The Destin Harbor is one of the most beloved areas along in Northwest Florida. Boating along the harbor, enjoying a dolphin cruise, going deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, exploring shallow waters by the Jetties — these are just some of the most popular things to do in Destin. Wouldn’t it be nice to stay close to all that fun, without the hassle of crowds?
It’s not impossible. There’s a beautiful, three-mile-long peninsula that juts out in-between the Gulf of Mexico and the Destin Harbor. It’s called Holiday Isle, and it is lovely.
A stay on Holiday Isle is an experience like none other. This peninsula has white-sand beaches to the south and deep water boat access to the north.
It’s located in Destin's heart, making it conveniently close to the water parks, go-cart tracks, mini-golf, ice cream parlors, and local favorites like La Paz or Local Market, which serve classic Destin fare and is walking distance.
Once on Holiday Isle, you’ll notice a genuine appreciation for Destin’s waterways. Does an early morning walk to the East Jetty sound nice? An advantage of staying on Holiday Isle is the ability to walk to the East Jetty, one of two long, artificial reefs that protect the entrance to the Harbor.
The waters around the jetties are teeming with sea life. There are Pompano, Redfish, Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, Loggerhead sea turtles, octopus, crabs, and Bottlenose dolphins, but did you know Destin (while rare) also has whales? Passengers on a dolphin cruise have even spotted northern Right and Humpback whales!
It's the daily mixing of salt and freshwater during high tide that attracts this wide variety of sea life. At low tide, stranded starfish grasp the Jetty's boulders.
At the tip of Holiday Isle is a fantastic public park with a front-row seat to Destin Harbor's energy. Called Norriego Point Park, this large, sandy beach offers two views: the Destin Harbor, or the East Pass leading out to the Gulf.
On the East Pass side, the East Jetty forms a protective barrier, creating a calm area for swimming or snorkeling, which is honestly one of the best things to do in Fort Walton Beach. It's such a popular area for snorkeling that dive and snorkeling charters often park here.
Young children love exploring the small tide pools on Norriego Point. Hermit crabs, sea urchins, and little fish rely on the protection of these pools.
On the Harborside, you’ll feel as though you could almost touch Destin’s Harborwalk; it is so close. Imagine an afternoon spent watching pontoon boats, fishing charters, (even a pirate ship!) sail by while searching for sand dollars and dozing off beneath a beach umbrella.
Ready to head back to home base? A stroll down the beach is all it takes. That’s the luxury of Holiday Isle.