Where to See Sea Turtles in Destin-Fort Walton Beach

Destin-Fort Walton Beach is home to some amazing wildlife, including our four species of sea turtles! You can see Loggerhead, Green, Kemp’s Ridley, and Leatherback sea turtles in our crystal-clear Gulf waters. Our flippered friends are active and can be spotted in a variety of places.

sea turtle up close halfway out of water

Snorkel Reefs

Seeing sea turtles in their natural environment is an unforgettable experience, which is why we recommend checking out one of our many snorkel reefs! There are many snorkel reefs right off the coast of Destin-Fort Walton Beach. Rent a paddleboard and paddle out to the second sandbar on a flat day to experience them for yourself! Don’t forget your snorkel gear.

Where to find them:

Visit our artificial reefs page to get exact locations, as well as learn more about our artificial reef program!

Norriego Point

Norriego Point is a great snorkel spot for beginners, as well as seasoned swimmers! The Norriego Point tide pools are a safe and beautiful place to see some wildlife and enjoy a dip in the water. Or, if you have a little more snorkel experience and a buddy, you can venture out to the Snorkel Jetty where the deeper waters allow for some amazing encounters with local wildlife.

two children standing near tie pool looking at shell

Scuba Diving

Sea turtles don’t just hang out in shallow water! Dive one of our many artificial reefs located at varying depths for divers of all skill-levels. Local dive companies like Shark Quest Dive Charters and SCUBA Tech are great ways to reach new depths and see our local sea turtles!

person in scuba gear surrounded by bubbles after jumping in the water

The Island Pier

Want to stay dry while scoping out sea turtles? Our turtles love hanging out around The Island Pier on Okaloosa Island! It only costs $2 to walk the pier, so grab your family and bring them out to take a stroll over our beautiful Gulf waters. From the pier, you are likely to see sea turtles, dolphins, fish, birds, rays, and more. You can watch local fishermen reel in a big catch, or have your own fishing day. You can rent all your gear from the pier, so just bring sun protection!

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

The C.A.R.E. Center at the Gulfarium is a great way to see sea turtles if you aren’t able to get in the water! When a sea turtle gets injured, it gets brought to the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center for rehab. Trained veterinarians and staff take care of the sea turtles until they are healthy enough to be released. You can see all of their patients by visiting the Gulfarium!
dolphins jumping out of water next to dolphin trainer

C.A.R.E.ing for Turtles

Can’t get enough of the patients at the C.A.R.E. Center? Attend C.A.R.E.ing for Turtles! These weekly talks are hosted at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center and will teach you everything there is to know about sea turtles! You’ll learn all about sea turtle nesting in Destin-Fort Walton Beach, about the patients being cared for at the C.A.R.E. Center, and what you can do to help protect our sea turtles. You’ll even get to be a sea turtle biologist for a day and conduct a mock intake of an injured sea turtle! Afterwards, you will get to take home a fun gift bag full of turtle-friendly items including a red, turtle-friendly flashlight! You don’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind experience!

For more information, visit our sea turtle page.

Events in Destin-Fort Walton Beach

It’s always the best time of the year to visit Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Mild temperatures and warm gulf waters make the area enjoyable no matter the season. And with a running lineup of exciting local events and festivals, there’s always something to do in Destin-Fort Walton Beach!

Paradise Music Festival

March 8, 2024 - March 10, 2024

Paradise Music Festival

This Huge Three-Day INDOOR Event at the Beautiful Destin-Fort Walton…

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6th Annual Mac and Cheese Festival

March 10, 2024

6th Annual Mac and Cheese Festival

Thought macaroni and cheese was just for kids? Think again!…

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Classical Connections: Steven Banks, Saxophone

March 23, 2024

Classical Connections: Steven Banks, Saxophone

Prepare to be spellbound by the mesmerizing talent of charismatic…

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