For one-stop scenery, experiences, seafood, and shopping, there’s no better place to spend a day – or your entire vacation – than the Destin Harbor.
Just crossing over the Marler Bridge to get there will mesmerize. The view from above is clear aquamarine to jewel-green water, accented by sparkling diamond-like sand. Boats glide by with their catches of the day, or just catching the sunshine and fresh Gulf breeze.
Once you get there, here are five top things to do:
Wave at the fishermen
Many of those boats are part of the Destin Fishing Fleet, the largest charter fleet in one port in North America. Every day, they head out into some of the best saltwater fishing in the country, thanks to the Gulf of Mexico curving closest, depth-wise, to Destin than any other place in Florida. Visitors can walk along the Harbor to see the fishermen bring their boats in for the day. Visitors can also opt for a more immersive experience and can board a charter boat at the Destin Harbor Boardwalk to catch the “big one” with the help of the fleet crew expertise, or watch as they return to port – a flock of sea birds following – to hang up and clean the catches of the day.
Explore the harbor
If you’re fishing for something else exciting, take a last-minute excursion. There is plenty to book from the boardwalk. Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Kitty Hawk Kites. Go for wave runners, pontoon boats, jet skis, parasails, or a glass-bottom boat from Boogie’s Water Sports. Snorkel and SNUBA with Destin Snorkel. See smiling bottlenose dolphins aboard the Southern Star. Search for treasure on an adventure with the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise.
Escape with activities
For the young and young at heart, make your way out of laser and mirror mazes, roll around in aqua spheres, bounce on a bungee trampoline, or sleuth your way out of an escape room. Get your heart pounding on a 1,000-foot dual zip line over the crowd, climb 40 feet on a rock wall that’s LED-lighted at night, or take a thrilling 100-foot free-fall as the crowd below oohs, aahs and cheers. Live music, plus weekly Fat Tuesday parades and fireworks add to the thrills.
Grab a bite
You’ll see the boats bringing it in. Seafood can’t get any fresher than at Destin Harbor restaurants. Savor it shucked and perfectly prepared at classics such as East Pass Seafood & Oyster House, Harry T’s Lighthouse, and AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar. For name recognition, there’s Coyote Ugly Saloon with servers dancing on the bar, and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, where it’s always five o’clock. Want something more exotic? Go “Floribbean” at Rhumcay Island Grille, which specializes in dishes with key lime and fresh pineapple flare.
Shop for beach gear + souvenirs
Shop for your time at the beach and your time remembering it. Pick up a gorgeous kite to fly above the surf at Kitty Hawk Kites. Look good and give good souvenirs with designer fishing clothes, jewelry, and keepsakes from Nautical Treasures. Life is good, right?