Whether you’re simply spending a few days in the area or you’re a local looking to pick up a new skill, learning how to surf is just one of the many activities that make Destin-Fort Walton Beach an ideal beach community. With direct access to the Gulf of Mexico’s gentle waves and crystalline water, our beaches are the perfect environment to put a board under you and take on a new journey.

Clean Waves

When you’re surfing the waves on the Gulf, you don’t have to worry about broken shells hurling toward you or the risk of falling into beds of coral and getting scraped. The water’s translucent surface allows you to see almost 20 feet down on a clear day, making it easy to see what’s ahead of you and below you. Plus, powdery sand is more inviting for beginners than the rocky or concrete-hard sand at other beaches around the world. Most comforting of all, new surfers don’t have to go very deep to get started. The shallows of Destin’s beaches extend far enough to paddle out to where you can still see the bottom.

Wildlife Sightings

The area’s pristine waters offer unparalleled visibility of native aquatic life. It’s common for surfers to spot hermit crabs, stingrays, jellyfish, and large schools of fish in the area. Some lucky surfers have also reported seeing dolphins. Destin Fort-Walton’s waters have a large population of dolphins that live here year round.

Surf Lessons

Have no idea where to start? Let a professional guide you at Ride On Surf School. The school is an official Billabong Surf camp and the only place in Destin that teaches visitors how to surf. Family members ages 8 and up can sign up for classes that focus on learning the basics, including how to paddle and stand up, perfecting your surf stance, and most importantly: surf lingo.

All you need to bring is a dry towel, sunscreen, bottle of water, and maybe something to snack on. Group and private lessons are available as well as surf camps and surfing parties. The surf school welcomes those new to surfing and anyone who wants to hone their skills on the board.

Ride On Surf School also provides activities on days when there are no waves to surf or visitors just need a break from learning. They offer fun activities like stand up paddleboarding, boogie boarding, and kayaking. If learning to surf works up an appetite, Capt Daves's on the Gulf Restaurant is the surf school’s home base and perfect for an after-class meal.

Most importantly, what makes Destin a great place to learn how to surf is that it will teach you how to ride ground swells in a comfortable and forgiving environment while fostering a love for the water by learning how to flow with the waves. Once you’ve got the basics, you’ll be able to apply that knowledge anywhere you surf. Hang ten and ride those gnarly waves!