Our Top 10 Destin Recommendations
These are some of our favorite things to see and do in Destin. We are happy to make these recommendations so you can make the most of your time in Destin. While some are well know, others are not still somewhat of a local secret!
Have a look around as we have included photos, videos, information and links.
1. White Sand Beaches and Clear Emerald Waters
Destin has The most Beautiful Beaches in the World
Nothing compares to the squeaky clean white sand beaches in Destin. There are so many things to do right out the back door of our condo. Relax, build sandcastles, play corn hole, fly kites and go shelling on the shore, or boogie board, body surf, float or paddle board in the clear waters.
Ask me for my favorite secret local place to go shelling.
In addition to our private beach, there are 13 public beach access points within the city limits of Destin. Eleven are city-owned facilities, one site is owned by the county and one site is owned by the state. Parking is limited at the city beach access points with the exception of June White Decker and the Shore at Crystal Beach.
You can even book a sand-castle building lesson right on our beach!
Whether you’re looking for dolphins, that great fishing spot, or beautiful sunsets, there is an excursion for you in Destin Harbor!
3. Big Kahuna's Waterpark
Located right across the road from SandnSol, Big Kahuna is a great way to break up your time on the beach. With over 40 slides, rides, play areas and pools, this family friendly waterpark is just the right size for toddlers, teens, and adults alike.
Big Kahuna has several thrilling slides for the adventurous, a lazy river and a pirate cove for the little ones. Enjoy a quick bite to eat in snack shop, which sits at the peak of the park.
4. Water Sports
Parasailing is a must for our family, and being high above the emerald waters is surprisingly serene. Many other water sports are available as well. Try paddle boarding, or kayaking, or rent a jet ski or a pontoon boat to explore the area.
We recommend you try Boogies Watersports, or Just Chute Me for your parasailing and other rental needs.
5. McGuire's Irish Pub
You’ll never go hungry at McGuire’s! With so many good dishes to try, it’s hard to know where to begin.
McGuire’s is right across the road from Harborwalk Village, in wonderful pub-style setting with millions of one dollar bills hanging from the ceiling! Enjoy the outdoor bar and sitting area in addition to the large indoor dining capacity.
They are known for their traditional Irish dishes including “18 cent Bean Soup”, Boxties, Corn Beef and Cabbage, and fish n chips, as well as their burgers and steaks. Each night of the week they feature a drink special. Try their local ales or for a unique beverage, check out an “Irish Wake” if you’re not driving.
If you don’t mind a bit of a wait, they do a terrific job of accommodating very large parties.
6. Fat Clemenza's Brick-oven Pizzeria
A friend told us about this place several years ago. Now it’s on our list every visit!
The locals come here because it tastes great and it’s still a hidden gem. We rarely have to wait to be seated, and they have outdoor seating when the temperatures are mild. They’ve received numerous awards, have an extensive wine list, and have daily specials published on the Blackboard. You must try the garlic knots! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
Here’s part of their story:
“We grew up in a very ethnic Italian neighborhood with great, local Italian restaurants. We were missing that here, so we decided to build our own. We don’t compromise on food quality whatsoever. We go to great lengths to find the best food products we can all over the world. A lot of the products come from Italy—olive oils, plum tomatoes, sheet pasta, flour from Naples by the pallet, and our sausage comes from Chicago twice a week.”
7. Harbor and Crab Island Area
Destin Harbor is a hub for a variety of activities. In addition to the many shops, ziplining and restaurants in Harborwalk Village, this is also where you will find countless water rentals/excursions. You can rent a pontoon and mosey on over to Crab Island for the afternoon, parasail, or book a sunset cruise, dolphin cruise or fishing excursion. Your options are limited only by your time and budget.
Harbor restaurants offer great views while dining. Many include gulf to plate seafood items, some of them will even cook the fish you caught that day!
8. The Track Destin
Go Karts, Mini Golf, and Bumper Boats, what’s not to like?
The Track Destin has something for everyone, including Go-Karts, kids rides, mini-golf, bumper cars, bumper boats, an arcade and some thrill rides. There are 5 Go-Kart tracks, from young kids (minimum height 3’6″) to grown men. They are open year round, so you can still have fun when the weather is cooler!
Hours vary depending on time of year and holidays as well as weather.
9. The Donut Hole Bakery Cafe
This popular breakfast place offers so much more than just donuts, and it’s worth the wait!
The original Donut Hole is near the Harbor in a quaint little building reminiscent of an old diner. Seating is in booths, tables and at the counter. They have an extensive breakfast menu including signature items like the “Gulf Coast Crabmeat Benedict” and Banana Nut pancakes. They also have a chalkboard of specials that aren’t listed in the menu. If you don’t have room for donuts, grab a box to go on the way out. In addition, they serve a variety of salads, sandwiches and burgers.
To avoid the line which sometimes goes out the door, plan to go at off-peak times. Open 6 am-10 pm
10. Destin Commons
For the shoppers out there, Destin Commons is the place to be. Shopping, Dining and Movies all in one place.
Anchored by stores such as H&M, Victoria Secret. Bass Pro Shop and AMC, Destin Commons offers a wide variety of shopping, dining and entertainment. Located by the Mid-Bay Bridge, it’s easy to find. Other favorites include Lizard Thicket, American Eagle, Lush, Loft, Godiva Chocolate, Maui Nix Surf Shop, White House Black Market, Chipotle, Five Guys, and Zoe’s Kitchen. The center of Destin Commons is home to numerous events throughout the year including art shows, a monthly artisan market, and car shows. Lowe’s Home Improvement, Whole Foods and Rooms 2 Go are also in the same shopping area. If you visit at Christmas time you can enjoy the festive decorations such as a giant Christmas tree and reindeer topiaries.
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