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.
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:
- Beasley Park (Okaloosa Island)
- Beach Access #2 (Okaloosa Island)
- Beach Access #4 (Okaloosa Island)
- Beach Access #6 (Okaloosa Island)
- Henderson Beach West (Destin)
- Henderson Beach East (Destin)
- James Lee Park (Destin)
Visit our artificial reefs page to get exact locations, as well as learn more about our artificial reef program!
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.
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!
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!
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.