Destin is a narrow strip of a town on a peninsula in the north, Florida panhandle between Pensacola and Panama City. It is known for its natural beauty, white sandy beaches, emerald green waters and beautiful sunsets!
The once quiet fishing village of Destin, Florida is no more. The secret is out! Now a spectacular beach resort community, Destin has seen an explosion in growth the past years. With its countless miles of brilliant white, sugar-fine sand beaches, natural sand dunes decorated with delicate sea oats, and clear, emerald-green gulf waters along its coast, one can understand the attraction to this area. The panhandle area of Florida is the place to live or vacation for those seeking a more relaxed pace compared to other areas in Florida.
Destin is still very much a fishing town, with the primary interest in sport fishing. Marlin, sailfish and tuna can be found just offshore. Numerous charters are available for both light-duty, inshore fishing, to the heavy action of offshore, deep-sea fishing.
For those interested in other water-borne activities, Destin is an excellent area for diving and snorkeling. Good diving is found in the 50 to 110 feet depths just a few miles offshore. There are several wreck diving areas as well. Snorkeling the clear, emerald waters is pleasant, but the inshore waters are mostly sand bottom, so the primary interests are in viewing the varieties of fishes and shells.
Of course, every variety of beach and water activity is available along the Destin beaches including kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing, surfing, sailing, fishing, wind surfing and Dolphin cruises. The gulf waters are generally calm, so experienced surfers will not find as many good surfing days as can be found on the east coast of Florida. However, it is the same generally tranquil gulf waters that make so many of these other sports ideal.
Destin is very much a family oriented vacation destination. It
offers a number of hotels, vacation rental homes, condos, cottages
and camping/RV parks. The area has a good selection of restaurants,
shopping opportunities and a fair number of public and semi-public
golf courses. Stroll along Destin harbor in the late afternoon
to watch the fishing charter boats returning with their catches of
Just east of Destin on U.S. 98 is Henderson Beach State Park with over a mile of pristine white sugar sand beach. The park features natural coastal ecosystem with sand pines, scrub oaks and dune rosemary. The park is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnicking and playing!
Along the Emerald Coast west of Destin is Pensacola and to the east is Panama City Beach. The entire region offers unparalleled natural beach beauty and vacation opportunities. One can choose between quiet and undeveloped beaches or areas with greater activity. A drive along the scenic coast on highway 98 and 30A is a worthwhile experience.
There are a few non-beach/water based interests, but Destin is clearly very much a beach and water sports destination. Nearby state park, Eden State Gardens and Mansion, is a beautiful 1895 southern mansion surrounded by azaleas, camellias and Spanish moss draped oak trees. Tour the mansion, or stroll or picnic in lush gardens.
Florida's Gulfarium is one of America's oldest marine parks with dolphin and sea lion shows, and several tropical fish aquariums. There are several exhibits including a sting ray pool, a touch pool, a tropical bird habitat, seal and otter areas, and more.
The Emerald Coast Science Center is a small, hands-on encounter museum especially for children and families. It has more than 250 interactive exhibits.
The Air Force Armament Museum will be of interest to military buffs and is located just north of nearby Fort Walton Beach. Visitors can view a variety of historical Air Force planes including a World War II era B-17 bomber, P-51 Mustang, Korean War era F-80 Shooting Star and Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom jet, and F-105 'Thud'. Many other planes including the SR-71 Blackbird, A-10, B-57, B-52, F-111, F-15 and more are on display.