Destin is the perfect place for a sunshine getaway. If the winter clouds and rain are getting you down or you need a place to take your kids for an Easter escape, Destin is simply ideal.
This upscale Florida resort attracts a sophisticated clientele to its golf courses, spas, and high-class seafood restaurants. You can spend all week fishing for marlin with experienced local captains or avoid seeing the sea by spending all of your time on the links. Sunbathe and sip cocktails along the Emerald Coast or strap on water skis and take to the water for an adrenaline-filled watersports vacation.
Once you've enjoyed your choice of activities, Destin's many seafood restaurants await your order. With great shellfish at the Crab Trap and fresh seafood buffets at Captain Dave's on the Gulf, you can end every day in style. So make a date to enjoy the Florida sunshine, and choose a break to this beautiful destination.
Destin is known as one of the "luckiest fishing ports in the world", and it has a huge sport fishing fleet. If you've ever wanted to try your skills against Florida marlin or less formidable foes, check out charter companies at Destin Marina and see if you have what it takes.
You don't need to catch fish to get close to the marine wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico. Destin also offers dolphin tours from Harborwalk Marine, glass-bottomed boat tours from Southern Star and dolphin displays at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park.
Destin's other greatest asset is its long, sandy coastline. Near the resort, there are five beachfront parks and dazzling white beaches with soft, welcoming sand and warm waters. If you love being beside the sea, a day spent at John Beasley Beach or Henderson Beach will be sublime.
Being such a thriving fishing center, it's hardly surprising that Destin has so many fantastic seafood restaurants. From the grilled delights at Bonefish Grill to the Creole specialties at Marina Cafe or the shellfish at Crab Trap, it's seafood heaven.
You don't need to be near the sea to enjoy Destin. The resort also caters for golfing fans. If you want to base your trip around golf, you can stay at specialist resorts like the Seascape Resort, or just book a tee time at Regatta Bay or the Kelly Plantation.
Thousands of fishing-lovers head to Destin every year to hunt for marlin, pompano and triggerfish. If you want, you can fish from the beach, but for a real Florida fishing experience, rent a boat and captain and learn how to reel in a monster.
Destin is also a superb golfing destination. Taking advantage of the constant sunshine, developers have created a huge number of high-quality courses like Sandestin, Seascape Resort and the Golf Garden. Whatever your ability, it's a great place to play some golf.
One of the most appealing things about Destin are the miles and miles of beaches of the Emerald Coast. The soft sand, warm water and placid seas make it an ideal place for families to enjoy themselves.
The Gulf of Mexico is a great place to watch dolphins in the wild, so if you've every had the desire to get to know these intelligent animals, Destin is the place to do so. Head down to Dolphin Cruises at the Harborwalk Marina to join cruises all summer long.
When the beach becomes tiresome and your haul of fish, Destin's waterparks offer a wonderful place to unwind. Pleasure Island Waterpark is the best of them all, with an array of watersports like jet skis, pontoon boats and pools to enjoy.
Although thousands of people visit Destin in mid-summer (July and August), it's probably not the best time to go. The weather might be hot, but it can also rain every day if you are unlucky. To enjoy great weather (over 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and smaller crowds, visit in April and May when the waters are warm and rain is not a factor.
If you are flying to Destin, the best option is to fly into Pensacola Airport, which is just 50 miles to the west. Your hotel may well supply a shuttle bus from Pensacola, but if not it makes sense to book ahead with companies like Advantage Airport Shuttle or AShuttletaxi. A shuttle will cost you around $90, and taxis about the same.
Driving is easily the most convenient way to approach Destin, Florida. Many people choose to fly into Jacksonville or other nearby airports and pick up a rental car from outlets like Avis or Alamo. If you do fly into Jacksonville and continue by car, take I-10, which also approaches Destin from Texas and New Orleans. Those coming from the northeast should take I-95 to Jacksonville, then switch to I-10. Anyone coming from Chicago can take I-65 to Mobile, then switch to I-10 straight into Destin.
The nearest Greyhound bus stop to Destin is in Fort Walton Beach at 101 Perry Ave Se. From there, Destin is just a short taxi drive away, which should cost around $20.
Accommodation in Destin is centered around seafront resorts, with all of the amenities you would expect. The Seascape Golf, Beach & Tennis Resort is ideal for families and couples who want an active vacation, Ocean Reef Resorts offers a range of attractive self-catering homes, while the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is a luxury option right on the beach.
Destin – Located on a peninsular, Destin is a self-enclosed resort city with its own distinctive atmosphere. If you are in town for the sport fishing or sailing, you'll want to stay near Destin Harbor, while downtown Destin also contains the area's best restaurants, including AJ's Seafood and Dewey Destin's.
Emerald Beach – A couple of miles to the east of Destin city, you'll find Emerald Beach. This long stretch of pure white sand has it's own high-class seafood eateries like Captain Dave's, but the real attraction is the gorgeous coastline. There's no better spot to sunbathe, paddle or snorkel than in the bay's warm, emerald waters.
Fort Walton – Situated across Choctawhatchee Bay from Destin, Fort Walton is more down to earth and family-oriented. It has great golf courses like Shalimar Pointe, as well as family attractions like the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, which puts on dolphin shows for the crowds. With Publix and Walmart supermarkets in the area, it's also a great neighborhood for self-catering vacationers.
The only public transportation option in Destin is the Emerald Coast Rider which provides bus connections along the seafront every 20 minutes during summer (and less frequently out of season). A single fare costs $1.50 or $0.75 for seniors.
If you are staying at a major resort hotel in Destin, ask about their shuttle services. It's likely that they offer a private shuttle to the major attractions. If not, there are taxi services in the area like Sexton Taxi, but their services aren't cheap. Uber is slightly cheaper, charging $1.50 as the meter drops, then $1.15 per mile after that.
Driving around Destin couldn't be simpler. To travel up and down the Emerald Coast, just take Highway 98. Remember that not all of the beaches are accessible or have cheap parking. One of the best places to park is Henderson State Park, which charges $5 for access.
Although Destin isn't renowned as a shopping destination, it actually has some great places to shop for branded goods. Probably the best is Destin Commons, which features stores like Victoria's Secret, Aldo, Yankee Candle and Forever 21.
If you are staying in self-catering accommodation, Destin offers a range of grocery shopping options. There are upscale delis like the Fresh Market on Commons Drive alongside well known supermarkets like Wynn Dixie and Publix. There's also a Walmart Supercenter across the water in Fort Walton. The cost of living tends to be a little higher in Destin than most other resorts, so don't expect bargains. A gallon of milk will cost over $3.30 and a pound of apples more than $2.
Seafood is the most common item on Destin's menu, and few resorts offer such a wide selection of high-quality restaurants. The great thing about dining in Destin is that you can walk straight from the beach into gourmet eateries like Captain Dave's on the Gulf and the Boathouse Oyster Bar. If you want an upscale family option, be sure to check out the Camellia Grill, which blends Florida seafood with New Orleans Cajun cooking. A good meal won't cost more than $35 and in many places a great seafood dinner will cost less than $20.