What better way to get to know the Destin area and soak up the sun than a bike ride? Take a ride down the street to grab a bite to eat or go for a stroll with your family to see what the area around you has to offer. Tripshock offers multiple different bike rental options suitable for the whole family!  

Dinner Cruise

Searching for that one-of-a-kind date night that will provide you with a great meal and special experience? Try a dinner cruise! The Destin Fine Dining Dinner and Dancing Cruise offer an incredible meal of fresh Gulf seafood, premium beef, and so much more. You will cruise through Choctawhatchee Bay and enjoy live entertainment with a beautiful view.  

Sailing Cruise

A sailing cruise is perfect for vacationers looking for some adventure! Tripshock lists multiple sailing charters that all provide an exciting experience. Sail away and enjoy beautiful surroundings. You may even see some wildlife during your trip!   

Gulfarium Tickets and Marine Life Encounters

Visit the Gulfarium for a full day of education and entertainment! From a dolphin show to chatting with the otters, the Gulfarium has it all. You will end the day with so much knowledge about wildlife including stingrays, gators, penguins, turtles and so much more. There is something for everyone at the Gulfarium in Destin!  

Your spring vacation to Destin, FL is sure to be a memorable one. Looking for a place to stay? Visit our Southern Vacation Rentals to find the perfect condo in Destin, FL with a Gulf-front view!

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